OC Water District & Poseidon Project Update

On July 18, 2018 the Orange County Water District voted to approve a prospective term sheet with Poseidon, to buy desalted water and distribute it to local water agencies.

“The 6-2 vote established the terms for a contract if plant builder Poseidon Water receives final permits necessary from the Regional Water Quality Control Board this year and the California Coastal Commission next year,” according to the Daily Pilot (read the full article here).

OCWD Board Member Cathey Green represents Huntington Beach and Fountain Valley and she voted in favor of the revised term sheet.

OCWD Board members voted 6-2 to approve a term sheet with Poseidon


OCWD Meeting details by the numbers…

–70+ people filled out comment cards to speak out on the issue. The overwhelming majority of speakers were opponents of the proposed project, including dozens of Huntington Beach residents.

–Five activist groups were represented among the speakers including: HB Huddle, Orange County Coast Keeper, Residents for Responsible Desal (R4RD), the Orange County Sierra Club and the Surf Rider Foundation.

–One minute: OCWD President Denis Bilodeau cut the public speaking time from three minutes to one minute, so speakers had to revise their prepared comments

–150+ people attended: There was standing room only at the meeting. Dozens of community members wore “No Poseidon” stickers and a handful of folks held up “No Poseidon” signs.

A sign from the meeting…

–10+ HB Huddle members attended. Big thanks to HB Huddle members and friends of the Huddle who showed up and spoke out: Karen, Mary Ann, Bethany, Pam, Linda, Cynthia, Kirk, Bill, Karl, Steve, Carol and others.

–Two “no” votes. Board member Bruce Whitaker, who represents Fullerton, and Roger Yoh, who represents Buena Park, La Palma, Placentia and Yorba Linda, both dissented.

–One Mayor Mike Posey, the Mayor of Huntington Beach, signed a letter in favor of the project with ten other local officials including leaders of the Orange County Tax Payers Association, Mesa Water District, LA/OC Building Trades and others. HB Mayor Pro Tem, Erik Peterson spoke out against the project (his full quote is below).

Watch a full video from the meeting courtesy of OC Earth Stewards on Facebook. The Board of Directors speak at 2:00 hours into the video.

Local News outlet Voice of OC also hosted two recent podcast episodes about this Poseidon project. Listen here. 

Some quotes from the meeting: 

“The proposed site is located on an earthquake fault in a flood and tsunami zone next to a toxic waste dump. This makes the project extremely vulnerable to natural disasters and hazardous wastes…

The need for 56,000 AFY of water from the Poseidon project is also not supported by fact. OCWD is relying on unsubstantiated need estimates identified in their 2015 Groundwater Management plan and long term facilities plan…Poseidon is just one of many options for obtaining 6,300 AF/year. All these options are far less expensive than Poseidon and should be fully implemented first.”

-Ray Hiemstra, Associate Director, Orange Couny Coast Keeper in a letter to the OCWD

(the letter was distributed at the meeting)


“I’m not here as a representative of the city because our council has not taken a stand on this, I’m here as a citizen. I am telling you that a 35 or 30 year contact is not good. That is not what we do.

I know there’s a lot of free market capitalists up here and it’s not your job to use tax payer money to make someone perform a good. So, if you’re going to buy water, buy it as you need it.

Also the distribution that you have, I’m glad that you put it back to Poseidon but if you do that you’re going to have to bond or pay for it somehow…that again is using the tax-payer to pay for a for-profit company. These are issues I have with this tonight.”

– Erik Peterson, Huntington Beach City Council Mayor Pro-Tem


“One minute really? This is worse than speed dating…

…We heard you wanted our input, we came up with a process to do that, that process was basically shut down, unilaterally….just to be blunt.

…I strongly recommend that you all table this item and direct your staff to work with the producers, get the input that you were looking for and begin the dialogue.

It’s pretty sad that after all these years, I’m saying ‘begin the dialogue’ but that’s where we are. That’s what I believe. It’s not too late, we should be doing that right now, to get the answers to  some of these questions, to make us feel better about whether we should be going forward and what we should be going forward with. We don’t have to do this today.”

-Paul Cook, General Manager, Irvine Ranch Water Ranch District

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