For the last 17 years, Poseidon Water has spent millions of dollars on an army of lobbyists, consultants, lawyers and PR teams to sell Orange County ratepayers a desalination plant, urging us to sign the dotted line on a 50-year government contract that Poseidon’s investors have salivated over.
Year after year, they have worked around the clock trying every sales tactic in the book. They’ve sent charming lobbyists to schmooze decision-makers everywhere from the offices of City Council to state legislators and regulators in Sacramento. They’ve invited TV news crews to see how large and impressive their technology looks. They squeezed their way onto a list of Trump’s preferred private-public partnership projects. They played on drought hysteria and fears of the tap running dry. In their final days before they face a decision from state authorities, they’ve stooped to paying former Sen. Barbara Boxer to give them a new celebrity face, attempting to create the illusion of environmentalist support.
But despite Poseidon’s efforts to obscure them, the hard facts of the proposed plant haven’t changed. Poseidon’s desalination plant is the most expensive, most energy-intensive, most environmentally harmful option on the market. Orange County has several other water supply technologies available that produce more water per ratepayer-dollar while using less energy and creating more jobs. There’s a reason both economists and environmental scientists widely refer to Poseidon’s desalination technology as a “last resort option.” Why pay top dollar when cheaper, more sustainable water options are waiting to be implemented?
Poseidon’s billion-dollar project would create the most expensive water in Orange County history and would only supply around eight percent of our water needs. And even that wouldn’t make a difference, because there’s a much bigger problem for Poseidon, and it’s the toughest yet for them to spin: Orange County doesn’t need more water. The current plan is to take most or all of the expensive desalinated water and re-pollute it by sending it all to the underground aquifer. We can purchase Metropolitan Water District water for the aquifer at less than half the cost of Poseidon water.
When the drought hit, Orange County got a wakeup call and stepped up to the plate. All without Poseidon, we invested millions of dollars in the largest and most advanced water-recycling facility in the world, the Ground Water Replenishment System. Our recycling plant turns wastewater into 100 million gallons of drinking water every day. With the expansion currently underway, the number will grow to 130 million gallons daily. Sitting atop an underground aquifer the size of Lake Mead, Orange County is poised to become one of the most drought-independent counties in the United States. This is why Poseidon won’t accept a contract unless it stipulates that Orange County ratepayers buy every drop of water they produce, whether or not…