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October 04, 2022 8:46AM

IRWD is resuming late fees and interest on past due balances beginning Sept. 1, and discontinuation of service for delinquent accounts will begin Oct. 1. Customers with past-due balances are encouraged to sign up for a payment arrangement to avoid late fees, interest and discontinuation of service. Visit IRWD.com/payment-arrangement, or call 949-453-5300 to apply.

October 04, 2022 8:46AM

IRWD is resuming late fees and interest on past due balances beginning Sept. 1, and discontinuation of service for delinquent accounts will begin Oct. 1. Customers with past-due balances are encouraged to sign up for a payment arrangement to avoid late fees, interest and discontinuation of service. Visit IRWD.com/payment-arrangement, or call 949-453-5300 to apply.

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Information about desalination

For more than 50 years, IRWD has made water supply reliability a top priority through the implementation of water efficient practices and programs and the development of cost effective alternative water supply resources.

In Orange County, locally desalinated water from brackish and ocean water sources continue to be evaluated as potential alternative water supplies. The desalination process converts water with high salts and mineral concentrations into drinking water or water for irrigation purposes. Water agencies that benefit from these potential regional desalination projects would be responsible for project funding.

 

Poseidon’s offer to Orange County: Water at twice the price for no benefit

pdf icon Printable Fact Sheet

A Canadian company called Poseidon Water is pushing to build an ocean desalination plant on Orange County’s coastline in Huntington Beach. While the project would be great for Poseidon, which would receive all the benefits, it would leave Orange County residents with costlier water and higher water rates. North and Central Orange County residents would have to foot the $1.4 billion bill for the project over the next 30 years if the Orange County Water District decides to buy Poseidon’s water. Orange County residents would need to see a tangible benefit to to warrant this increased price tag, so is Poseidon’s Huntington Beach Desalination Plant worth it? Let’s take a look. 

 

Does the project provide more water for Orange County? NO

The Huntington Beach Desal Project simply trades our existing water supply for water purchased from Poseidon. Despite the high price tag, the project would not provide any additional water for Orange County.

Does the project solve a water problem for Orange County? NO

Even as our state contends with recurring drought, our region sits on top of a vast, responsibly managed groundwater basin and receives additional imported supplies to augment our local water sources. We already have a diverse and reliable water supply and are not at risk of running out of water. We should continue to make investments in reliable water supplies, but there are more cost-effective options that we have yet to explore.  

Is Poseidon’s water cheaper than our current supply? NO

Compared to existing water supplies, Poseidon’s desalinated water would:

  • Cost twice the price
  • Add $1 billion to North and Central O.C. water bills over the next 30 years
  • Disproportionately harm O.C.’s lower-income and disadvantaged residents

Buying desalinated water at 2x the price is not acceptable when there is a range of cheaper alternatives such as recycling, groundwater banking and imported water.

Will Poseidon make Orange County more water independent? NO

  • Current water supply: Purchased from a public agency with voter oversight and approval mechanisms to justify rate increases
  • Poseidon’s Water: Purchased from a private Canadian company beholden to shareholders first

What opponents are saying

Opponents have spoken out against the Huntington Beach Desal Project from every corner of the state, including the Coastal Commission staff, who urged their commissioners to reject the project in a blistering 200-page report issued April 25.

“A 2018 study by a local water agency found that Poseidon’s project would provide lower reliability at higher costs than about six other potential local or regional water supply projects.” Coastal Commission Staff Report

“…the water rate hike would disproportionately impact millions of low-income residents throughout OCWD’s service area, the majority of which are people of color.” Coastal Commission Staff Report

“We conclude that the Poseidon agreement will likely make drinking water for disadvantaged households in Orange County moderately to severely less affordable.” UCLA

“It would seriously damage the marine coastal environment, produce the costliest water of any source available and raise water bills for residents and businesses.” LA Times

Poseidon is the wrong project for Orange County residents

In California, we are used to making billion-dollar investments when there is a tangible benefit or upgrade. But when it comes to the Huntington Beach Desal Project, there is no benefit, and we are not upgrading. We would simply be swapping our existing water supply out for one that is lower quality and twice as expensive. You wouldn’t give up your dependable car to buy a beater for twice the price, so why are we being asked to do that with our water? Perhaps one day when desalination technology is more developed and less expensive it would be an option worth exploring, but for now the verdict is clear: Poseidon’s desalination plant is the wrong project for Orange County residents.

Policy Paper on Desalination Projects

In March of 2022, the Irvine Ranch Water District Board of Directors adopted an updated policy reaffirming their support of regional desalination projects when the costs for treatment and distribution are competitive with existing reliable water supplies, but opposing desalination projects that do not allow retail agencies — such as IRWD — to opt out. Please click here to read the full policy.

