Importance of ET on Colorado River Water Quality

by Kenneth A. Pitney, U.S. Dep of Agriculture, Denver, United States,

Document Type: Proceeding Paper

Part of: Irrigation and Drainage: Saving a Threatened Resource?In Search of Solutions


Salinity is a major problem in the Colorado River. About 37 percent of the salt loading is contributed by irrigated agriculture activities. Deep percolation and seepage from irrigated lands dissolve salts from the soils and underlying aquifer materials and transport them to the Colorado River. A cooperative salinity control program is being carried out by various agencies under the umbrella of a Plan of Implementation developed by the seven state Colorado River Basin Salinity Control Forum. The USDA salinity control program is being implemented in five project areas. Farmers in these areas are applying irrigation water management practices to improve irrigation efficiencies. Application of irrigation water in accordance with the evapotranspiration (ET) needs of the crop, is now the most important action needed to achieve salt reduction goals from the contributing areas.

Subject Headings: Water quality | Water pollution | Salt water intrusion | Rivers and streams | Irrigation | Salinity | Irrigation water | Colorado River

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