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Journey back in time and witness the amazing Life of the Salton Sea…

The Salton Sea is considered a natural body of water, but it would not exist without the hubris of humankind.  The origin of its creation was an unintentional accident caused by an engineering mistake more than a century ago.

The Salton Sea is the longest enduring, largest single human made object ever created…

By area, the Salton Sea is one of the largest bodies of water in the United States.  It also has the distinction of having a surface over two hundred feet (70 m) below sea level.  The sea is the only major body of water within the United States located below sea level.

Before there was water, there was only desert…

At the beginning of the twentieth century, the area the Salton Sea occupies in southern California, USA was known as the Salton Trough, located in the Colorado Desert.  Efforts were underway in many parts of the United States, including the Colorado Desert, to transform arid regions into green, productive farmland, which required a large amount of water.  Thankfully, to the south of the Colorado Desert, there was an abundant water supply available from the Colorado River.  But there was a problem.  Although the river could supply more than enough water for the Colorado Desert, a gap of more than fifty miles (50 km) existed between them.  A method to transport the water was needed.

And then came the flood…

In a little more than a year, a canal system was built to bridge the gap between the Colorado River and the region that would become the Imperial Valley.  Once complete, water flowed through the canals allowing the creation of rich fertile farmland.  The Imperial Valley grew at a tremendous rate for several years, but there was trouble on the horizon.  Large amounts of silt, carried by the Colorado River, clogged the newly created canal system.  This severely reduced the amount of water that could be supplied to the farms in the Imperial Valley.  Crops that were dependent on the water for survival were in danger of dying.  Initial attempts to solve the water shortage did not correct the issue until a temporary channel was dug to bypass the silted canal sections.  Although this solved the water shortage issues, it also laid the foundation for events that transformed a large portion of the Colorado Desert into the Salton Sea.

The LifeOfTheSalton Sea.org website is dedicated to all of the individuals who have lived, worked, played, seen, or simply known about the Salton Sea.

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Life of the Salton Sea