Metro Water District to Consider Subsidy of Poseidon Resources
Dear Board of Directors: As an environmentalist and a rate-payer, I urge you NOT to approve the subsidy for the Carlsbad Desalination Project through the San Diego County Water Authority. The Metropolitan Water District should instead prioritize support for public projects that provide regional water independence, and are environmentally sustainable and fiscally responsible. Providing $350 million to subsidize water produced by a company with an unproven track record meets none of these goals.
In Florida, Poseidon's Tampa Bay desalination plant was $40 million over budget, five years late, and has yet to produce the 25 million gallons per day it promised on a regular basis. Now Poseidon plans to bet the health of our marine environment on its latest attempt to build a plant twice that size.
Poseidon Resources is seeking a $250 per acre foot subsidy from Metropolitan Water District for its Carlsbad Desalination Project. Poseidon's plant is a bad deal for the environment and for customers. The company's previous attempt at a major desalination in Tampa Bay was an utter failure. This project is not the solution, merely exacerbating global warming at rate-payers' and the ocean environment's expense. While you may have seen recent news stories that final approval has been granted, there are still a few hurdles to clear such as funding. Tell the Metropolitan Water District not to subsidize this project and the irresponsible use of our precious ocean resources.
This project cannot be reconciled with MWD's promise to address climate change through responsible water supply options in the Integrated Resources Plan. We all share the responsibility of ensuring a reliable water supply. To meet that responsibility, we all play a role in water planning as well. But we cannot trade water security for energy insecurity. This project will only exacerbate some of the very threats to our current water supplies.
Moreover, the Carlsbad Desalination Project is extremely destructive to the marine ecosystem. By using an open-ocean intake system to draw in 304 million gallons per day of ocean water to create merely 50 million gallons of drinking water, the project will kill vast amounts of fish and other aquatic life in the process. EPA estimates that power plants in California using such intakes destroy 312.9 million pounds of fish each year, a $13.6 million loss to California fishermen.
I urge you to reject the proposed $350 million in subsidies. Instead more money should be allocated to environmentally beneficial water programs such as conservation, reclamation, and low impact development.