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Mr. KETTNER. I do not believe the comprehensive survey that should be made-or at least, that some members of the committee with whom I have talked think should be made-has been gone into as thoroughly as it would if the Government would take hold as they are doing now and would direct the Department of the Interior to go over the whole situation. In other words, do not put in a part of the system and not consider the other part or what damage it would do. There is a great deal in the contention taken by a number of the members of the committee whom I have conversed with, but the people of the Imperial Valley have been threatened with an injunction, and to shut off that water would mean that the 400,000 acres now being irrigated would dry up in a very short time.
Mr. BARBOUR. Isn't it a fact, Mr. Kettner, that an investigation of the question of storage and a solution of the storage problem would really be for the best interests of all the irrigationists along the Colorado River ?
Mr. KETTNER. This is very true, provided that by taking this action—and I am living in hopes that it will prove to the people of Yuma that we are doing the best we can—it will not shut off the water in the meantime to the people of the valley.
Mr. BARBOUR. We all hope that.
Mr. TAYLOR. Has there been any other investigation, any official investigation of this matter before?
Mr. KETTNER. Yes.
Mr. KETTNER. If I remember correctly, Mr. Taylor, the Department of the Interior appropriated from the general fund, I think, $15,000 or $20,000, and the people of Imperial Valley appropriated a number of thousand dollars to make this investigation; but I believe, as Mr. Summers stated, it was only in regard to crossing the sand hills; it was not in conjunction with the dams and water sites and the scheme taken as a whole.
The CHAIRMAN. We will have Director Davis tell all about that very soon.
Mr. KETTNER. Now, are there any other questions, gentlemen ?
The CHAIRMAN. I think that is all. We are very much obliged to you.
Mr. KETTNER. I want to thank you and the committee very much for this opportunity.
alley app; but
STATEMENT OF MR. ARTHUR P. DAVIS, DIRECTOR UNITED
STATES RECLAMATION SERVICE.
The CHAIRMAN. Now, Director Davis, we will hear you.
The CHAIRMAN. Well, I don't know. I think we had better hear him while we can.
Mr. Davis. I haven't much to say myself, unless there are questions by the committee.
Mr. LITTLE. I want to say a word myself before I go, if I can. I have a dispatch here that I want to read. I would like to hear Director Davis, too.
Mr. Davis. Mr. Chairman, you have read the bill and have also read the favorable report made by Secretary Lane in reply to your question asking his opinion of the bill, in which he recommends the passage of the bill, and you have also heard a long telegram from the Imperial irrigation district and the American Legion in the Imperial Valley in favor of it.
I have here a letter received this morning from Dr. Elwood Mead, who has appeared before this committee on this subject. He says:
DEAR SIR: Your letter of the 18th was followed by one from Mondell, sendo ing me a copy of the Kinkaid bill.
That is the bill under consideration.
I think that is the best solution of the Imperial Valley matter and hope that it will go through. Some people from the Imperial Valley were in yesterday to ask my advice as to whether they should accept the Kinkaid bill as a satisfactory solution. I advised them to do this. Sincerely, yours,
ELWOOD MEAD. Now, Mr. Chairman, the project of building an all-American canal from Laguna Dam to Imperial Valley has been under consideration, to my knowledge, about 17 years. It was first investigated in a superficial manner by the Reclamation Service under Mr. J. B. Lippincott, and he reported in a rough way substantially along the lines that we now know, that it would be a very expensive process, and at that time it was considered hardly feasible on account of the cost and on account of some question as to the feasibility of maintaining a canal through the sand hills after building it. At a subsequent time the president of the Imperial irrigation district requested me to take up the question with the Secretary of the Interior and the Secretary of State concerning the menace to their water supply by diversion in Mexico. A canal running through Mexico is at the mercy of the irrigators in that country, who can take all the water if they choose, and under a concession negotiated by private parties, not binding on anyone in this county, in my belief, the Mexican authorities have the alleged right to take half of the water and will undoubtedly take at least that much as soon as they want it. That constitutes a severe and very dangerous menace to the water supply.
