Voters in Ventura surprised some city officials last week by favoring a desalination plant to meet future water demand rather than a pipeline connection to state water supplies.

Ventura residents voted 55% to 45% in support of building the plant to desalt about 7,000 acre feet of ocean water annually at an estimated cost of $30.4 million. An acre foot of water, about 326,000 gallons, can serve two average families for a year.

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