Salton City, California
Salton City is the largest settlement (pop, 3,763) on the shores of the troubled Salton Sea. Salton City was initially developed in the 1950s as a resort/retirement community. The curving suburban style street system of Salton City covers several square miles. Large sections were never developed and many streets have few widely scattered houses. The pavement in many areas is cracked, weathered and partially covered with wind blown sand. In the 1950s and 60s several communities on the shores of the Salton Sea were developed as resorts. The Salton Sea, which was created by a temporary, man-made diversion of the Colorado River in 1905 had been stocked with fish and was popular with recreational anglers. The low elevation desert climate with year round warm temperatures continues to be a draw for retirees. Since the 1970s the waters of the Salton Sea have become increasingly saline and toxic. The Salton Sea receives agricultural runoff from the Imperial and Coachella valleys and has no outlet. Evaporation has slowly concentrated salts and pollutants to levels that have been wiping out fish species one by one for the last few decades.
Most of the resort developments on the shore of the Salton Sea in Salton City were abandoned in the 1970s and 80s as the sea's waters became more noxious. Almost no traces survive of these developments. People have continued to build houses in Salton City, mostly away from the sea shore. In the late 1990s and early 2000s Salton City had a revival. Many new homes were built and purchased by people fleeing the astronomical home prices elsewhere in Southern California. Salton City was then hit hard by the real estate market crash in 07. Scattered homes that were built shortly before the crash still sit empty, some of them only partially completed. For sale signs, some years old, were scattered throughout the city in 2013. The amount of water flowing into the Salton Sea has been drastically reduced since 2003. This is causing the sea to shrink and the shore to recede, leaving boat docks and former marinas on dry land. There is growing concern that if the Salton Sea shrinks too much or dries up completely that clouds of toxic, wind blown dust from the seabed will pollute the surrounding communities, similar to what happened around Owens Lake but on a much larger scale.
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