The Colorado River, spanning 1,450 miles, flows through 7 U.S. states and provides a boundary between Arizona and Mexico for 17 miles. The river is used for irrigation and water supplies for surrounding areas, as well as streamside vegetation. The abundance of crops and major cities such as Las Vegas, Nevada and Phoenix, Arizona would not have grown at such a rapid pace if not for this natural resource. Partly due to these water demands, the river is drying up in certain areas. Due to the increase in the river's use, the Colorado River is experiencing a high volume of salinity, or solids, in the water. The highest concentration is in salt form. Factors such as salt evaporation from irrigation, reservoir surfaces, and natural deposits of salt from soils and rocks are all contributors. The lower river valley has such a high concentration of salt in the water that it is not suitable for human consumption. As a result, a desalinization plant removes the salt from the water in order for the United States to provide water to Mexico. More river problems are expected to rise as populations increase and the high levels of salt continue to plague the river as well as several tributaries.
Posted by: Brandy Unrein