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Requests for Rights to Salton Sea Inflows


The three documents in this section are applications submitted by water agencies to the California State Water Resources Control Board in September 1997. Each requests the right to appropriate for various uses the waters flowing into the Salton Sea via the Alamo River or the Whitewater River (or Coachella Valley Stormwater Channel) and certain agricultural drains.

Reducing present inflows (ca. 1,300,000 a.f./yr) to the Sea by the 100,000 a.f. requested from the Coachella Valley inflows and by the 475,000 a.f. requested from the Imperial Valley inflows would decrease the size of the Sea. According to R. Thiery of the Coachella Valley Water District, the Salton Sea Authority's elevation and salinity model predicts that such reduction of total inflows to 725,000 a.f./yr would, after 50 years, lower the lake's elevation from -227 ft (-69.2 m) to -253.5 ft (-77.3 m). The lake's surface area would decrease from 378 mi2 (980 km2) to 243 mi2 (630 km2). This would expose or relict 135 mi2 (350 km2) of the present lake bottom.

The applications for the Whitewater flows are competing, as both request rights to 100,000 a.f./yr. During the period 1990-1996 annual inflows to the Sea from the Coachella Valley were 95,000-105,000 a.f.

Acton on these requests will be taken only after an intensive review process, which has not yet started. If the requests are granted, the projects would be implemented over a period of many years. It is unknown how and to what extent MWD or CVWD would make use of any rights granted. Significant diversion of these inflows could hinder attempts to restore and maintain the ecological health of the Sea and surrounding region.

S. Hurlbert, SDSU, October 8, 1998

Request by MWD for Whitewater River Inflows

Request by MWD for Alamo River Inflows

Request by CVWD for Whitewater River Inflows