The Salton Sea is a poignant example of the confluence of agricultural, urban, and environmental water use—highlighting the conflict seemingly inherent with water scarcity in arid regions. Part drainage sink, part critical habitat, and wholly in decline, the Sea is the center of numerous discussions and schemes. This presentation will discuss issues and current events surrounding the Sea, what water economics can tell us about water transfer options, as well as ongoing research at UC Riverside and USDA-ARS to model the hydro-economics of the Salton Sea region while considering climate change, future predictions of decreased Colorado River flows, and increased population pressure on regional water resources.
Dr. Lucia Levers is an environmental scientist and economist at the new Sustainable Agricultural Water Systems Unit for USDA-ARS in Davis, CA. Previously at the Water Resources Center at the University of Minnesota, Lucy holds a PhD and Master’s degree in Environmental Sciences from University of California, Riverside and a Bachelor’s degree in Human Biology from Stanford University. She incorporates natural resource, ecological, and environmental economics into interdisciplinary research projects. Currently, she is has projects on invasive species, cover crops, California’s Sustainable Groundwater Management Act, water use efficiency, and of course, the Salton Sea.