페이지 이미지
PDF
ePub

The Mexican officials would be the last persons on earth to want to see. the river break in. It would not only destroy the cultivated area from which the Mexican Government derives much of its revenue but in all probability it would destroy Mexicali, the capital of Lower California, a city of between four and five thousand inhabitants, which is situated on the direct line the water would take from the river to Salton Sea. It is on the very edge of the deep New River channel. The Mexican landowners would not want to see the river break in. Not only would their lands be the first to be devastated but the force and violence would be greatest nearest the point of the break, and therefore the injury would fall heaviest upon their lands and that part which is in cultivation. Before the flood water reached the international boundary line it would have collected into the New River or Alamo River channels (which are sufficient in size to carry the entire flow of the Colorado River), through which it would pass on to Salton Sea without inundating a single acre of American lands. Lands in Imperial Valley could be flooded only if the river continued to run into Salton Sea uninterrupted long enough to back the water up on to the adjoining lands.

However, this condition would continue for only a short time, as the flood season is only for about six weeks in the middle of the summer, following: which the river falls very rapidly, when the break could be repaired. For this purpose every drop of water could be turned out of the river at low season and wasted through the various systems. The closure could then be made on dry ground. The all-American canal is designed to carry a peak load of 9,000 Second-feet, yet according to Le Rue report (No. 395, Irrigation Papers, pages 97, 98, and 99), the river went below 9,000 second-feet in September of every year between 1902 and 1914, except three years, and in those years it went below 9,000 in the month immediately following.

The difficulty in closing the break in 1905 and 1906 was that there was no by-pass or divresion sufficient to take out the water of the river while the repair was being made, but the dam had to be built under the heavy handicap of the constant overpour of all the water that was in the river.

THE COST OF THE ALL-AMERICAN CANAL.

The cost estimate of $30,000,000 for the all-American canal was made by eminent engineers, who have had ample experience in large enterprises. Mr. C. E. Grunsky was on the Panama Canal board, was special adviser to Secretary Hitchcock, was city engineer for San Francisco, and for several years was consulting engineer for the Imperial irrigation district. Dr. Elwood Mead has an international reputation as an irrigation engineer. Mr. Schlect, the third member of the board, has been connected for a number of years with the Reclamation Service and has handled some of their large works. They made their estimate only after a most careful survey and investigation, and it was made and based on war-time prices.

In addition to a most careful survey made on the ground at a cost of approximately $45,000, they had before them for their assistance and guidance on this subject the investigations, surveys, reports, and cost estimates of Green and Murphy, United States Reclamation engineers (1904), Sellew, United States Reclamation engineer (1909), P. N. Nunn and Anderson, Imperial irrigation district engineers (1913), Frisbie, Imperial Laguna Water Co. engineer (1915), and Joseph Jacobs, United States Reclamation Service engineer (1917). Sufficient to say that the present cost estimate of $30,000,000 is the highest price ever named for connecting Imperial Valley with Laguna Dam and that the present engineers, having the wide experience they have had, doubtless made ample allowance for unforeseen contingencies.

IS THERE A CHEAPER ROUTE AVAILABLE THROUGH MEXICO 7

Mr. Davis, Director of the Reclamation Service, is authority for the statement that the difference between the cost estimate of the all-American canal cut through the sand hills and the cost estimate of the same canal built on a loop around the sand hills through Mexico is only about $2,500,000. The estimate of the loop was based upon a recognizance made on the ground by Mr. W. W. Schlect, project manager of the Yuma United States Reclamation project and member of the all-American canal board of engineers.

However, before even this saving could be secured, we would have to suffer the uncertainty and delay of securing a treaty with Mexico which would give us this right. We have not made any noticeable headway in negotiating treaties with Mexico in recent years. Furthermore, it is not to be supposed that Mexico would grant us this concession unless our Government reciprocated with counter concessions of at least equal value. So in the end nothing would have been saved. The people of Imperial Valley would rather pay the difference—nay,

twice over—and have their system all on American soil free from international complications.

