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Water-quality trends in the Santa Ana River at MWD Crossing and below Prado Dam, Riverside County, California

September 1, 1998

The Santa Ana River, located in an extensively urbanized basin, drains about 2,670 square miles near Los Angeles, California. Almost all flow in the river, about 200,000 acre-feet annually, is diverted to ponds where it infiltrates and recharges underlying aquifers. About 2 million people are dependent on these aquifers for water supply. In recent years, base flow in the river has increased as a result of increased discharge of treated municipal wastewater, and high flows have increased as a result of increase precipitation and urbanization. Trends in water quality were calculated for two sites?at the Metropolitan Water District (MWD) Crossing (an upstream site) and below Prado Dam (a downstream site)?using the computer program ESTREND. Water-quality data for these sites were collected by the U.S. Geological Survey from 1969 to 1995. At MWD Crossing, flow-adjusted downward trends of -1.1 microsiemens per centimeter (iS/cm) per year and -1.6 milligrams per liter (mg/L) per year were calculated for specific conductance and dissolved solids, respectively. In contrast, a flow-adjusted upward trends of 2.2 iS/cm per year for dissolved solids was calculated for the Santa Ana River below Prado Dam. Specific conductance and dissolved solids in the Santa Ana River below Prado Dam had downward unadjusted trends (not adjusted for streamflow) of -8.3 iS/cm per year and -6.0 mg/L per year, respectively. For the Santa Ana River below Prado Dam, downward unadjusted trends were calculated for ammonia (-0.04 mg/L per year) and total organic carbon (0.19 mg/L per year); flow-adjusted upward trends were calculated for nitrite plus nitrate (0.15 mg/L per year), total dissolved nitrogen (0.39 mg/L per year), and orthophosphate (0.03 mg/L per year). Statistically significant unadjusted and flow-adjusted trends were not obtained for organic nitrogen, phosphorus, and dissolved organic carbon. Data for selected trace elements and organic compounds collected between 1970-94 also are summarized in this report.

Publication Year 1998
Title Water-quality trends in the Santa Ana River at MWD Crossing and below Prado Dam, Riverside County, California
DOI 10.3133/wri974173
Authors Carmen A. Burton, John A. Izbicki, Katherine S. Paybins
Publication Type Report
Publication Subtype USGS Numbered Series
Series Title Water-Resources Investigations Report
Series Number 97-4173
Index ID wri974173
Record Source USGS Publications Warehouse