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Research Findings Reveal 85% of Orange County Voters Support a Desalination Plant in Huntington Beach

Eighty-four percent also express concern about water shortages in Southern California, with more than two in five noting they would consider moving out of Orange County if the issue continued to persist

HUNTINGTON BEACH, Calif., April 22, 2019 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- Poseidon Water today released the findings of “Assessing Perceptions and Impact of Water Supply Resources,” a survey examining 1,000 registered Orange County voters’ perceptions and attitudes about water supply, conducted by Wakefield Research. The survey found that the vast majority of Orange County voters (84%) are concerned about water shortages in Southern California and more than two in five (46%) say they would consider moving if the issue continues to persist. In fact, when asked what comes to mind as the most important issue for Orange County, water shortages were second only to homelessness.  

OC Water Supply
Assessing Perceptions and Impact of Water Supply Resources

Solutions-Oriented Approach
When it comes to solutions, 88% of respondents have a somewhat favorable to extremely favorable opinion of seawater desalination and 85% support a desalination plant being built in Huntington Beach specifically. Many voters believe Orange County would benefit in multiple ways from a seawater desalination plant, primarily by having a reliable water source, regardless of drought (70%) and reduced dependence on imported water (63%).

“The data confirms what I’ve long believed to be true – OC voters want to reduce our dependence on imported water and create a climate change-resilient water supply,” said Mike Posey, former Huntington Beach mayor and current city council member. “The Huntington Beach Desalination Project is an opportunity for Orange County to meet growing demands and provide residents with a sustainable, carbon neutral, water supply for generations to come.”

According to Orange County Water District Director Cathy Green, “The proposed Huntington Beach Desalination Project is the single largest source of new, local drinking water supply available to Orange County. Desalination is a cost-competitive, regional insurance policy against the unrelenting effects of climate change.”  

OC Water Infrastructure
Wakefield Research findings also show that Orange County voters who feel there are multiple benefits to having a desalination plant believe a reliable water source is the most important (57%) goal to achieve in planning for Orange County’s water infrastructure.

  • 89% believe state and federal lawmakers are less effective at handling their county’s water supply issues than local lawmakers
  • 34% cite independence from state and federal governments as a top benefit of having a desalination plant in the county
  • 84% believe reducing reliance on imported water should be one of the top priorities for Orange County
  • 88% of Orange County voters are willing to pay more for a drought-proof water resource

“At Poseidon, we value the perceptions, attitudes and opinions of Orange County residents, as they will be the ones served by the Huntington Beach project in the years to come,” said Scott Maloni, vice president, Poseidon Water. “We believe deeply in partnering with the community and it’s validating to see data affirming that county residents are overwhelmingly supportive of a desalination facility in Huntington Beach.”

“After surveying and analyzing a large sample size across the county, the quantitative data was clear – the overwhelming majority of Orange County voters are not only concerned about water shortages but believe reducing reliance on imported water should be one of the top priorities for the county,” said Paul Bragan, senior partner, Wakefield Research. “In fact, not only were they concerned, but nearly half, 46%, noted they would consider moving out of the county if the issue continued to persist. That stat is telling as to how important the issue is for these residents.”

The “Assessing Perceptions and Impact of Water Supply Resources” Survey was conducted by global research firm Wakefield Research among 1,000 registered voters from Orange County, California between February 20th and February 27th, 2019 using an email invitation and an online survey. Results of any sample are subject to sampling variation. For interviews conducted in this particular study, the chances are 95 in 100 that a survey result does not vary, plus or minus, by more than 3.1 percentage points from the results that would be obtained if interviews had been conducted with all persons in the universe represented by the sample. All decimals are rounded to the nearest percentage point. This may result in certain numerical totals adding up to slightly more or less than 100%.

About Wakefield Research
Wakefield Research is a market research consultancy specializing in strategic and tactical research for corporations and organizations throughout the Americas, Europe, Africa, the Middle East and Asia. For more information, visit  

About Poseidon
Poseidon Water is a private company that partners with public agencies to deliver water infrastructure projects. The company's primary focus is developing large-scale reverse osmosis seawater desalination plants implemented through innovative public-private partnerships in which private enterprise assumes the developmental and financial risks. For more information on Poseidon’s Carlsbad Desalination Plant, visit the plant website at For more information on Poseidon’s Huntington Beach desalination plant, visit the project website at

Larissa Olsen
Idea Hall

A photo accompanying this announcement is available at