Malissa McKeith Will Discuss Challenges of the Declining Salton Sea at Annenberg/Desert Sun Symposium on the Drought


CURE President Malissa McKeith will take part later this month in a distinguished panel of water experts at an important symposium about California’s notorious drought.


Held in Rancho Mirage on March 19 and 20, this gathering, called “RUNNING DRY: A Symposium on Drought, Water Scarcity and Potential Solutions,” is co-hosted by the Annenberg Foundation Trust at Sunnylands and the Desert Sun newspaper.


This by-invitation-only event brings together policymakers, scientists and other experts who will address the question, “If there is a sustainable future, how do we manage our most precious resource?” The event will feature discussions of the extreme drought now confronting the West, the dwindling flow of the Colorado River and the receding Salton Sea.


Malissa will appear on a March 20 evening panel that will explore the Salton Sea and the Owens Lake as comparative case studies. “Drained by diversions to the Los Angeles Aqueduct, Owens Lake, on the eastern side of the Sierra Nevada, is the largest source of dust pollution in the U.S.,” the Symposium invitation points out. “The Salton Sea could become a disaster of a larger magnitude as it begins to recede more quickly under a farmland-to-urban water transfer.” The panel will attempt to answer what can be done to address the challenges presented by the rapidly declining Salton Sea.


Others appearing on the panel with Malissa include farmer Al Kalin, a farmer who chairs the Imperial Irrigation District's Water Conservation Advisory Committee; Mary Bono,former U.S. Congresswoman who worked on Salton Sea issues; Michael Cohen, research scientist and senior associate, the Pacific Institute; Valerie Simon, chief resources management officer, U.S. Bureau of Reclamation; Doug Barnum, U.S. Geological Survey; and James Hanks, president of the Imperial Irrigation District and of the Salton Sea Authority.


A second panel will explore the larger issue of drought and water scarcity in the West. Panelists include Jay Famiglietti, director, UC Center for Hydrologic Modeling; Tom Davis, chief planning and development officer, Agua Caliente Band of Cahuilla Indians; John Entsminger, general manager of the Las Vegas Valley Water District; B. Lynn Ingram, UC Berkeley professor, paleoclimatologist, and co-author of “The West Without Water”; John Powell, Jr., president Coachella Valley Water District Board of Directors; Barton “Buzz” Thompson, Jr., director, Woods Institute for the Environment, Stanford University; Gary Wockner, campaign coordinator, Save the Colorado; and William Steele, area manager, U.S. Bureau of Reclamation, Southern California office.


Immediately preceding the two panels, at 5:30 p.m., participants will hear a keynote speech from Senator Barbara Boxer, who chairs the Senate Committee on Environment and Public Works. Gov. Jerry Brown’s top drought managers, Bill Croyle and Jeanine Jones, will also make remarks. 

Citizens United for Resources and the Environment, Inc.


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