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The general plan and purpose of this measure have my support, and Part V. All-American canal, I favor its being made a national undertaking, to be carried out and Part VI. Domestic water. administered by the Federal Government.
Part VII. Power. * For the reasons stated, I recommend the favorable con- Part VIII. Authority of the Government. sideration of the bill.
Part IX. Form of bill. The paramount purpose of this legislation is the protection PART I.-- THE COLORADO RIVER AND ITS CHARACTERISTICS, AND THE of human life and property in Imperial Valley, Calif., which
IMPERIAL VALLEY are under a constant menace of destruction from the floods of To grasp the urgent need of this project calls for a brief a rebellious and treacherous river. Other valleys in the lower statement of the characteristics of the Colorado River, as well Colorado also greatly need protection from its high-water flow, as of the Imperial Valley in California. including Yuma and Parker in Arizona and Palo Verde and The Colorado is one of the great rivers of the United States. Needles in California. All these have suffered from the floods Rising in the high mountains of Colorado and Wyoming, it of the Colorado. All are concerned with Imperial Valley in flows through these States and the States of Utah, Arizona, the solution of its mighty problem. This bill presents a project Nevada, and California. It forms part of the boundary between which will afford such solution.
Arizona and Nevada and between Arizona and California. The great constructive development proposed by this legis- After crossing the boundary line between the United States lation not only will end the river's menace but will also put its and Mexico it flows some 50 miles through the latter country wasting waters to work in the interest of society, creating new and discharges into the head of the Gulf of California. homes, building up new industries, adding to the wealth of Actual measurements, taken over a period of 25 years, show the Nation and the well-being of a considerable portion of its an average annual discharge of water by the river of approxipeople.
mately 17,000,000 acre-feet. The river varies greatly in flow, This legislation and the project it authorizes have received both annual and seasonal. One year the discharge may be as the most careful study and earnest consideration by the com- great as 25,000,000 acre-feet; another year it may be as low mittee for the last four Congresses, and volumes of testimony as 9,000,000 acre-feet. Even more striking is the seasonal have been compiled. During this Congress the committee has variation. In flood, the discharge at times is more than devoted much time to the hearing of testimony respecting the 200,000 cubic feet per second. In August, September, and project and to the consideration of the provisions of the legis- October the river is at low flow. Frequently this flow is as lation authorizing it. The committee has had before it the low as 2,500 cubic feet per second; on September 11, 1924, report of the hearings held during the Sixty-seventh, Sixty- it was less than 1,300 cubic feet per second. eighth, and Sixty-ninth Congresses, comprising thousands of The rim of the upper drainage basin of the river is compages of testimony, as well as extensive and detailed reports posed largely of high mountain ranges. Melting snows from by Federal agencies charged with the duty of studying the these ranges and the rainfall increase its volume. The lower Colorado River.
portion of the basin is composed of hot, arid plains of low The committee also had the benefit of the recent reports of altitude, broken by short mountain groups. The central porHon. James R. Garfield, former Secretary of the Interior ; Hon. tion consists of a high plateau, through which the river runs Frank C. Emerson, Governor of Wyoming; Dr. William F. for hundreds of miles in a deep and narrow canyon. Durand, of Stanford University; and Hon. James G. Scrugham,
As the river flows from the plateau region it picks up former Governor of Nevada, who acted as special advisers to tremendous quantities of silt, which is carried into the lower the Secretary of the Interior at his request, and which have reaches of the river, the annual discharge below Yuma being been printed as part 4 of the hearings. Many members of the over 100,000 acre-feet, or more than 161,000,000 cubic yards, an committee have inspected the site of the great dam which the amount equal in volume to the total excavations made by the bill authorizes, the section of Mexico through which the canal United States in constructing the Panama Canal. passes, the Imperial Valley, which is the region most menaced
Imperial Valley lies in the southeasterly portion of Caliby the river's flood waters, as well as other sections of the fornia. On the south it is bounded by the Mexican line; its Southwest which will be directly affected by the development. easterly edge is about 40 miles west of the Colorado River. It may be said with perfect accuracy that no project of in- On the American side of the line it is separated from the river ternal improvement has ever come before Congress backed by by a range of low sand hills, which lie between the river chansuch extended and exhaustive consideration as has been ac- nel and the valley floor. Centuries ago the Imperial Valley corded to this one.
was the northerly end of the Gulf of California. The treNot alone does this bill, as expressed in its title, authorize mendous quantities of silt carried by the river gradually built works "for the protection and development of the lower Colo
a great delta across the gulf, completely separating the northrado River Basin,” but it represents a vitally important step ern from the southern end of the gulf. Evaporation unwatered in the plan to protect and safeguard the interest of States and the region thus cut off and left Imperial Valley. Thus Imperial communities far removed from the works to be built, thus per; its rim from 100 to 300 feet above the valley's floor.
