Слике страница

now flowing. It was testified here that It would take from 15 to 25 years to build up this delta as high as tbe Bee River ridge. No one can tell even approximately, but it may be assumed that this channel, like the Bee Channel, will begin to grow unstable In 10 or 12 years, though It may be possible to keep the river In Its present vicinity considerably longer. It is certain, however, that the river will not nil every part of that triangle of low ground before it begins to give serious trouble.

We know also that the river is now busy in its filling Job and will continue it without cessation until It is completed. It will then become again as threatening as it was in 1921, when Imperial Valley was fighting for Its life to keep it from overtopping Volcano Lake Levee. As soon as we provide a large desiltlng reservoir we will hold back tbe silt and tbe building process will be checked. If this is done at once, we take advantage of the low areas, and with the silting process checked the river channel will become relatively permanent, on low ground, with no tendency to leave it. Some sediment will come from the Gila, but It Is certain that the building-up process will be m'nde much slower and the menace of the river regulated in flow will be removed to a distant date.

If, on the contrary, the large desilting reservoir Is postponed, as pome people propose, the silting will continue until this basin is tilled and the river again flowing on top of a ridge ready to break loose with any freshet and threaten Imperial Valley as It did three years ago. It Is clear that the desilting reservoir must be provided quickly, and it must be of large capacity and must form a permanent lake in which all sediment will settle. (Hearings on II. R. 290.1, 68th Cong. 1379.)

No estimates have been made as to what the cost would be to dredge nn artificial channel across the delta in Mexico after the Pescadero depression is filled. The cost would, of course, be enormous, and doubtless beyond the resources of local communities. The work of so dredging and maintaining a channel would also he surrounded by almost insurmountable difficulties because of being in a foreign jurisdiction, and when completed would be only another temporary expedient, as the river would immediately start its work of filling it with silt.


Almost all of the silt now being discharged by the river is picked up through and above the canyon section and above Boulder Canyon. The proposed great reservoir there will provide ample capacity for interception and storing the silt. More than 300 years would be required to fill the entire reservoir, and Oils even without the construction of other dams above. In the meantime, of course, other developments will occur further up the river which will intercept large portions of silt discharge, and thus prolong indefinitely the usefulness of this reservoir.


The danger in which the Imperial Valley always stands of being flooded necessarily creates a feeling of uncertainty. Property values there were less than half of what the income from the property would justify. Money can be had only at excessive interest rates, while Federal farm-loan banks refuse to lend money on Imperial Valley farms.

Part V. All-amehican Canal

The ail-American canal is an essential part of the project When the reclamation of Imperial Valley was first conceived that valley was nothing but a desert waste. There were no values, no money, and no credit. The private corporation which undertook the work found that by making use of an old channel in Mexico water could be diverted from the river and carried into this section at a relatively low cost. With water upon these fertile lands the community developed rapidly, and it was not long until it was found that for a large community to be wholly dependent upon the good faith of a foreign government was not at all satisfactory, but to construct a canal wholly within the United States meant the expenditure of a large sum of money. The financing of this great undertaking by the local communities would be difficult, if not impossible, under good conditions, but with an unstable river and an undependable water supply the difficulties were much increased. Storage and flood control must be had.

Early lu the development of Imperial Valley it was found by th,e promoters of the project that in order to make use of a canal through Mexican territory it was necessary to enter into a contract with that Government whereby lands in Mexico were given the right to take ouc-half of the water passing through the canal. During recent years development has proceeded in that country to the extent that at the present time something more than 200,000 acres of land is receiving water from the canal system. This can and doubtless will under present conditions continue to be increased year by year, and under the concession they would have the right to increase their use by 200,000 acres before the people of Imperial Valley would have

the right to complain. In other words, they have the right to use as much water in Mexico under this contract or concession as the people in Imperial Valley use.

The Boulder Dam, together with the all-American canal, makes possible the physical control of the river by our Government so that undue or unreasonable extension of the use of water in Mexico may be prevented and treaty rights and obligations enforced. In this regard, the all-American canal is essential to the protection of American water rights in the whole of the Colorado River Basin.


The nil-American canal, as to its feasibility, cost, and economic necessity was discussed by the special advisers to the Secretary of the Interior in their recent report, as follows:

Mr. Duiukd. From the above It seems a fair conclusion that while the blow and drift sand will present a problem in connection with the maintenance of the cannl, there seems no ground whatever for counting this problem as one of serious or of controlling Importance, and in no case as likely to Involve an Item of expense of any serious import in connection with the operation of the canal.

Passing now to the question of the engineering or economic feasibility of the canal under (a) and (b) above. It should be noted that tbe entire question reduces to one of cost. There Is no question whatever of the engineering feasibility of the undertaking. The operations required are all well known and are all within the domain of present well established nnd approved engineering practice. The section of the (•anal through the so-called "sand dune" district Is the only part of the construction regarding which any serious question under this score has been raised.

