The Salton Sea is dying. Salinity levels are up. The sea level is down.
The state Legislature refuses to appropriate money to fix the problem. This constitutes a breach of the Quantification Settlement Agreement.
Proving breach of contract requires three things: a valid contract; a breach of that contract and damages caused by that breach. All three are obvious here.
First: the QSA is a valid contract.
Second: the breach of contract is clear in Article 4.5 of the QSA: “… acquisition by the Department of water, and Imperial’s obligation to make water available, are conditioned upon the Department’s assuming responsibility for any and all environmental processes, environmental impacts, and mitigation costs, including those related to Salton Sea salinity, related to the use or transfer of water.” The state has not fulfilled this obligation in six years.
Third: damage caused by the breach. This is already clear–increasing salinity, selenium-laced playa exposure, National Wildlife Refuges subject to predation because of falling sea levels. In 2017 the sea will be too salty to support fish, which birds depend on. The Pacific Flyway will die.
The Imperial Irrigation District should pursue legal action to terminate the contract and stop delivering water until the state honors its commitment.
Chris Cockroft, Sky Valley