Pacific Institute’s Michael Cohen Issues Statement Regarding Imperial Irrigation District’s Approval of Landmark Salton Sea Agreement

Calls the Move a Real Turning Point for the Salton Sea, Allowing for Largest Single Contribution to Protect Lake Mead  

Imperial, Calif. (Nov. 29, 2022) – At a special meeting that started late this afternoon, the Imperial Irrigation District’s (IID’s) Board of Directors voted to approve a landmark agreement with the federal and state governments known as the “Commitment to Support Salton Sea Management Related to Water Conservation in the Lower Colorado River Basin at the Salton Sea.” Under this agreement, the federal Department of the Interior commits $250 million toward Salton Sea-related actions, recognizing IID’s proposal to conserve a million acre-feet of water over the next four years to protect critical elevations at Lake Mead. Michael Cohen, Senior Associate at the Pacific Institute, issued the following statement in response: 

“IID’s approval marks a real turning point for the Salton Sea. In addition to the significant federal investment in the shrinking lake, IID and – for the first time – the Coachella Valley Water District commit real water for future projects and commit to provide land access, which has been a huge obstacle for years. In return, California will give the districts much-needed legal protections for this land and the feds will fund efforts to protect public and environmental health. 

“The agreement satisfies a federal funding condition IID’s board set three years ago, allowing IID to move forward with discussions about the single largest contribution of water to help protect the rapidly declining storage in Lake Mead. 

“The Salton Sea has long been the linchpin of water resilience for the Colorado River Basin. Without IID’s aggressive participation, the Basin can never achieve stability. While this is only a first step and will not be sufficient on its own to protect either the Salton Sea or Lake Mead, this landmark agreement demonstrates much-needed federal commitment to the Salton Sea and IID’s commitment to improving Basin resilience.” 

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