Referring to cost estimates, after discussing the basis of his conclusions, Mr. Durand said:

The statement therefore seems justified that the downward trend In many of the unit prices since 1919 combined with definite Improvements In tbe mechanical equipment required for work of this character have created a now situation with regard to the costs of such work and with the same margin for contingencies as assumed In the report of 1919, would justify a downward revision of the costs as presented In that report. Or otherwise if the estimate of cost be held the same, It would Imply a very considerably Increased margin for contingencies or unforeseen factors in the undertaking.

Such a rcestimate has indeed been made by a consulting engineer of Los Angeles, Mr. O.. G. Frisble, a consulting engineer with wide experience In work of this character and with large personal experience In and familiarity with the conditions in the Imperial Valley through which the cnnul Is to pass.

These estimates show a probable cost of about $20,000,000 as against the $30,000,000 of the report of 1919.

The undersigned has gone over these estimates carefully with Mr. Krisblc and has become convinced broadly that the improvements made during the past eight years in the mechanical equipment for excavating and handling the materials as well as other collateral economic conditions are such as to justify the expectation of reduced unit prices and of the construction of the caual at an over-all cost somewhat below the figures originally estimated.

Governor Emerson. The best solution of the situation would be the construction of the nll-American canal.

Governor Scrwiham. Economically this canal will be an advantage in that it will permit the irrigation of nn additional 200,000 acres by gravity, and keep the sources of water supply and transmission entirely In the United States, tinder present conditions, the fact that the main canal to the Imperial Valley Is partly In Mexican territory is a continuous source of irritation. The proposed canal itself is undoubtedly feasible from an engineering point of view. All operations necessary for construction are of common practice and offer no special difficulties. Opponents of the project have represented that a section of the line, known as the sand dunes, would require prohibitive costs for construction and that drifting sand would quickly fill the canal. These fears do not seem to be well founded. The Suez Canal traverses similar sand dunes, and no special construction or maintenance difficulties were encountered. Canals through sand hills were examined In certain localities In the United States, and no serious troubles were reported. There has been a marked improvement in excavating machinery in very recent years which will tend to cut the unit costs of moving yardage to figures less than estimated In the report of 1919 made on the subject. There appears, no doubt, but the caual can be constructed within the estimated sums. In the matter of keeping the canal clear of drift sand, the testimony of ol>scrvers is that there is appreciable sand movement only about 00 days a year, and the rate of advance of the dunes Is almost negligible. A concrete road, now running through the low passes in the dunes, report very little sand accumulations, nnd no difficulty whatever in keeping the road open for traffic. Even if tbe sand accumulations were much greater than anticipated, the lining of the sand dune canal

[ocr errors][ocr errors][ocr errors]

with concrete, increasing the gradient and covering the banks v-«?getation, doubtless obliterate most of the difficulties.

rnor Kmerson. The international situation applying to the Coloi-Siver is of much importance, but the construction of the deproject need not await solution. In fact, the undertaking prove of material assistance In solving the international problem.

is made by Secretary Work's special advisers to 1 1-American canal report of 1919.

^918 the Secretary of the Interior and the Imperial irrl*"* district entered into a joint contract for a study of an an caual to connect the Imperial Valley with the River without the necessity of going through Mexico. board was created consisting of Dr. Elwood Mead, the University of California; C. B. Orunskey, the Imperial irrigation district; and W. W. v' rePresenting the United States. This board made an visive study of the problems involved and recommended « construction of the canal.

Much testimony was heard by the committee on this feature of the project, and it is thought that the construction thereof Is not only entirely feasible from engineering and economic views, but is necessary to the immediate safeguarding and protection of the water supply of the lower communities, and to the ultimate conservation of the waters of the Colorado Kiver for use in the United States.

Part VI. Domestic Watke Supply

The relation of the matter of domestic water supply to the

Project here authorized is important. First, it assures beyond

Question of doubt the financial integrity of the project. The

J«rgest agency, which by contract will assume the obligation

,r reimbursing the Government for the cost of the project with

^JUerest, will undoubtedly be a public district comprising a

tr!tf.f Kfoup of cities in southern California, which will con

ftt « koth f°r storage of water at the dam, with its delivery

tt Point on the river, and also for a large block of the power

Wcessary to pump a domestic water supply to an elevation of

1,200 or 1,300 feet in order to get the water over a pass into

gouthern California.

Second, the project is so shaped that it will make possible the securing of a domestic water supply. Other plans of development tentatively suggested have not been adequate to this end.

The coastal belt in southern California, having a population at present of nearly 2.000.000, is fast reaching the limit of its available domestic supply, and careful investigations have shown that the populous cities of this coastal plain, including the city of Los Angeles, must for their own security acquire an added source of domestic water supply, and that the Colorado presents the only place where this may be secured.

