Skip to main content

PUBLIC NOTICE | Draft Triennial Review of Colorado River Water Quality Standards Available for Comment

The Colorado River Basin Salinity Control Forum has approved a draft of the 2020 Triennial Review of Colorado River Water Quality Standards and invites the public to review and provide comments. 

Review Document

2020 Draft Triennial Review of Water Quality Standards for Salinity Colorado River System | View/Download >

You may also review the above documentation or in person at the ADEQ Record Center | Learn How >

Background and Summary

In 1975, the seven Colorado River Basin States adopted water quality standards with respect to salinity for the entire Colorado River Basin in the United States. Every three years, the states, through the Colorado River Basin Salinity Control Forum, review these standards in compliance with the Clean Water Act.

The Colorado River water quality standards for salinity and the approach taken by the Basin States in complying with the standards are unique. Thus, the program is different from most other water quality standard compliance programs. In general, the water quality standards for salinity control in the Colorado River consist of two components: the numeric criteria and the Plan of Implementation. The findings of the 2020 Triennial Review are that salinity concentrations in the Colorado River are below the numeric criteria, and the forum concludes that the numeric criteria are appropriate and recommends no changes. The forum also finds that the updated Plan of Implementation is adequate for maintaining salinity concentrations below the numeric criteria through 2023, thus providing significant benefits to the Colorado River Basin.

The review also finds that the since implementation of the program, measures have been put in place that now reduce the annual salt load of the Colorado River by more than 1.3 million tons. The salinity concentration at Hoover, Parker and Imperial Dams has been reduced by more than 100 micorgrams per liter. However, even with these efforts, the quantified damages to U.S. users are still approximately $454 million per year. Damages are projected to increase to $574 million per year by 2035 if the program does not continue to be aggressively implemented. The review states that the forum and the states intend to continue their support of an aggressive salinity control program.

For more information, visit the Colorado River Basin Salinity Control Forum Website | Visit Site >

Public Comment Period 

Dates: July 8, 2020 – Aug. 7, 2020

Comments may be submitted as follows:

     By Email | Send Email > 
     By Mail (Must be postmarked or received by Aug. 7, 2020):

       Attn: Chris Montague-Breakwell
       1110 W. Washington St.
       Phoenix, AZ  85007

ADEQ appreciates your interest and participation in improving Arizona’s surface water quality.