Valley lies like a great saucer with the Colorado running along mitting these States and communities to look to the future with the assurance which established water rights give to regions River through a canal starting from the river just above the
This valley secures its sole water supply from the Colorado dependent upon irrigation for their agricultural existence. While the works here authorized are of great magnitude, a
international boundary, and thence running for many miles financial plan has been worked out with the assistance of the through Mexico before reentering the United States. Secretary of the Treasury and incorporated in the bill, under
Imperial Valley has a population of 65,000 people, six wellwhich their cost will not burden the Federal Treasury nor
built, incorporated cities, besides several unincorporated towns, weigh upon the general taxpayer.. The financial burden of
over 400,000 acres of cultivated farms, and property values the development is placed upon its immediate beneficiaries. of over $100,000,000. Thus section 4 (b) of the bill provides :
As irrigation uses have increased up the river, and particu
larly as irrigation has increased in Mexico, the water available (b) Before any money is appropriated, or any construction work
for irrigation in the valley during the period of low flow of the done or contracted for, the Secretary of the Interior shall make provi- river has grown less and less. sion for revenues, by contract or otherwise, in accordance with the Imperial and Coachella Valleys, during May, June, and July provisions of this act, adequate, in his judgment, to insure payment of each year, are threatened by destruction by flood. In Sepof all expenses of operation and maintenance of said works incurred
tember and October Imperial Valley is threatened by, and has by the United States and the repayment, within 50 years from the
actually suffered, millions of dollars of loss from drought, date of the completion of the project, of all amounts advanced to the
and the same is also true, only in a lesser degree, of Yuma, fund under subdivision (b) of section 2, together with interest | Parker, and Mojave Valleys in Arizona and Palo Verde Valley thereon,
in California. The moneys advanced to the fund, referred to, embrace not Part II. THE BOULDER CANYON PROJECT—ITS DEVELOPMENT AND PLAN only money actually appropriated to cover the cost of the work
THE PROJECT but interest on the same during the period of construction. The works authorized are
The project falls naturally into nine divisions or parts, as First. A dam 550 feet in height at Boulder or Black Canyon, follows:
where the river forms the boundary between Arizona and Part I. The Colorado River and its characteristics, and the Nevada. Not only do these canyons furnish a wonderful natuImperial Valley.
ral dam site, but here is an equally wonderful natural reservoir Part II. The Boulder Canyon project, its development and site, where there will be impounded 26,000,000 acre-feet of water. plan.
The estimated cost of the dam is $41,500,000, or but $1.62 per Part III. The Colorado River compact, the upper and lower acre-foot of storage. basins.
Second. Power plants to utilize the water power created at Part IV. Flood control,
the dam. (The construction of plants is left optional with the Secretary. He may instead lease the water power.) Five hun- these things will be done. The problem that we have to consider, howdred and fifty thousand firm or constant horsepower will be ever, is that which will serve the next generation in the most economiavailable, or 1,000,000 horsepower on a 55 per cent load factor. cal manner, and we must take capital expenditure and power markets The estimated cost of installing plants of 1,000,000-horsepower into consideration in determining this. I can conceive the development capacity is $31,500,000, or $31.50 per installed horsepower, while of probably 15 different dams on the Colorado River, the securing of the cost per installed horsepower of both dam and plants is 6,000,000 or 7,000,000 horsepower; but the only place where there is an but $73.
economic market for power to-day, at least of any consequence, is in Third. An all-American canal from the river to the Imperial southern California, the economical distance for the most of such dams Valley and Coachella Valley. The estimated cost of the canal being too remote for that market. No doubt markets will grow in time is $31,000,000.
so as to warrant the construction of dams all up and down the river. Interest during construction on the cost of these works is We have to consider here the problem of financing; that in the erection estimated at $21,000,000, which added to their cost makes of a dam, or of any works for that matter, we must make such recovery $125,000,000, the amount of the authorized appropriation. The as we can on the cost, and therefore we must find an immediate market item of interest during construction does not, of course, repre
for power. For that reason it seems to be that logic drives us as near sent an actual appropriation, and should the Secretary elect to the lower market as possible, and that it therefore takes us down not to build power plants the cost of construction of the works into the lower canyon. (Hearings on S. Res. 320, 68th Cong., 2d sess., would be reduced to $72,500,000, with a corresponding reduction
p. 601.) of the interest item during construction.
Mr. Garfield, one of the special advisers, in his report to the PURPOSES OF THE PROJECT
Secretary of the Interior, stated as follows: This project, fortunately, will accomplish a number of impor
I am satisfied that the most favorable site for first construction is at tant purposes.
