The following is a press release from an organization unaffiliated with Voice of OC. The views expressed here are not those of Voice of OC.



January 25, 2017

Contact: Lauren Zerweck,, 619-315-1905


Leaked Trump Plans Use False Data to Push Orange County Desalination Plant

Coastkeeper says administration underestimates ratepayer costs by hundreds of millions

WHAT: A White House document leaked yesterday reveals Trump’s prioritized infrastructure projects across the country, including the proposed Huntington Beach desalination plant. Orange County Coastkeeper opposes the disastrous project, which would burden ratepayers and cause irreversible environmental damage.

According to Coastkeeper, the region’s leading clean-water watchdog, the leaked document contains two major inaccuracies about the proposed desalination plant:

It underestimates ratepayer burden by more than $650 million.

Trump administration says: $350 million total cost

True cost, according to Orange County Water District:

$1 billion to construct the plant

– Additionally, up to $100 million for Orange County Water District to install a – water-distribution system

– Water priced at least 20 percent higher than imported water for the first 15 years

Three times more energy than purified recycled water

– Most expensive water supply option by far, according to Pacific Institute

It exaggerates job potential.

Trump administration says: 400 direct jobs created

True job creation, according to Poseidon Water:

– 18 full-time jobs after construction

– 322 indirect jobs after construction

– Alternative water supply options, such as water recycling and conservation, create 12,600 – 16,600 permanent jobs according to a study by the Economic Roundtable

Coastkeeper points out that federal administration cannot keep the plant from undergoing a thorough environmental review. The project is currently pending environmental review from three California regulatory agencies.

WHY: It’s vital to understand desalination’s true cost to ratepayers and marine life before our region goes down an irreversible and destructive path. If Orange County approves the plant, it would commit to 50 years of damaging the local economy, energy and environment — whether we need the water or not.

Coastkeeper urges Orange County to think more strategically about conservation, efficiency of water use and stormwater capture when considering water supply options. These solutions provide more benefit for Orange County residents and should be utilized and exhausted before resorting to costly desalination.

INFOGRAPHIC: To reveal the true cost of Poseidon’s desalination plant, an infographic is available on Orange County Coastkeeper’s website.

WHO: Coastkeeper and experts are available to respond to questions on projected desalination costs, the environmental review process and more efficient alternative water supplies.



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 or call 714-850-1965.

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