Lively and in-depth discussions of city news, politics, science, entertainment, the arts, and more.
Hosted by Larry Mantle
Airs Weekdays 10 am - 12 pm

Is desalination the answer to California's long term drought problem?

Swimmers find relief from the heat on July 21, 2006 in Huntington Beach, California.
Swimmers find relief from the heat on July 21, 2006 in Huntington Beach, California.
David McNew/Getty Images

Listen to story

Download this story 3MB

A devastating state-wide drought has put the spotlight back on to alternative sources of water. One of those sources is once again front and center in the city of Huntington Beach as a private company called Poseidon Water is planning its next move to build a desalination plant in the area.

The company is already building a desalination plant in the Carlsbad region that will convert salty ocean water into clean drinking water.

The Huntington Beach proposal was set back in November after the company pulled its permit after disagreements between it and the California Coastal Commission about the method that it was planning to draw water from the ocean.

Poseidon wanted to draw water using open ocean intake pipes, which critics say harms marine life. The commission wants the company to use intake pipes installed beneath the ocean floor.

Poseidon's management says it will be working with the Coastal Commission to come up with alternative options. The concept of desalination isn't new and critics of the Huntington Beach proposal say the design is based on old technology that is too expensive to be economically feasible. They argue that there are better and more environmentally friendly options for conserving water and finding new sources.

What are the risks and benefits of investing millions into desalination plants? How much clean water will the proposed plant generate? What are alternative options to desalination?


Scott Maloni, Vice President of project development at Poseidon Water

Garry Brown, Executive Director & CEO of Orange County Coastkeeper, a non profit founded to protect and preserve local marine habitats and watersheds.