Mr. Le Roy Holt, of the Fresno irrigation district, requested me to take up with the State Department, through the Interior Department, the question of inducing the Mexican Government and the Mexican landowners to limit their requirements. I replied that I thought there was no use in that until we knew what could be done in case of failure of those negotiations, and that the only alternative to the success of such negotiations was an all-American canal, one that did not cross the line.
We did not at that time have data upon which that could be said to be feasible at all. It was widely believed to be not feasible. There had been no investigation of any thorough character made at that time, and on the basis of that the Imperial Valley requested the Secretary of the Interior to join with them in an investigation. They made a contract with the Secretary of the Interior by which the Imperial irrigation district put up $30,000 and the reclamation fund put up $15,000, making $45,000 altogether, and that has been expended in examinations and surveys. They are not all complete; they are as thorough as the amount of money would permit. The money was all spent for that purpose, not in propaganda or for any
other purpose, but it is a big problem. The results of that investigation are embodied in the pamphlet that was transmitted with the Secretary's report. This investigation was made under a board representing the Imperial Valley, the Reclamation Service, and the University of California, three members of the board, Mr. Grunsky, Mr. Schlecht, and Mr. Mead, and embodies the best and by far the most comprehensive knowledge that has ever been obtained on this subject. But, as a project, the investigation or the knowledge is by no means complete. There is absolutely no feasible or advisable extension of irrigation in the Imperial Valley of any considerable magnitude without storage. The present irrigated lands have repeatedly been short of water, not seriously but frequently enough and to a sufficient extent to show that any large addition to the irrigated area means that either storage must be provided or its irrigation will be a menace to the irrigation interests in Imperial Valley and in the Yuma Valley. To divert from Laguna Dam would have the potentiality of taking the water supply from the lands already irrigated, and that in such a dry, hot country is disastrous. The CHAIRMAN. What is the most that can be accomplished by the investigation contemplated by the bill? Mr. DAvis. There are two things that are most important. First is storage. We have investigated a number of storage reservoirs in the Colorado Basin, and we believe from those investigations that that storage is feasible and have proceeded, in favoring legislation, on that supposition. We do not know exactly how much it will cost; we do not know approximately how much it will cost; we simply know that it is feasible, but where is the best place to construct storage has not been determined. Those investigations are still in progress but are greatly hampered for lack of funds, and this bill would materially help complete those investigations. Mr. SMITH of Idaho. Do you think the amount would be sufficient, Mr. Director? Mr. DAvis. It would not be sufficient to absolutely complete them, but I think it will be sufficient to get information that Congress needs for legislation. Mr. WELLING. I believe you said you have already expended $45,000? Mr. DAVIs. Yes, sir. Mr. WELLING. And this bill comprehends a total appropriation from the Imperial Valley and the Treasury of $40,000? Mr. DAVIs. Yes, sir. Mr. WELLING. Do you think that will give you enough money to make the investigation? Mr. DAvis. I was just coming to that. I think it would be wise, Mr. Chairman, although it is not in the Secretary's report, to put a proviso in that the Imperial Valley might contribute a larger amount if it chose. I don’t think that that is absolutely necessary, because they probably can do that anyway. The CHAIRMAN. Certainly they can. There is nothing to hinder them from doing that.
