Averting Disaster: Action Now for the Salton Sea

Little Hoover Commission

[Patch.com] California state watchdog says the state government should move immediately to prevent an economic and environmental disaster caused by the decline of the Salton Sea.

The Little Hoover Commission, in a report titled “Averting Disaster: Action Now for the Salton Sea,” called on the state to fund restoration projects from the Proposition 1 water bond approved by voters last year.

The report warned that as the Salton Sea shrinks, toxic dust storms will increase, harming public health in the Imperial and Coachella valleys. The region’s economy will suffer and migratory birds will die or leave.

[Los Angeles Times]  With the state gripped in drought, the task of getting attention for the Salton Sea has become daunting, some might say impossible.

Even in the best of times, it has been difficult to develop much of a constituency in Sacramento for the Salton Sea, an unnatural body of water in a remote, politically marginal part of California. The problems of Lake Tahoe, the Sacramento-San Joaquin River Delta, and the San Francisco Bay are more visible and immediate…

To be replenished, the Salton Sea, 35 miles long and an average 15 miles wide, is largely dependent on agricultural runoff. Its salt level exceeds that of the ocean, frequently killing fish.

As runoff decreases, due to more efficient irrigation and a 2003 water sales pact between the Imperial Irrigation District and the San Diego County Water Authority, the sea continues to shrink. As part of a 2003 pact, water from the Colorado River has been pumped directly into the Salton Sea, but that provision expires at the end of 2017.


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