Some years ago the city of Los Angeles went to Owens Valley and constructed a great aqueduct 240 miles in length to augment local sources. Even this added supply is not proving sufficient for the needs of the city.

Nearly three years ago that city voted a bond issue of $2,000,000 for preliminary surveys and investigations respecting the securing of a supply from the Colorado River, and a large part of this money has been expended, and the work done has established the feasibility of the plan, if and provided there is large storage of the flood waters of the river.

The formation of a large public district, comprising the cities of Los Angeles, Pasadena, Glendale, Orange County cities, and such other cities as desire to join, is in process of formation for the purpose of building the necessary aqueduct from the river to the coast to supply these cities with domestic water. This aqueduct will be approximately 250 miles in length and cost around $150,000,000. Because of intervening mountain ranges it will be necessary to pump the water some 1,300 feet. While this will be costly, a cheap and dependable source of power will not only reduce the financial burden but is necessary to make the project at all feasible.

The amount of water required by these cities is 1,500 secondfeet. This, of course, will not all be necessary at once, but at these cities are growing rapidly, they must look to the future and provide for their vital necessities.

To raise a full 1.500 second-feet to an elevation of 1.300 feet will ultimately require approximately 350,000 firm horsepower of electricity. This district will be an applicant for a contract for sufficient power at the dam to handle the necessary pumping.

Large storage at Boulder Cnnyon is ideally fitted to make it possible for these cities to procure a domestic water supply. The capacity of the reservoir is sufficiently large that there may fie obtained enough storage to protect against dry years or against the upper basin States retaining all or substantially all of the flow of the river during a period of dry years. Full

conservation thus effected will permit of the utilization of water for a domestic supply without impinging upon irrigation requirements. The dam and reservoir also accomplish certain desilting processes essential to successful consummation of the plan of securing domestic water supply. Part VII. Power

Power may well be described as the burden bearer of the project here authorized.

A low flood-control dam would cost approximately two-thirds as much as the dam here authorized, and represents an outlay by the Federal Treasury which could not be recovered. By providing for a dam of the height here authorized the floods of the river will be fully conserved, irrigation uses fully protected, opportunity afforded to populous cities of the coast to secure a necessary domestic water supply, and hydroelectric power will be made available in such amount and of such desirability as will bear a major portion of the cost of the entire development.

An eager market awaits this power. Private utilities would secure a part of it. The great district contemplating a water supply will desire a very substantial part; cities like Los Angeles, Pasadena, Gleudale, and Riverside are applicants. States contiguous to the dam will want their share. In short, there can be no doubt but that all the power will be contracted for at once.

It is not strange that this is so, for the power will be desirable power. According to the estimates of the Reclamation Service, if the Government builds the power plants, and the electric energy is sold at the switchboard at 3 mills per kilowatthour, this price will take care of all operating and maintenance expense, interest on the cost of the all-American canal, and with revenues from sale of water insure the retirement of the entire investment of the Government with interest within a period of 25 years.

There will become available upon the construction of the dam 550,000 firm or constant horsepower. Conditions indicate that this would be used upon a 55 per cent load factor, calling for the installation at the dam of plants with an installed capacity of 1,000,000 horsepower. This equipment will be installed in units of approximately 100,000 horsepower.

Units can, of course, be installed as the market calls for the power.

Furthermore, some of the power will be available while the dam is in course of construction. Thus the release of this large amount of power will not come in one block but only gradually as it can be absorbed by the market.

There were many indications in the testimony adduced b?fore the committee that there would be considerable competition to secure this very desirable power. The committee has so framed the legislation to guard as fully as might be against this asset, created by Federal initiative, being monopolized by any one agency. The bill contemplates that the power will be fairly and equitably distributed amongst the various agencies applying therefore, thus insuring the widest and fairest possible distribution of the benefits.

Paht VIII. Authority Or Tub Government

The authority of the United States to undertake this necessary construction can not be seriously questioned.

While the navigability of the Colorndo River has not been judicially determined evidence has been presented which would tend toward the conclusion that the river is navigable as a matter of law. The proposed dura would improve navigation probably more than any other works which could be constructed. The dam will so regulate the flow ns to make the river very practicable of navigation for 200 miles below and impounded water above which could easily be navigated for more than 75 miles.

The rights of the United States under the commerce clause of the Constitution to construct works in a navigable stream to improve navigation is settled beyond all possible question. It is also brought to the attention of the committee that there are two transcontinental railroads and three Federal-aid transcontinental highways crossing the river below the Boulder Dam site. These five interstate lines of commerce would bv safeguarded against the possibility of destruction by floods on the river by the construction of the proposed dam. The coinmeiTe clause of the Constitution refers to commerce by laud as well as by water.