why Not BUILD THE First Lego

To build the one leg, or a canal from Laguna Dam to the boundary line, and then stop is the Mexican program, pure and simple. Such a canal could not truthfully be said to connect Imperial Valley with Laguna Dam. It would be a direct connection for the Mexican lands. The only “connection " Imperial Valley would have with the matter would be to pay for it when it was done. The increased amount of water resulting from the use of the improved diversion at Laguna Dam would be quickly absorbed in the rapidly spreading area of cultivated land in Mexico. The benefits would not be felt in Imperial Valley, but our lands would be burdened with the cost thereof, which would make it difficult, if not impossible, for us to ever finance the remainder of the all-American canal. We would be bound tighter than ever under the Mexican yoke. Yuma would gain by the construction of the one leg. It would remove the menace to them of our present method of diverting water, and upon the completion of the canal would give Yuma cheap hydroelectric power necessary for the development of her mesa. The provision for the development of this power is included in the contract executed between the Imperial irrigation district and the Secretary of the Interior. - . But to build the first leg and make no provision for the completion of the all-American canal would be for our Government to unintentionally play directly into the hands of the Mexican land barons. Such a canal would not only give them a higher and more adequate diversion to be paid for not by themselves but by Imperial Valley, but it would also give the Mexican lands the thing they desire above all else, and that is a basis for a claim of a water right. For our Government to divert water over a Government structure, transport it through a governmentally constructed canal, and deliver it directly to a Mexican corporation organized to irrigate Mexican lands or even to do this thing indirectly with the full knowledge that the water so delivered was to be used in developing Mexican lands would amount to a virtual recognition by our Government that these Mexican lands had a right to the waters. Up to the present time our Government has most carefully and studiously avoided doing this very thing and is, therefore, fortunately in a position to protect its citizens and its own property rights in the waters of the Colorado River. The existing scheme was “conceived in sin and born in iniquity,” and by it the shackles were fastened upon Imperial Valley at its birth by exploiters who tried to give away to the Mexican lands, which they themselves owned, American waters worth hundreds of millions of dollars. Even if Imperial Valley were willing to continue the present arrangement of delivering virtually all the waters of the Colorado River into Mexican control the National Government, in the protection of its own property and as a matter of public policy, ought to put a stop to it. In our efforts to free ourselves from Mexican domination and control we have been and are now being fought by all the power and influence of the big landed interests south of the boundary. If you have not seen the evidence of this it is because they think it best serves their purpose more effectively to fight from under cover and not in the open. When the contract executed between the Imperial irrigation district and the Secretary of the Interior, which provides for the building of the all-American canal, was up for ratification by our people, these interests fought that and sent their propagandists down from Los Angeles, as well as published full-page advertisements in the local newspapers. And that is not all. When they saw that the people were determined to build an all-American canal, as a way out from under the Mexican tyranny, these same interests undertook to cripple the financial credit of the valley to prevent their being able to carry out the undertaking... We believe the fact is, and if anybody looked it up they would find that the Mexican interests played an important part in persuading the Federal farm-loan bank to withdraw from Imperial Valley. We believe that if the truth were known—and it can be

ascertained—the Federal farm-loan bank withdrew, not on the advice of its engineer, but at the instance and suggestion of Harry Chandler, whose corporation controls some 800,000 acres in Mexico. We are told that Mr. Chandler was recently in Washington on this very Colorado River matter. A former governor of California, who is a stockholder in Chandler's Mexican corporation, is now in Washington on legal business. How many other representatives they have here we do not know, but we do know that they are busy, both here and in California, endeavoring to defeat this bill. In our Own valley a great effort is being made to divide our people in order to weaken our effort here.

You may be sure that these interests will keep up the fight, applying every pressure, pulling every wire, exerting every influence, striving by this means and that to block the efforts of Imperial Valley to gain its freedom and to retain for themselves the control of the waters of the Colorado River to make sure the development and prosperity of their own immense holdings in Mexico at the expense of an equal area in the United States.

Compared with the forces which these great corporations can muster, the people of Imperial Valley are weak and insignificant. The ear can only faintly catch their far-distant cry for help.

They have no friends in high places except those who respect and admire the pluck and courage of the hardy pioneer who ventured all to win from the desert wastes a new domain.

They have no influence other than that which a just and meritorious cause may create.

They are plain people, and their delegates here are of their own kind, unequal, we confess, to the task of meeting the wily and skillful strategy of our opponents. Yet we have discharged our responsibility to the best of our ability. We have done all we could to make you see the perilous condition 60,000 people are in, and to make plain the actual necessity for speedy action if any relief is to be afforded them.

We now leave our case in your hands with confidence that you will act speedily and favorably upon it, because we know our cause is right and just. Respectfully submitted.

PHIL D. SWING,
MARK ROSE,

0. W. Shaw,

Representing Imperial irrigation district. The CHAIRMAN. It is understood that Mr. Rose may hand in his paper and make it a part of the record. Now, if we should conclude

ose my hand nas that we want to hear from the Department of the Interior, from Director Davis or anyone else, we can call on them, so we will adjourn now, subject to call.

(Whereupon, at 11.15 o'clock p. m., the committee adjourned.)

APPENDIX.

LIBRARY OF CONGRESS,
REPRESENTATIVES' READING ROOM,

Washington.

UNITED STATES DOCUMENTS RELATING TO IMPERIAL VALLEY, CALIF.

United States Soils Bureau. Field Operations, 1903; pages 1219–1249.
United States Soils Bureau. Field Operations, 1901 ; pages 587-606.
United States Congress. Senate Report No. 5545, Fifty-ninth Congress, second

session, United States Geological Survey. Reconnaissance map of Salton Sink, Calif,

1906. United States Weather Bureau. Monthly Weather Review, December, 1906 ;

pages 557-559. United States Congress. Fifty-ninth Congress, second session, House Report

No. 6585. United States Congress. Fifty-ninth Congress, second session, Senate Document

No. 212. United States Experiment Station Office. Bulletin 158. 1905. Pages 175–194. United States Congress. Fifty-ninth Congress, second session. House Report

No. 7289. United States Smithsonian Institution. Annual Report, 1907; pages 331–345. United States Congress :

Sixtieth Congress, first session. Senate Document No. 246.

