Desert Shores Yellow

HOPING FOR A SEA CHANGE.

Since the early 2000s, CURE has highlighted the ecological and economic fiasco resulting from Imperial Irrigation District being forced to transfer water to San Diego and Coachella Valleys.

As many of our readers know, the IID stopped releasing extra water to the Salton Sea in 2017 to transfer water to San Diego and Coachella.  Irrigation runoff accounts for the largest source of flow to the Sea.  Facing this deadline, The State of California – whose responsibility it is to restore the Salton Sea — scrambled to adopt a so-called 10-year plan to create roughly 15,000 acres of habitat and another 15,000 of salt water ponds to reduce air pollution.  Even if this plan is funded, it addresses a mere fraction of the amount of shoreline that will be exposed over this same time period.

The future of the Sea is therefore quite bleak despite the optimism expressed over the fact that agencies were doing something at long last. However, one local community is not waiting and is taking matters into its own hands to save their property values and quality of life.  Desert Shores is made up of several canals similar to Venice.  As the Sea declined, those canals were cut off and dried up causing unhealthy stench and air quality.  To address this problem, The EcoMedia Compass bought a large fire hose, pump and barge which will fill the canals with Sea water.  After threatening suit against the State of California that might have disputed the 10 year plan, the State Resources Agency and IID agreed to assist Desert Shore in later phases of this project.

But the future of the Sea is threatened by a new huge diversion of water.  IID is contemplating “conserving” more water and storing it in Lake Mead as part of a Drought Contingency Plan on the Lower Colorado.  Though this idea will help alleviate problems in Nevada and Arizona, it will substantially worsen the situation at the Sea and needs to be fully evaluated before IID is permitted to do so.

The only real long-term solution for the Salton Sea is to build a canal to the Pacific Ocean in Baja, California and import Sea Water.  This proposal has been discussed for decades.  At long last, the State of California published a Request for Information from bidders who might be interested in designing such a project.

See the Natural Resources Agency’s RFI for Seawater Import to the Salton Sea.

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