The Salton Sea is set to benefit from $250 million in federal money for environmental cleanup and restoration following a vote Tuesday evening by the Imperial Irrigation District (IID) Board of Directors.
Driving the news: The Department of the Interior announced Monday it had reached an agreement with leaders from the California Natural Resources Agency, IID, and the Coachella Valley Water District (CVWD).
- The money, distributed over four years, comes from the Inflation Reduction Act and is in addition to the nearly $583 million already promised to the sea from the state.
- It will be used to help mitigate the impacts of the worsening drought crisis impacting the sea.
Yes, but: Most of the money is contingent on IID and CVWD making good on plans to use less water from the Colorado River.
- IID is the entity that receives the most significant share of the river, and its rights to its water date back more than a century.
At issue: The agreement hinged on a critical vote from the IID Board of Directors that was far from unanimous.
- IID directors Alex Cardenas and Javier Gonzalez argued against approving the agreement at Tuesday’s meeting, citing concerns over consequences for farmers.
- Other directors won out in the end, and the motion to approve the agreement passed 3-2.
What they’re saying: “This is a great step, but I think we need a lot more,” said Frank Ruiz, Salton Sea program director for Audubon California. “We need to continue discussing water sustainability in the region.”