Surfrider is not opposed to responsible desalination. However, we believe the order in which water supply options are implemented is very important; specifically exhausting water conservation, water use efficiency, stormwater capture and water recycling, before turning to desalination. It comes down to the fact that desalination requires a ton of energy, and water and energy are intrinsically linked. What do we mean by responsible desal you ask? We mean desal that avoids marine life impacts, is minimally sized for need and doesn't make water unaffordable, is sited in a location that avoids coastal hazards, uses on site or in regional renewable energy, with responsible brine disposal.
Instead of providing multiple benefits like conservation, stormwater capture, and water recycling would; desalination will harm marine life and make climate change worse all without actually reducing imported water. For example, the Poseidon Carlsbad desalination plant relies on an open-ocean pipeline intake that is currently being phased out of use by power plants. It is a huge step backwards for a new industry to step in and continue the destruction to our already threatened marine ecosystems.
For a summary of Surfrider's vision of holistic water management, be sure to check out our short film the Cycle of Insanity.