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Letters to the Editor: Poseidon was rejected, but California still needs desalination

Opponents of a proposed desalination plant attend a meeting, with one carrying a yellow sign.
Opponents of Poseidon Water’s proposed desalination plant in Huntington Beach attend a California Coastal Commission meeting Thursday.
(Allen J. Schaben / Los Angeles Times)

To the editor: While Orange County might not need the water from Poseidon’s desalination plant now, most of the arguments against it were spurious. (“California Coastal Commission rejects plan for Poseidon desalination plant,” May 12)

There is no way to predict how long this drought will last nor how intense it will become. A desalination plant can be used both to convert seawater into potable water and to recycle waste water.

The figures I’ve read indicate desalinated water will cost the average household an extra $6 per month. That’s less than the cost of a bottle of water a week. Thirsty people will be willing to spend more than that.

Israel desalinates water with minimal environmental impact. We can do the same.

Ian Halsema, Los Angeles

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To the editor: The decision by the California Coastal Commission to reject Poseidon Water’s proposed desalination plant in Huntington Beach was not only a victory for protecting our coastal environment, it was also a triumph over the practice of partisan arm-twisting and incessant big-money lobbying.

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Many public officials who sold out to this practice should be ashamed of themselves for putting politics and profits over people. The coastal commissioners should be applauded for resisting political pressure and calling it as they saw it.

Tim Geddes, Huntington Beach

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To the editor: So the California Coastal Commission denied approval to the Poseidon Water desalination plant in part because of fears that it would be a boondoggle. OK, then let’s look at another project: California’s high-speed rail system.

In its 14th year of development, the bullet train is massively over budget and shamefully behind schedule. When completed, the first section will allow a high speed rail option for the hordes wishing to travel between Bakersfield and ... Merced? Talk about a boondoggle.

How may desalination plants can be built with the money wasted on this useless project? How many reservoirs?

If Gov. Gavin Newsom believes water supply and desalination are so critical (as do I), perhaps he should demonstrate tactical leadership by abandoning the Central Valley boondoggle and focusing those resources on creating a robust water management system for the state.

Jerrold Coleman, Santa Clarita

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To the editor: Seeing as California is now under an extreme drought yet again, I want to bring to people’s attention an idea from experts at UC Santa Cruz, who in 2021 published a study showing the benefits of covering California’s nearly 4,000 miles of water canals with solar panels.

This would not only provide more sustainable, green energy, it would also reduce evaporation to ensure a larger water supply.

I urge Gov. Gavin Newsom and other state leaders to give this a look. I believe that we will eventually land on a solution, but if we start now we can mitigate the fallout from drastic climate change.

Reagan Wallace, Los Angeles


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