California American Water's proposed desalination plant will not avoid another months-long delay for the project after all.

On Monday, Cal Am engineering manager Ian Crooks told the Monterey Peninsula water authority's technical advisory committee that it will take several months to complete the analysis of water drawn from bore holes on the Cemex property north of Marina and elsewhere.

That's long enough to push the release of a draft environmental impact report by the state Public Utilities Commission on the project into the second half of the year, about five months later than the original February release date.

And it likely means completion of the desal project will be delayed into the latter half of 2018, more than a year and a half after the Dec. 31, 2016 deadline for full implementation of the state-ordered cutback in pumping from the Carmel River.

The bore holes water quality testing is a key aspect of the draft EIR and is being evaluated by a hydrogeological working group composed of experts representing Cal Am, Salinas Valley agricultural groups, and the CPUC.