Boulder Canyon. At that point the opportunity is afforded to conFirst. It will end the ever-increasing flood menace of the struct a dam which would impound approximately 26,000,000 acre-feet lower river, which threatens the destruction of large and im- of water, thus assuring, as far as it is humanly possible to assure, the portant communities lying under the level of its channel. The storage of floods and permit a flow in the river below at such times and great reservoir will catch and hold the flood waters until they
in such quantities as would provide for future irrigation and prevent can be released at a rate which the river channel can accommo
the disasters which have been and will be attendant upon unregulated date with safety. The water so stored will guarantee the floods. lower-basin communities, especially Imperial Valley, a de- The recent report of Governor Scrugham to the Secretary of pendable water supply, and by thus making use of the flood the Interior also said: waters in the lower basin the upper reaches of the river will furnish abundant water for use in the upper basin without These two sites, on account of their adjacent location and market
Upper Boulder Canyon and lower Boulder Canyon or Black Canyon: encroaching upon prior appropriations below.
Second. It will end an intolerable situation which now exists superiority to all other locations, are best considered together. in Imperial Valley. This valley now secures its sole water sup- of high and large impounding reservoir.
1. Both sites are topographically well adapted for the construction ply by a canal which runs for some 60 miles through Mexico. The all-American canal will furnish a substitute for this and at
2. The rock formation at the upper Boulder site is granite. At the the same time carry the water at an elevation sufficient to make
lower Boulder or Black site is a highly silicified adesitic tuff which is
more monolithic in character. possible, at some future date, the irrigation of additional land,
3. For the same height of dam above low water, the Black Canyon mostly public, lying about the rim of the cultivated area. Third. Flood waters conserved at the dam and reservoir, the same elevation of economic high-water level the advantage is very
site will give somewhat larger reservoir and storage capacity. For besides providing for irrigation needs below, will provide for a much needed domestic water supply for cities on the Pacific much in favor of the Black Canyon site.
4. This lower site also has available large deposits of suitable gravel coast. Fourth. The dam and reservoir will incidentally create a
and other necessary construction materials which will reduce con
struction costs. large amount of hydroelectric power from the disposal of which
5. The Black Canyon site is readily accessible by rail and wagon the project will be in large part financed. Fifth. The dam will improve navigation, safeguard interstate road. The upper Boulder
, Bridge, Diamond, and Glen Canyon sites are
all very difficult of access. commerce, and protect Government property. Under the opera
6. The Black Canyon site has more suitable bedrock for dam foundation of the project the flow of the river below the dam will be regulated and even. With its flow unregulated the river can walls are closer together and there are more favorable locations for
tions at distinctly less depth than other sites examined. The canyon not be successfully used as a highway for commerce. In its
the proposed power house and construction camps. All of these items regulated form it will be susceptible to use by power boats and
will tend to reduce construction costs. other small craft. The great reservoir will, of course, be
7. The Black Canyon site is closer to the territory to be served by susceptible of navigation.
the reservoir than any of the previously mentioned sites thus reducing Sixth. Certain international complications now existing will
costs and losses of transmission. be largely solved through the construction of this project.
A disadvantage which has been urged against both the upper and These will be referred to in Part V of this report.
lower Boulder Canyon locations is the existence of extensive salt deLOCATION FOR DAM
posits within the reservoir area. The matter has been made the subject The overwhelming weight of opinion favors the Boulder or
of most careful examination by the writer and a number of geologists, Black Canyon site. These two sites are close together and are notably Dr. F. L. Ransome. The salt outcrops are generally in bluffs frequently termed the upper and lower Boulder Canyon sites. covered with heavy insoluble overburden. The total quantity is imA dam at either site will store the water in practically the same possible to estimate, but the amount which would go into solution in reservoir basin, virtually all of which is desert land of no the reservoir water is so negligible that it would not noticeably affect value except for reservoir purposes. Natural conditions at this
its salinity. The action of the water on the salt would be to underpoint are extremely favorable for the construction of a great mine the insoluble overburden and cause it to settle on the exposed salt dam at minimum of cost. An immense natural reservoir site
faces. This action, together with an additional covering of silt deis here available. A development at this point will fully and
posited from the reservoir water can be depended upon to minimize the adequately serve all purposes-flood control, storage of irri- dissolving action. For all practical purposes the dilution of the salt gation and domestic water, improvement of navigation, and will be so great as to render it harmless. power. It is the nearest available site to the power market, The statement of Governor Emerson in his report as special an important element from a business or financial standpoint. adviser on this subject is as follows: As stated by Secretary Hoover:
A reservoir of 26,000,000 acre-feet capacity, created by the construcI believe the largest group of those who have dealt with the problem, tion of a comparatively high dam at Black Canyon on the Colorado both engineers and business folk, have come to the conclusion that there River some 40 miles distant from Las Vegas, Nev., would afford satisshould be a high dam erected somewhere in the vicinity of Black factory solution of the problems set forth in paragraph 3 herein and Canyon. That is known usually as the Boulder Canyon site, but never- would also meet the requirements specified by paragraph 4 herein. In theless it is actually Black Canyon. The dam so erected is proposed to addition such a reservoir project would make practical the developserve the triple purpose of power, flood control, and storage. Perhaps ment of a large amount of hydroelectric power as well as provide for I should state them in a different order---flood control, storage, and the extension of present irrigated areas and for additional valuable power, as power is a by-product of these other works.
