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Dissolved-solids contribution to the Colorado River from public lands in southeastern Nevada, through September 1993

Water-Resources Investigations Report 94-4210

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Abstract

The Bureau of Land Management administers about 9,300 square miles of public lands in southeastern Nevada that are part of the Colorado River Basin. The U.S. Geological Survey, in cooperation with the Bureau of Land Management, began a 5-year program in October 1988 to assess the contribution of dissolved solids to the fiver from those lands. About 6,200 square miles of public lands are in the Muddy River subbasin in Nevada. The estimated average dissolved-solids load contributed to the Colorado River from those lands was 28,000 tons per year from October 1988 through September 1993. Subsurface flow contributed about 86 percent (24,000 tons per year) of that load. About 730 square miles of public lands in the Las Vegas Wash subbasin contribute dissolved-solids load to the Colorado River. (About 120 square miles of public lands do not contribute to the river.) The estimated average dissolved-solids load contributed to the river from those lands was about 1,300 tons per year from October 1988 through September 1993. Subsurface flow contributed almost all of that load. About 1,100 square miles of public lands are in the Virgin River subbasin in Nevada. The estimated average dissolved- solids load contributed to the Colorado River from Nevada public lands in the subbasin was 8,700 tons per year. Subsurface flow contributed almost the entire load. About 1,200 square miles of Nevada public lands are in ephemeral tributaries that drain direcfly to the Colorado River or its impoundments (Lake Mead and Lake Mobave). The estimated average dissolved-solids load contributed to the river from those lands was 50 tons per year from surface runoff; however, the dissolved-solids load contributed by subsurface flow was not estimated. From October 1992 to September 1993, the Colorado River carried about 6,600,000 tons of dissolved solids past a streamflow gaging station 0.3 mile downstream from Hoover Dam. In contrast, surface runoff and subsurface flow contribute an estimated average dissolved-solids load of 38,000 tons per year from public lands in southeastern Nevada to the Colorado River. Land-management practices probably would not substantially reduce this contribution.

Additional Publication Details

Publication type:
Report
Publication Subtype:
USGS Numbered Series
Title:
Dissolved-solids contribution to the Colorado River from public lands in southeastern Nevada, through September 1993
Series title:
Water-Resources Investigations Report
Series number:
94-4210
Edition:
-
Year Published:
1995
Language:
ENGLISH
Publisher:
U.S. Dept. of the Interior, U.S. Geological Survey ; Earth Science Information Center, Open-File Reports Services [distributor],
Description:
iv, 25 p. :ill., maps (some col.) ;28 cm.