« PreviousContinue »
The CHAIRMAN. Thank you very much.
Colonel HARRISON. Mr. Chairman, this project has some features that concern the national welfare, specifically national defense. We have a representative of the Atomic Energy Commission that we would like to present next.
The CHAIRMAN. We would be glad to have that witness with respect to this particular project.
STATEMENT OF LAWRENCE BAYER, ADMINISTRATIVE OFFICER,
ATOMIC ENERGY COMMISSION
Mr. BAYER. Mr. Chairman, my name is Lawrence Bayer. I am administrative officer to General MacCormack, director of the Military Application Division, Atomic Energy Commission.
The CHAIRMAN. Very well, sir; the points you want to make with respect to raising this ceiling or removing it.
Mr. BAYER. I would like to read a letter addressed to the chairman. We have talked to members of your staff
The CHAIRMAN. What are the points you make in that letter?
Mr. BAYER. Principally, sir, that we have primary reliance for our water supply in a project which is now currently before the appropriations group which takes water from the Valle Grande. It is a project which will allow us, we hope, to get some 6,000,000 gallons per day within the next 18 to 24 months.
The CHAIRMAN. Where do you want it in this area?
Mr. BAYER. The Valle Grande will be in this Jemez area which would be here [indicating map] near Espanola. Our project is roughly 10 to 15 miles south and east of there. That would be the source of our supply. We would have a secondary interest, of course, in any other water supply in the State, as a reserve capacity, which might be developed.
The CHAIRMAN. What is your idea as to how you are going to get this water supply under this project with a flood-control reservoir that lets through the natural flow of the stream. Will there be any stored up or will channelization provide for it, or what?
Mr. BAYER. We are currently surveying the Valle Grande to see what part of the water actually is in the Jemez Mountains watershed. We are anticipating, of course, that we will be in a position of drawing from waters which might be involved in the Rio Grande compact.
This study is being undertaken by the Geological Survey people for us. We expect its completion in some 2 months.
The CHAIRMAN. What is the next point you want to bring to our attention!
Mr. BAYER. Only the secondary interest that we have in having available as a reserve supply of water from some other source within the State.
The CHAIRMAN. Is that the only point that you make in the letter that you would like to present to the committee ?
Mr. BAYER. That is correct.
The CHAIRMAN. That letter may be filed as an exhibit to the testimony of the witness. And is there any other point that you desire to make, sir?
Mr. McGREGOR. Do you have sufficient water supply now for your operations?
Mr. BAYER. We do not have. We, as you may know, draw our water from the Espanola Valley deep-water wells which go to ground water there. We have been able to get by some peak periods. With an anticipated increase in population, which would reflect domestic demand increase, and some industry changes, we now feel that we will have to have some 6,000,000 gallons per day as against possibly 3 to 4 which we are now using.
Mr. MCGREGOR. Prior to the location of your project in that area, a survey was made, was it not, and it was determined that there was sufficient water and other facilities available for the project; is that right? Mr. BAYER. That is my understanding. The CHAIRMAN. Thank you very much.
Mr. Jones. One question : Has there been any lowering of the water tables in the area in which you operate!
Mr. BAYER. We anticipate this: If we were to undertake to draw from the existing wells, say, roughly 5,000,000 gallons per day, we anticipate that this would deplete those ground supplies. This is also part of the current survey, Mr. Jones.
The CHAIRMAN. Thank you very much.
Colonel HARRISON. May Mr. Bayer have permission to extend his remarks in the record ?
The CHAIRMAN. Without objection, it is so ordered. You may file your extension with the clerk of the committee and they will be inserted at this point. (The letter previously referred to is as follows:)
UNITED STATES ATOMIC ENERGY COMMISSION,
Washington, D. C., May 12, 1949. Hon. DENNIS CHAVEZ, Chairman, Senate Committee on Public Works,
Senate Office Building, Washington, D. C. DEAR SENATOR CHAVEZ: In the course of conversations with members of the staff of the Public Works Committee, it was requested that we comment on that aspect of the middle Rio Grande flood-control project which relates to the question of water supply.
