Page images

other projects are in Orange County in the lower end of the river.

We have our engineers here. We are willing and ready to answer any questions that you would like to ask. We do not like to take up too much of your time, but we shall be very glad to answer any questions you ask.

Mr. McDonough. You have a flood-control district in San Bernardino County?

Mr. MOGLE. Yes; we have a special flood-control district in San Bernardino County which has been operating since 1938.

Mr. McDonough. What do you levy against each $100 assessed valuation?

Mr. MOGLE. We have a tax levy of 20 cents a hundred.
Mr. McDonougII. What does that produce?
Mr. MOGLE. It will produce about $500,000 a year.

Mr. McDonough. And that goes to maintain existing projects and to initiate any local projects you want to intiate yourselves?

Mr. MOGLE. We maintain all projects and initiate a number of new projects.

Mr. McDONOUGH. All of which is approved as part of the comprehensive plan of the Army engineers? Anything you initiate under your own flood-control district has to be approved by the Army engineers?

Mr. MOGLE. No; not necessarily. We do a lot of local work that is not in the Army plans, smaller projects which are not justified through the Army plan, but we also have to assume the obligation of the maintenance of the Army projects.

Mr. McDonough. When you spoke very specifically about the projects on the lower section and those on the upper section of the Santa Ana River, you mean below the city and above the city.

Mr. MOGLE. There have been several, the La Brea and the Carbon Dame in Orange County that have been authorized, but that does not give us protection in the upper reaches of the river.

Mr. McDONOUGH. The upper region is where you want protection against floods in the city of San Bernardino ?

Mr. MOGLE. Yes, sir; that is correct.
Mr. McDonough. That is all.

Mr. Davis. Are there any further questions by any members of the committee? If not, thank you, Mr. Mogle.



Mr. Davis. Mr. William C. Slape, member of the board of supervisors.

Do you have anything to add in addition to the statement made by the chairman?

Mr. SLAPE. Mr. Chairman, my name is William C. Slape. I am a member of the Board of Supervisors of Riverside County.

I have a prepared statement which I would like to file with the clerk, since the time is short.



Gentlemen, my name is William C. Slape, and I am a member of the Board of Supervisors for the County of Riverside, State of California.

It is not my purpose to discuss the investigations and reports which have been made by the Government in connection with the flood-control projects before you today. I am here, rather, for the purpose of bringing directly to you the opinions and desires of the people whom I represent and who own property and make their homes in this part of California referred to as the Santa Ana River watershed.

The area affected is primarily agricultural and residential in nature, although industrial and commercial activities are valued in the millions. This portion of southern California is one of the areas where population is rapidly concentrating. It is highly developed, and its development is based upon what appears to be a sound and stable economy. The thousands of people living in this region and whose homes and whose property are directly or indirectly hazarded by the uncontrolled waters of the Santa Ana River in flood season are of one mind and are unanimous in requesting that the floodwaters of this river be controlled.

Local interest can only be adequately served by proper flood-control construction works to the extent that protection is afforded through the construction of the proposed works. The State of California and the United States will be benefited in exactly the same manner and way as the local area will be benefited.

It is for these reasons that, as a county supervisor and coming directly from the people, I recommend and request the favorable consideration of this committee and likewise ask the permission of the committee to file this written statement with you covering the remarks which I have made.

Mr. SLAPE. I would like to say orally that we are in full accord with this project, and we would like to urge that the committee act upon it favorably in every respect.

Since I am not prepared to answer the detailed questions, I would like to pass my time on to our engineers, who are prepared for that.

Mr. Davis. Are there any questions!



Mr. Davis. The next witness is the county engineer from Riverside County, Max Bookman.

Mr. BOOKMAN. Mr. Chairman and members of the committee, my name is Max Bookman. I am county engineer for Riverside County flood-control work.

