Chronology of the Orange County water District's exploration of ocean desalination

Please visit the board and committee meetings page to view board action on items related to the Huntington Beach ocean desalination project.

  • June 1, 2016

    The District's Board of Directors approves amending the Confidentiality Agreement with Poseidon Resources to extend until December 31, 2019. The Board approves the Reimbursement Agreement with Poseidon Resources and authorizes the preparation of CEQA documents for the proposed project for a cost not to exceed $500,000.

  • September 2, 2015

    At the Board of Directors meeting, Poseidon Resources announced they had resubmitted its application to the California Coastal Commission for the proposed Huntington Beach Desalination Project for the last remaining Coastal Development Permit it needs to build the facility. 

  • May 14, 2015

    The District's Board of Directors approves the term sheet with Poseidon Water as presented. Staff is authorized to hire and execute contracts with consultants for a total amount not to exceed $230,000 to review project issues relating to distributing the Poseidon water, water quality, considering alternative supplies, and financial assistance. Staff is further authorized to seek bond funding for such project. Directors Flory and Yoy requested that the Citizens Advisory Committee reconvene during review of the term sheet. The Board agreed to defer this discussion to a future meeting. 

  • March - April, 2015

    Ocean Desalination Citizens Advisory Committee meetings held

  • March 18, 2015

    The District's Board of Directors voted to appoint members of the Ocean Desalination Citizens Advisory Committee (ODCAC). The Board also voted to schedule ODCAC meetings on March 26, 2015; April 9, 2015; and April 23, 2015; at 5:30 p.m. The Committee will provide input on the draft term sheet and the project in general. It will operate according to the established Roles, Responsibilities and Administrative Procedures.

  • February 18, 2015

    The District's  Board of Directors voted to defer action regarding the adoption of recommended roles, responsibilities and administrative procedures for the Ocean Desalination Citizens Advisory Committee to the March 18, 2015 Board of Directors meeting

  • January 7, 2015

    The OCWD Board of Directors voted to begin negotiating a term sheet with Poseidon Resources to purchase 50 million gallons of water a day (56,000 acre-feet annually) created by the proposed Huntington Beach Ocean Desalination Plant. As part of this process, the Board decided it will move forward with appointing an Ocean Desalination Citizens’ Advisory Committee (ODCAC) to ensure the public is provided ample opportunity to provide input. Each OCWD Board Member will appoint up to two committee members and an alternate member.

  • December 10, 2014

    The District held a special workshop, open to the public, to discuss the proposed Poseidon Resources Huntington Beach Ocean Desalination Facility. No board action was taken.

  • December 3, 2014

    The District’s Board of Directors voted to increase the Clean Energy Capital Contract by $27,000 to $76,720.

  • November 12, 2014

    Informational presentations were given regarding the proposed Poseidon Resources Huntington Beach Ocean Desalination project at the Water Issues Committee meeting. The Board took no official action.

  • October 1, 2014

    Clean Energy Capital (CEC) provided an informational presentation to the OCWD Board that summarized its draft financial analysis report regarding the proposed Poseidon Resources Huntington Beach Ocean Desalination project. This was an informational item and the Board took no official action.

  • June 4, 2014

    The District’s Board of Directors authorized an issuance of agreement to Clean Energy Capital for $49,720 to provide financial analysis on the proposed Poseidon Resources City of Huntington Beach Ocean Desalination Project.

  • April 2, 2014

    The District’s Board of Directors authorized issuance of a Request for Proposals for assistance with the financial analysis on potential funding options for the proposed Poseidon Resources City of Huntington Beach Ocean Desalination Project.

  • February 19, 2014

    The District submitted a letter to Governor Brown urging regulatory relief for seawater desalination projects that stated “it is imperative that any drought relief legislation encourages and supports the creation and development of desalination for new water supply.”

  • January 9, 2014

    The District’s Board of Directors deferred establishing the Ocean Desalination Citizens’ Advisory Committee.

  • January 8, 2014

    The District’s staff released a comprehensive report titled “Poseidon Resources Huntington Beach Ocean Desalination Project Information and Update.” The report summarizes the water reliability advantages and financial impacts if the District were to purchase the Project’s 56,000 acre feet / year of water and then resell the water to interested retail water agencies. Additionally the rep

  • November 6, 2013

    The District’s Board of Directors authorized District support for the California Coastal Commission to approve development of the Poseidon Resources Huntington Beach Ocean Desalination Project.

  • October 15, 2013

    The District submitted a letter to the California Coastal Commission stating, “The District believes the Project is beneficial to enhancing regional water supply reliability by diversifying Orange County’s portfolio with a new local drought-proof source … In addition to offsetting imported demand, water from the Project could provide flexibility in how the District manages the groundwater basin, specifically, the desalinated water could be used to augment supplies we inject into our Talbert Seawater Barrier to help prevent seawater intrusion into the groundwater basin.”

  • July 24, 2013

    The District’s Board of Directors approved executing an amendment to the 2010 Confidentiality Agreement with Poseidon Resources, giving the District access to additional information to study the economic feasibility of the Project and to consider a water purchase agreement for the entire proposed 50-million-gallon-per-day production capacity of the plant. At that time, the District’s Board also directed its staff to conduct a financial evaluation of the project.

  • May 22, 2013

    The District’s Board of Directors resolved that it is the goal of the District to consider and develop a variety of local water resources—including seawater desalination—to ensure sufficient water supplies are always available to the residents and businesses in the service territory.

  • December 7, 2011

    The District submitted a letter to the Santa Ana Regional Water Quality Control Board (Regional Board) in support of the Project’s National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System (NPDES) permit and advised the Regional Board that the District would “be opposed to any alternative seawater intake system that could potentially impact the efficacy of Talbert Aquifer Seawater Intrusion Barrier on the groundwater basin, unless the impacts were adequately mitigated.”

  • March 17, 2010

    As part of a working group made up of cities and water districts in Orange County, the District entered into both a Confidentiality Agreement to share information and a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with Poseidon Resources for the consideration of the purchase of desalinated water from the Huntington Beach Desalination Project.

  • April 1975

    Water Factory 21, an advanced wastewater treatment plant, went into operation and in June of 1975, the multi stage flash distillation seawater desalter plant was completed and put into operation by the federal government. It operated for less than a year before the federal government withdrew support due to high operation and fuel costs and a faltering economy.

  • Early 1970s

    The Department of the Interior’s Office of Saline Water (later the Office of Water Resources and Technology) was interested in developing a joint desalination project in Southern California. The Orange County Water District and the federal government jointly funded what was to be called “Water Factory 21”, an advanced recycled water treatment plant and ocean desalter to develop water for OCWD’s seawater intrusion barrier project and to offer the potential of additional potable water for the future.