uses of water for domestic, municipal, industrial, and other purposes. There are theoretical engineering reasons why flood control and, storage work should be erected farther up the river and why storage The most feasible site for a high dam upon the Colorado River to works should be erected farther down the river, and I have not any solve the major problems now existent upon the lower river a situated doubt but that given another century of development on the river all / at Black Canyon some 40 miles from Las Vegas, Nev.
The reservoir project described in paragraph 5, and commonly known | adequate dam and reservoir for flood and silt control, reimbursing itself as the Boulder Canyon project, would constitute a great constructive for the costs from sales of stored water and the large quantities of undertaking and appears to afford the best solution of the entire situa- power which can be incidentally generated. Future developments of tion applying to the lower Colorado River.
the river by private or municipal enterprise will suffer no interference UNITED STATES THE PROPER AGENCY TO UNDERTAKE DEVELOPMENT
therefrom. Because the Colorado River is an interstate and international
HOW THE PROJECT TOOK FORM stream, and because of the various conflicting uses of water,
After many requests by the communities in the lower Colosuch as for flood control, irrigation, regulation for commerce, rado River Basin for relief, Congress on May 18, 1920, passed domestic water, and power generation, the Government is the the so-called Kinkaid Act, directing the Secretary of the Inproper and logical agency to undertake this development. It is terior to make an investigation of the problems of the lower well equipped for this purpose. The Reclamation Service has Colorado and report back to Congress his recommendations as had wide experience in large dam construction. This idea was to the proper plan of development. An initial appropriation of well expressed by the Secretary of the Interior in his report of $20,000 was made. As investigations proceeded this was supJanuary 12, 1926, on the project, where he said:
plemented by contributions from the Imperial irrigation disInterstate and international rights and interests involved, the diversi trict; Coachella Valley; Palo Verde Valley, Ariz.; Los Angeles ; fied benefits from the construction of these works, the waiting necessities
Pasadena; and other interested communities, aggregating of cities for increased water supplies, the large development of latent
$171,000, which, with subsequent appropriations by Congress, agricultural resources, the protection of those already developed, and
made a total of approximately $400,000. the immense industrial benefits which may come from the production
A preliminary report was completed in the early part of of cheap power, which together appear to render the construction and
1921, public hearings on this were had by the Secretary of subsequent control of these works a measure of such economic and mending in substance the project here authorized, was trans
the Interior, and on February 28, 1922, his final report, recomsocial importance that no agency but the Federal Government should be intrusted with the protection of rights or distribution of its oppor
mitted to Congress. The report is published as Senate Docutunities. All uses can be coordinated and the fullest benefits realized
ment No. 142, Sixty-seventh Congress, second session. only by their centralized control.
Bills were introduced in both Houses to carry out the recom
mendations of the report, and hearings were had. A similar view was voiced by the President in a telegram to Passage of legislation (the forerunner of the present bill) C. C. Teague, of date October 7, 1924, in which he said: was recommended by the Interior Department in a communiThe major purposes of the works to be constructed
in- cation to the House Committee on Irrigation on June 14, 1922. volve two fundamental questions which must always remain in public
(Hearings on H. R. 11449, 67th Cong., 2d sess., p. 4.) control-that is, flood control and the provision of immense water
It was again urged by the department in a communication to storage necessary to hold the seasonal and annual flow so as to provide
the House committee on March 17, 1924. (Hearings on H. R. for the large reclamation possibilities in both California and Arizona. 2903, 68th Cong., 1st sess., p. 818.) These considerations seem to me to dominate all others and to point
The project was favorably reported on by engineers of the logically to the Federal Government as the agency to undertake the Reclamation Service in February, 1924, in a voluminous report construction of a great dam at Boulder Canyon or some other suitable
which has been before this committee and considered by it, location. * I should, indeed, look with great pride on the con
but which has not been published. This report contains a summation of this, one of our greatest national improvements within wealth of technical data on irrigable areas, various plans of my administration. (Hearings on S. 727, 68th Cong., 2d sess, p. 13.)
