Help protect marine life in the Santa Barbara Channel by testifying at a public hearing this Thursday, January 29 at 9am on the 4th floor of the Santa Barbara County building (105 E. Anapamu St.).
At the request of the City of Santa Barbara, the Central Coast Regional Water Quality Control Board (RWQCB) has proposed a permit amendment to allow the City to draw seawater into its desalination plant through an open ocean intake. Channelkeeper has been lobbying for an investigation of the feasibility of drawing seawater into the desalination plant through a subsurface intake instead. Open ocean intakes kill billions of marine organisms, whereas subsurface intakes virtually eliminate marine life mortality. The State Water Board is about to adopt a new policy to require every new and expanded desalination facility in California to utilize a subsurface intake as the environmentally superior technology unless it is adequately demonstrated to be infeasible.
The California Water Code requires that desalination facilities use the best available site, design, technology, and mitigation measures feasible to minimize the intake and mortality of all forms of marine life. The RWQCB failed to certify that the City complied with this requirement when it first permitted the desalination plant in 1991, so they are now seeking to make a retroactive determination of compliance so that the City can begin operating the facility again with the outmoded and environmentally harmful open ocean intake.
Please stand up for marine life in the Santa Barbara Channel by testifying at the RWQCB hearing on January 29. Here are some talking points:
- Tell the RWQCB why you care about/depend on healthy marine resources in the Santa Barbara Channel and ask them to fulfill their mandate to protect those resources.
- Urge the RWQCB to conduct or require a present-day analysis of the feasibility of a subsurface intake – not one based on the best technology available in 1991 – and to require the City to use a subsurface intake if it is found to be feasible in order to minimize the mortality of marine life caused by the City’s desalination plant.
- Urge the RWQCB to require the City to implement the best mitigation feasible to minimize the intake and mortality of all forms of marine life caused by the City’s desalination plant as required by the California Water Code by accurately quantifying and fully offsetting that mortality.
THANK YOU for speaking out to hold the RWQCB and the City accountable for their duty to protect marine life!
- Desalination Fact Sheet
- The RWQCB hearing agenda (see Item No. 9)
- The RWQCB’s Staff Report on the item
- The RWQCB’s Draft Permit Amendment (skip to Attachment G starting on page 131)
- Santa Barbara Channelkeeper’s Comment Letter on the Draft Permit Amendment
- The RWQCB’s response to our comments
- The City of Santa Barbara’s Comment Letter