Document Type


Publication Date

January 1981


A small but significant amount of salinity removal has been reported by various authors to occur in mainstem Colorado River reservoirs. Recalculation of some of these salinity budgets, together with a review of the data bases used, usggests taht removal has not often been conclusively demonstrated. Laboratory microcosm experiments and field data indicate that calcium carbonate precipitation, perhaps with some coprecipitation of magnesium carbonate, is the mechanism responsible for most of the salinity removal in Oneida Reservoir, Idaho. Coprecipitation processes (including ion exchange), coagulation, and bioassimilation do not appear to be important natural salinity removal mechanisms. Finally, loss of calcium, relative to monovalent cations, may decrease water quality for irrigation purposes through increasing the sodium adsorption ratio (SAR), despite a pross decrease in the TDS. The potential role of various reservoir operation options in managing natural salinity removal processes and the value of such removal is discussed.