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Doheny Desal Moves Forward

Doheny Desalination Project Takes the Next Steps


It boils down to an additional $2.38 per month for each residence in the service area for water reliability.

 Last night, the South Coast Water District Board of Directors voted unanimously to take the next step with the proposed Doheny Ocean Desalination Project (Project) by accepting the Water Cost Analysis, which projects the average residence seeing a $2.38 per month increase based on a “partnered” five (5) million gallons per day (MGD) Project. The South Coast Water District would utilize two (2) MGD, while a partner or partners would share in the additional three (3) MGD. 

The evening began with General Manager Rick Shintaku providing a compelling introduction regarding the District’s current drinking water supply sources. He then moved into highlighting the District’s effort to ensure a balanced water portfolio, pursuant to the SCWD Integrated Water Resources Plan, approved by the Board on July 22, 2021 (i.e., imported water, brackish water desalination, water conservation, and recycled water, including potential Indirect or Direct Potable Reuse) Mr. Shintaku also spoke about the unprecedented drought, seismic risk, and lack of a suitable aquifer in south Orange County. The critical need for water reliability was emphasized when Shintaku pointed to a slide that showed current seismic vulnerabilities and supply gap impacts statewide.

 “We have an obligation to ensure that our residents and businesses will not experience extended water supply outages, especially during a catastrophic event such as an earthquake, fire, and more,” explained Shintaku. This study shows that this can be attained cost-effectively, as well.”

 Mr. Shintaku provided an overview of the findings that were shared in detail by David Moore (Clean Energy Capital) and John Farnkopf (HF&H) on the “Water Cost Analysis” and the “Rate Impact Analysis.”

 This decision also allows South Coast Water District staff to initiate a Public Outreach Program supporting implementation of the Project, continue with contract development work, and work to partner with other agencies and/or cities. 

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