The Salton Sea

Updated: Jan 16, 2020

2017 marked the 15th year of the water transfer from Imperial to San Diego. In 2003, the State Water Resources Control Board required that the Sea remain at its then level for 15 years by purchasing water otherwise intended for farms and putting it into the Sea. In the meantime, the State of California was to develop and being implementing a restoration plan. Mitigation water was not effective and the Sea is three feet lower than anticipated. More critically, mitigation water ceased completely in July 2017, and the water deal will ramp up to its full diversion at the end of this year even though San Diego has more water than it can use.

Desert Shores Seafront Community Shoreline, Salton Sea

In 2002-03, CURE urged IID to limit the water transfer to 15 rather than 75 years so that the impacts could be reevaluated. That proposal was rejected. CURE also advocated that the water transfer be placed on hold until the State of California adopts and funds a meaningful plan. Delaying the QSA is controversial and San Diego Water Authority vigorously rejects this idea.

At this time, the demise of the Salton Sea and its impact on local communities seems inevitable. On November 7, 2017, the State Water Resources Control Board ruled that the Imperial Irrigation District can divert 100,000 acre feet of water from the Salton Sea in return for the Resources Agency building 15,000 wetlands and 15,000 of salt ponds – about two percent of the surface of the Sea.  CURE objected, (SWRCB Submission), along with the West Shores Salton Sea Mayor (Kerry F. Morrison Declaration ) arguing that the cessation of mitigation water is the death knell for the Sea.  CURE currently is deciding whether litigation against the State water board and IID would be appropriate to demand more.  

CURE will continue its efforts to collaborate with the Salton Sea Authority, the Imperial Irrigation District, the American Lung Association of California, The EcoMedia Compass and other organizations and agencies committed restoring the Salton Sea &  mitigating the impacts of decades of inaction.

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Citizens United for Resources and the Environment (CURE) is a nonprofit, tax-exempt charitable organization (tax identification number 95-4830802 under Section 501(c)(3) of the Internal Revenue Code and founded in 1997. Donations are tax-deductible as allowed by law.