Environment & Science

California: $400 million plan to slow largest lake shrinkage

Pelicans fly over a great blue heron on the shore of the Salton Sea on March 21, 2012 south of Mecca, California.
Pelicans fly over a great blue heron on the shore of the Salton Sea on March 21, 2012 south of Mecca, California.
David McNew/Getty Images

California officials have proposed spending nearly $400 million over 10 years to slow the shrinkage of the state's largest lake.

Gov. Jerry Brown's administration on Thursday unveiled a plan to build ponds on the northern and southern ends of the Salton Sea.

It is expected to evaporate at an accelerated pace starting next year when the San Diego region no longer diverts water to the desert region.

The state has so far committed $80 million. That leaves a shortfall of more than $300 million.

San Diego agreed to send water to the lake through 2017 as part of a landmark deal to buy Colorado River water from California's Imperial Valley, which includes the lake.

More exposed lakebed is likely to result in respiratory problems for residents who breathe dust.