The proposed dam will provide the initial facilities for tlie ultimate reclamation of perhaps 1.000.000 acres of public lands. These lands are property of tlie United States over which the United States is sovereign. With irrigation they may ultimately be very valuable but in their present desert state they have practically no value at all. To provide water for irrigation storage as contemplated by the construction of tlie proposed dam Is essential. The right of the United States to reclaim and Improve its lands has long since been adjudicated.

The United States is the most considerable property owner along the lower Colorado River. Great floods may make the reclamation of this property impossible. The United States has invested many millions of dollars in the Yuma project under the Bureau of Reclamation, including the Lagnna Dam and 17 miles of main canal in California and the great siphon under the river to the Arizona side and a hydroelectric power plant at the cost of $250,000 on this main canal in California for the benefit of the Yuma project. Only a small part of this great investment lias been yet repaid. A great flood would destroy these works and make impossible the repayment to the United States of the moneys invested. Clearly the United States is authorized to do such works as the Congress deems necessary to protect its own property. Under this authority the Government has already expended the sum of $2,840,000 or thereabouts for the protection of the Yuma project from floods. This money was expended for levees and it is estimated that the annual maintenance of the same will amount to $100,000 indefinitely.

The Hon. James II. Garfleld, former Secretary of the Interior and special adviser to the present Secretary of the Interior, made a study of the problems involved during the summer of 1927, and in his report says:

The right of Congress to construct the proposed ilam is derived from the commerce clause of the Constitution, its control over the public domain, its control over the navigable streams, its obligations to deal with international relations and interests, its powers under the reclamation law, and its rights as a landowner. In the exercise of those powers it may do such things as are necessary and incident to the exercise of those powers. Its right to exercise those powers has been sustained by the Supreme Court of the United States.

• * * It Is urged by some that Congress is without authority to authorize appropriations for the development and sale of power. I am of the opinion that this position is not sound. Such appropriations would be incidental to the main purpose of the construction of the dam and would clearly come within powers of Congress. The question is not academic for the reasons that the United States has already constructed, through the Bureau of Reclamation, a number of power plants and has sold the power for the purposes suggested in the present instance, and no attack upon the exercise of that power has been successful.

Taut IX. Fok.m Of Bill

The bill herewith presented has been given consideration commensurate with the great project it authorizes and the various purposes its enactment will accomplish.

It has undergone many changes and improvements. New ideas have been incorporated. The financial plan wa.s prepared by the Secretary of the Treasury. Provisions to settle water rights on the river have come largely from the official representatives of upper-basin States. Valuable suggestions have originated in Federal departments having to do with the development.

The project is an intricate one. One phase has its effect upon another and apparently unrelated aspect. Each phase has been carefully covered by the bill without impinging upon any other phase.

Approximately one-third of the bill deals with the matter of interstate water rights and the Colorado River compact, and approximately one-quarter of it deals with the financial features. As to the administration of the project this has not been burdened with undue details. Necessarily, something must be left to responsible administrative agencies. This has been done and the Secretary of the Interior, who is charged with the duty of financing and managing the development, is given a reasonable leeway in arranging contracts, fixing prices, and allocating benefits. This is illustrated in the optional provisions respecting power. The Secretary may lease the right to use the water at the dam or he may construct plants and sell power at the switchboard, as may seem best to him, to the end that j he may meet the requirement of completely financing the project—and this largely through the disposition of power or power rights. Fundamentals are covered. Details are appropriately left to be worked out by the Secretary.

Again, Governor Emerson, in speaking to this point in his recent report to the Secretary of the Interior, said:

The general principles of the measure introduced in Congress and identified under the name of the Swing-Johnson bill embody a plan generally satisfactory for the undertaking by the Federal Government of the construction of the Blnek or Boulder Canyon project and the all-American canal. The undertaking of these constructive projects would be of great value and would afford solution of the major physical problems now applying to the Colorado River.


This bill should be passed because—

First. Congress should no longer risk a flood catastrophe to Imperial Valley—a catastrophe which further delay only courts.

Second. Reclamation possibilities in the lower basin should be safeguarded and taken care of before it is too late. Unless something is done the river will be acquired for power development exclusively. Mexico is constantly building up added claims to its waters.

Third. The Mexican situation must be met It is not sound policy to allow a condition to continue by which that country may and will go on using more and more water from the river, and this at the expense of existing and future irrigation in the United States.

Fourth. The Government should aid its people to secure their necessities in the way of domestic water supply, where it can do so, as here, without cost and as an incident in carrying out other Federal purposes such as river regulation and reclamation.

Fifth. It will convert a natural menace into a national asset.

Sixth. A financial scheme is presented by which the development will be completely prefinanced, thus fully protecting the Federal Treasury and the general taxpayer.

