The Salton Sea was created in 1905 after the an engineering blunder allowed the Colorado river to burst through poorly designed irrigation controls, flooding the Imperial Valley for over two years.
Originally marketed as a fishing/boating playground for overheated Californians, the artificially created body of water was a popular vacation destination from the early 1900's through the 1960's. Since then salt levels have concentrated in the landlocked sea, forcing oxygen out of the water and causing the die-off of millions of fish each year. The ones that survive are hazordous to consume due to high levels of selenium and other toxins. When the water became poisonous the once thriving recreation area became a ghost town. Property values plummeted - abandoned sites rot all along it's shores.
Bombay Beach is located on the eastern shore of the sea, just off the 111 highway - about 40 miles south of Palm Springs. There are 178 households, 2 convenient stores, and 1 bar. The landscape may be barren, but the population is full of life. There are two dogs for every person and a golf cart in every driveway. Life here is hot, slow, and mellow.
While some live here out of necessity, most choose to live in Bombay - and wouldn't have it any other way.