California rejects $1.4 billion water desalination plant in Orange County

By Alex Hager/KUNC
Published: Wednesday, May 18, 2022 - 7:58am
Updated: Tuesday, May 24, 2022 - 11:30am
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Plans to build a new desalination plant in Southern California were rejected after more than 20 years of debate. The decision has implications for the future of the Colorado River, as the $1.4 billion dollar facility in Orange County would have helped diversify water supplies for hundreds of thousands who depend on the river for drinking water.

Hear water reporter Rachel Becker discuss the move's impact with host Mark Brodie on The Show


The process of turning seawater into freshwater has long been too expensive to be a viable option for supplying water to the arid Southwest.

But now the Colorado River is drying up, making desalination look more feasible. Opponents said the facility could harm wildlife and be at risk of flooding if sea levels rise.

The California Coastal Commission said this decision should not be seen as precedent for similar plants in the future.

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