"Saga of California's Salton Sea: A Tragic Chapter Ahead?"

"Some worry that a water-diversion deal, sending farm irrigation water to sprawling San Diego, will spell doom for the Salton Sea – and exposure to toxins for humans and wildlife. Others say protections are in place to ensure that can't happen."

"Los Angeles -- California's Salton Sea hasn't been looking too good for some time, and now environmentalists are concerned that conditions at this salty inland "sea" are about to get much worse.

Their big worry: that the body of water, created during a huge flood in 1905 in which distant Colorado River water coursed into a desert basin, will shrink much faster in coming years than it has been. As the shallow lake dries out, contaminants from decades of agricultural runoff – such as selenium and arsenic – will be exposed and, whipped by high winds, carried far afield, threatening the health of people and wildlife. Several species of migratory birds along the Pacific Flyway will also be threatened, environmentalists warn.

Why are they expecting this accelerated shriveling of the Salton Sea? A big water diversion system is slated to transfer water now used locally for farming to the south, in San Diego County, for use by city-wellers."

Daniel B. Wood reports for the Christian Science Monitor April 26, 2012.

Source: Christian Science Monitor, 04/27/2012