Oct 13 (Reuters) – A $140 million desalination plant is expected to be approved by California regulators on Thursday as the U.S. state contends with how to convert ocean water into drinking water amid the worst drought in 1,200 years. Just five months ago, the Coastal Commission by an 11-0 vote rejected a privately owned plant that would have been 10 times the size of the proposed South Coast Water District’s Doheny Ocean Desalination Project in Orange County, just south of Los Angeles. With environmental protection a concern, experts say smaller can be better. “It’s more nimble. The future is going to be all about modular solutions,” said Newsha Ajami, a researcher at Berkeley Lab’s Earth & Environmental Sciences Area. Instead of relying on water pumped from hundreds of miles (km) away, through the State Water Project or the Colorado River, the South Coast Water District would now have […]