New Report Proves Orange County Water District Overestimated Future Water Demand

Coastkeeper says findings debunk the need for a desalination plant

ORANGE COUNTY – February 5, 2016 – Wednesday night’s Orange County Water District meeting became frenzied when findings from a draft report by Municipal Water District of Orange County showed that Orange County Water District’s prediction for future water need in the region is approximately 90,000 acre-feet too high. Orange County Coastkeeper says the findings prove the proposed desalination plant in Huntington Beach is unnecessary.

“We knew this meeting would reveal important information regarding the costs of building a distribution system for the Poseidon desalination plant — an additional cost that would make the already high-priced water even pricier,” says Orange County Coastkeeper Executive Director Garry Brown. “We were pleased to hear local residents speaking out against the plant and pleasantly surprised to see the evidence backing what we have been saying for years — that we don’t need Poseidon’s water.” 

The report unveiled Wednesday night showed water-use demands at 435,000 acre-feet per year, instead of the Orange County Water District’s inaccurate estimate of 525,000 acre-feet per year. This means, says Coastkeeper, that based on the desalination plant’s ability to produce 54,000 acre-feet of water per year, the Water District overestimated the need for water by nearly two times the total annual production of the desalination plant.

The inaccurate projections that the District has used until now came from a compilation of estimates from 19 groundwater producers from over five years ago, while the new Municipal Water District’s projection is both current and scientifically based on an engineering study, according to Mike Marcus, Orange County Water District general manager.

“This most recent data confirm we don’t need the water, so why would we ask ratepayers to foot the bill for billions of dollars for water we don’t need?” says Brown. “Orange County has much better options for sustainable water sources – let’s opt for one that puts our economy and environment first, while providing the water reliability we need.”

Coastkeeper believes Orange County should apply the strategic and innovative tactics it’s known for to the region’s water supply options. Conservation, wastewater recycling (expansion of GWRS) and stormwater capture are better for the environment, use less energy and are cost effective.

For more information, read this story on the impacts of the Poseidon-Huntington Beach desalination plant.

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ORANGE COUNTY COASTKEEPER: Orange County Coastkeeper is a member of the International Waterkeeper Alliance, which has 236 different independent programs across 29 countries. Founded in 1999, the mission of Coastkeeper is to protect and promote sustainable water resources that are swimmable, drinkable, and fishable. Coastkeeper is a nonprofit clean water organization that serves as a proactive steward of our fresh- and saltwater ecosystems. We work collaboratively with diverse groups in the public and private sectors to achieve healthy, accessible, and sustainable water resources for the region. We implement innovative, effective programs in education, advocacy, restoration, research, enforcement, and conservation. For more information, visit www.coastkeeper.org or call 714-850-1965.