The Salton Sea disaster

02 diciembre 2007

"Once known as the “California Riviera”, the Salton sea is now called one of America’s worst ecological disasters: a fetid, stagnant, salty lake, coughing up dead fish and birds by the thousands".

According to Wikipedia, "the increasing salinity, algae, and bacteria levels have taken their toll on tourism, and many of the Salton Sea resorts are now closed and abandoned. Before recent water control measures were implemented, the Salton Sea's surface tended to rise and fall severely, causing flooding in some of the surrounding communities. The area still draws over 150,000 vacationers a year, primarily to the local campsites, trailer parks, and the Salton Sea State Recreation Area".

The Salton Sea that exists today results from a man-made environmental disaster that occurred between 1905 and 1907, when improper management of irrigation routes from the Colorado River caused the river to flow unchecked into the Salton Sink for some two years. The residual water from this catastrophe formed the Salton Sea of today, and continuing man-made agricultural runoff is largely responsible for sustaining it. This event also created the New River and Alamo River.

Bombay Beach is located on the east shore of the Salton Sea and, like many communities along its shores, has had to contend with rising and falling water levels. A berm now protects the west end of the town but a portion of the town beyond the berm is either sunken under water or is half-buried in mud

The 2006 documentary film “Plagues & Pleasures on the Salton Sea" (narrated by John Waters) documents the lives of the inhabitants of Bombay Beach, Niland, and Salton City, as well as the ecological issues associated with the Sea.

The documentary tells the story of a few eccentrics inhabitants of the Salton sea, such as Donald Scheidler, a roadside nudist waving at passing European tourists, or Leonard Knight, a man building a religious mountain out of mud and paint. You can take a look to their lives in these videos:

See more Abandoned places.