Page images

the district directors to divert the water higher up for the purposes of irrigating another hundred thousand acres of land?

Mr. Rose. Yes; and taking the water farther to the south. Senator KENDRICK. And in connection with that did you say that without waiting for a decision from the directors they have proceeded to construct their canal ?

Mr. Rose. No; they have not proceeded regularly. They have simply gone ahead with their plans. They have not filed a written permit; we have been trying to stand them off. But recently they have made the demand to put in the construction in Mexico.

The CHAIRMAN. They can not take more than their proportion of the water, can they?

Mr. Rose. I know of no means of stopping them, Senator.

The CHAIRMAN. I understand the contract between the two States provides for an equal division of the water.

Mr. Rose. There isn't any contract between the two States.

The CHAIRMAN. Between the Mexican corporation and the Mexican Government, and your district ?

Mr. Rose. That is true, we being the owners of the Mexican company

The CHAIRMAN. That there should be an equal distribution of the water?

Mr. Rose. But there has been considerable argument back and forth on that question. They seem to contend, at least the American owners in Mexico do, that if the water was in the river that we should divert and bring it to them, although it might exceed the onehalf of the amount flowing into the canal. That seems to be the contention urged by quite a few of them. They don't irrigate but about six months in the year. They say, "We don't take water only six months, therefore we should be entitled to all the water we want at other times." There is no contention down there that it should be calculated by days. When the time comes that they want more water and it is in the river, they will find a way of making us deliver it to them in order to get our water through their lands into the United States. We have 500,000 acres on the American side of the line unirrigated. We believe that if the United States Government should construct a dam and turn water loose to run in a foreign country that it probably would forever bar the 500,000 additional acres in this valley from water and return it to an everlasting desert in order that Mr. Chandler and a few other Americans might use that water on Mexican soil, of which there is probably a million and a half irrigable acres on the delta of Lower California. Personally I haven't much fear of this happening. I have never believed that the Congress and Senate of the United States composed, at least in part, of Representatives from these western States, would ever spend forty-five to fifty million dollars of the moneys of the United States for the storing of these American waters or even permit anyone else to do it knowing that the direct result of their acts would be to enable a small group of Americans who have seen fit to go down to a foreign country for the purpose of exploitation, and also to use their influence to exploit the waters of the seven western States which they represent in the United States Congress and Senate, and would forever cause it to remain a barren desert a like amount of acreage in the States which they represent in the United States of America. They have at least a million and a half acres that can be irrigated down there by gravity, and, contrary to the statement here that it uses 2.8, our records show that it uses even more water than that, probably 312 acre-feet head-gate duty.

The CHAIRMAN. What do you say in answer to those parties who claim they have sufficient water supply under the present system, they do not want to be obligated to an additional charge by construction of the All-American Canal ?

Mr. Rose. My land is in the valley the same as theirs, and we don't have sufficient water supply:

The CHAIRMAN. Wouldn't you have sufficient supply if the waters of the Colorado were regulated by an impounding dam at Boulder Canyon or elsewhere?

Mr. Rose. Probably for a seriod of years that would be true, until they completed the irrigation of the additional acres of land in Mexico. At that time we will be back where we are to-day, and particularly when the northern States take what is conceded them.

The CHAIRMAN. On the theory that you are going to get half the water if there is an increase in the flow of the stream, wouldn't that increase be sufficient to take care of your

needs? Mr. Rose. If they only got half of the water that would be true.

Senator SHORTRIDGE. May I call attention to the direct language here so that we may all get it in our minds? I read from page 252 of Part II of the hearings before the Senate committee, assuming this to be correct. It reads thus: “From the water mentioned in the foregoing article enough shall be used to irrigate the lands susceptible of irrigation in Lower California with the water carried through the canal or canals without in any case the amount of water used exceeding one-half of the volume of water passing through said canals."

I have always understood that in no event was the land , roperly entitled to any amount in excess of 50 ser cent. Now, the question is—I would like to have it cleared and you can do it: Have you the power to regulate, equate, and limit the amount of water passing through the canal so that in no event they shall have more than called for in that agreement?

Mr. Rose. Beyond a doubt, Senator, if the waters passing through could only pass back into the United States and no interference with it, we could do that. There is nothing that says that the water might not be taken in Sonora or any place except under this concession in Lower California, but it makes necessary the delivery back of half of it to the United States.

Senator SHORTRIDGE. That isn't the point in my mind; I have in mind the pojnt of whether it is provided that in no event shall they have more than one-half of the volume of water passing through said canals. Now, as a matter of management and control, can you regulate that in the weir and control the flow of that water so as to prevent them receiving more than called for in that agreement as a practical matter?

Mr. Rose. It is uncertain whether it is the amount in volume passing through this canal hy day, month, or year. They might change that concession or might revoke that in a minute.

