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Salton Sea



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Concrete Lifeline
Photograph by Gerd Ludwig

A new day dawns over the "I" lateral canal in the Imperial Valley, the fertile farming district south of the Salton Sea. Some 1,500 miles (2,400 kilometers) of irrigation canals bring Colorado River water to valley fields. Without it the valley, which receives a scant three inches (seven centimeters) of rainfall a year, and the Salton Sea, which depends on the valley's runoff, would revert to desert. In 2003 a highly contentious water deal engineered the transfer of nearly 300,000 acre-feet (37,000 hectare-meters) of Colorado River water away from the Imperial Valley to Coachella Valley and San Diego. The largest ag-to-urban transfer of water in the nation's history, this deal reflects the shifting political power in the West—and could hasten the death of California's largest and strangest lake.

Photo Fast Facts

Camera: Canon 1V
Film type: Ektachrome 100
Lens: EF 17-35mm f/2.8 zoom
Speed & F-stop: 1/30 @ f/11
Weather Conditions: Scattered clouds
Time of Day: Dawn
Lighting Techniques: Natural light


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