A massive, and controversial, proposed water desalination plant in Southern California faces one more major hurdle despite opposition over damage it could cause, Reuters reports. While its proponents claim it is needed due to the ongoing drought, local residents and environmentalists argue its costs far outweigh its benefits. Desalination, the process of removing salt from ocean water, is extremely energy intensive — it would be the most expensive alternative to water from the Colorado River and Northern California. Opponents of the proposed plant say water conservation, repairing leaky pipes, stormwater capture, and water recycling are all cheaper, less harmful, and will soon make the plant obsolete.

Between the fish, marine mammals, and sea turtles killed by intake pipes, and wildlife killed by the extra-salty exhaust, the Santa Ana Regional Water Control Board found the Poseidon Water desalination plant will kill off the equivalent of all the marine life produced in 421 acres of ocean habitat. The plant must still be approved by the California Coastal Commission. (Reuters)