Super-Dry California Is Set to Approve a $140 Million Water Desalination Plant
California regulators are likely to approve a new water desalination plant today as state officials look for solutions to ongoing water shortages, as the state struggles through its worst drought in over 1,000 years.
The California Coastal Commission is set to vote on the $140 million proposed desalination plant that was suggested for South Orange County at Doheny State Beach, NBC Los Angeles reported. The Pacific Ocean could provide up to 5 million gallons of water a day and meet water needs for about 35,000 people, according to NBC Los Angeles. This local plant will make it so that South Orange County will no longer have to rely on water that is pumped from many miles away, from places like the rapidly drying Colorado River, Reuters reported.
A desalination plant draws in ocean water and filters it to remove solid particles that would slow down the desalination process. That filtered water then goes through reverse osmosis, which removes minerals like salt, according to the San Diego County Water Authority’s website. Beneficial minerals and chemicals are added to ensure quality, and then it can go to meet local water needs.
This expected approval comes after another desalination plant, slated to be constructed in Huntington Beach, was rejected this past May. That plant was supposed to cost over a billion dollars, and officials worried that the large facility would hurt marine life in the area, Cal Matters reported. The smaller plant that is set to be approved would have a reduced environmental impact onthe surrounding area. The brine that comes from the desalination process will be discharged along with the water at a neighboring wastewater treatment plant, which will further decrease local environmental impacts, Reuters reported.