Wednesday, October 14, 2015

USA, California: Salton Sea Restoration Plan Would be Anchored by Geothermal Energy Area

Ray of hope for Salton Sea (Press-Enterprise)

After decades of pleas, promises and plans to save the Salton Sea, the planets at last seem to be aligning to make progress possible.

Instead of trying to fund a $9 billion program to rescue the entire, 350-square-mile, accidentally created inland sea, state and regional officials are figuring out ways to begin paying for a bailout in small bites.

Riverside County Supervisor John Benoit, chairman of the Salton Sea Authority board, is in Sacramento today to present what he says is a reasonably priced model for fixing some of the Salton Sea’s pressing problems quickly. He’s calling it SSWIFT: the Salton Sea, Water-limited, Incrementally Funded, Time-limited plan.

SSWIFT would create two, good-sized lakes at the north and south ends of the sea, permanently maintaining the shoreline close to the existing shoreline for two-thirds or more of the sea, Benoit said.

It would establish a geothermal area along the shore where renewable energy projects could be built at the site of natural hot springs (a big selling point of the plan).

And it would create a reservoir of water that could be used to keep down dust, a health-endangering byproduct of the drying sea.

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