development of the river, cost estimates, and similar data. This thought was also clearly expressed by the late President Hard- On January 12, 1926, the Interior Department again recoming in the same manuscript of an address which he expected to deliver mended the project in a report to which reference is herein at San Diego. He was prevented from delivering this address by frequently made. (Hearings on S. Res. 320, 69th Cong., 1st death. He said:
sess., p. 867.) “ Such a gigantic operation may not be accomplished within the re- On December 6 last the President again gave his approval sources of the local communities. It is my view, and I believe the of the project, and on January 4, 1928, the Secretary of the accepted view of a large part of our people, that the initial capital | Interior, in his report to this committee, approved the bill for the installation of these engineering works must be provided by under consideration and recommended the development. the American people as a whole, and truly the American people as a The financial plan contained in the bill was prepared by the whole benefit from such investment. The addition to our national Secretary of the Treasury. (Report to House committee.) assets of so productive a unit benefits not alone the local community This summary, by no means complete, of the various reports created by it but also, directly and indirectly, our entire national life. and recommendation upon this project indicates the great
“I should, indeed, be proud if during my administration I could par- care and long study which it has received from various Govticipate in the inauguration of this great project by affixing my signa- ernment departments and agencies and from congressional ture to the proper legislation by Congress through which it might be committees. It is a result of all these that the project has launched. I should feel that I had some small part in the many thou- taken its present form. sands of fine American homes that would spring forth from the desert
PLAN OF FINANCING during the course of my lifetime as the result of such an act, and in
The Secretary of the Interior in his report of January 12, the extension of these fine foundations of our American people." (Hearings, H. R. 2903, 68th Cong., 1st sess., pp. 1884, 1885.)
1926, gives his estimate of the financial working of the project,
as follows: The views of the advisory committee to the Secretary of the
Estimated cost for
$41, 500, 000 Mr. GARFIELD. The jurisdiction of a single State is not broad enough 1,000,000-horsepower development
31, 500,000 to deal with all the problems that necessarily arise in the construction The all-American canal...
31, 000, 000
Interest during construction on above, 5 years at 4 and development of such a project as that under consideration. The
21, 000, 000 United States alone has the power properly to safeguard the interest and rights of all those who may be affected by such a major develop
125, 000, 000 ment, and is, furthermore, the only political agency that can deal with
Annual operation and settle the international questions arising with Mexico.
Estimated gross revenues from The United States is not only the political sovereign whose jurisdic- Sale 3, 600,000,000 kilowatt-hours power at threetion is broad enough to deal with all the phases of the problem, but it
10, 800,000 is likewise the largest landowner along the bed of the Colorado. Hence
Storage and delivery of water for irrigation and do-
1,500,000 whatever theory of the use of water is adopted in any particular State, the use of the public domain in that State can only be obtained
12, 300, 000 under congressional act, and Congress may impose in such act whatever Estimated fixed annual charges for conditions it deems wise.
Operation and maintenance, storage, and power_
700, 000 Governor EMERSON. The construction and operation of the described Operation and maintenance, all-American canal.
500, 000 project is a logical and, in some phases, even a necessary undertaking
Interest on $125,000,000 at 4 per cent..
5, 000, 000 of the Federal Government for the following reasons :
6, 200, 000 (a) The international situation applying to the river. (b) Flood control as a national problem.
Estimated annual surplus thought to be sufficient to repay
6, 100, 000 (c) Reclamation of land as an accepted Government activity.
ESTIMATES ARE CAREFULLY MADE (d) Magnitude of project and of various interests involved.
Governor SCRCGHAM. With all of the above factors in mind, it appears The cost estimates given by the Secretary of the Interior are entirely proper and practicable for the Federal Government to undertake the result of long and painstaking studies of that department. the first step in river development, which is the construction of an Mr. F. E. Weymouth, then chief engineer of the Reclamation
INDORSEMENT OF PROJECT
Service, under whose personal supervision the major part of I have examined the reports and estimates regarding the cost of the studies were made, testified before the House committee as power development and the probable revenue to be derived therefrom. follows:
I am satisfied that results of such construction would enable the GovWe have on our consulting staff Mr. A. J. Wiley and Mr. Louis Hill, to the water users within a period of 40 to 50 years.
ernment to repay its entire expenditures over and above those allocated and we have consulted them regularly in reference to this whole problem. We have had several engineering board meetings to consider the various phases of the problem, especially in reference to types of dams and Besides numerous indorsements of State organizations and methods of construction and cost of all that sort of thing. They were counties, cities, and other organizations of more or less local outside of our regular engineering force.
nature, including the Boulder Dam Association, an organization Asked about the engineers in his organization, he stated :
composed of some 200 public bodies in California, Nevada, and Mr. Walker Young, who is present to-day, has had charge of the in- Arizona, it has been indorsed by the following national organivestigations in Boulder Canyon for about three and a half years. Mr. zations : National Associations of Real Estate Boards, American Young had more to do than anybody else in the actual working out
of Legion, National United Spanish War Veterans, American Fed
eration of Labor, and the American Farm Bureau Federation. the detailed designs and estimates, but he at all times had the advice The latter organization reaffirmed its approval at its recent of our chief designing engineer, Mr. J. L. Savage, whose headquarters national convention. are now in Denver, and also of the whole designing force of that office.
