A desalination test well project has been granted $1 million of state funding in California.

The water project in the Monterey Peninsula is intended to help address water shortages and reduce the local community's reliance on the Carmel River.

According to California American Water, the largest component of the project is a desalination plant that would use subsurface intakes, or slant wells, to draw water from under the sea floor. This method is safer for marine life than open ocean intakes.

Guidelines recently issued by the Monterey Bay National Marine Sanctuary and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration regarding desalination projects within the sanctuary stated that subsurface intakes should be used where feasible.

The new desalination facility is planned to produce 9,750 acre-feet of water per year, although its size will be reduced to a capacity of 6,250 acre-feet per year if a proposed groundwater replenishment project is developed in time and can supply the water utility. A 10-mile pipeline will be constructed to deliver water from the desalination plant to the Monterey Peninsula.

Brine resulting from the desalination process will be discharged to the ocean through the Monterey Regional Water Pollution Control Agency's existing outfall.

The grant awarded by the California Department of Water Resources will help pay for the installation of a slant test well, which is expected to cost approximately $4 million and is intended to prove the viability of such wells to provide feed-water. A grant of $1 million is the maximum award for which the test well project was eligible.