By next year (2021), the Sea will likely become too saline for fish populations. Managing California ’ s Water From. However, even just in the short term, fresh water can be used by habitat and playa exposure projects to mitigate damages. Yet, reallocating water is no small feat, thanks to both perceived and actual benefits of various types of water uses, as well as frequently complicated systems of water rights4. Estimates of the cost of these damages are $US11 to $US70 billion over the next 30 years10. As a terminal lake, a permanent solution will require more than just importing additional water. The views expressed in this article belong to the individual authors and do not represent the views of the Global Water Forum, the UNESCO Chair in Water Economics and Transboundary Water Governance, UNESCO, the Australian National University, or any of the institutions to which the authors are associated. Information on the SSMP can be found at this link: The Salton Sea Management Program, Salton Sea Management Program – Phase I: 10-Year Plan. Grander schemes include a $9 billion restoration project the state proposed in 2007, as well as a perennial pitch to pump water from the Pacific Ocean or the Sea of Cortez, which would also cost billions. One way under consideration consists of importing ocean water from the Sea of Cortés via transnational conveyance. At the same time, endangered environmental and ecological resources represent a third sector, non-market, but not non-valuable. Website. (Image by Barbara Barry, 2006). The GWF is an online resource publishing concise, open-access articles from leading researchers on water governance, policy, and science. In response, the Imperial Irrigation District has filed suit against the Metropolitan Water District, arguing in July of this year (2020) that their actions were politically motivated, and as the environmental impacts of their potential additional water storage were not evaluated, in violation of the California Environmental Protection Act13. Endangered and Threatened Species. Millions of fish die and wash up onto the shore and rot – and rotting fish stink. Again, between $US28 and $US62 million are the comparative costs for transferring agricultural water to the Salton Sea. While the agreement also mandated that the Imperial Irrigation District send fresh water to the Salton Sea —through 2017 —the Sea has been both shrinking and becoming more saline. Improving Conditions at California’s Salton Sea. But the leading contender for a fix may prove to be only a short-term solution. Set a medium-term plan to construct 18,000 acres to 25,000 acres of habitat and dust suppression projects.  The one hold out of this plan? Even México agreed to potential reductions in deliveries, provided the DCP was adopted. The first part of the report captures the avoided costs and damages potentially achieved if the basic air quality and habitat mitigations are accomplished by the SSMP 10-Year Plan. July 12, 2003. This will sustain natural habitats, further reduce salinity levels, and reduce the draw demand on the Colorado River. Later in 2008, Gov. Property values and recreation are decreasing. Such agreements, along with their implementation, can take significant amounts of time, and can be quite contentious, often requiring the federal government (ie, the QSA) and/or the court system’s intervention. Colorado River Basin Drought Contingency Plans. Lucia Levers runs the numbers and discovers considerable differences between the options. These values include no land costs. Metz S (2018). After 15 years of delays and broken promises, California is far behind on plans for heading off a costly environmental disaster. The levels of the main reservoirs on the Colorado have been dropping—and getting closer to triggering impressive water delivery cuts via agreements made during a time with less demand and more supply. USGS (2018). The FFAP is a living document providing a blueprint to create a smaller but sustainable sea in a manner that is realistic, feasible, affordable, and achievable. Fish and Wildlife Services (2011). This action will help protect critical care for patients. Controlled Thermal Resources (CTR) and technology partner Lilac Solutions (Lilac), have joined forces to extract lithium from one of the world’s largest known geothermal resources at the Salton Sea in Imperial Valley, California, according to a release by the companies today.. Hold outs and hurdles The second part of the report analyzes the economic gains derived from project investments that create a more robust recreational element as part of a revitalized Salton Sea, read more here. The mighty Colorado has continued to sustain agriculture, providing irrigation for over 5 million acres annually in the US5, while allowing only a fraction of its flow to reach its historical destination—the Sea of Cortés (Gulf of California). Superior Court of the State of California for the County of Los Angeles; (July 8, 2020). This paper has examined SB 277 the Salton Sea Restoration Act, which was intended to provide sustainable solutions to the many challenges. Lucia Levers, University of Minnesota, US. Worldwide, irrigated agriculture accounts for two-thirds of freshwater withdrawals. The lake occupies the lowest elevations of the trough, known as the Salton Sink, where the lake surface is 236.0 ft (71.9 m) below sea levelas of January 2018. Brine shrimp will instead thrive for a time, but eventually the salinity will reach levels too high even for them9. Flows into the Salton Sea have declined in recent years, and the result is a shrinking, increasingly saline lake. Welcome to the official website of the Salton Sea Authority. The Salton Sea, California's largest lake, will die unless