California water wars focus on Salton Sea, Colorado River pact

HOLTVILLE, Calif.

The evaporating Salton Sea is the flashpoint for the latest dispute in California’s water wars, testing an uneasy alliance of farmers and city dwellers to wean the state from reliance on Colorado River water.

California officials agreed in 2003 to stop taking more than its share from the Colorado, ensuring that Arizona and Nevada don’t get shortchanged. The plan’s centerpiece called for shifting enough water from the agricultural Imperial Valley to serve nearly 600,000 San Diego area homes.

The huge farm-to-city water transfer threatened California’s largest lake . More than 200 feet below sea level, the Salton Sea survives on water that seeps through the soil of Imperial Valley farms.

For seven years, the solution has been to pump enough water into the Salton Sea to offset what was lost to San Diego. The 350-square-mile lake is evaporating at a rate of roughly 450 million gallons a year, but the thinking was to prevent the San Diego transfer from hastening its demise.

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A fresh battle between Southern California water adversaries

Imperial Valley agency wants to send water into the degrading Salton Sea, as required in a 2003 deal. But MWD argues that the same deal orders Imperial to hand over any surplus to MWD’s customers.

Reporting from Imperial, Calif. — Dead these hundred years, Mark Twain would wholly understand the dispute between the Metropolitan Water District of Southern California and the Imperial Irrigation District over water flowing into the Salton Sea.

In the West, Twain is famously reported to have quipped, whiskey is for drinking and water is for fighting.

In the world of water, Metropolitan and Imperial are behemoths, for different reasons. When these two clash, as they have done repeatedly in recent decades, other water agencies in the West fret and wait for the fallout. At stake is a lot of water and a lot of money.

Read more…

A fresh battle between Southern California water adversaries

Imperial Valley agency wants to send water into the degrading Salton Sea, as required in a 2003 deal. But MWD argues that the same deal orders Imperial to hand over any surplus to MWD’s customers.

Reporting from Imperial, Calif. — Dead these hundred years, Mark Twain would wholly understand the dispute between the Metropolitan Water District of Southern California and the Imperial Irrigation District over water flowing into the Salton Sea.

In the West, Twain is famously reported to have quipped, whiskey is for drinking and water is for fighting.

In the world of water, Metropolitan and Imperial are behemoths, for different reasons. When these two clash, as they have done repeatedly in recent decades, other water agencies in the West fret and wait for the fallout. At stake is a lot of water and a lot of money.

Read more…

A fresh battle between Southern California water

Reporting from Imperial, Calif. —

Dead these hundred years, Mark Twain would wholly understand the dispute between the Metropolitan Water District of Southern California and the Imperial Irrigation District over water flowing into the Salton Sea.

In the West, Twain is famously reported to have quipped, whiskey is for drinking and water is for fighting.

In the world of water, Metropolitan and Imperial are behemoths, for different reasons. When these two clash, as they have done repeatedly in recent decades, other water agencies in the West fret and wait for the fallout. At stake is a lot of water and a lot of money.

Read more…

Government seeks public input on Salton Sea work

The public can weigh in at special meetings Wednesday on what state and federal regulators should consider as they go through the environmental impact study process on Salton Sea species conservation habitat projects.

Meetings are slated for 1 p.m. at the University of California, Riverside’s Palm Desert campus and at 6:30 p.m. at the Torres-Martinez Desert Cahuilla Indians’ tribal administration building in Thermal.

Kimberly Nicol, environmental program director for the California Department of Fish and Game, said the meetings are a way of “incorporating everyone’s concerns as to the impacts of constructing anything” at the Salton Sea.

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Better late than never for the Salton Sea

It marked the first time that the major proposed plans to save the sea were shown in public at the same time. This explains the confusion that existed every time an official or quasi-official group unveiled a plan to save the sea. There are lots of plans.

Actually, there have been more than 50 plans suggested through the years but only the plans proposed by the feds, the state and the local Salton Sea Authority carry weight. Only the feds (U.S. Bureau of Water Reclamation) and the state (Department of Water Resources) have the potential to fund anything. The problem is that all three plans have different goals and different solutions. These three programs must be merged, somehow.

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Imperial Valley Press: Others must see the light on Salton Sea

We find it amusing that building consensus was the overriding theme to Thursday’s Salton Sea Stakeholders’ Symposium.

We’re not trying to be snarky here, but consensus isn’t going to get the sea fixed, no matter how many people are brought together in one room to talk about it.

The Salton Sea is dying, we know this. But it’s not getting better while we hold symposiums and roundtables; and it is probably going to get worse before a permanent fix is even begun.

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