PART III.-COLORADO RIVER COMPACT-APPORTIONMENT OF WATERS
BETWEEN THE UPPER AND LOWER BASINS Mr. Savage has under his charge about 25 or 30 engineers of all In 1920 Congress, by the Kinkaid Act, directed an investigakinds. In addition to that, we have had the assistance of Mr. Gaylord, tion of the lower Colorado River. This indicated the serious who was until very recently our chief electrical engineer, and his purpose of the Federal Government to proceed with the project assistants, and Mr. Dibble and his assistants. In the study of the water for the protection and development of the lower basin. As supply, the irrigable areas, and the control of the river for flood or for works on the lower river would create permanent water rights, power purposes Mr. Debbler, who is here to-day, has made most of
a movement was started by the States in the upper basin to those studies.
secure by agreement, assurances from the lower-basin States We had Mr. Ransome, a geologist of the Geological Survey, make a of an equitable portion of the waters of the Colorado River, not
that the upper States would forever have the right to the use very exhaustive geologic examination and report on the Boulder Canyon withstanding an earlier development and prior use of the water reservoir and dam site, and Mr. Jenison, of the Geological Survey, in the lower basin. also assisted him. The Bureau of Standards has done a lot of work for the service in testing materials for construction. There is another ate an interstate treaty or compact. The Hon. Herbert Hoover
Commissioners were appointed by the seven States to negotiman that I forgot to mention, a very valuable engineer and geologist,
was named to represent the Federal Government. Various conMr. Homer Hamlin. The most work that has been done, perhaps, was
ferences were held and finally on November 24, 1922, at Santa done by Mr. Arthur P, Davis while he was the director of the service. Fe, N. Mex., an agreement or compact was signed, dividing the Mr. James Munn, who was formerly a contractor and is, perhaps, one
waters of the river, not amongst the States but between the of the best construction men in the country--we have had bis advice, upper and lower basin States, the upper-basin States being Coloespecially in reference to unit costs that we have used in the estimates. rado, New Mexico, Utah, Wyoming, and the lower-basin States
Concerning the advisory board, composed of Mr. Wiley and being Arizona, California, and Nevada. Mr. Hill, he said :
Early in 1923 the legislatures of all of these States, except We have considered with them each step that we have taken as it Arizona, ratified this compact. Arizona has thus far refused came up and it has had their approval. (Hearings on H. R. 2903, to ratify. 68th Cong., 1st sess., pp. 741-743.)
In 1925 a six-State ratification of the compact was suggested
by States in the upper basin for the purpose of making the Governor Scrughum, in his report to the Secretary of the compact effective without Arizona. With Arizona out of the Interior, said:
compact, however, it followed that California's approval on this In so far as engineering experience and human intelligence can be new basis effectively made her the guarantor of the obligation depended upon, the estimates are reliable.
of the whole lower basin. Under this plan any encroachment • Doctor Durand, in his report to the secretary, also stated :
by Arizona upon the water allotted to the upper-basin States
would have to be made up by California. With Arizona re The program of construction as proposed is the result of most careful fusing to agree to any limitations upon her use of the water of study on the part of eminent and experienced engineers and has fur- the river, California was forced to take the position that she ther had the benefit of serious and extended examinations and criticisms could not safely assume this new and additional obligation for on the part of eminent engineers in civilian life. As the result of this the benefit of the upper States without assurance of large storexamination and criticism it seems a fair conclusion that the plan as age and that her assent to the compact should therefore become proposed embodies the elements best calculated to insure a successful effective only upon this assurance of large storage by Congress. program of construction, and that so far as human foresight and sound
With this storage there will be water for all, and upon its engineering judgment can provide the plan should carry through with authorization by Congress California's ratification becomes effecout serious modification or delay.
tive upon a six-State basis. With assurances of storage, Cali
fornia has offered to ratify the compact unconditionally and The general conclusion is therefore that there is ground for antici- waive the provision requiring approval by any specific number pating a construction cost of the canal at a somewhat lower figure than of States. Since California is the place where the upper-basin the $30,000,000 estimated in the report of 1919; or otherwise if the States fear the creation of new and enlarged water rights, her general estimate be still held at $30,000,000, it would imply a margin unconditional ratification of the compact, together with the for contingencies or for unknown or unexpected conditions greater than protective provisions contained in the bill, which provisions were would normally be allowed for any such piece of work.