From the point of view of the Commission's interest in the water supply developed in the course of the flood-control project, it should be stated that, at the present time, the Commission is placing primary reliance on a water-supply project to be completed in the next 2 years in the Valle Grande in the Jemez Mountains of New Mexico, for which purpose the Commission is currently requesting funds. The need for such a project is based on the inadequacy of supply and unusually high cost of the current supply system from the Espanola Valley well fields, the increasing domestic and industrial demand, and the consequent need for additional well capacity within 18 to 24 months. The Valle Grande project should fully meet the Commission's water requirements.
Therefore, the interest of the Commission in an additional supply of water which might be available over a period of years as a result of the present middle Rio Grande project, is limited mainly to the desirability of developing a reserve source of water supply in the area for meeting unforeseen circumstances as in the event of a national emergency. Sincerely yours,
JAMES S. RUSSELL,
JAMES MCCORMACK, Jr., Brigadier General, AUS, Director of Military Application.
The CHAIRMAN. Have you any other witness?
Colonel HARRISON. Yes, sir. "If I may, I think you would be interested in this phase of the problem, so far as it relates to the Atomic Energy Commission. There is no unappropriated water in the Rio Grande River. They cannot take 1 gallon from that river without bringing New Mexico into violation of the Rio Grande compact because we are in a deficit position today with the State of Texas. That is a problem; one of the problems that our State engineers even now are trying to solve.
Mr. McGREGOR. Was that compact in existence prior to the location of this atomic energy program?
Colonel HARRISON. May I ask that question of Mr. Bliss! I want to be sure the answer to it is accurate.
Mr. Bliss. It was.
Mr. McGREGOR. Then the location was established there in the face of the compact and they were not really sure of having sufficient water to carry on the work; is that right?
Mr. Bliss. Colonel Harrison may answer that, sir.
Colonel HARRISON. Well, sir, if you will remember the history of that, it was established in a remote place during the hectic days of the war and it is something like Topsy; it just grew. These problems have grown as that installation has grown. Today it is the second or third largest city in New Mexico. On that point, obviously they could not have foreseen, when they put a small group of worldrenowned scientists there to develop this atomic bomb, they could not have foreseen that it was going to result eventually in a city of 15,000 or 20,000 people. It is the evolution of that atomic energy at Los Alamos that has helped create these problems that they are now trying to solve.
Mr. McGREGOR. Do they have sufficient houses and schools and other facilities to take care of the people that are there now?
Mr. BAYER. They are being constructed as rapidly as possible. There is a very extensive building project on Los Alamos project.
Mr. CUNNINGHAM. May I ask one question?
Did I understand you to say you could not take any water now because of the compact ?
Mr. BAYER. Without coming in violation of the compact, sir.
Mr. CUNNINGHAM. How would an increase of the authorization change the situation?
Colonel HARRISON. The most important thing, as I mentioned to you, sir, is the channelization of the river from the head of Elephant Butte right-of-way to the lower end of the district above San Marcial. That will prevent this wastage of water that puts New Mexico in a deficit position.
Mr. CUNNINGHAM. Provide surplus of water that will not be covered by the compact ?
Colonel HARRISON. That is what the engineers think.
Mr. CUNNINGHAM. There would be water over and above what you now have that would not be covered by the compact; is that correct?
Colonel HARRISON. It would not be covered by the compact to the extent that New Mexico would still be in a deficit position. It is all covered by the compact but there would be sufficient water if we could stop this wastage allotted to New Mexico, that out of that allot
ment there would be water for such purposes as has been requested for the Atomic Energy Commission at Los Alamos.
Mr. CUNNINGHAM. More water would do away with the compact?
Mr. Bliss. The compact remains in effect. At present we are like a fellow that is overdrawn at the bank. We can't issue any more checks. That is the situation. New Mexico is overdrawn on its water rights under the Rio Grande compact. Obviously, it cannot give away more. As the witnesses have stated here, it is almost 300,000 acre-feet at the present time. The deadline is 400,000. That is as much credit as is available.
Mr. CUNNINGHAM. You have no assurance the banker will loan you more when you pay up the note? How do you know getting more water will help under the compact ?
Colonel HARRISON. Because, when we eliminate the deficit, when the rehabilitation stops the wastage of water within the State—that wastage is estimated to be greater than the annual deficit that we are accumulating
The CHAIRMAN. Any other witness, now, that would like to file a statement for or any other witness that you want to present on any other phase of the matter that has not been brought to our attention.
