Over time, urban centers eyeing the Imperial Irrigation District (IID)’s water for their growing populations led to out-of-region transfer agreements, the most notable of which is the 2003 Quantification Settlement Agreement (QSA), a federal-state-local agreement that allowed the transfer of a large amount of irrigation water from IID to urban users in Southern California8. Salton Sea Area From Business: Shop your local Walmart for a wide selection of items in electronics, home furniture & appliances, toys, clothing, baby gear, video games, and more - helping you… 14. The deepest point of th… Located at the tail end of the Colorado River (Figure 1), the Salton Sea is one of the largest lakes in the United States – by far the largest in California. As a terminal lake, a permanent solution will require more than just importing additional water. The Species Conservation Habitat Project (SCH) is designed to reduce wind-borne dust on each side of the … Boons or boondoggles : An assessment of the Salton Sea water importation options. 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. However, the damages to the Salton Sea habitat and the health of the vulnerable population residing in the region require immediate attention. Even México agreed to potential reductions in deliveries, provided the DCP was adopted. 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. Imperial Irrigation District v. The Metropolitan Water District of Southern California. If the Salton Sea is to be rehabilitated, it will require a concerted effort by all interested parties. The GWF also provides open access resources, courses, and tools to help to understand water challenges. Estimates of water use and trends in the Colorado River Basin, Southwestern United States, 1985–2010. ‘Fixing’ the Salton Sea would mean addressing both habitat loss and playa exposure, as such both quantity and quality of water need to be considered. 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. 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 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. However, as shown, little action has been taken. USGS (2018). However, even just in the short term, fresh water can be used by habitat and playa exposure projects to mitigate damages. These values include no land costs. The GWF is an online resource publishing concise, open-access articles from leading researchers on water governance, policy, and science. i) Flooding. Hold outs and hurdles A Sea in trouble (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. While the Salton Sea may be a well known example (at least in North America) of ecosystem decline, there are surely hundreds of other such sites across the world where ecosystem nightmares have resulted from humankind’s rush to develop short-term solutions … Our more recent work1 compares the costs of these two importation schemes: importing water from the Sea of Cortés and transferring agricultural water to the Salton Sea. Without this funding, Imperial Irrigation District refused to sign on to the Drought Contingency Plan. 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. (Image by Barbara Barry, 2006). Saving California’s Salton Sea: Are the solutions boons or boondoggles? What the response by the power players would be to either importing water from México or transferring agricultural water to the Sea is not certain. With a PhD and Master’s degree in Environmental Sciences from University of California, Riverside and a Bachelor’s degree in Human Biology from Stanford University, she incorporates natural resource, ecological, and environmental economics into interdisciplinary research projects. 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. But the leading contender for a fix may prove to be only a short-term solution. For less water, but still a substantial amount and closer to recent flows (1 million acre-feet), importing water from México would cost between $US3.3 and $US6.7 billion initially plus $US6 to $US21 million per year. U.S. This fact has been highlighted in recent developments due to ongoing drought and climate change in the region. The Salton Sea Management Program's 10-year plan seeks to cover about 30,000 acres of exposed playa in dust suppression projects and restored habitat by 2028. 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. Again, between $US28 and $US62 million are the comparative costs for transferring agricultural water to the Salton Sea. The costs for a similar quantity of water if purchased from agricultural users would be around $US28 million per year. These goals will be implemented through the Salton Sea Management Program, which is committed to a transparent process with clearly defined goals and measurable objectives aligned with available fiscal and hydrological resources. 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. 