In Huntington Beach, Poseidon Water – a private company owned by foreign investors – proposed a $1.4 billion desalination plant. The plant would have required local ratepayers to buy 50 million gallons of water per day, whether they needed it or not, at nearly four times the cost of then-currently available water supplies. For over 15 years, Poseidon spent upwards of $1.6 million lobbying for the project.
After years of controversy and corruption, the Huntington Beach Poseidon project was finally stopped when the California Coastal Commission unanimously voted to deny the project’s Coastal Development Permit in May 2022. A coalition of environmental justice, coastal, and ocean conservation groups known as the “Stop Poseidon Coalition” played a major role in protecting the coast from this boondoggle project.
The coalition was made up of Azul, the California Coastkeeper Alliance, California Coastal Protection Network, Orange County Coastkeeper, and the Surfrider Foundation. Together, they argued that:
- There was a lack of tribal consultation and consultation with communities of color, who will bear the greatest burdens of the project.
- The $1.4 billion Poseidon desalination project was so expensive it would drive up water costs in Orange County by more than $100 million each year, causing water rate increases that will unfairly burden low-income residents and small businesses.
- There were more cost-effective and less environmentally damaging water supply projects to help meet Southern California’s water needs.
These are only three of the many reasons that the Huntington Beach Poseidon project was a bad deal for Southern California. Learn more about the project and the Stop Poseidon Coalition below.
Timeline for the Denied Brookfield-Poseidon Desalination Project
Stop Poseidon Coalition, December 2022
Opposition Briefing Binder for the California Coastal Commission
Stop Poseidon Coalition, April 2022
Sea Level Rise Climate Crisis Simulation at Proposed Project Site
Stop Poseidon Coaltion, 2022
California Coastal Commission CDP Staff Report – Denial Recommendation
Commission Staff, February 2022
Environmental Justice Analysis: Analyzing Southern California Supply Investments from a Human Right to Water Perspective
UCLA Luskin Center, April 2019
Summary of MWDOC Reliability Study
Orange County Coastkeeper, March 2019