SALTON CITY (AP) — The Imperial Irrigation District has asked the state water board to intervene to help prevent further deterioration of the Salton Sea.
The Los Angeles Times reported in Saturday’s edition that district officials want the state to meet its obligation to provide water for the shrinking lake. They sent a plea to officials at the State Water Resources Control Board this week to help avert a “looming environmental and public health crisis.”
A decade-old deal to sell irrigation district water to San Diego requires the state to help provide water to the lake after 2017. Most of its water comes from agricultural runoff, but that has declined with the water sale.
In the years since the water deal was struck based on the state promise, “the state has made scant progress toward performance of that commitment,” wrote irrigation district attorney Ronald Olson.
State and federal officials want to keep the lake from drying up because it supports wildlife. Researchers at the Pacific Institute, an Oakland-based environmental think tank, fear that the lack of replenishment water will lead to more dust storms carrying residue from agricultural pesticides in the dry lakebed.
The lake was created more than 100 years ago when a breach in an irrigation canal flooded the basin.