Drinking Water Costs: Desalination vs. GWRS

by The Editors on November 29, 2009

Garry Brown, executive director of Orange County Coastkeeper compares the difference in water cost between a Ground Water Replenishment System operating in Orange County with the cost of water per acre foot from Poseidon Resources proposed Carlsbadistan desalination plant in an editorial for the Daily Pilot.

The total cost of the highly treated [GWRS] drinking water is less than $800 per acre foot. . . We know that ocean desalination is used throughout the world. The costs per acre foot range between $2,000 and $3,000. There is certainly no reason to believe it can be done for less money in Southern California.

He goes on to point out that the only other desalination plant that Poseidon has built went “$40 million over budget, five years late, and has never produced the promised amount of water. In fact, “Poseidon had to be removed from plant operations and replaced by a public agency.” Oddly, the Tampa Bay plant isn’t even listed on the “our experience” page of Poseidon’s website. The only desal plants they list are the as-yet-unbuilt Carlsbad and Huntington Beach facilities.

All of this makes us ask this question: is Poseidon’s real business making drinking water or simply using the promise of water as a means of extracting money from public agencies?

[Link: Daily Pilot]

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