ENVIRONMENT FAQ'S

No. West Basin plans to take more water out of the ocean than is needed to make drinking water. The excess water taken out of the ocean will be used to dilute the “brine” or extra salt water before it is returned to the ocean. The diluted brine water will be safe for return to the ocean. West Basin is planning an aquarium project to demonstrate how ocean life can live successfully in the area of the ocean where the diluted salt water is returned to the ocean. The aquarium will provide a habitat for the exact species from Santa Monica Bay where the water will be discharged. There is also a possibility that in cooperation with Hyperian Wastewater Treatment plant, that the brine could be returned to the ocean along with the fresh water from the plant.

West Basin is planning a temporary ocean-water demonstration project to test safe ways to take water out of the ocean including wedge wire screens and sub-ocean floor extraction to protect ocean life. West Basin’s ocean-desalination project will do no more damage to the small ocean creatures than occurs when a wave hits the beach.

No. Because West Basin’s 17 coastal cities are essentially built out, the water supplied by West Basin’s ocean-water desalination facility will not bring additional growth to the area. The water will be used to take the place of less-reliable imported water. The desalinated ocean water will provide a new, more reliable and sustainable source of water for current residents, businesses, schools, cities and other local water users.

No, the membrane technologies being used to desalt the ocean water will remove all harmful contaminants and meet or be better than drinking water standards. In addition, the system will be monitored by outside health organizations and an independent panel of water experts.

Although West Basin will double water recycling and conservation programs, that will not be enough. Further water portfolio diversification is necessary to deal with future water challenges: population growth, climate change, future droughts, water for the environment.

In Southern California, all the land is developed and there are not open spaces large enough to build giant reservoirs needed to capture this storm water. Additionally, the water that runs of the lawns and into the streets is of such low quality, it would be difficult and very costly to purify that contaminated water for reuse.

Membrane technologies can be housed in very attractive buildings that do not have an ugly, industrial look. West Basin plans to make its building blend with the coastal environment.

Both microfiltration and reverse osmosis membrane technologies have sound mitigation systems that do not present a noise problem to neighboring homes, buildings or businesses. Microfiltration membrane purification systems are very quiet. Reverse osmosis system are housed in buildings and are not a noise concern. There are places where these systems are virtually across the street from homes and there are not noise concerns.

Yes, we have spoken with MWD about the possibility of a partnership, but nothing is firm, and no, that won’t promote growth, it will augment existing water supplies to compensate for future shortages.

Yes, we have spoken with MWD about the possibility of a partnership, but nothing is firm, and no, that won’t promote growth, it will augment existing water supplies to compensate for future shortages.

The short answer is yes. Both will be needed to provide a reliable future water supply for our area. Fixing the Bay Delta will improve reliability, but not necessarily increase amounts of water in the future.

We have had community meetings and input for 7 years as we have looked into ocean water desalination. We have asked our residents via phone surveys several times as to whether they would like to pursue desal and they overwhelmingly support the idea. We are constantly out in the community talking to people about our WR program that includes ocean water desalination. We have over 8,000 people who have signed WR support cards for desal and most the cities, Chambers and elected officials as well as many community leaders and groups support desal and WR. Has the community voted specifically on desal, no.

Concentrated seawater is the primary byproduct. It takes two gallons of ocean water to make one gallon of fresh. The concentrated brine going back to the ocean will be safe and will be diffused and mixed in a scientific way that will protect the ocean including the area immediately surrounding where the concentrate is returned to the ocean, including marine life on the ocean floor. The process of returning water to the ocean will be scientifically designed to protect 100% of the fish, juvenile fish and mature larvae as well as benthic (non-moving) species on the ocean floor.

It is one of the most reliable, and drought proof supplies available to drink. It is not dependent upon rainfall or securing water rights. It is a very sustainable supply and allows for a diversified, more reliable water portfolio. Along with recycling and conservation, it is also one of our preferred alternative supplies. It is a proven drinking water supply around the world.

Yes, all are supportive. It should be noted that almost all of our cities and elected officials also support our WR 2020 program that includes desal and we have over 9,000 of your neighbors who support the project and over 200 citizens who have indicated they would be willing to testify in support of WR 2020 at regulatory meetings.

