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Dissolved solids in basin-fill aquifers and streams in the southwestern United States

September 26, 2007

The U.S. Geological Survey National Water-Quality Assessment Program performed a regional study in the Southwestern United States (Southwest) to describe the status and trends of dissolved solids in basin-fill aquifers and streams and to determine the natural and human factors that affect dissolved solids. Basin-fill aquifers, which include the Rio Grande aquifer system, Basin and Range basin-fill aquifers, and California Coastal Basin aquifers, are the most extensively used ground-water supplies in the Southwest. Rivers, such as the Colorado, the Rio Grande, and their tributaries, are also important water supplies, as are several smaller river systems that drain internally within the Southwest, or drain externally to the Pacific Ocean in southern California. The study included four components that characterize (1) the spatial distribution of dissolved-solids concentrations in basin-fill aquifers, and dissolved-solids concentrations, loads, and yields in streams; (2) natural and human factors that affect dissolved-solids concentrations; (3) major sources and areas of accumulation of dissolved solids; and (4) trends in dissolved-solids concentrations over time in basin-fill aquifers and streams, and the relation of trends to natural or human factors.