MONTEREY (AP) — California regulators have approved a desalination plant that could convert ocean to drinking water on the Monterey Peninsula.

The San Francisco Chronicle reported the Public Utilities Commission approved plans Thursday for a plant that would remove the salt from 10 million gallons of water daily. It would process brackish water from 200-foot-deep beach wells near the town of Marina.

The joint public and private project is the first of its kind in the state.

It will be costly water: The PUC will consider rates later but commissioners said the region’s 100,000 customers probably will see water rates climb by 63 percent.

However, promoters say it’s the only way to meet a state order that the private backer, California American Water, cut back water use from the Carmel River.

 (© 2010 CBS Broadcasting Inc. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. The Associated Press contributed to this report.)

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