I would like to explain a few of the factors and bring out the important points a little bit better, perhaps, or stronger than have not been stressed, and I will do it as briefly as I can because our statement by the board of supervisors which you have before the committee gives it in more detail, including some of the pictures of damage done by past floods.

One of the important things that Colonel Gee brought out was the fact that these steep mountains are there, and I would like for the benefit of some of the members of the committee to go into this picture here, which is a reproduction of the model of the Santa Ana River Basin. This sindicating] is the Facific Ocean here; and, if you cannot see this very clearly, over at the very beginning of the booklet that you have in front of you you will see a reproduction of the picture itself.

I would like to bring to your attention the fact that there are deep canyons at the upper end of the watershed of the area. There are over 2,000 square miles in this watershed, and the rainfall is as much as 45 inches in this area (indicating] where it rises to an elevation of 11,000 feet above sea level, and it drops from that level down to an elevation of 1,600 feet above sea level in the city of San Bernardino.

The rainstorms, which come from the ocean and are produced by the rains which originate in the northern part of the Pacific Ocean, hit these sharp mountains that rise here (indicating] and cause an intense precipitation to drop on the very scarce watershed protection and the steep slopes and cause a sharp concentration of this water to where we experience high peak floods along the Santa Ana River. It is hard to imagine what those peak floods are in velocity and the amount of devastation that is done.

Mr. Davis. And the quickness with which floods occur?

Mr. BOOKMAN. Yes; the quickness with which they occur and concentrate.

At Riverside we have had rainfall amounting to 8 inehes in 1 hour, and in the mountains that has risen as high as 20 inches per hour.

The total storm averages about a 4-day period, but the damage is terrific by the time that storm passes.

Mr. FORD. How soon do you get the effect of a severe storm down in that area?

Mr, BOOKMAN. There is only a time limit of 1 or 2 hours before the flood starts in the river and the rivers become these raging torrents, as explained before. We have not time to erect levees, and we have not time to reinforce them. The levees must be there; they must be constructed substantially; and it is too late to take any protective steps after a storm occurs.

Mr. FORD. You mean 2 hours from the time your heavy rain starts you begin to have these heavy floods on the Santa Ana River?

Mr. BOOKMAN. That is correct.
Mr. FORD. How long do the floods last as a rule!
Mr. BOOKMAN. About 4 days on the average.

Being from Riverside County, I would like to speak on two projects, and Mr. Howard Way, chief engineer of San Bernardino County, can explain the projects in his county.

First, I would like to talk about unit No. 1, the Riverside levee project in Riverside County.

On this map the tributaries of the Santa Ana River all converge near Colton, and there is a fan-shaped area consisting of about 800 square miles of watershed area which concentrates at this point.

At Riverside the highest peak floods occur in the river.

During the 1938 flood there was 100,000 cubic feet per second passing the Riverside levees.

At Riverside there are built-up units on both sides of the river, the west side unit at West Riverside, and on the east side the city of Riverside, which is the county seat of Riverside County. The population of these two communities consists of about 83,000 people at the present time.

They have increased more than 100 percent since the 1938 flood, which was the flood which Colonel Gee mentioned, which caused over $22,000,000 worth of damage and took 44 lives.

At Riverside we have constructed or attempted to construct through past years numerous levees, or the people have, trying to protect themselves. Over $600,000 has been spent by the local people in trying to combat these floods.

There is now existing a levee along the banks of Riverside, and I would like to point that out on another photograph, which is right here before you. San Bernardino is on this end of the picture [indicating, and the river is flowing toward the ocean in this direction to your left [indicating).

This is the city of Riverside [indicating] and this is the city of West Riverside (indicating).

At this point (indicating the county of Riverside has constructed 6,000 feet of levee which you can see in the picture here, and there is a reproduction of that in the booklet before you, in case this is too small for you to see clearly.

The proposed project includes the utilization of what the people have built of their own volition and continuing that levee down to protect the rest of the situation. There are 15,000 acres of territory to be protected within the city of Riverside.

