As Salton Sea faces ecological collapse, a plan to save it with ocean water is rejected by its neighbours
Seal, seagrass and seaweed are all disappearing from the Salton Sea on the California-Mexico border. Seaweed is losing out because its habitat disappears beneath the surface. But the Salton Sea plans to save it with sea-water to turn the salt marsh into a big tourist site for tourists to come and explore, or to preserve it for nature.
The Salton Sea is already a tourist site, it is the world’s largest bay with an estimated 2.9 million permanent tourist sites. And a sea-water farm could use up a huge volume of water and create significant profits for the company that wants the rights to the water.
To stop the Salton Sea plan, the communities bordering the Salton Sea, where the Salton Sea is the biggest body of water in the world, say they will use their own water to preserve the environment.
In this way, they say, they can do what they cannot do using the Salton Sea’s own resources, which are finite.
In Salinas, Mexico, the communities along the Salton Sea have created a community water-sharing plan – which is a model of co-operation between neighbours and with government agencies to decide how water is used and where it goes.
And in the city of San Jose, California in California, the cities of Alameda and Los Angeles have also created their own water-sharing arrangements with San Jose City to protect their ocean waters.
In this way, they say, the Salton Sea could become a tourist spot, or even used as a source of potable water.
And the water farmers say they will be the first ones to make money from the farm if the Salton Sea plan is stopped.
‘This is the world’s largest bay that’s home to our marine environment, so it cannot simply disappear’ – Dr. Jeff Follmer, Save the Salton
The world’s largest bay, which is home to a million inhabitants, and a source of potable water