LAST WEEK, the Trump administration purportedly leaked a document that identified a list of 50 “Emergency & National Security Projects.” The document identified projects worth a total of $137.5 billion, with 50 percent of this capital deriving from private investment. Poseidon Water’s Huntington Beach facility features as one of the nation’s key infrastructure projects.
The document promotes the desalination project as “a cost-effective, environmentally sensitive solution” for providing “a safe and reliable water supply” to Orange County residents. It misstates the plant’s projected cost and job creation capacity: the memo states the cost is $350 million, while current estimates for the plant using an open intake are around $890 million. This figure could easily double to the ballpark of $2 billion if more expensive and labour intensive subsurface intakes are deemed necessary. The memo also states the facility will create 400 direct jobs, while, in fact, it will produce 322 indirect jobs and 18 full-time jobs after construction. Nevertheless, if the government pursues its pledge to improve infrastructure across the U.S., Poseidon may finally realize its ambition to build its second billion-dollar facility in California.
California workers finding radicchio in the Central Valley Credit: Max Whittaker/ New York Times
MEANWHLE, in India, the Israeli company IDE Solutions has signed a deal to build a new desalination plant with the state government of Visakhapatnam. The plant will be located near the city of Pudimadaka, with a production capacity of 100,000 cubic metres per day. IDE’s head of marketing for India, Sanjeev Sharma, has said that the company would soon hold talks with the government to acquire the roughly 25 acres of land necessary for the project. Since 2013, the company has been operating the world’s largest nuclear desalination plant in Chennai.
IN New Delhi, the National Institute of Ocean Technology has tested a new technology for seawater desalination plants. Identified as Low Temperature Thermal Desalination (LTTD), the government now plans to implement this technology in plants located along the coast. Dr. Jitendra Singh, the minister responsible for the Department of Atomic Energy, informed Parliament that one of the first plants will be set up in Odisha, along India’s eastern shores.
In the Lakshadweep Islands in the Arabian Sea, NIOT has already commissioned three desalination plants that will also use LTTD technology. These plants are located at the Kacaratti, Minicoy, and Agatti islands of Lakshadweep. The capacity of each plant is 100 cubic metres of potable water per day.
 Ben Brazil, “Desalination Plant Reportedly on List of Trump’s Priority Projects,” Los Angeles Times, January 25, 2017, <http://www.latimes.com/socal/daily-pilot/news/tn-dpt-me-poseidon-desal-list-20170125-story.html> accessed February 3, 2017.
 “Huntington Beach SWRO is a Trump priority,” Desalination.biz, January 25, 2017, <https://www.desalination.biz/news/0/Huntington-Beach-SWRO-is-a-Trump-priority/8649/> accessed February 3, 2017.
 “Leaked Trump Plans Use False Data to Push Orange County Desalination Plant,” Voice of OC, January 25, 2017, <http://voiceofoc.org/2017/01/leaked-trump-plans-use-false-data-to-push-orange-county-desalination-plant/> accessed February 7, 2017.
 Santosh Patnaik, “Israeli Firm to Set Up Desalination Plant Near City,” The Hindu, January 29, 2017, <http://www.thehindu.com/news/cities/Visakhapatnam/Israeli-firm-to-set-up-desalination-plant-near-city/article17110691.ece> accessed February 9, 2017.
 “India’s Water Woes: Large Scale Desalination of Sea Water in the Offing,” Sputnik International, February 9, 2017, <https://sputniknews.com/asia/201702091050512948-india-water-desalination> accessed February 9, 2017.