December 5, 2022
The Department of Interior has announced that an agreement is underway to allocate up to $250M to help mitigate the impact of the shrinking lake on the surrounding communities and the environment in exchange for not using another 250,000 acre-feet of Colorado River water. The agreement was established with joint efforts from the California Natural Resources Agency, Imperial Irrigation District (IID), Coachella Valley Water District (CVWD), and the California Department of the Interior.
The Interior’s Bureau of Reclamation will provide $22M through the Inflation Reduction Act in 2023 to implement projects at the lake and, subject to implementation of voluntary conservation actions proposed by IID & CVWD, Reclamation will also provide an additional $228M over the next four years to expedite existing projects and bolster staffing at the water agencies.
The Salton Sea, California’s largest lake, is receding due to the drought crisis gripping the West and resulting in necessary conservation actions in the Imperial Valley that have reduced inflows to the Sea. Exposed lakebed is contributing to harmful dust emissions to the surrounding environment and reducing important environmental habitat for wildlife.
“The Bureau of Reclamation’s $250 million investment in California’s Salton Sea Management Plan will bring crucial resources to our communities and help protect our region’s health, environment, and economy,” said Congressman Dr. Raul Ruiz. “I’m glad to see Reclamation heed my calls to use drought mitigation funding under the Inflation Reduction Act to address the environmental and public health crisis at the Sea. This investment is welcome news for our communities and an acknowledgement of the crucial role the federal government should and must take to clean up the Sea.”