The University of Arizona

“The Politics of Place”: Domestic and Diplomatic Priorities of the Colorado River Salinity Control Act (1974)

Evan R. Ward

Abstract


“The Politics of Place”: Domestic and Diplomatic Priorities of the Colorado River Salinity
Control Act (1974)
This article analyzes the Colorado River Salinity Control Act (1974) from international,
regional (Colorado River Basin), and local (Yuma County) perspectives. While the Nixon
administration simply wanted appropriations to build a desalination plant near Yuma,
Arizona, in order to respond to Mexican complaints of saline river water south of the
border, regional (U.S.) leaders used the legislation to obtain additional salinity control
measures that would ostensibly conserve the Colorado River Basin’s shrinking water
supply. The article also examines the efforts of farmers, municipal leaders, and Quechan natives in Yuma County to shape the legislation to their advantage.

Keywords: Environmental politics, Colorado River Delta, Yuma County, U.S.-Mexican
Relations, Quechan Indians, desalination


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DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.2458/v6i1.21422