the state throws a staggering amount of resources at it in the next decade or so. The emphasis on expediency is particularly ironic, as two years has already passed since Secretary Wilcox’s statement. The region has hosted vast amounts of water in different forms over the years. The Salton Sea is about to shrink drastically. The Salton Sea is a shallow, saline, endorheic rift lake on the San Andreas Fault at the southern end of the U.S. state of California. The Salton Sea’s problems are symptomatic of problems across the Colorado River basin. There is no shortage of ideas about how to fix the Salton Sea. This approach builds upon decades of agriculture-to-urban water transfers in the region as well as the Quantification Settlement Agreement’s mitigation water transfer precedent (and is described in our previous work11). The Salton Sea was created in 1905 when a nearby irrigation canal carrying Colorado River water breached and water overflowed into the lakebed for nearly two years. The smell at Salton Sea comes from the fish die-offs. Progress made by the program will be overseen by the State Water Resources Control Board and California Air Resources Board. (Westmorland, Calif., January 13, 2021) – The California Salton Sea Management Program began construction this week on a nearly 4,000-acre project to restore bird and fish habitat and improve conditions for nearby communities at the southern end of the Salton Sea. The Salton Sea is home to more than 400 species of resident and migrating birds, including several endangered species, and is an important stop on the Pacific flyway, the north-south path for migrating birds in North America. A valuable report on the economic potential of the Salton Sea focuses on the $6 Billion annual tourism economy in Coachella Valley. It lies between, and within, the Imperial and Coachella valleys, all of which lie within the larger Salton Trough, a pull-apart basin that stretches to the Gulf of California in Mexico. Please see the Global Water Forum terms and conditions here. The Salton Sea, California’s largest lake, is in decline, mainly due to ever decreasing water flows. Without this funding, Imperial Irrigation District refused to sign on to the Drought Contingency Plan. WESTMORLAND — The California Salton Sea Management Program began construction this week on a nearly 4,000-acre project to restore bird and fish habitat and improve conditions for local communities near the southern tip of the Salton Sea. The GWF also provides open access resources, courses, and tools to help to understand water challenges. The FFAP is a living document providing a blueprint to create a smaller but sustainable sea in a manner that is realistic, feasible, affordable, and achievable. Construct water treatment plants powered by existing "Renewable Energy" sources (Geothermal, Solar & Wind) to provide both clean sea water as well as desalinated water to the Salton Sea. In 2018, the then Assistant Secretary for Salton Sea Policy, Bruce Wilcox, spoke of importing Sea of Cortés water, saying15: “We don’t want to delay building habitat and air quality that’s needed at the Salton Sea to spend two years evaluating something that may work but also may not.”. The Salton Sea is one of few wetland habitats remaining in California. Declining water levels expose previously submerged soils – playa – which are linked to increases in respiratory illnesses. September 4th, 2020. At the beginning of last year (2019), the Imperial Irrigation District wanted to force the federal government to take some responsibility for the looming Salton Sea disaster and provide funding ($US200 million) for the Sea12. Provide a healthy environment for residents around the Sea; Work toward a Salton Sea and bordering habitat that sustains enough aquatic life to provide habitat for wildlife on the Pacific flyway; Help revitalize the economy around the Salton Sea and in Imperial and Riverside Counties; Read the Salton Sea Funding and Feasibility Action Plan. Managers and stakeholders are seeking solutions to the decline of the Sea and have turned to the scientific community for answers. letting the sea die will cause significant harm to both public health and wildlife in Southern California and beyond. Salton Sea State Recreation Area Update (Dec. 7, 2020): California has issued a Regional Stay at Home Order to stop the surge of COVID-19 cases and prevent a strain on the health care system. A smaller Salton Sea likely means more dust, dangerous pollutants. Population growth, drought, and climate change have led to increasing tension among agricultural, municipal, and environmental users of water in many regions. To avoid this potential outcome, water users on the Colorado negotiated the Drought Contingency Plan (DCP), which consists of voluntary usage cuts, allowing more water to remain in the reservoir—preventing the water level from dropping5. The main source of this water is the Imperial Valley of California, an agricultural powerhouse with the greatest stake of Colorado River water rights – more than the total entitlements of Arizona, Wyoming, Utah, Nevada, and New Mexico – which it uses to nourish half a million acres of crops. While importing ocean water has additional concerns (particularly damages to the fragile Sea of Cortés), it could theoretically be a source of large volumes of water if combined with expensive desalinization. Here she describes how she and colleagues assessed the Salton Sea water importation options and what’s at stake. The Technology. The costs for a similar quantity of water if purchased from agricultural users would be around $US28 million per year. The Salton Sea is Highly Saline, Gradually Shrinking. 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