Seventh. It settles in large part water rights between States in a sensible and practical way, substituting interstate agreements for interminable litigation and controversy. Further delay points to the latter untoward results and the disintegration of the plan of settling water rights by interstate compact.

There is submitted herewith for the information of the House a letter from the Secretary of the Interior addressed to me recommending the enactment of the legislation which was before the House in the last Congress dated January 18, 192G, and a letter from the Secretary to me recommending the pending bill dated January 4, 1SI28; also a letter from the Acting Secretary of the Treasury dated April 5, 1926, concerning the financial provisions of the bill which was under consideration during the last Congress; also the law of April 19, 1921. authorizing the appointment of commissioners to divide the waters of the Colorado River, and a copy of the Colorado River compact, signed at Santa Fe, N. Mex., November 24, 1922:

Department Op The Ixtkbiob,

Wasliinfflon, January IS, &X. Hon. Addison T. Smith,

Chairman Committee on Irrigation and Reclamation,

House of Ri'itreacntatireJi.

All Dear Mr. Smith: I have received your letter of January 14, transmitting, with request for report, a copy of H. R. 0251, entitled "A bill to provide for the protection and development of the lower Colorado River Basin."

Instead of discussing the provisions of this bill section by section, I desire to submit some suggestions regarding the policy and procedure to be followed in this development and the legislation required to secure the desired results. It is assumed that the dam and reservoir to be created are essentially those described in a report of the Bureau of Reclamation dated February 28, 1924, which proposes a dam 350 feet high and n reservoir to impound 20.000,000 acre-feet of water, and that the all-American canal for connecting the Colorado River with the Imperial and Coachclla Valleys is substantially the one described in Senate Document No. 142 and in the report of the all-American canal board, published In 1920.

It is my understanding that the primary purpose of this scheme is to regulate and control the flow of the river below the dam so as to lessen the menace from floods to low-lying land below; to increase the water supply for irrigation in seasons of drought and provide an adequate water supply at all seasons of the year for household and industrial uses In growing cities and towns; and to generate electric energy both as a means of making this project a liuancially solvent undertaking and contributing to the general prosperity of the southwestern part of the country. The general plan and purpose of this measure has iny support, and I favor it being made a national undertaking, to be carried out and administered by the Federal Government.

Interstate and international rights and interests involve the diversified benefits from the construction of these works, the waiting necessities of cities for increased water supplies, the large development of latent agricultural resources, the protection of these already developed and the immense Industrial benefits which may come from the production of cheap power, which together appear to render the construction and subsequent control of these works a measure of such economic and social importance that no agency but the Federal Government should be intrusted with the protection of rights or distribution of its opportunities. All uses can be coordinated and the fullest benefits realized only by their centralized control.

I shall therefore consider this development ai including three features:

[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]


[ocr errors]

ria to

[ocr errors]

A dam approximately 530 feet high, creating a reservoir holding

000 acre-feet of water.

Works for the generation of electric power.

An all-American canal starting at Laguna Dam and delivering

to the Imperial and Conchella Valley canals.

• reservoir should be regulated primarily to safeguard the valleys izona and California, including Imperial Valley with its present « ire development from the destructive effect of large floods.

- levels In the reservoir would be raised during flood periods and .- «1 at other times, thus equalizing the discharge of the river

and securing a regulated flow for Irrigation and power. The so Impounded should be sold to cities requiring it for domestic Tt>^=«^ and other municipal uses and to irrigation districts, like that Imperial Valley, desiring a complete or supplemental water .- under the provisions of the Warren Act, payment to be made clefinite volume of water each year.

electric energy generated should be sold to the highest and best 'lik.1 «.-«•*», with due regard to public Interest, at. the swlchboard of the plant. Contracts should not exceed 50 years In duration. Trans1 of power and its distribution to be provided by the purchasers, supplied for domestic, Industrial, or Irrigation uses should be

1 at the dam, at points along the river agreed upon, and at I mill of the nil-American canal. Trices for this water should be

f-o at least repay all of the cost of operation and maintenance of ^ and an equitable part of the operating expenses of the dam. fc the revenues from power, will, we believe, repay the entire *»»«i»t in this development, with 4 per cent interest.

ney for this development should. I lirllere, be provided by a • of the United States. It should be for a sum sufficient to r the construction of the dam, the power plant, and the allcanal. An additional sum should be Included In the authoripay Interest on bonds sold during the period of construction, such time as the revenue will meet Interest charges. 1'ro*» money for this development through a special bond issue will I iturbance of the regular fiscal operations of the Government. *jviate provision by the Budget for the money needed during * on. The bonds could be sold as money would be needed. -~ Son would extend over a period of between 5 and 10 years If *v? carried on at a rate to secure the greatest efficiency. ^ sale of water to irrigation districts and municipalities the Mib of the reclamation act and of the Warren Act would apply. >j|.\j<"h an adjustment of burdens and benefits should stimulate irrigation development because of the generous terms on which water will be supplied and at the same time result in a considerable revenue from the water furnished for irrigation, domestic, and industrial uses. But the money-earning feature of this development Is power. The revenue from the sale of power will, it is believed, alone repay the entire cost of these works with Interest at 4 per cent.

