Page images

rado River and upon the Arizona highline canal system for convey. ing the waters to 3,000,000 acres of Arizona agricultural lands.

Fifth. Arizona asserts its right to proceed with this development of the Colorado River undisturbed, under the law of prior appropriation and beneficial use.

Sixth. If interfered with in this development of the River Arizona will resist to the utmost through the last resort of the courts, if necessary, to the end of establishing its rights to the waters and power of the Colorado River within Arizona.

Seventh. Arizona requires that other States of the Colorado River Basin concede the aforesaid rights of the State of Arizona to the waters and power of the Colorado River within Arizona as a condition precedent to desired negotiations between the Colorado River Basin States to the end of solving the Colorado River problems without long drawn out litigation.

Ninth. Arizona does not desire litigation.

Tenth. Cool heads are needed. It rests with States other than Arizona to keep the Colorado River issues out of litigation. The present course of other States plainly drifts toward litigation, for Arizona will not be dispossessed of the water and power of its Colorado River without a struggle.

I submit those for consideration, because the value involved will undoubtedly raise these issues.

The CHAIRMAN. Is Mr. Bingham C. Wilson in the room? I promised Mr. Wilson yesterday that he might have a very few minutes to discuss one phase of the subject. And, Mr. Wilson, try and confine your remarks to about 10 minutes.


Mr. Wilson. Mr. Chairman and gentlemen, most everybody who comes before you has a tendency to tell you how great southern California is, but I am going to talk to you primarily about how small California is, and how dry we are. The condition of our country is a uniform condition over southern California, and if any gentlemen appeared before this committee and offered any suggestion relative to anything detrimental as to the construction of this dam he would go home persona non grata with the entire community. But I do think, gentlemen, that whatever subject you are discussing, it is worth being considered from every angle, and it seems to me that if this committee were to pass favorably upon a project that afterwards proved to be disastrous and detrimental for them financially and to the country in general, the committee would be largely susceptible to criticism. I want to say that I pin a great faith, like Abraham Lincoln, to the United States Government, and for that reason this afternoon I want to call your attention to a bulletin here which was issued, No. 669, entitled "Salt resources of the United States."

The CHAIRMAN. By whom was that bulletin issued ?

Senator SHORTRIDGE. Bulletin 669, Department of the Interior, Franklin K. Lane Secretary, issued in 1919, Government Printing Office.

Mr. Wilson. I happened for some years to be associated with Mr. Burbank, and was general manager of the Luther Burbank Co., and while in that position I was practically in touch constantly with a number of inquiries relative to the resources-agricultural resources of the United States, and among many were salt.

The CHAIRMAN. For the use of the committee and information for the record, with whom are you associated now?

Mr. Wilson. I am president of the Wilson Farming Tool Syndicate. I manufacture farm tools. I am a rancher at Salina, Calif. I live on a ranch.

During the course of investigations I found something very interesting—which appeared to me, at least, to be very interesting, which was brought up by this discussion. It appears, in looking over the Virgin River, which is one of the most available arms and most important arm in the Boulder Dam project, that the eminent gentleman who went through this country and wrote up this report tells us that there are salt beds for 12 miles in extent, in solid cliffs 72 feet in thickness on both sides of the Virgin River for 12 miles. It seems to me if we are going to build a dam at Boulder Canyon that will inclose all that immense body of salt, after we spend all of our money, we had just as well go down to the people of Imperial Valley and say, "Irrigate your lands from the Salton Sea,” and you gentlemen from Los Angeles, "Get your water from the ocean."

With your kind permission, I am going to read you something that will suprise you.

For some reason this matter has never been brought out. After a careful investigation of years, I find these reports are absolutely infallible. It has been my good fortune to go through a good many reports on horticulture that were made by the United States, and I have found that their accuracy is absolute to a fault. I have never found one statement that did not qualify perfectly with the judgment of the best horticultural authorities in the United States. I want to read this to you.

