Huntington Beach desalination facility needed for environment, tax base
by Mayor Barbara Delgleize
Every day I walk near the ocean I am reminded how fragile is our precious Huntington Beach. As the mayor of Surf City, I am most dedicated to keeping its ecology pristine. It’s essential for the planet.
And it’s for the enjoyment of our residents – and the millions of visitors who come here each year to relax and enjoy the surf and sand, while patronizing our restaurants and shops.
That’s why I support Huntington Beach’s new desalination facility for our city. It will be located next to the AES power plant off Newland Street and PCH. One of the best features of the
new facility is it will sport a zero-carbon footprint.
Better yet, because it will offset water produced by water systems that burn carbon to operate, it actually will reduce overall CO2 production across Southern California. It’s also right in our back yard, so there will be no cost – in dollars and greenhouse gas production – to ship the H2O down here from Northern California.
The Huntington Beach Desalination facility will be our friendly, drought-proof source of clean water, protecting us against Southern California’s periodic droughts.
The Huntington Beach facility’s water silently will be pumping out crystal-clear, desalinated water while we go about our business throughout the city, or as our families frolic on the beach, or surfers catch a wave and friends enjoy a golden sunset.
For mitigation, the new plant also will provide $1.5 million a year to keep open the tidal inlet at the fragile Bolsa Chica wetlands. That would alleviate a big problem that has proved difficult to solve during my time on the City Council since 2014, including during my previous and current term as mayor.
I realize Bolsa Chica preservation groups are split on the Huntington Beach desalination facility, with some for and some against. But count this environmentalist a big enthusiast.
And although the Huntington Beach Desalination facility’s environmental benefits are substantial, I want to mention it will turn on the spigot for a flood of economic activity. It will create 300 permanent jobs averaging salaries of more than $130,000 a year.
Construction alone will pump $840 million into Orange County. Annual operation and maintenance will bring $59 million a year.
And as the mayor, I can assure you that, just as inflation has deflated your pocketbook, it’s raising costs for all our essential city services: police, fire, parks, roads, etc. The Huntington Beach desalination facility’s tax contribution is vital, beginning with $8.58 million in up-front payments. And it will produce $8.6 million a year in property taxes.
Of the $844 million in expected construction costs, 61 percent is expected to buy goods and services from local businesses, who in turn will generate more tax revenues.