There are many great things about this video: Jim Lo Scalzo‘s short documentary America’s Dead Sea. First off, the story of Salton City, California is kind of insane. At the beginning of the 20th century, the Colorado River spilled over an irrigation canal and for two years the river flowed into the desert, forming the Salton Sea. In the ’50s, a sugar magnate developed a town along the “Salton Rivera” which is still inhabited, but just barely. Since it’s formation by the Colorado River, the only water flowing into the Salton Sea has been irrigation runoff, and the body of water has become increasingly saline and polluted.
But it’s not just the story that makes this video worth watching. The compelling cinematography is thanks to the years that Jim spent working as a photojournalist. What might be the best thing about his video is that Jim doesn’t narrate it; instead, he uses archival footage and sound clips to contrast the promise the lake offered in the 50’s to the reality of the Salton Sea now.