Bill to Increase Access to Drought-Proof Water in OC Becomes Law

Thursday, October 3, 2019

SACRAMENTO— Assembly Bill 1752, authored by Assemblywoman Petrie-Norris (D-Laguna Beach), ensures access to state bond and revolving funds to assist in the construction of the Doheny Ocean Desalination Project, which will provide drought-proof, local drinking water. This project will significantly enhance local water supplies while reducing the region’s 90% reliance on imported water. Today, AB 1752 was signed into law by Governor Newsom.

“Orange County, like much of the State, must diversify its water portfolio in order to prepare for the next drought and lessen our dependence on imported water,” commented Assemblywoman Petrie-Norris. “The Doheny Ocean Desalination project is a win-win solution and enjoys broad support from environmental groups, labor and the local community.” 

Because of the unique geology of the site, the Doheny Ocean Desalination Project deploys environmentally-friendly technology, as recommended in the California Ocean Plan. AB 1752 will ensure that the full array of funding options is available to the South Coast Water District as it moves ahead with its Doheny Ocean Desalination Project. Specifically, this bill allows the District to contract with a private entity to complete the project and enter into a P3 agreement after January 1, 2020.

AB 1752 has a diverse coalition of support, including: Orange County Coastkeeper Alliance, CalDesal, California Special Districts Association, El Toro Water District, Independent Special Districts of Orange County, Laguna Beach County Water District, Mesa Water District, Municipal Water District of Orange County, Santa Margarita Water District, Yorba Linda Water District, and South Coast Water District.

WHAT OTHERS ARE SAYING


Mesa Water District, Shawn Dewane, Board President: “Pure, plentiful and affordable water are fundamental to our quality of life, and key to the economic development of our region. Mesa Water was pleased to support AB 1752 as it will allow our friends at the South Coast Water District to use cost-effective and environmentally-sensitive desalination technology to develop a new, reliable, appropriately priced, and quality water supply for its customers and community.”

Municipal Water District of Orange County, Megan Yoo Schneider, Director: "The Municipal Water District of Orange County, which serves the needs of over 3 million residents, applauds Assemblymember Petrie-Norris’ efforts and appreciates Governor Newsom’s support for the Doheny Ocean Desalination Project. The project will provide regional benefits for all of Orange County, improve system and supply reliability, and diversify the region's water supply while reducing reliance on imported water. Furthermore, the project meets the gold standard for environmental protections, and we are very grateful to the environmental community for their support of this landmark project, which will serve as a model for future desalination projects."

South Coast Water District, Rick Shintaku, General Manager: “Alternative project delivery methods, such as Design-Build-Operate (DBO), for certain public infrastructure projects are a tremendous option to further minimize risk to the public agency and its ratepayers. We look forward to making full use of the latitude AB 1752 provides to ensure that this environmentally responsible project is also economically viable for our ratepayers and, in all likelihood, Orange County residents and businesses.”