As the leading industry association serving the contractors, engineers, suppliers, and specialists who build and repair Southern California’s water infrastructure, earlier this year ECA announced a new strategic initiative, under which they will form a strong regional coalition in support of smart water infrastructure – the Secure Water Alliance.
Now, this ECA-led group announces the launch of a comprehensive website at //securewateralliance.com which uses advocacy, communication, coalition-building, and other strategic approaches to build support for, and gain approval of, critically needed and well-planned water projects and systems.
ECA believes the Alliance is desperately needed because of the many challenges proposed water projects currently face when seeking approvals here in Southern California. Challenges such as funding, the California Environmental Quality Act process, fees, permitting, litigation, as well as a number of other issues, each of which has the capacity to delay or even eliminate a proposed water infrastructure project. Because of this, these projects are also extremely vulnerable to strong and organized opposition – especially environmental opposition.
This is where the Alliance effort comes into play. By doing this, ECA will also help increase the flow of critical infrastructure projects, enhance new job and project opportunities for ECA members and, most importantly, help to assure a secure water future for Southern California that will benefit the region’s residents and economy for decades to come.
Take for example Poseidon’s proposed Huntington Beach Desalination Facility. This enterprise shows how vitally important new water projects can be stopped by regulators even if they are needed and have broad support.
The facility would have provided 50 million gallons of water per day, would have been built at no cost to taxpayers, and would have used and repurposed existing infrastructure to contain costs.
For more than 20 years, Poseidon enjoyed strong public backing as it struggled to secure the many approvals it needed to move forward, fought by vocal and well-funded opponents at each turn. Even though Poseidon addressed all reasonable environmental concerns and secured multiple regulatory approvals, the California Coastal Commission refused to allow the much-needed water supply solution to move forward.
We hope to see a new plan for the Huntington Beach Desalination Facility that addresses the concerns of the Coastal Commission – or that the Commission will rightly start giving greater weight to the terrible societal and economic harm caused by water shortages. We stand ready to support much-needed new water supply projects should new plans come forward.
By Ray Baca, Executive Director Email: [email protected]