Doheny Ocean Desalination FAQ

Frequently Asked Questions

Why are we considering this desalination project?

Currently, South Coast Water District imports 85 to 100 percent of its drinking water, causing vulnerability during droughts, supply shortages and potentially during natural disasters. We have seen the dramatic effects on water supply during five years of drought. This project would create a new, reliable, drought-proof source of water.

What’s different about this proposed desalination project?

Unlike traditional desalination projects, the Doheny Ocean Desalination Project would use advanced slant wells that protect marine life by drawing water from beneath the ocean floor. Environmentalists and state regulators prefer this technology. It also features an advanced energy recovery design that is state of the art.

What are the potential visual impacts of this project on Doheny State Beach?

The pipes and pumps at the beach would be below the surface at Doheny State Beach and San Juan Creek and would not be visible. The pipelines to the treatment facility would also be sub-surface and would be run on the District’s property slightly inland on San Juan Creek.  

Where would the desalination facility be located?

The desalination facility would be ideally situated on existing District-owned industrial property near existing potable water distribution pipelines, requiring less infrastructure and resulting in lower cost. The treatment facility would be at the District’s property slightly inland on San Juan Creek.  

Do ratepayers support this project?

Nearly 90 percent of respondents in a recent survey agree that a reliable water supply would require a significant future investment. More than 80 percent of respondents would be willing to pay higher rates for more reliability.

Have you looked at less expensive ways to get more local water?

We continually examine new ways to secure more water, but all new, local potable water supplies require investment. Desalination is in the same cost range as other new, local potable water supplies, including potable reuse. Imported water, while less expensive now, is projected to eventually cost more than desalinated water. We will always continue to research ways to lower water costs and increase reliability.