Recognizing the rapidly increasing salinity concentration in the Lower Colorado River and its impact on water users, the Colorado River Basin States came together in 1973 and organized the Colorado River Basin Salinity Control Forum (Forum). In 1974, in coordination with the Department of the Interior and the U.S. State Department, the Forum worked with Congress in the passage of the Colorado River Basin Salinity Control Act (Act). Title I of the Act deals with the United States’ salinity commitments to Mexico. Title II of the Act creates the Colorado River Basin Salinity Control Program (Program) which focuses on improving the water quality of the Colorado River to U.S. users above Imperial Dam.
Since implementation of the Program, measures have been put in place which now reduce the annual salt load of the Colorado River by more than 1.3 million tons. The salinity concentration at Imperial Dam has been reduced by about 90 mg/L. However, even with these efforts the quantified damages to U.S. users are still approximately $382 million per year. Damages are projected to increase to $614 million per year by 2035 if the Program does not continue to be aggressively implemented.