Since 2013, Dewane and OCWD directors Cathy Green, Steve Sheldon, and Denis Bilodeau have fought hard for Poseidon Resources to build a $1 billion ocean desalination plant in Huntington Beach and sign a water purchase agreement with OCWD.
Rowe will try to end that obsession by refocusing OCWD’s efforts.
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The remaining members of Poseidon’s coterie still obsess over Poseidon’s proposed desal deal: buy 56,000 AF of desalinated water every year for 30 years, regardless of need, at 3 or more times the price of imported water sold by the Metropolitan Water District of Southern California (MET) for groundwater basin refills.
“Although Poseidon proponents say that we did have opposition, I get really angry when I hear that,” he said.
Noting that the GWRS provides twice as much water (soon to be 2 1/2 times) as Poseidon’s desal plant would, Rowe called the Poseidon project “an insult to intelligent water resources management professionals, a foolish waste of their funds and efforts over the last 20 years.”
Rowe proposed a different plan.
If OCWD lowers the basin too much, incoming seawater contaminates its fresh water supply. That limits the amount of water OCWD can safely pump from the basin.
Rowe wants the OCWD to build an upgraded and “long overdue” 14-miles-long coastal seawater intrusion barrier so that it can safely withdraw 3 to 5 million AF, compared to 1.5 million AF now, of the basin’s 60 million AF of water.
That would ensure water reliability for 10 years without replenishment and “would delay by decades the need for any ocean water desalination plant”, he said
If we ever need ocean desalination, he added, “OCWD could surely build and operate such a facility much cheaper than the proposed Poseidon project.”
John Earl is the publisher and editor for the Surf City Voice and Poseidon Town. In the late 1980s, he covered local politics for the Huntington Beach News. In 2005, he was a founding member and first president of Residents for Responsible Desal, which he left in 2006 to become editor of the print newspaper, OC Voice.