Extreme weather events affect surface water supplies. Water quality measurements in Central Arizona were used to quantify changes in dissolved organic carbon (DOC) and turbidity following dust storms, floods, and drought-associated wildfires. This article describes specific extreme events, quantifies changes in DOC and turbidity, and discusses the effects of water quality changes on treatment processes and public perceptions of water quality. Study findings show a co-occurrence of some dust storm events (high particulate matter) and increased surface water turbidity, attenuation of high DOC loads following upper watershed storm events, significant increases in total organic carbon and turbidity following severe flooding in 2005, and differing effects of upland and lowland wildfires on water quality. Finally, a means to mitigate these effects on both perceived and actual water quality by integrating information from radar systems, stream gauge readings, and online water quality analyzers is suggested.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)E221-E231
JournalJournal - American Water Works Association
Issue number4
StatePublished - Apr 2016


  • Climate change
  • Dissolved organic carbon
  • Dust storms
  • Extreme weather
  • Flash floods
  • Turbidity
  • Wildfire

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Chemistry
  • Water Science and Technology


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