Commission opposes what simulated sea level rise, tsunami could mean for Poseidon desalination plant – Orange County Register

Opponents of a proposed desalination plant in Huntington Beach have produced 3-D simulations of how water inching inland as future sea-level rise could flood the area for a blueprint. argument against the project.

Poseidon Water’s proposal for the plant is underway through various agencies to obtain the necessary approvals to begin construction. The people behind the project argue that they have done their own research against the standards used by the state to look at sea level rise and tsunami hazards in the project area and that it will not vulnerable to what was forecasted during the project’s life.

The proposed desalination plant in Huntington Beach last year received the necessary approvals from the Regional Water Quality Control Board, prompting two environmental groups – Orange County Coastkeeper and California Coastkeeper Alliance – to sue in September. considers that management’s environmental review of the project is inadequate.

To help make their argument about the susceptibility of coastlines to sea level rise, the teams commissioned simulations by Dr. Juliano Calil, scientist and co-founder of Virtual Planet Technologies.

“As a local resident, I am very concerned about what I have seen – the visualization of what the science shows,” said Ray Hiemstra, deputy program manager for the Orange County Coastkeeper. “It’s just one of those things, ‘seeing is believing’ and this really shows us what we’re aiming for in the future. I can’t imagine putting anything of great value on that site.”

The controversial $1.4 billion project has been in the works for over two decades. It still needs a permit from the California Coastal Commission, which will hear the proposal in March, before it can negotiate a final contract with the Orange County Water District and begin construction, possibly in 2023.

The Coastal Commission viewed the simulation video during Friday’s meeting, but no discussion was held.

The video was released by a coalition called Stop Poseidon that includes Azul, the California Coast Guard Network, the Orange County Seakeepers, the Sunrise Movement and the Surfrider Foundation, calling the project a “developmental development.” unnecessary”.

Opponents of Poseidon’s ocean-to-faucet water project also raise concerns about the potential negative impact on marine life, the expected cost of water being higher than other sources, and question whether water necessary or not.

Seawater desalination plant advocates say another source of drinking water is needed amid persistent and worsening drought conditions and the possibility that Orange County could receive less imported water from northern California and Colorado River.

Poseidon argued that their project would produce enough drinking water for nearly half a million Orange County residents, using pipes to draw water directly from the ocean.

In the video released this week, different scenarios are simulated, such as what the area might look like when sea levels rise up to 6.6 feet, with viewers being able to switch between levels to See how much water is coming in.

For example, at 4.1 feet above sea level, strong 100-year hurricane waves are forecast to spill over Highway 1, or the Pacific Coast Highway, into adjacent areas. The surrounding areas on the lower floors are completely flooded in the simulation. If the water level rises 4.9 feet, such a storm could cause significant flooding, create an island of the factory, affect access to the facility, electricity, and make repairs to the facilities difficult. water distribution pipes.

At 6.6 feet above sea level during such a storm, the simulation has surrounding residential areas, infrastructure, walkways, utilities, and water mains all submerged. Oil storage tanks built in the 1950s would not be enough to protect the facility.

The effects of a possible tsunami are also simulated.

Mandy Sackett, California policy coordinator for the Surfrider Foundation, said the simulation helps show how vulnerable the region could be in the years to come.

“I really hope it helps us make smart planning decisions for the coast, for this dangerous coastal area, so that we can protect the coastal resources,” she said. his precious.

“We know these impacts are not an if, but when, issue for this site,” she said. “That’s surprising, but also sheds light on decision pathways and will hopefully help us make better adaptive and wiser decisions in the future.”

The simulations are based on projections from the California Ocean Conservancy Council and the California Coastal Commission, and incorporate sea level rise and tsunami risk from the US Geological Survey, Sackett said. .

Calil says the video was created using drone footage and 360 video photos, combining the artful images of flat maps.

“It’s really clear that the proposed plant is going to be subject to some flooding in its lifetime,” says Sackett.

Moffatt & Nichol, an engineering and infrastructure firm that has advised several coastal cities, has done studies for Poseidon Water on the effects of sea level rise and the risk of tsunamis that have also been established. submitted to the Coastal Commission.

“Based on the best available climate change science available by the state of California and regulatory guidance from the California Coastal Commission, Moffatt & Nichol completed site-specific numerical modeling studies and calculate the risk assessment, which informs the design of the project,” a statement released from the company said. “As a result, the facility is not vulnerable to any reasonably expected sea level rise or tsunami hazard that is projected to occur over the facility’s 50-year operating life.” Commission opposes what simulated sea level rise, tsunami could mean for Poseidon desalination plant – Orange County Register

Huynh Nguyen

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