Former Sen. Barbara Boxer and former California Assembly Speaker Fabian Nunez called on state regulators Wednesday to approve the proposed Huntington Beach desalination project, which is intended to provide Orange County with 50 million gallons of fresh drinking water per day from the Pacific Ocean.
Boxer, a democrat with a reputation as a dedicated environmentalist, and Nunez, who authored the state’s legislation to curb climate change, are asking state leaders to finally approve the Huntington Beach project, which began the state’s permitting process in 2002, a statement said.
It said Boxer and Nunez both serve as consultants on the project, which is being run by Poseidon Water.
“The Huntington Beach desalination project is a positive and critical response to the severe impacts of climate change in California,” said Boxer. “The five-year drought that we experienced between 2012 and 2016 caused great suffering and I saw it first hand; it turned our farmers against our fishermen and caused anxiety for all our families. We should and must respond in an environmentally sound way, not with damaging large dams or importing more water.’
As a long time proponent of desalination, who wrote the desalination provisions in the last federal water bill in 2016, I urge all the state administrative agencies to move forward on the Huntington Beach proposal that has been languishing for over a decade, resulting in nearly 220 billion gallons of lost water,” she said.
Nunez added: “One year of good rainfall doesn’t mean we can sit back and not prepare for our future, climate change, and the next drought.
The Huntington Beach desalination project will be the most technologically advanced, environmentally friendly desalination plant in the world. This is what makes California beautiful — we use our ingenuity and innovation to solve problems and protect our planet.”
Poseidon Water, the plant’s developer, has also proposed a plan to offer funding to restore and maintain the Bolsa Chica Ecological Reserve, providing much needed funding for the restoration and maintenance of one of California’s last remaining large-scale wetlands.
The desalination project is designed to produce 56,000 acre feet per year, or 50 million gallons per day of locally controlled, drought-proof drinking water that will reduce Orange County’s need to import water from Northern California and the Colorado River, the statement said.
The next step in the approval process will be at the California State Lands Commission in August, followed by a hearing at the Santa Ana Regional Water Quality Control Board, and finally, the California Coastal Commission.
—City News Service
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