Present and Future Salinity of Colorado River

by Myron B. Holburt, Chief Engr.; Colorado River Board of California, Los Angeles, CA,
Vernon E. Valentine, Principal Hydr. Engineer; Colorado River Board of California, Los Angeles, CA,

Serial Information: Journal of the Hydraulics Division, 1972, Vol. 98, Issue 3, Pg. 503-520

Document Type: Journal Paper


Under the impact of continually increasing demands on the water supply of the Colorado River, the river's already high salinity would increase by at least 50% at the major diversion points along the Lower Colorado River prior to the year 2000 unless salinity control measures are instituted. The Colorado River is a major water source for the seven states of the Pacific Southwest and projected economic growth in these states requires the nearly full utilization of the river's water by that date. Natural conditions of salinity are identified for the Colorado River Basin. Salinity increase projections are based on consumptive use of water and the return of dissolved salts to the river system and on the addition of dissolved salts through the use of water for irrigation, municipal, industrial, and other purposes, on evaporation, and on out-of-basin diversions. Estimates of damages from increases in salinity are presented, together with suggestions for possible control measures.

Subject Headings: Salt water | Spillways | Municipal water | Salinity | Rivers and streams | Water use | Economic factors | Basins | Colorado River

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