The California Coastal Commission voted 8-to-2 despite the ecological risks to the Monterey Bay coast, high costs of the water and a divide between affluent and lower-income communities.

The plant would produce about 4.8 million gallons of water per day when it begins operating, with the possibility of increasing production later. California American Water hopes to have it operating by the end of 2027. The water company is seeking to bolster local supplies after state regulators ordered it to stop its decades-old practice of unlawfully diverting more than its share from the Carmel River.