The Salton Sea is not a disaster, experts say

The Salton Sea is not a disaster, experts say

They used to call California ocean desalination a disaster. But water crisis brings new look at desalination methods

This article is more than 2 years old

This article is more than 2 years old

The water crisis in California made waves on Friday, prompting some scientists on social media to question the desalination industry’s ability to survive, after three days of heavy rain caused the state’s largest reservoir – the Salton Sea – to overflow its banks.

The Salton Sea, a coastal lake that lies just a few miles from San Diego, is a major source of water for the state, providing over a third of the water used in the city at a time when that demand for fresh water is growing.

Salton Sea reservoir swells as a result of heavy rains and high water levels Read more

In a worst-case scenario, it could flood an area over 800 miles across.

That would be a huge risk to lives and property, because the Salton Sea is an important source of drinking water for more than a third of the state’s population.

As a result, on Friday, scientists and experts rushed to point out that the Salton Sea was not a disaster, that it was likely to return to its normal levels, and that there were other options besides desalination to address the crisis.

At least two environmental groups, however, said the way the Salton Sea was being treated was wrong.

“We believe desalination can only solve a tiny proportion of the people who have to rely on water from the Salton Sea,” the environmental group Global Exchange told the Guardian.

“We urge those concerned about the Salton Sea to stop the rhetoric and adopt more flexible and effective solutions,” it said.

The Salton Sea is California’s largest lake, and lies between two mountains and the Pacific Ocean.

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