Here's how the LAT characterizes it:
In denying Poseidon a permit, the commission demonstrated its independence from the Newsom administration and also sent the message that high costs, vocal opposition and hazards such as sea-level rise can present major hurdles for large desalination plants on the California coast.
The LAT a few weeks ago (same reporter):
Southern California officials on Tuesday took the unprecedented step of declaring a water shortage emergency and ordering outdoor usage be restricted to just one day a week for about 6 million people in parts of Los Angeles, Ventura and San Bernardino counties.
The outdoor watering restrictions will take effect June 1 under the decision by the Metropolitan Water District of Southern California and will apply to areas that depend on water from the drought-ravaged State Water Project.
“We are seeing conditions unlike anything we have seen before,” said ... the district’s general manager. “We need serious demand reductions.”
The MWD’s board has never before taken such a step