Huntington Beach Desalination Update

As a responsible steward of the Orange County Groundwater Basin, the Orange County Water District (OCWD; District) continually researches the feasibility of developing new water sources to keep the water supply of a growing population reliable, especially during cyclical California droughts. Below is an update of the proposed Poseidon Resources desalination project in Huntington Beach.

Poseidon Resources continues to work toward obtaining the necessary permits for the proposed Huntington Beach Ocean Desalination Project.  Poseidon is currently working with the California State Lands Commission to renew and modify its previously issued permit.  This permit needs to be modified to account for improvements that have occurred with the projects intake and outfall systems. The State Lands Commission is planning to consider issuance of the new permit in August.  A supplemental environmental impact report is also being prepared by the State Lands Commission to evaluate any new environmental issues from the intake and outfall modifications.

If Poseidon is successful, the Regional Water Quality Control Board could then consider renewing its previously issued permit for the project as early as the fourth quarter of 2017. Additionally, the Regional Board will ensure that the project also complies with newly adopted regulations by the State Water Resources Control Board in 2015 that addressed ocean desalination facilities.

Assuming Poseidon is successful with the Regional Board, the California Coastal Commission will then formally consider the project sometime in the first quarter of 2018.

As Poseidon works to obtain the necessary project approvals, the Orange County Water District continues to develop options for distributing the plant's new water supply.  Different options are available depending upon which cities and water agencies want to integrate desalinated water into their local water systems. OCWD expects to finalize a preferred distribution plan in late 2017.