Colonel HARRISON. I would like to make a statement on the national defense aspects of this project.
The CHAIRMAN. Will that conclude your presentation; your statement?
Colonel HARRISON. No; this phase of it has not been discussed heretofore.
The CHAIRMAN. All right; give it to us.
Colonel HARRISON. If you wish additional witnesses on that, we are prepared to call them, or we will file their statement.
The CHAIRMAN. We will be the judge of that as soon as you complete your statement. We will see how you come along.
Colonel HARRISON. If you wil turn to this map that is folded into this brief on the first page, you will have a picture of the Middle Rio Grande Valley just above this Las Alamos Atomic Energy project, slightly below the town of Socorro, which is roughly the area under discussion here this morning.
You will notice from this map that that valley floor is a veritable network of utilities of all kinds. The Atchison, Topeka & Santa Fe Railroad runs up and down it and crosses it in two places where there are two main lines, northern main lines, the southern main line between Chicago and the west coast. The gas lines that come down from the San Juan Basin, which is the source of natural gas for the atomicenergy project at Los Alamos to Kirtland Field, Sandia Base, and the United States veterans' hospital, which is a part of this over-all atomicenergy project. The gas line crosses the valley in several places and runs the length of it. The power-generation station, all these utilities; these facilities depend on them—they are located in the floor of the valley, all of them; the waterworks are located in the floor of the valley. It is traversed by highways and the river crossed by 8 or 10 highway bridges.
Now, we feel that because of these facts that the project is of more than just local interest, Mr. Chairman. If we were to have a devastating flood, which we can have at any time, depending upon the vagaries
of the weather, and the amount of snow in northern New Mexico, that accumulates there in the wintertime—it depends how fast that runs off and how much flow we get in the spring. In the fall we have what we commonly call cloudbursts that cause flash floods. So, at almost any time of the year we could have a flood in this valley that would handicap the operations of Los Alamos atomic project at Los Alamos and Sandia Base, which is a very important satellite of that project. Obviously, you men know the nature of that base better than we do, and we would not want to discuss it here anyway.
The CHAIRMAN. You may extend your remarks with respect to the national-defense features of it. I think we understand it generally from your very helpful statement.
Now, have we any other witnesses that desire to file a statement in behalf of this project!
Colonel HARRISON. Yes, sir; we have. Mr. Chairman, I believe that you have been very kind to us. Thank you for your kindess.
The CHAIRMAN. Would any of your other friends here who have come in from a distance like to file their statement? If not —
Colonel HARRISON. The balance of them we would like to have file written statements.
The CHAIRMAN. Will you name them and let them stand up so the committee can see them, so we can keep in mind their statement ?
Colonel HARRISON. Two men from Washington,
Colonel HARRISON. The men from Washington are Colonel J. C. Dykes, Assistant Chief, Soil Conservation Service, Department of Agriculture, and Mr. G. R. Salmond, Chief, Division of Watershed Management, United States Forest Service.
The CHAIRMAN. Mr. Dykes, do you desire to file a statement now with respect to
Mr. DYKES. I can file a very brief one, Judge.
The CHAIRMAN. Come around; please, sir. You would like to file a statement on this patricular project?
Mr. SALMOND. Yes, sir.
STATEMENT ON THE WATER PROBLEMS OF RIO GRANDE BASIN BY G. R. SALMOND,
CHIEF, DIVISION OF WATERSHED MANAGEMENT, UNITED STATES FOREST SERVICE, May 19, 1949
The middle Rio Grande Valley has a long history of recurrent flood damages. In a region of difficult physical conditions, the development of the area is especially associated with the development of agriculture in the narrow strip of valley lands adjacent to the river and to which water can be readily made available. The physical necessity of utilizing lands near the river which can be inundated by overflow has rendered the economy of the area particularly susceptible to flood damages.
Since the earliest settlement the middle Rio Grande Valley has been of great economic value. Now the welfare of the community is being seriously threatened by the great hazard caused by aggradation of sediment in the river channel.
For many years sedimentation has been increasing along the river bottom and in the irrigated area. Some of this is due to the normal spring floods