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Salton Sea, From Paradise Oasis To A Place Of Death And Decomposition

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The Salton Sea is California’s largest water mirror and is the largest ecological disaster ever in the state. This mirror of water is actually a lake, which has been filled and has been drained several times throughout history.

The last time the lake dried up around 1580, because the limo – transported by the Colorado River – so much so that it effectively prevented Colorado from flowing into it. The silt deposits were well seen by farmers, who moved around the lake in the 20th century. There was a big problem: there was no water to irrigate.

So, California Development Company decided to dig two channels to provide water to farmland; channels not equipped with gates to prevent water from flooding the surrounding area… actually what could such devices serve in a desert? Around 1904 the canals became unworkable, for they were clogged by the silt deposits of the river.

Another channel was dug, always without gates. Later, in the spring of 1905, due to heavy rains and the melting of snow, the Colorado River flooded. Since there was no shield to protect the canal banks, the water completely flooded the surrounding area. However, this had made the place perfect for cultivation and soon became an essential place for many animal species.

It all began to go wrong, however, in 1936, with the completion of the Hoover dam and the Imperial dam of 1938. The two dams put the word end to the occasional flood of the Imperial Valley area from the Colorado River and the irrigation infrastructure built in the area. The Salton Sea, then, began to evaporate. There was also a great increase in salinity, as the water flowing through the lake used for agriculture was “bombed” with a significant amount of salts and fertilizers on a daily basis.

Before the 1980s, the fish began to die in industrial quantities, unable to withstand the high salinity. Of an initial population of 100 million fish, 97% of the creatures were extinct in the 1990s. All this got worse and worse and in 1996 an epidemic struck the birds because of all the carcasses of the lake. Today, the situation of the Salton Sea waters is so serious that it has become dangerous to eat both the catch and the simple bathing.

Its waters also show a terrible smell. In 2012, after a strong storm had shaken the waters, the bad smell of decomposition could be felt up to about 240 km away. Unfortunately, this is nothing: and there have been so many environmental disasters in history. Even today, decades after the greatest environmental disaster in history, dolphins still suffer.

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