Mr. McDonoUGH. What does that acreage produce? Mr. BOOKMAN. That is municipal territory, and the property values within this area of this project are $3,500,000. The entire community of West Riverside is subject to flood hazard. You have pictures in the back of that booklet which indicate some of the flood damage which occurred during the 1938 flood.

The banks of this river are about 3 or 4 feet in height, and it would take a medium flood to overtop them at the present time.

There is another levee which was constructed by local interests on the west bank, and a part of that levee will also be included in the proposed recommended project of the district engineers.

This project is very vitally needed, and it has been needed for a long time since the works constructed are inadequate to take care of these major floods.

The second project in Riverside County is along the San Jacinto River, and its principal tributary Bautista Creek. The San Jacinto River is one of the main tributaries of the Santa Ana River.

The San Jacinto River has a drainage or watershed area of 700 square miles. Above the cities of San Jacinto and Hemet there is a drainage area of 247 square miles.

These people have tried to protect themselves since 1908 with their local flood-control levee district.

This picture [indicating], which I believe most of you people will see a little better than the others, shows the channelization work carried out by the local people. Over 11 miles of channel work has been constructed, and over $500,000 has been spent by the people in trying to protect themselves. This protection consists of wire fencing, rail and brush revetments, and levees that would be overtopped by a medium flood and cause considerable damage to the city of San Jacinto and the city of Hemet, which is on the west.

There is an area of 13,000 acres which will be protected by this project. It is a large agricultural area, mostly deciduous fruits, apricots, and other crops. It is one of our most valuable agricultural areas.

I would like to point out the importance of saving the topsoil of this area which is not taken into account by the benefits which have been analyzed in the report. The topsoil in our area produces crop values of over $85,000,000 a year. It is one of the highest crop-producing areas of the Nation, and each one of these floods reduces the producing ability of the lands. It is important that the floods be controlled and that the topsoil be saved to continue producing food and the other agricultural products of our area.

I believe that finishes my presentation, Mr. Chairman, of the points I wanted to make.

Thank you.
Mr. Davis. Thank you. I think you have covered the subject well.
Are there any questions on either side ?



Mr. Davis. You suggested the appearance next of the engineer from San Bernardino County, Mr. Way.

Mr. Way. Mr. Chairman, and gentlemen of the committee, my name is Howard Way. I am county engineer for San Bernardino County.

Many of the things that I was going to say have been said, and I do not want to repeat them.

I would like to call your attention to the fact that our San Bernardino flood-control district was organized immediately after the 1938 flood.

We celebrated our tenth anniversary this year, and our local floodcontrol and conservation district has been appropriating about $500,000 a year for this full 10-year period to complete the bank protection and do various types of work for the conservation of soil and the conservation of water.

One of the gentlemen spoke about the value of these works for the conservation of soil, and certainly we would agree with that, because we have not any too much of it in these valleys on the Pacific coast, but there is also the situation where we are short of water, and our flood-control district does a lot of work for the conservation of water, both for domestic and agricultural use, and all of these projects will have built into them by local interests various facilities for the conservation of water.

There is one point I would like to emphasize just a little. The severity of these storms has been mentioned. The mountains are high. They are approximately parallel with the Pacific Ocean. Immediately in back of the mountains there is located the Mohave Desert and the combination of topography and weather conditions make for extreme floods on the point of these mountains.

It may be interesting for you to realize that the extreme rainfall along the top of the San Bernardino Mountains is only for a width of 2 or 3 miles, and that rainfall at that place is from 40 to 50 inches, while 5 or 6 miles in an air line to the north on the Mohave Desert the annual rainfall is only 5 or 6 inches per year, while only 6 or 8 miles to the south, within the San Bernardino Valley, it runs to about 16 or 17 inches per year, which shows the severity of the extreme rainfall on the summit of these mountains.

« PreviousContinue »