California has suffered under some of its driest conditions on record in recent years. Winter rains have somewhat eased the drought statewide, but experts say it’s far from over.
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California’s drought declaration has triggered only local limits such as restrictions on washing cars or watering lawns for most communities, but one Pacific Coast tourist town has seized it as an opportunity to build a long-desired desalination plant.

The new project will turn salty water to drinking water for the 6,000-resident town of Cambria, which hugs the cliffs of the central coast, 6 miles south of William Randolph Hearst’s famous castle at San Simeon. It is one of the biggest infrastructure projects undertaken in response to Gov. Jerry Brown’s drought emergency decree last year.