Virgin Valley is mostly in the valley. The cliffs of salt, which are perfectly remarkable, are exposed in natural outcroppings along the valley of the Virgin River. The salt ledges are exposed in several places on oth sides of the Virgin River Valley, between St. Thomas and the mouth of the Virgin at the Colorado, and the outcroppings extend in distance for more than 12 miles on each side.

If these facts are true, ladies and gentlemen, and if the United States Government is not in error in printing this and sanding it out to the public, then I think it is something serious to consider before we contemplate the construction of a dam at an enormous cost, especially if such construction can be made above the Virgin River and thereby save such loss as would be sustaincd by this condition. It has been said to me and I have consulted with many gentlemen on this subject; I have been informed by geologists who have

gone in there for different salt concerns-to the effect that this statement, whil: accurate, is inadequate, and that the salt resource of that country are very much greater and that the salt is very much greater in extent than is here represented in this book. One place in particular up in the Virgin River Valley, near the town of St. Thomas, is a salt mountain, which is solid salt.

Gentlemen, I do not bring this to you with any spirit of criticism. I am for the dam; we must have water. We have the most resourceful and marvelous country in the world, and without water it is a desert. For that reason I do ask that this matter be given careful consideration before the tax money is expended and our citizens find that they get brackish water to drink and salt water in their tea. I am an orange grower, and we freze them about three times in succession in this country, and when we get salt water on them I know we will grow oranges.

I wish to thank you gentlemen very kindly for the opportunity of presenting these facts.

Senator Johnson. Now Mr. Chairman, if the committee is particularly interested in this subject, the engineers are here and they can answer it, or we can go on with the program and they can do that subsequently.

The CHAIRMAN. Yes; they will have plenty of opportunity later.

Mr. R. P. Peters, let me state for your information and others that may be called, that I am advised that we will have to give up this room at 5 o'clock, as the hotel desires to use it, and if you will permit me to follow out the scheduled time allotted, we can finish up and hear everyone. You are allowed 10 minutes.

Mr. R. P. Peters.



Mr. PETERS. Mr. Chairman and Senators, I speak somewhat from the point of view of a rancher, but San Bernardino County, as you will see on this map, is a rather large county. It has n arly 100 miles where the Colorado River meanders along its eastern boundary. The part that we are especially interested in is this little corner here under this map. I think it is well recognized that we have reached, as has been pointed out very ably by Mr. Sonderegger, the peak of agricultural development in southern California without more water supply. We do not hope to receive any water for agricultural purposes from the Colorado River. All we can hope for is that the cities themcelv s may get water from the Colorado River, thereby releasing for the use of the ranches a continual agricultural program for this part of the country. I think it is well recognized that it is only a question of a very few years when slowly, acre by acre, we will have to drop out of agricultural production in order that the cities may impound the water. They have the first right to the use of water—we can not question that. But that which San Bernardino County is very much interested in is that we may somehow, some way, g t an additional supply of water, which is impossible at the present time, as we see it, from our own natural resources.

Senator SHORTRIDGE. Where would you get it if not from the Colorado?

Mr. PETERS. That is the only place we can get it. It is possible to make some small conservations; but, as I see it, agriculture is simply doomed in southern California if we do not get the Colorado River water for the cities.

The CHAIRMAN. The next witness is Mr. S. H. Finley.



The CHAIRMAX. Give your name and business, Mr. Finley.

Mr. FINLEY. S. H. Finley, representing Orange County; a member of the board of supervisors; residence, Santa Ana.

Realizing the shortness of time, I have reduced my statement to a very few words. Orange County is interested in the construction of a high dam at Boulder Canyon for two main reasons:

First, because it will make possible the generation of a large volume of hydroelectric power at a minimum of cost. The present available sources of hydroelectric energy are not sufficient to meet the present demands of this section of California. We are dependent, during certain periods, upon expensive steam plants to meet the deficiency. Even with the help of steam during the year 1924, it was necessary for the service companies to restrict their patrons in the use of electricity, causing great inconvenience and often no small amount of loss.

