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November 11, 2017

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Desalination in Huntington Beach

Whenever a drought hits California, there are inevitable calls to build desalination plants along the coast to take advantage of the plentiful salt water in the Pacific Ocean. For those unfamiliar with the concept, desalination involves taking ocean water and removing salt and other minerals in order to obtain potable drinking water. The reason that this method is not more widespread in California is because by some estimates, it costs over four times as much as ground water. The process is also more dangerous for marine life near the desalination plants.

 

These two factors are the driving force against the proposed desalination plant in Huntington Beach. This project was originally proposed over 10 years ago and it just recently progressed to the next step towards being started. In October, the environmental impact report will be considered by several different commissions before receiving its final approval.

 

Opponents claim that this project is not a necessary expense for taxpayers. They argue that California would be better served by continuing conservation methods and focusing on recycling water. These methods could provide the state with more potable water for a fraction of the cost. Sticking with the traditional methods of increasing efficiency and conservation is also less impactful on the environment. Those methods carry less risk to marine life that is plentiful off the coast of California.

 

Proponents of the project argue that it will provide California with another source of potable water that can be drawn upon during droughts and other dry periods. They claim that this plant would be carbon neutral in order to help mitigate the environmental impacts of operating the plant.

 

While everyone has an opinion on the impacts of this project, the State Lands Commission will get the first crack at actually vetting the environmental impact report on October 19th.

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