Monterey Bay desalination project is approved despite environmental injustice concerns
A new state-level project for California desalination could displace tens of thousands of people, including at least some of the region’s most vulnerable people.
The California Desalination Plant Authority’s (CDPA) San Diego County Water Agency has approved a new project for the Bay-Delta, according to multiple news reports. The approval comes despite opposition to the proposed desalination plant on the grounds that the project will displace residents to make room for the plant and will force communities and livelihoods to relocate.
The project requires the expansion of the water storage in the San Onofre State Beach park. The project will require the use of a new treatment plant, a new intake area, a deep-draft intake channel, and a slosh prevention mechanism that will be necessary to avoid damage to the plant’s operation during storms. The project will require the closure of the San Onofre State Beach in its entirety and the removal of all aquatic life and associated habitats. The project will also require the addition of a new deep-draft intake channel, an additional intake in the northern part of the lake that will be located in a natural area that the CDPA has agreed not to use in negotiations with the state for other water storage and treatment facilities.
“CDPA continues to be committed to ensuring that the public will have the information they need to make informed decisions at all stages of the process,” CDPA Director Mark Ruzek told the San Diego Union-Tribune. “By approving this project, we are establishing a clear path forward that will protect California’s water resources for future generations.”
The project will be the first new water storage system in the area in more than 200 years. The San Onofre site is located in the area where the San Onofre River merges with the Colorado