With this general outline of the development program favored, I submit comments on features of the bill which are approved and others which it Is believed should be modified.

The necessity for the all-American canal and the size and cost of this canal depend largely on whether the existing concession under which water is now diverted from the Colorado River at Hanlons Heading «nd carried through Mexico to Irrigators in the Imperial Valley can be modified. If It can not be. then the all-Ainerlcan canal becomes an indispensable part of this development. Under this contract or concession the Mexican Government gave a corporation permission' to build and operate a canal across Mexican territory to irrigate land in California on condition that Mexican Irrigators be given, if they desire It, one-half of all the water divectcd Into this canal from the Colorado River. Hence the canal has to be double the capacity required to meet the needs of California. The river has to supply double the water needed In California, and the rights of Mexicans to water under this concession grow as the irrigated area is extended in California.

The canal now supplies water for the Irrigation of over 400.000 acres In California, and Irrigators In Mexico at present require water for the irrigation of 200,000 acres. But Mexican Irrigators are entitled under this concession to double the volume they are now using, or for enough to Irrigate as many acres as arc now irrigated In California. That i« more water than the unregulated flow of the river will now supply. As the Mexican irrigators are on the upper end of the canal, the pinch of scarcity, when it has come in the past or when It may come in the future, falls first on irrigators in the United States, which

1 The Sociedad de Riego y Terrenos de la Baja California S. A. is authorized to carry through the canal which it has built in Mexican territory, and through other canals that it may build. If convenient water to an amount of 284 cubic meters (10,000 cubic feet) per second from the waters taken from the Colorado Itiver in territory of the United States by the California Development Co., and which waters this company has ceded to the Sociedad de Klego y Terreiios de la Baja California 8. A. It Is also authorized to carry to the lands of the United States the water with the exception of that mentioned in the following article.

from the water mentioned in the foregoing article enough shall be used to irrigate the lands susceptible of Irrigation in Lower California with the water carried through the canal or canals, without in any case the amount of water used exceeding one-half of the volume of water passing through said canals.

country supplies the water, all the construction cost, and nil the money advanced for operation. It is unfair to California irrigators now and will be even more so after the reservoir Is built.

It is physically possible to irrigate much more thah 400,000 acres from this canal In Mexico. If this concession remains In force without any amendment and the canal continues to be used as now, the irrigated area In Mexico will continue to extend. The volume needed to be diverted from the river would be more than the direct flow at the lowwater season, and the area irrigated In California would be subject to ruinous uncertainties and loss. If storage Is provided, a pnrt of the water for the Irrigation of lands in Mexico would, under this concession, have to be supplied from the reservoir, as this canal would be the only means of conveying water to the Imperial Valley, and It can be operated only If the terms of the Mexican concession are compiled with.

If, however, the Government of Mexico would consent to a modification of this concession and definitely limit the volume of water to which Mexican irrigators would he entitled, then the future use of the present canal would be economical and desirable, a smaller high line could be built and utilized mainly for the irrigation of the higher lands of the Imperial and Conchella Valleys. Thus far no negotiations for the modification of this concession have been made. It is not known what the attitude of the Mexican Government would be, and plans for this development should therefore Include provision for an all-American canal as an essential part of the scheme.

The building of a unified power plant by the. Federal Government In the place of allocating power privileges, as proposed in the bill, In regarded as more efficient and cheaper. It will obviate controversies between applicants, and long delays In their adjustment. In the end, results will, I believe, be superior to those possible under an allocation of privileges. The area for the location of separate power sites In restricted. Allotments would not be equal In value. Some allotteea would, therefore, have an advantage over others. It would result in the creation of operation and administration controversies to be avoided and which a unified development will avert.

The transmission lines for the distribution and retailing of this power should be financed by Its purchasers. To secure the greatest economy, main transmission lines leading to different localities should be constructed for joint use. This plan of power development Is not an experiment. It has been adopted by the Government with satisfactory results in the. construction of other reclamation works where the generation of power is an Incident to irrigation development. Salt Itlver, Mlnldoka, I.ahontan, and Guernsey are Illustrations.

Section 6 provides that no part of the construction cost of the dam and the appurtenant works shall be charged against any lands irrigated hy the waters of the reservoir. If the all-Amerlcan canal is to be considered as an appurtenant work, the bill should be amended. It Is believed that the sales of water from this canal will return not only the cost of operation and maintenance but pay construction costs without interest, as is done on other reclamation projects.