As the population increases and agricultureal and industrial requirements multiply, our dependence upon steam plants will become greater and greater, with the result that the cost to us of this electrical energy will become more excessive. We believe that, as long as there is any water flowing down the rapids of our mountain streams that can be harnessed for power, the earliest possible steps should be taken to utilize it in order to conserve our oil and coal for purposes for which water power is not available.

We urge the construction of the Boulder Dam now so that its power will be available before the progress of this section of our land is checked by reason of the lack of the power which it will make available.

The second and perhaps more vital reason which I wish to urge on you for the construction of the Boulder Dam is the necessity which exists for an increased water supply:

Orange County, though small in area, has a population of 100,000, 60 per cent of which is within nine incorporated cities.

These cities depend entirely upon pumping from the underground waters of the valley for their domestic water supply. This source is being rapidly depleted. During the 47 years which I have lived in that community I have observed the water level decline as much as 75 feet. At the present time it is lowering at the rate of 212 feet per year over the valley. This is caused by the fact that the water is being withdrawn for domestic and agricultural use more rapidly than it is being replenished from rain fall and run off from the adjacent mountains.

The time has passed when the scientic conservation of all local water supplies will meet the situation facing us in the future. It is not a question of water conservation but one of water importation. The only source from which the needed water can be brought is the Colorado River. We believe that, if the incorporated cities can secure water for domestic use from the Colorado River, the local annual rain fall will meet the needs of our agricultural and horticultural areas.

In order that the cities may be able to secure a dependable and continuous supply from the Colorado River it will be necessary to provide a reservoir of very large capacity that would never be depleted even after a series of years of light rainfall.

We believe that a high dam at Boulder Canyon will provide the two great needs of our community, power and water. It is the nearest point on the river at which a high dam can be built at a nominal cost, which will impound an abundance of water for domestic use and provide the electric power so urgently needed in our development.

Senator SHORTRIDGE. Mr. Finley, you live at Santa Ana ? Mr. FINLEY. Yes, sir. Senator SHORTRIDGE. A member of the board of supervisors ? Mr. FINLEY. A member of the board of supervisors. Senator SHORTRIDGE. You have taken note of the gradual lowering of the water table, have you not, in Orange County?

Mr. FINLEY. Yes, sir; showing at a certain time 24/2 feet each year.

Senator SHORTRIDGE. Are you familiar with what is being done or attempted to be done up at the headwaters of the Santa Ana by the diversion of the floor waters and permitting them to sink and percolate, and to some extent replenish the wells below. Have you noticed that?

Mr. FINLEY. We are now engaged—three counties are engaged in a process of settling back the winter waters in order that they may be stored in the underground strata. Senator SHORTRIDGE. What, in a word--not to take

ир time, which is so precious here to-day—what has been the effect, if you are able to state, of this process alluded to, diverting the flood waters and suffering them to sink and percolate and flow under ground-down, indeed, to the sea ? What has been the effect noticeable on the water table?

Mr. FINLEY. Well, it is a thing you can hardly put your finger on, because the water, despite all that we have been doing, all that kind of work, the water level is lowering.

Senator SHORTRIDGE. Did you attend the meeting of some months ago up in the Santa Ana Canyon? Mr. FINLEY. Yes, sir; I remember you were there at that time.

Senator SHORTRIDGE. My recollection is that there was a map or diagram submitted together with some information to the effect that this diversion of water in the way and for the purpose indicated had resulted at least in checking the rapid lowering of the water table.

Mr. FINLEY. That map which you have reference to referred to the San Bernardino Basin, which is immediately adjacent to the spreading operations. I had in mind Orange County, which is at the lower end of the operations.

Senator SHORTRIDGE. It was suggested there that while this sunken water creeps along very slowly, it would replenish the wells, affect the water plane, even as far down as Santa Ana.

Mr. FINLEY. Yes, it undoubtedly will. In fact, I do not doubt for a minute but what it has done it already, if we could just determine the amount.

« PreviousContinue »