As former chair of the Huntington Beach Planning Commission, I presided over 40 hours of Poseidon’s hearings. I offer four reasons why the Regional Water Board should reject the project at Friday’s meeting, and a suggestion.
1. Hidden Tax.
If Poseidon is approved, the citizens of Southern California may pay the largest hidden tax in my lifetime. This hidden tax is the difference consumers will pay, because Poseidon is an international corporation, and has profits guaranteed for its 35 to 50 year lifespan. Consumers will pay up to six times more for their water! Plus there is an annual 3% price escalator clause! These estimates are the best we can do as Poseidon’s term sheet does not include actual prices! Would you buy a house if the seller could decide upon the price after the contract was signed?
2. Desalinization Wins the Most Expensive Water Prize!
Current groundwater costs $450/acre foot, while ratepayers of Poseidon’s Carlsbad plant pay $2800/acre foot. Poseidon’s water is already 6.2 times more expensive than O.C. ground water!
3. We Don’t Need Poseidon
In 2018 the O.C. Water District report shows O.C. in a uniquely favorable situation when compared to the Carlsbad area:
A) Orange County is on top of an aquifer
B) O.C. has the Santa Ana River, another source of fresh water
C) Twelve years ago, Orange County began to reclaim waste water and replenishes the aquifer daily
D) Over the last 20 years conservation has helped to shrink demand.
4. Rate Payers May Be Forced to buy Unneeded Water (and then Pump It Into the Ground).
Poseidon wants to produce more water than the region needs and force us to purchase their expensive water and dump it into the aquifer! This is precisely what the Ground Water Replenishment System has been doing for 12 years (and at much cheaper rates).
When we want a desalination plant, we should construct one that is cheaper to build and operate. So what is the “secret sauce” that lowers construction and operating costs? It’s a municipal utility (just like the O.C. Water and Sanitation Districts)! Cheaper to build, because it would be right sized for the region’s needs, not for Poseidon’s profits. A utility is cheaper to operate, because it won’t need to raise rates to generate profits for directors and shareholders. The people of Orange County should be outraged at the prospect of this hidden and completely unnecessary tax.
The Angeles Chapter of the Sierra Club welcomes your participation in its century of involvement in the enjoyment and protection of our planet's environment. The Angeles Chapter spans Los Angeles and Orange Counties in Southern California, with an extensive program of hikes/hiking, national and international travel, local conservation campaigns, political action, and programs for people of all ages.