All revenues from power, irrigation, and domestic water supplies should be placed in a common fund and used for the payment of Interest, operating expenses, and build up a sinking fund for redeeming the entire bond issue.

In order to give assurance before any large expenditure Is incurred that the anticipated revenues from this development will he obtained, the bill should contain a provision that before any bonds are issued and sold, and before awarding any contracts for construction, the Secretary of the Interior shall secure the execution of contracts with irrigation districts, municipalities, and corporations, on terms to be fixed, for the delivery of all water to be supplied for irrigation, domestic, and municipal uses, and shall obtain definite commitment for the purchase of power from responsible bidders in an amount to insure a sufficient return from this development to repay the money to be expended with interest within a period of BO years.

Section 8, which provides for the distribution and use of all water for irrigation, power, and otherwise, in accordance with the Colorado River compact, seems well conceived and is a necessary part of this legislation. This appears to afford ample protection and assurance to those States included In the upper division of the watershed against the creation of a priority of right through the building of these works, which would impair in any way their right to the volume of water guaranteed to that division In the compact. I suggest for consideration amendment to the effect that the benefits to be derived from this development shall be available only to those States or the citizens of those States which have ratified the compact.

I suggest the amendment of section 9 as follows: In line 1, page 11, strike out the words "the proportionate share" and Insert In lieu thereof the words "an equitable share in accordance with the benefits received." After the word "lands" in line ID Insert "subject, however, to the provisions of subsection C of section 4, act of December 6, 1924 (43 Stat. 702)." The first amendment suggested Is designed to avoid the necessity of fixing a flat-rate charge without regard to the classification or quality of the land. Experience has shown that a flatrate charge Is undesirable in some cases. The second amendment I believe of prime importance. If soldiers and sailors arc to be given a preference, experience hat shown that provision should he made for selection. This la desirable for the protection of nil prospective entrymen, soldiers, and sailors, as well as civilians.

Since section' 1 provides for the building of a dam either at Black Canyon or Boulder Canyon, I suggest that line 11, section 10, be amended so as to designate the subfund there mentioned as the "Colorado River dam fund," which would be applicable in either case. The present designation might possibly prove a misnomer. I suggest tbe following proviso be inserted at the end of section 10 of the bill:

"Provided, however, That no work shall be begun and no moneys expended on or in connection with tbe works or structures provided for in this act until tbe respective legislatures of at least six of the signatory States mentioned In section 13 hereof shall have approved the Colorado River compact mentioned lu said section 13 and shall have consented to a waiver of the provision of the first paragraph of article 11 of said compact making the same binding and obligatory when it shall have been approved by tbe legislatures of each of the seven signatory States, and until the President, by public proclamation, shall have declared that the said compact has been approved by and become binding and obligatory upon at least six of the signatory States."

An approximate estimate of costs, operating expenses, and income loaves no question as to the ultimate solvency of this undertaking If carried out along the lines proposes. The main source of revenue will be power, and the rate assumed Is lower than the wholesale prices now being paid in the West. Those of which we have Information range from 3% to 8 mills per kilowatt-hour, measured at the switchboard. As the largest consumers of this power would be distant, a low figure of 3 mills per kilowatt-hour at the switchboard baa been assumed in the estimates which follow:

Cotoratlo Klrer development Boulder Canyon Reservoir, ail-American



Estimated cost for —

26.000.000-acre-foot reservoir ______________________ $41,500,000

1.000,000-horsepower development __________________ 31, 500, 000

The all-American canal ___________________________ 31, 000, 000

Interest during construction on above, 5 years, at

4 per cent ------------------------------------ 21,000,000

Total ______________________________________ 125, 000. 000


Estimated gross revenues from —

Sale 3.6 billion kilowatt-honrs power at 3/10 cent ___ 10, 800, 000

. ___

Storage and delivery of water for Irrigation and do

ttiextic purposes


Total 12. 300. OOP

Estimated fixed annual charges for—

Operation and maintenance, storage and power 700, 000

Operation and maintenance, all-American canal 500, 000

Interest on $125,000,000, at 4 per cent 5, 000, 000

Total 6, 200, 000

Estimated annual surplus, $6,100,000, or thought to be sufficient to repay the entire cost in 25 years.

The height of this dam as fixed will not prevent the construction of the proposed dams at Diamond Creek or Bridge Canyon. The approval of this project should open the way for other development and encourage the construction of projects above this dam for development of irrigation, power, or other purposes.

Although the difficulties of construction and magnitude of the proposed structure compared with any other for similar purposes are unprecedented, assuming that It is a feasible engineering possibility, the Reclamation Bureau of tbe Department of the Interior as now organized, with its present commissioner, is competent to construct the works contemplated in S. 1868.