Do you have a water study that shows water shortages in the future, and if not, what are you basing the need for desal on?

We see increasing water scarcity in the future. There are a number of factors that will reduce future water resources that we depend upon today. Climate change, higher temperatures, population growth, need to replace aging infrastructure, need to return water to the environment, droughts, earthquakes and other factors tell us in the future we will need new, local and drought proof water supplies to deal with these challenges. We are also helping Met by developing new local supplies in the face of these challenges.

The California Department of Water Resources projects that 500,000 AF per year of ocean water desalination capacity will be required to be produced over the next 20 years.

The Metropolitan Water District of Southern California’s Integrated Water Resources Plan identifies a need for 150,000 acre feet a year of desal water by the year 2020.

West Basin’s desal effort represents part of that effort. Water facilities take many years to develop, obtain approvals and construct. This means new facilities must be pursued in time to meet future needs in order to be operational by the time the water is needed.

Additionally, we have also done a study on our local future water needs. It points to a dry weather scenario shortfall of 18,000 AFY by 2035. Keep in mind, WR 2020 is not about expanding future supplies. It is about controlling our water locally and diversifying our water portfolio. It is about planning for possible challenges to imported water and helping Met with future demands. By controlling our water locally, we can actually save energy over importing water from Northern California. We also become less dependent upon water taken from rivers and streams in Northern California or the threatened Colorado River system.

As part of the EIR process, there will be community meetings where the public can and will be encouraged to provide input. That input will be part of the decision making process of determining where to cite a plant.

As part of the EIR process, there will be community meetings where the public can and will be encouraged to provide input. That input will be part of the decision making process of determining where to cite a plant.

No, we are confident we can protect the ocean. In fact, we have done extensive scientific research to ensure the protection of the ocean. We will be using ocean protection technologies including wedge wire screens and brine diffusers to protect 100% of adult, juvenile and mature marine life. By mature marine life we are talking about mature fish larvae which can reproduce. This marine life is the future of the ocean and they will be protected.

We are doubling our recycling and conservation programs from 30 million gallons a day of recycled water to 70 million, and we are doubling our conservation efforts from 3 to 6 billion gallons all by the year 2020. By that time, most of our water will come from recycling (22%), conservation (16%) and desal will be about 9%. However, desal is needed because it is the only drinkable supply of the three. See question #3 for other water supply alternatives that were explored.

We are doubling our recycling and conservation programs from 30 million gallons a day of recycled water to 70 million, and we are doubling our conservation efforts from 3 to 6 billion gallons all by the year 2020. By that time, most of our water will come from recycling (22%), conservation (16%) and desal will be about 9%. However, desal is needed because it is the only drinkable supply of the three. See question #3 for other water supply alternatives that were explored.

West Basin will evaluate mixing the brine with existing discharges such as a waste water discharge. If a mixed discharge is not feasible West Basin will utilize brine diffusers which will be scientifically designed to protect 100% of adult fish, juvenile fish and mature larvae, including benthic species that live at the bottom of the ocean and cannot move. The diffusers will rapidly mix the brine water with ocean water in a matter of few feet and seconds. By the time the brine reaches the ocean floor it will be the same saltiness as the ocean. Of course, fish can and will avoid the salty mixing area or would be passing through so quickly that it would not harm them.

Our Water Reliability program will reduce our dependence on imported water by half, from 66% today down to 33% by 2020. The desal and recycled water is not affected by future droughts.

A 24 As we have mentioned, desal added to increased recycling and conservation will not increase, but decrease our future energy use, and we need a diversified water portfolio to deal with future water shortages, just like you should diversify you financial portfolio. We will also be investigating green energy as part of this project.

It is too soon to see if that is needed and that analysis will be a part of the EIR study.

Obviously, there will be temporary construction jobs. The most important benefit will be weather independent, local and high quality water.

West Basin’s service area is built out with only .5% growth project in the years ahead. We are investing in additional recycling, conservation and ocean water desal to make up for predicted shortages resulting from population growth elsewhere, climate change/global warming, increasing water for the environment, and other impacts that reduce our future water supplies.