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What California's next desalination plant means for the future of water in the Southwest

The California Coastal Commission last month unanimously signed off on the Doheny Ocean Desalination Plant in Orange County.

The approval of the $140 million project comes after the panel rejected a proposed bigger, $1.4 billion desalination plant up the coast in Huntington Beach earlier this year. In addition, commission staff have recommended the approval of another plant in Monterey County.

As communities throughout the West struggle with their water supplies, desal has been seen as more and more of an option. That includes in Arizona, where Gov. Doug Ducey has proposed building a plant on the Sea of Cortez; that would allow Mexico to send Arizona more of its share of Colorado River water.

To learn about the recently-approved plant in California, The Show spoke with Greg Pierce, co-director of the UCLA Water Resources Group.

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Mark Brodie is a co-host of The Show, KJZZ’s locally produced news magazine. Since starting at KJZZ in 2002, Brodie has been a host, reporter and producer, including several years covering the Arizona Legislature, based at the Capitol.