With the amendments suggested, I recommend the favorable consideration of this bill by Congress.

Respectfully submitted.

Hcbebt Work.

Hefort Of The Secretary Of The Interior Ox H. R. 5773
Department Of The Intekior,

Washington, January k, 1918. Hon. Addison T. Smith,

Chairman Committee on Irrigation and Reclamation,

House of Representatives.

My Dear Mr. Smith: I have letter from the clerk of your committee of December 9, transmitting, with a request for report, a copy of II. R. 5773, entitled "A bill to provide for the construction of works for the protection and development of the lower Colorado River Basin, for the approval of the Colorado River compact, and for other purposes."

This bill Is very similar In its general aspects to 8. 1868, Sixtyninth Congress, and other bills for this purpose upon which the department has heretofore reported.

The dam and reservoir to be created presumably are essentially those described in the report of the Bureau of Reclamation dated

February 28, 1924, which proposes the construction of a dam substantially 550 feet high and a reservoir to impound 26,000,000 acrefeet of water. The present bill provides for construction of a reservoir with a capacity of not less than 20,000,000 acre-feet.

The all-Americnn canal for connecting the Colorado River with the Imperial and Coachella Valleys, the construction of which is provided for, Is substantially the one described In Senate Document No. 142 and in the report of the All-American Canal Board published in 1020.

It is my understanding that the primary purpose of this scheme Is to regulate and control the flow of the river below the dam, so as to lessen the menace from floods to low-lying land below, to increase the water supply for irrigation In Reasons of drought, and provide an adequate water supply at all seasons of the year for household and industrial uses in growing cities and towns, and to generate electric energy both as a moans of making this project a financially solvent undertaking, and contributing to the general prosperity of the southwestern part of the country. The general plan and purpose of this measure have my support, and I favor its being made a national undertaking, to be carried out and administered by the Federal Government.

The settlement of Interstate and international problems growing out of the use of this river will be promoted by the construction of these works. It will give a more definite basis for negotiations of the International Water Commission appointed by authority of the last Congress in formulating the basis of a treaty with Mexico. Tbe diversified benefits and the new rights to be created include the necessities of cities for Increased water supply, the large development of latent agricultural resources, the protection of those already developed, and the industrial benefits which may come from the production of cheap power. These factors appear to render the construction and subsequent control of these works a measure of such economic and social importance that no agency other than the Federal Government should be intrusted with the protection of rights or distribution of Its opportunities. All uses can be coordinated and the fullest benefits realized only by their centralized national control.

I shall therefore consider this development as including three features:

(1) A dam approximately 550 feet high creating a reservoir holding not less than 20,000,000 acre-feet of water.

(2) Works for the generation of electric power.

(3) An ail-American canal starting at Laguna Dam and delivering water to the Imperial and Coacbella Valley Canals.

The reservoir should be regulated, primarily to safeguard the valleys in Arizona and California, Including Imperial Valley with its present extensive development, from the destructive effect of large floods. Water levels in the reservoir would be raised during flood periods and lowered at other times, thus equalizing the discharge of the river below and securing a regulated flow for irrigation and power. The water so impounded should be sold to cities requiring It for domestic purposes and other municipal uses and to irrigation districts, like that of the Imperial Valley, desiring a complete or supplemental water supply under tbe provisions of tbe Warren Act, payment to be made for a definite volume of water each year.

The plan Incorporated in the bill for power development is approved.

The plan of financing set out in sections 2 and 3 of the bill seems sound.

The all-American canal is an essential part of the plan. It will enable the Government to distribute its stored water effectively and to reach by gravity a large area of land that could otherwise be served only by pumping. If a satisfactory agreement could be reached with Mexico for operation of the existing main canal, it might be possible to defer for a time the construction of the ail-American canal, but legislative authority for Its construction Is a necessary feature of this legislation.

The provisions relating to the Colorado River compact appear well conceived, and I believe are sufficient to afford the necessary protection to all States Involved.

It is estimated by the engineers that the sum of $125,000,000 is sufficient to cover construction cost and operating expenses and to finance the project on the plan stated in tbe bill. There is no reason to question the ultimate solvency of this undertaking if carried out along the lines proposed.

The height of this dam as fixed will not prevent the construction of the proposed dams at Diamond Creek or Bridge Canyon. The approval of this project should open the way for other development and encourage the construction of projects above this dam for development of irrigation, power, or other purposes.

This bill has been referred to the Director of the Bureau of the Budget, who advises that the proposed legislation would not be In conflict with the financial program of the President unless the pending revenue bill should result in tax reduction in a materially greater amount than that recommended by the Secretary of the Treasury and by the President.

For the reasons stated I recommend the favorable consideration of the bill.

Very truly yours, Hubert Work.

« ПретходнаНастави »