Letter to California Coastal Commission

Why IRWD opposes Poseidon's proposed seawater desalination project in Hungtington Beach - May 4, 2022: view

Other IRWD Documents

IRWD Comment Letter to Chairman of Santa Ana Regional Water Quality Control Board that Regional Board staff refused to deliver – July 24, 2020: view

IRWD's Presentation to Santa Ana Regional Water Quality Control Board regarding IRWD Investigations of Water Quality Impacts of Proposed Huntington Beach Seawater Desalination Project - December 6, 2019: view

Letter to Santa Ana Regional Water Quality Control Board with Attachment A regarding draft NPDES permit renewal for Proposed Seawater Desalination Project at Huntington Beach - December 4, 2019: view

Replacement Page 23 to Attachment A of Letter to Santa Ana Regional Water Quality Control Board with Attachment A - December 5, 2019: view 

  • Appendix A to Letter to Santa Ana Regional Water Quality Control Board - November 27, 2019: view
  • Appendix B to Letter to Santa Ana Regional Water Quality Control Board - November 18, 2019: view
  • Appendix C to Letter to Santa Ana Regional Water Quality Control Board - November 26, 2019: view

Letter to Santa Ana Regional Water Quality Control Board regarding need for the Proposed Seawater Desalination Project at Huntington Beach - June 12, 2019: view

Letter to OCWD regarding Proposed Dialogue with Producer Agencies - July 18, 2018: view 

Letter to OCWD regarding Proposed Term Sheet for Seawater Desalination Project at Huntington Beach - June 6, 2018: view

Voice of OC guest column by General Manager Paul Cook "Finding the Right Water Solutions for Orange County" - June 5, 2018

Orange County Register op-ed by General Manager Paul Cook "Finding the right water fixes for Orange County" - June 3, 2018

Paul Cook OC Reg Article 060318

Mini-documentary about the Poseidon desalination plant: General Manager Paul Cook appears in a new video, “The Problem with Poseidon,” produced by Orange County Coastkeeper and released on CaliforniaDesalFacts.org and YouTube -- May 31, 2018.

IRWD comment letter on Agenda Item 97 - AES Huntington Beach LLC and Poseidon Resources (Surfside) LLC (Co-Lessees): Certification of SEIR and Lease Amendment - October 13, 2017:  view 

IRWD comment letter to the State Lands Commission on the Draft Supplemental Environmental Impact Report for the Seawater Desalination Project at Huntington Beach: Outfall/Intake Modifications and General Lease - Industrial Use (PRC 1980.1) Amendment - July 27, 2017:  view 

Presentation on Preliminary Analysist of Impacts of Desalinated Seawater Use to IRWD's Recycled Water - March 8, 2016:  view

Letter to MWDOC Regarding MWDOC's Proposed Joint Resolution with OCWD for Proposed Seawater Desalination Project at Huntington Beach - December 29, 2016: view

  • MWDOC Staff Report (Referenced in above letter) Regarding Proposed Seawater Desalination Project at Huntington Beach - July 7, 2015: view

Letter to OCWD Regarding IRWD Infrastructure and Proposed Seawater Desalination Project at Huntington Beach - November 23, 2016:  view

Letter to OCWD Regarding Methods to Restore Groundwater Levels in Orange County Basin - August 10, 2016:  view 

Letter to OCWD Regarding Proposed Poseidon Resources Hungtington Beach Seawater Desalination Project Distribution Options - July 6, 2016: view

Letter to OCWD Recommending Annual Budgeting for the Purchase of Imported Water - March 8, 2016: view

Letter to OCWD Regarding Distribution Options for Water from Proposed Seawater Desalination Project - March 2, 2106: view

Letter to OCWD Addressing Water Quality Impacts Associated with Distribution of Water from Proposed Huntington Beach Seawater Desalination Project - February 3, 2016: view

Letter to OCWD Supporting the Consideration of Alternatives to Proposed Huntington Beach Seawater Desalination Project - September 2, 2015:   view

Briefing Paper Comparing the Proposed Huntington Beach Seawater Desalination Project to the Alternative of Optimizing the Use of the Orange County Groundwater Basin - August 26, 2015: view 

Letter to OCWD Supporting the Evaluation of Alternatives to Proposed Seawater Desalination Project at Huntington Beach - May 14, 2015:  view 

Letter to OCWD Relative to Next Steps in Evaluation of Proposed Seawater Desalination Project at Huntington Beach - March 18, 2015:  view 

Comments on  Clean Energy Capital's "Financial Analysis of Proposed Huntington Beach Ocean Water Desalination Project" Prepared for OCWD - November 21, 2014:  view 

Letter to OCWD Regarding Proposed Schedule for Huntington Beach Seawater Desalination Project - November 19, 2014: view

Letter of Intent to Poseidon Resources LLC - April 25, 2013: view

OCWD Documents

Term Sheet Water Reliability Agreement for Huntington Beach Seawater Desalination Project Between Orange County Water District and Poseidon Resources - May 2015: view 

  • Attachment A to Term Sheet Water Reliablity Agreement for Huntington Beach Seawater Desalination Project Between Orange County Water District and Poseidon Resources - May 2015: view 

Trussell Technologies Technical Memorandum titled "Review of Proposed Water Quality Requirements for the Huntington Beach Desalter" that was prepared for OCWD that includes the Metropolitan Water District of Southern California report that was prepared by ARCADIS titled "Assessment of Existing Seawater Desalination Integration Practices, March 2012": view 

Minutes, meeting agenda, OCWD staff report, presentation and IRWD letter from OCWD's July 6 2016 Board Meeting where the Board Approved Moving Forward with Option 6 which includes Recharging Desalinated Seawater: view