Identifying Changes in Background Water-Quality Conditions, Arkansas River and Fountain Creek, near Pueblo, Colorado

Dissolved solids as an indicator

Dissolved solids was chosen as the indicator parameter in this study for several reasons. First, dissolved solids in the river have been a concern to local water managers, water suppliers, and farmers in the lower Arkansas River Basin for many years. Second, dissolved solids also are a good indicator of the general water quality in the study area and can be accurately estimated from available specific-conductance data (Cain, 1987; Ortiz and others, 1998). Third, dissolved-solids concentrations are sensitive to changes in streamflow, water operations, and source contributions. Lastly, the use of dissolved-solids concentration data combined with streamflow allows for analysis of mass loading as a parameter of interest.