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. However, they were not expecting California’s largest urban water user, Los Angeles’s Metropolitan Water District, to bypass the Imperial Irrigation District’s objection by agreeing to provide the Imperial Irrigation District’s share of water if needed. Sinclair. First up is the badly delayed Salton Sea Management Plan. Levers LR, Story SD & Schwabe KA (2020). Dr Lucia Levers is an environmental scientist and economist at the Water Resources Center at the University of Minnesota. Agriculture Economics Environment. At the same time, endangered environmental and ecological resources represent a third sector, non-market, but not non-valuable. Its latest incarnation began at the turn of the 20th century, when the second lowest point in the United States was flooded by Colorado River water being brought into California for irrigation. Copyright 2017 © The Salton Sea Authority, Restoring Sea Access via North Shore Beach and Yacht Club, SB 272 Section 6270.5 Enterprise System Catalog, Meet a short-term goal of 9,000 acres to 12,000 acres of habitat and dust suppression projects, and. Propane & Natural Gas Gas Stations. We estimate the annualized costs for importing water from the México to range from $US223 to $US908 million, with a few assumptions regarding interest rates and pipeline longevity. 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. Solutions? Under the direction of Governor Gavin Newsom, California state agencies are advancing projects at the Salton Sea to improve air quality and provide critical environmental habitat for birds along the Pacific flyway. 10 questions about the 11 proposals to save the Salton Sea. It is important to emphasize that we did not estimate the transaction costs associated with either option. Another source of the aroma at Salton Sea is the hydrogen sulfide gas that brews in the mud at the bottom of the lake. Website. But California independent voters are starting to receive a lot more attention these days and much of that is due to the California Independent Voter Project (CAIVP). Hanak E, Lund J, Dinar A, Gray B, Howitt R (2011). But are such proposals projects of value or fool’s errands? Fish and Wildlife Services (2011). The Salton Sea is Highly Saline, Gradually Shrinking. Responding to growing public pressure to restore the Salton Sea, a multiagency government committee was created in 1993 known as the Salton Sea Authority to initiate, aid, and oversee restoration efforts. Wilson J (2019). Yet, this habitat is sustained by drainage water, which brings with it salts, fertilizers, and pesticides. But renewed attacks over the water transfer, and its effects on the Salton Sea, helped sink Kuhn’s bid for a fifth term in 2020. And in February the U.S. Bureau of Reclamation said it would … The plan includes the construction of up to 30,000 acres of wetlands and bird habitat on the lake’s north and south ends, … This plan would take years to become viable, even if implemented today. Burgeoning cities express ever more interest in shifting water away from agriculture and towards urban uses. Millions of fish die and wash up onto the shore and rot – and rotting fish stink. Add 110°F temperatures and 90% humidity and you have the perfect recipe for stink-soup. A smaller Salton Sea likely means more dust, dangerous pollutants. The Salton Sea Authority is a Joint Powers Authority (JPA) empowered to revitalize the Salton Sea in consultation and cooperation with state and federal governments. 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). 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. For equivalent water flows, we estimated both the pipeline construction costs over the almost 300 kilometer distance between the two Seas (using values provided to the State of California) and the costs to generate equivalent flows from agricultural users, using the hydrologic-economic model developed in our earlier work11. The region has hosted vast amounts of water in different forms over the years. 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. [cited 2020 Jul 10]. After 15 years of delays and broken promises, California is far behind on plans for heading off a costly environmental disaster. As California’s largest lake, it stretches across almost 35 miles in a remote, below sea-level valley in the southeastern corner of the state. Searching for a ‘fix’ While threats posed by conditions at Salton Sea are significant, solutions are neither easy nor inexpensive, and are clearly beyond the capabilities of local entities along. Although solutions for the Salton Sea appear daunting and extremely expensive, the panel gave stakeholders the opportunity to review two practical small-scale projects designed to help maintain habitat for waterfowl and other birds. Lucia Levers runs the numbers and discovers considerable differences between the options. This number tops 80% is some arid systems, including the state of California, and the Colorado River2,3. Flows into the Salton Sea have declined in recent years, and the result is a shrinking, increasingly saline lake. Imperial Irrigation District wants $200M for Salton Sea in exchange for Colorado River drought plan OK. Petitioner Imperial Irrigation District’s Opening Brief in Support of Petition for Writ of Mandate (2020). 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