Mr. DAVIS. The requirement is that they must put up at least that much. The CHAIRMAN. That implies that they may put up more, of course. They must put up at least that much. Mr. DAvis. And I think it would be very wise and very easy to get them to do that. Now, it is my belief that the most feasible point for storage of water for the Imperial Valley is in the Boulder Canyon, below the Grand Canyon, and it is the only reservoir of promise below the Grand Canyon. The CHAIRMAN. How large is the capacity there for storage? Mr. DAVIS. We have made surveys there for a high dam, and we were pursuing them until driven out partly by exhaustion of funds and partly by high water, and that survey needs completing. We have not made any investigation for foundation, which is the most important thing, and this bill would permit us to do that. Mr. HAYDEN. Just where is that reservoir? Mr. DAVIS. It is on the Colorado River, where it forms a boundary between Nevada and Arizona, about 20 miles below the mouth of Virgin River, just above the point where the river changes from a westerly course to a southerly course. Mr. SUMMERs. About how far from the Laguna Dam is it? : Mr. DAVIS. From the Laguna Dam it is probably 300 miles. One of the very important features of that is that it is the nearest to the irrigated land of any large reservoir that we believe to be feasible. Mr. WELLING. Wouldn’t it fill up with silt in time? Mr. DAVIS. In time it would, if not prevented. The CHAIRMAN. You say it is how many miles distant from the dam? Mr. DAVIS. About 300 miles, by the river's course. Mr. TAYLOR. It is 300 miles from the dam, but only 12 miles from some creek? Mr. DAVIs. From the Virgin River. It is, however, the nearest available site. Now, the other reservoirs that have been investigated are above the Grand Canyon and are 2,000 miles or more from the land to be irrigated, and that means that it would take several weeks, perhaps months, for the water, when it was turned out of the reservoir, to reach the land to be irrigated by it, and it would be necessary to foresee all the conditions that far ahead. That can not be done. and it would lead to large waste of water, and would also lead to more or less dissatisfaction with the service, undoubtedly. Our experience indicates that it is desirable to have a storage supply very much closer than it is possible to get it in this case, but it is nevertheless important to get it as close as possible. Mr. WELLING. Mr. Davis, if you stored the water up there upon the headwaters of the Colorado, it surely would be proposed also to use that water for irrigation, would it not? Mr. Davis. So far as it can be: yes, sir. One of the important features of having the reservoir below the canyon is that by having it there you do not interfere with very large possibilities of power development on the upper river; if you build a reservoir on the upper river for irrigation purposes, that water must be handled in accordance with irrigation, and must be stored in the winter and used in the summer. That is antagonistic to power purposes, but if the principal storage for irrigation is on the lower river, then the water above—all the water above—can be used for power; and there are vast possibilities for power, and it is going to be valuable in those mining regions. The water can all be used for power, turned on at the time when it is most convenient for power uses and caught in the reservoir below without injuring irrigation in the least. The CHAIRMAN. That is, it would have time to travel down to the lands to be irrigated after it is used for power purposes? * Mr. DAVIs. Yes, sir. Mr. HAYDEN. Then it is your purpose to make a thorough investigation of all possible reservoir sites on the lower Colorado River, below the Grand Canyon? Mr. DAVIs. Yes, sir. Mr. TAYLOR. And your present intention is to not make investigations up there in Colorado, Utah, or Wyoming, up at the headwaters? Mr. DAVIS. Most of our investigations have been made up there, and we know some very good reservoir sites up there. They are important for irrigation in that region, and they are also valuable for power purposes. Mr. TAYLOR. Of course, if our legislation ultimately contemplates reservoirs, of course we will have to have some adjustment or some understanding or some provisions that will be satisfactory to those States up there. Mr. DAVIs. Yes, sir. Mr. TAYLOR. For the use of that water in power and irrigation? Mr. DAVIs. Yes, sir. And in consideration of the power value of those sites up there, it is important to have storage below the canyon, because there can be no question, no claim, on any water except what came down. Any water used above would unquestionably belong where it is used. Mr. WELLING. Will not the hundreds of thousands of tons of silt that goes down there every year fill up your storage site? Mr. DAVIs. It will in time, if not prevented. Mr. TAYLOR. I was going to ask you, what about the sediment? To the members who have never seen that river I will say it is just a rolling mass of mud down there in that country a very large part of the time, and it must necessarily fill up a reservoir, even if the dam is a thousand feet high. Mr. SMITH of Idaho. Has there never been any plan evolved to take silt out of these reservoirs? Mr. DAvis. Yes, sir. I will describe that here, if the committee wants to take the time. The CHAIRMAN. Very well, Mr. Taylor's question also elicits that. Mr. DAVIs. All these questions are on the same subject. We have built a large reservoir on the Rio Grande. There is a picture of the dam on the wall. Mr. HERNANDEz. Elephant Butte Damo Mr. DAVIS. Elephant Butte Dam; yes. That is the largest structure so far built by the Reclamation Service. Mr. LITTLE. That is at El Paso' Mr. DAVIS. About 300 miles above El Paso. And the Rio Grande is one of the muddiest rivers that flows. The capacity of the reser