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Colorado River Basin Salinity Control Program

In 1972, Congress enacted the Clean Water Act, mandating efforts to maintain water quality in the United States.  Around the same time, Mexico and the United States agreed to Minute 242 of the 1944 Water Treaty relating salinity levels of Colorado River water being delivered to Mexico.  In 1973, the Colorado River Basin States established the Colorado River Basin Salinity Control Forum for interstate cooperation on activities to comply with Section 303(a) and (b) of the Clean Water Act. 

The Colorado River Basin Salinity Control Act (Public Law 93-320) was enacted in 1974 and authorizes the Secretaries of the Departments of Agriculture and the Interior to implement measures that enhance and improve the water quality of the Colorado River System for use in the United States and Mexico.

Title I of the 1974 Salinity Control Act authorizes the Bureau of Reclamation to take actions necessary to comply with the agreements made between the United States and Mexico in Minute 242. Projects authorized under Title I include the extension of the Main Outlet Drain Extension, the Yuma Desalting Plant, the Coachella Canal Unit, the Protective and Regulatory Pumping Unit, and the Reject Stream Replacement Study. 

Title II of the Salinity Control Act created the Colorado River Basin Salinity Control Program, authorizing activities upstream from Imperial Dam to meet the objectives and standards set by the Clean Water Act. Implementation of salinity control measures under Title II is administered through the Salinity Control Forum and Advisory Council, and is a cooperative effort involving the Basin States and federal agencies from the Departments of the Interior and Agriculture.  Since the implementation of the Salinity Control Program, measures have been put in place to control more than 1.2 million tons of salt annually. 

For more information see:


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Colorado River Board of California
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Email: crb@crb.ca.gov