HUNTINGTON BEACH, California: In a bid to develop a major source of water for drinking and irrigation, California appears poised to approve construction of a desalination plant in Huntington Beach, California.
California's Poseidon Water has spent 22 years seeking permission for the plant, having spent $100 million. However, approval might occur soon from the final state agency, the California Coastal Commission. Indeed, Poseidon officials are talking about breaking ground for construction in 2022.
Plans call for allocating $1.4 billion for construction of the plant, which would produce some 50 million gallons of drinking water daily.
While environmentalists were able to block the plant for decades, the ongoing drought and wildfires have changed the politics surrounding desalination.
"The Pacific Ocean is the largest reservoir in the world," said Poseidon vice president Scott Maloni. "It's always full," as quoted by Reuters.
Poseidon earlier built the Carlsbad desalination plant in southern California. It also produces 50 million gallons of drinking water daily, enough for 400,000 homes and meeting 10% of San Diego County's water demand.
Officials note that the Huntington Beach project would produce enough drinking water for 16 percent of the homes in the Orange County Water District, where 2.5 million people live.
While taking note of arguments made by environmentalists to block the plant, Steve Sheldon, the Orange County Water District's board president, said, "We have to balance that with our human need for water," as quoted by Reuters.
Poseidon officials report that the cost of desalinated water in San Diego County has added $5 to the average home water bill. The Huntington Beach plant is expected to add $3 to $6 per month for consumers.