Sixty-first Congress, second session. Senate Report No. 423. United States Stautes at Large, volume 36, Part I, pages 883, 884. Senate Joint

Resolution No. 120.
United States Congress :

Sixty-first Congress, third session. House Report No. 1936, in two parts.
Sixty-first Congress, second session. House Document No. 972.
Sixty-second Congress, second session. House Document No. 504.
Sixty-second Congress, second session. Senate Document No. 846.
Sixty-second Congress, second session. Senate Document No. 867.
Sixty-third Congress, third session. House Document No. 1476.
Sixty-third Congress, third session. House Report No. 1251.
Sixty-third Congress, third session. Senate Report No. 999.
Sixty-fourth Congress, first session. House Document No. 586.
Sixty-fifth Congress, first session. Senate Document No. 103.

EXHIBIT A.

MESSAGE FROM THE PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES RELATIVE TO THE THREAT

ENED DESTRUCTION BY THE OVERFLOW OF THE COLORADO RIVER IN THE SINK OR DEPRESSION KNOWN AS THE IMPERIAL VALLEY OR SALTON SINK REGION.

To the Senate and House of Representatives:

The governor of the State of California and individuals and communities in southern California have made urgent appeals to me to take steps to save the lands and settlements in the sink or depression known as the Imperial Valley or Salton Sink region from threatened destruction by the overflow of Colorado River. The situation appears so serious and urgent that I now refer the matter to the Congress for its consideration, together with my recommendations upon the subject.

189

|

Briefly stated, the conditions are these: The Imperial Valley, so-called, in San Diego County, Calif., includes a large tract of country below sea level. Southeast of the valley and considerably above its level is the Colorado River, which flows on a broad, slightly elevated plane upon which the river pursues a tortuous course, finally entering the Gulf of California. The lands in Imperial Valley are 200 feet or more below the level of Colorado River. Down as far as the international border they are protected from inundation by lowlying hills. South of the boundary, in the Republic of Mexico, the hills cease abruptly, and only the broad low mud banks of the river protect the valley from being converted into an inland sea or lake. In order to get any water to this vast tract of fertile but desert land, or, on the other hand, to protect it from too much water, works of supply or of protection must be built in Mexico, even though they may tap the river in the United States. The United States can neither aid nor protect the interests of its citizens without going upon foreign soil. Nature has through many centuries protected this great depression from overflow, but the restless river, constantly shifting, has annually threatened to break through the banks. Only a little human aid was needed to cause it to do so. This condition has been long known, and through many years schemes have been discussed either to convert the Salton Sink area into a lake or to irrigate the desert lands below sea level by making a cut in Mexico through the west bank of the Colorado River. It was also well understood that if the cut in the bank was not carefully guarded the river would quickly get beyond control. Finally, after many plans had been tentatively tried, the California Development Company, a New Jersey corporation, actively undertook the work. To insure the safety of Imperial Valley the head of the canal on the river was first placed on United States territory near where the river was bounded by hills. The canal then swung southwest and west away from the river through Mexican territory to connect with natural depressions leading to the valley and back into the United States. The organizers of this company, in order to carry on the work in Mexico, caused to be created a subsidiary company in Mexico acting under Mexican laws. Concessions were granted to this company by the Mexican Government, and provision was made for the employment of a Mexican engineer, to be designated by that Government, in order to see that the work was properly carried out. The dangerous character of the attempt was thus cecognized in this concession. The California Development Company began its work by making representations to possible settlers of the great benefits to be derived by them by taking up this land. A large amount of money which might have been used in needed works was expended in advertising and in promoting the enterprise. The claims were not only extravagant but in many cases it appears that willful misrepresentation was made. Many of the operations of this company and of its subsidiary organizations tended to mislead uninformed settlers. At first the success of the company was great and it disposed of water rights to settlers at prices sufficiently large to obtain a fair revenue either in cash or in securities of value. The money thus obtained from settlers was not used in permanent development, but apparently disappeared either in profits to the principal promotors or in the numerous subsidiary companies, which to a certain extent fed upon the parent company, or served to obscure its operations, such as a construction company, a company to promote settlement, and a company to handle the securities of the various other corporations. The history of these deals is so complicated that it would require careful research, extending through many months, to unravel the devious ways by which money and valuable securities have disappeared. In brief, it is sufficient to state that the valuable considerations which were received for water rights were obviously not used in providing necessary and permanent works for furnishing water to the settlers. The whole enterprise and the spirit of those promoting it, as well as of the numerous smaller speculators attracted to the subsidiary organizations, were of the most visionary character. Actual investments made have been small in proportion to estimates of wealth which appeared to be possible of realization. The company entered upon its construction work with large plans, but with inadequate capital. All of its structures for the control and distribution of water were temporary in character, being built of wood, and of the smallest nossible dimensions. Through the efforts thus made a large amount of land

« 이전계속 »