written by the upper-basin States themselves and included at GOVERNMENT FULLY ASSURED A RETURN OF ITS ADVANCES
their special request, afford proper and adequate protection to
the upper basin. Not only does the bill specifically require the complete pre- Secretary Work in his report on this bill says: financing of the project, but the nature of the agencies which will underwrite the cost are such that there will never be any
The provisions relating to the Colorado River compact appear well question of the prompt and businesslike meeting of all financial conceived and I believe are stim cient to afford the necessary protection obligations. These agencies will be of established solvency. to all States involved. The Imperial irrigation district, an established going district, The compact is satisfactory to six of the seven States affected. will be the largest contractor for irrigation water. Cities with | Arizona alone has continued to withhold her approval. More an assessed valuation of over a billion dollars will contract for than five years have been consumed in the effort to satisfy Arithe storage of domestic water and for power to pump this zona and obtain her ratification, thus making it unanimous. water to an elevation of some 1,300 feet. Power, the great The compact was signed by her commissioner, and at one time financial asset of the project, will be contracted for with such lacked only one vote of having the approval of her legislature. applicants as the States of Nevada and Arizona, private utili- It is not thought that Arizona would be injured by its terms. ties like the Southern California Edison Co., and cities like Los This development has been much needed for a long time. It Angeles, Pasadena, Glendale, and Riverside. Those agencies has been before Congress continuously since 1921, but has been are announced applicants for power. Their contracts will be delayed in the hope of full agreement among the States. Every good.
possible effort seems to have been made. Further delay is not Mr. Garfield, special adviser, reported to the Secretary of justified. As said by Mr. Hoover before this committee more the Interior as follows:
than two years ago:
I have felt that the public interests of the people involved is so great
PART IV. FLOOD CONTROL that the whole of this enormous work should not be held up because Throughout all the years of hearings on this development of this last remaining fraction of opposition.
there has been expressed by all witnesses who have appeared The upper basin is protected under the bill. The upper-basin before the committee an absolute unanimity of views respectStates have physical control of more than 80 per cent of all of ing the existence of flood danger in the lower Colorado River, the water of the Colorado River system ; therefore, if California the urgent need for quick action, and that large storage up is bound by the terms of the compact on any basis, the upper
the river is the only permanent solution of the flood problem. basin is fully protected. Necessarily, before any state in the There has also been a like unanimity of opinion that the conupper basin could be disturbed in her use of water, a lower struction of the dam and storage at Boulder or Black Canyon, basin State would be obliged to be a moving party through the
as here authorized, would furnish as complete a solution of the courts. With California bound by the compact, they would flood danger of the river as could possibly be accomplished. simply transfer their defense to that State, and California This unanimity of sentiment was to be expected in view would be obliged to look to their protection.
of the physical characteristics of the river, and, particularly, With these works constructed and owned and operated by the in view of the physical characteristics and situation of ImGovernment and since the United States is the most considerable perial Valley in respect to the Colorado. Here is a great valley, owner of lands adjacent to the river through its entire length, with 450,000 acres of irrigated farms and with populous cities, including its tributaries, the United States is in position to lying in a great depression or sink from 100 to 300 feet below physically enforce such terms and conditions upon the use of the channel of the river. The slope toward the valley is much the water as it may determine upon. This bill expressly greater than the slope toward the Gulf. Of course, the river approves the compact and assents to all of its terms so far as at any flood time may break from its shifting and uncertain the United States is concerned. The representatives of the channel and turn into the valley. The flooding of Imperial upper basin States have prepared and submitted numerous Valley would not be like the flooding of other sections, where protective devices for their own benefit; every one of which property damage and perhaps loss of life result, but where has been incorporated in the bill. These amendments not only soon the water subsides. If the Colorado once breaks into include the approval by the United States, but subjects the the valley and is not returned to its channel, it means its United States and each and every agency thereof to its terms. permanent inundation, there being no outlet for the water. Not only that, but requires the Secretary of the Interior in The danger, ever present, of a great flood, has led every rethe construction and operation of the project to conform to all sponsible Government official who has ever studied the situaof the terms and conditions of the compact, and inasmuch as no tion to promptly and earnestly recommend immediate steps rights can be acquired in the project except by contract, as to remove the danger of such a catastrophe. specifically required in the bill, this provision is very effective.
LEVEES FURNISH INSUFFICIENT PROTECTION But, in addition to that, all patents, grants, concessions, ease- Efforts toward the protection of Imperial Valley have been ments, rights of way, or other evidence of rights from the made through the construction of levees, with only partial sucUnited States are impressed with all of the provisions of the cess. In 1905 the river broke into Imperial Valley, and it took compact as a matter of law and many other safeguards are two years of heroic efforts and great expense to return the incorporated for their benefit. Nothing further has been sug- river to its channel toward the Gulf. The United States then gested and nothing further has been thought of which can add expended approximately $1,000,000 in building what was known to the protection of the upper basin States. It is thought that as Ockerson Levee in Mexico. Hardly was this levee comtheir protection is complete.
pleted until it was washed away. The passage of the bill, it is thought, will very early make the The river, which theretofore had been flowing almost due compact effective and settle an interstate controversy of long southward along the foot of a plateau in Arizona and Mexico, standing. Any further delay will almost inevitably lead to an turned westward toward the Volcano Lake region, still in Mexiabandonment of the interstate compact as a method of settling can territory, but in a lower depression on the Delta. The rights to the waters of the river and compel resort to other river was kept in this course by an extensive levee system methods and processes which, under the circumstances, would built by the people of Imperial Valley. Gradually, however, be highly unfortunate.
this depression filled up. The Imperial irrigation district then, While the project here authorized is vital to many sections at an expense of approximately $700,000, directed the river in the lower basin, the bill is no less important to upper basin through what is known as the Pescadero Cut into a triangular States. By giving congressional approval to the compact, these depression lying between the old river channel on the east and States are assured in perpetuity water rights, the value of which the Volcano Lake region on the north and west. This is the can not be overestimated. It is a mistake to think of this bill one remaining depression on the surface of this delta into as one merely for the benefit of California or Nevada or Ari- which the river can be directed. zona. By "enthroning the Colorado River compact," it assures The Imperial irrigation district is compelled to maintain a to the States of Colorado, New Mexico, Utah, and Wyoming large and expensive organization for the building and maintethe water rights so essential to their future.
nance of levees in Mexico. It has built 78 miles of these levees. The views of Mr. Garfield in his report on the development The district has 60 miles of railroad, trains of dump cars, and said as follows:
other expensive equipment for keeping these levees, which are Many legal questions have been raised dealing with powers of the ever being undermined and destroyed when the river is in flood. several States through which the Colorado River runs: The question
SILT DEPOSITS AGGRAVATE FLOOD DANGER of whether the Colorado is subject to ownership by the State, whether
Reference has already been made to the fact that the Colothe doctrine of beneficial use of riparian rights should govern, and whether Congress has the power to allocate water between the various of silt. The flood danger from the river is greatly aggravated
rado deposits below Yuma yearly more than 100,000 acre-feet States. Many of the discussions on those points fail to take into by this silt, for it was the silt deposit that built the deltaic consideration the practical questions which I have attempted to outline. The purpose of the seven-State compact was to settle by ridge on which the river now flows, filled the old channel of
the river, and later filled the channel toward Volcano Lake. agreement the conflicting opinions expressed on many of the legal | Indeed, any depression which the river finds in which to flow is points to which reference is made. has not been ratified; on the other hand, if it be ratified there will quickly filled with silt. still be questions concerning which individuals will disagree and the
Estimates differ as to how long it will take the river to fill determination of which can only be effected through the Federal courts.
up the Pescadero depression, through which it is now flowing. The decisions of the Supreme Court of the United States on many
Some say 8 years, some say 20 years. No one knows for cerquestions involved are and with all of which you
tainty. All that is known is that within a comparatively short
time it will be filled. thoroughly familiar. I think for the purpose of this report there
The situation thus adverted to was excellently described by is no need to refer to any of those decisions. Their general effect conclusively establishes the right of Congress to do that which is
Mr. A. P. Davis, former director of the Reclamation Service, as
follows: suggested in the construction and development of the Boulder Dam. The seven-State compact was evolved for the purpose of compro
In 1920 the situation became so critical that the district undertook mising the differences of opinion which have arisen between the at great expense to make a cut from the Bee River Channel to the people of the various States regarding the development of the Colorado. Pescadero and succeeded in diverting the river into that channel, where It is unfortunate that the compact has not been ratified by all the it now flows. We now have the condition of relatively high land States, but failure of ratification does not prevent the Federal Goy- | along the Bee Channel and the levee on the north, running westward ernment from going forward with the construction if Congress so to Volcano Lake. We have another ridge which the river followed decides. It is also true that no single State could, either directly or for a long time and built high, running nearly south from Yuma to indirectly through a corporation created within its jurisdiction, proceed the Gulf of California. Between these is a triangular tract which is with the development
lower than either, traversed by the Pescadero, in which the river is