Senator SHORTRIDGE. That may be so, but taking it as it is, in view of practical management, if you have control can you or can you not regulate the amount of the How?

Mr. Rose. We can practically, physically, yes; easily.
Senator SHORTRIDGE. I want to get the physical facts.

Mr. Rose. Yes; physically we can do it. The canal is so located we could always regulate it.

The CHAIRMAN. The committee will recess until 2.15, when it will promptly reconvene.

(Whereupon, at 1.10 o'clock p. m., a recess was taken until 2.15

P. m.)


(The committee resumed its session at 2.15 o'clock p. m.) The CHAIRMAN. Mr. Rose, you will continue, please.

Mr. Rose. I want to be sure that the committee got the point that I made just before adjournment this morning, and that is this: From the physical standpoint, if we were not interfered with, we could divide that water fifty-fifty and return one-half of it to the United States. But the legal condition is a very different condition. They have made several deductions; one, that they are entitled to one-half of the water that passes through that canal—when? As I said, they use none in the wintertime, and therefore they are entitled to increase their supply.

Senator PHIPPS. Mr. Rose, padron the interruption. You have not taken into account there has not been any legal interference up to date. Now, what has been the physical interference? Aren't the head gates of the laterals in the custody of the employees of

your canal ?

Mr. Rose. Part of it: most of it.
Senator PHIPPS. Have they ever been interfered with?

Mr. Rose. Yes, sir; the head gates have been taken possession of, locks broken off of them, and operated by them weeks at a time.

Senator PHIPPS. That is the kind of information we want.

Mr. Rose. That has been reported to the Mexican officials and they refused to interfere with it in any way.

Senator Phipps. I don't think we are interested in the possible legal interference, when you haven't had it up to date. You speak also of the interference of tariffs. How recently were those duties or charges imposed; has that been within the last two years?

Mr. Rose. Yes; they are continuing right along now.
Senator PHIPPS. That is still continuing?
Mr. Rose. Yes, sir.

Senator PHIPPS. So that if you take an American team across the border you are charged a duty on it, are you?

Mr. Rose. You are allowed to bond it over under certain conditions. For either teams or machinery, for a period of time, namely, three months at the most; but any materials, supplies, or anything taken into Mexico permanently must be duty paid, and nobody knows in advance just how much that duty will be. We have been compelled to pay duty on rails, materials of all kinds, machinery, provisions, and even a duty of $3 on men when taken over in to Mexico for labor. To date we have been compelled to pay approximately one-quarter million dollars for duty.

72578—251-PT 2


[ocr errors]

Senator PHIPPS. Mr. Rose, how do you figure the possible loss of $6,000,000 last season by reason of shortage of water to interference in the Mexican side?

Mr. Rose. Well, this shortage of water produced a shortage of the corn crop, a shortage of the cotton crops. I will give you an illustration; on my own ranch about a year previous to the time when the shortage came I had 76 bales of second-picking cotton off my ranch, and I took 22 that year. There was a difference of 54 bales of cotton on 160 acres of land. Now, that was not an unusual case in the valley. Short your corn crop, short your cotton crop, short your lettuce crop, it holds back your lettuce crop which should be earlier than other places. I think it is a very conservative estimate that it cost the valley $6,000,000.

Senator PHIPPS. It is only about 10 ser cent of the total receipts for produce shipped out of the valley ?

Mr. Rose. That is true.

Senator PHIPPs. I was wondering how you could make such an estimate, how you arrived at any such figure.

Mr. Rose. The crop of this valley is grown principally in July, August, and September; planted in those months. It is a very easy matter to see, in a country where nothing can live more than 10 days in the way of growing stuff without water, that if you are shut off or if you are shorted during the growing months to one-half, or 20 per cent, or 15 per cent, you would not get a fair crop.

Senator PITTMAN. Mr. Rose, was that due to lack of water in the river or incapacity of the canal?

Mr. Rose. We had very little water in the river for 74 days.

Senator PITTMAN. Then I understand it was shortage of water in the river?

Mr. Rose. Absolutely.

Senator PITTMAN. Then if you had a dam at Black Canyon that would hold back part of the flood water and let down those flood waters in the dry season, there would be no shortage of water?

Mr. Rose. Not until the supply was exhausted. If we had had dams last year and turned the water down, there would have been no shortage of water last year. I don't know of anything else.

Senator Dill. Does the district keep guards along the canal to look after the canal ?

Mr. Rose. They do, all along.

Senator Dill. Has there been any trouble in the way of contamination of the waters at any time that come into the district here?

Mr. Rose. There is always this trouble present; that there are stock pastures along the canal banks. It is nothing uncommon to pull out a dead horse or dead cow along the canal, or even a dead

They grow weeds and they don't use the same precaution to protect against them as we do. In an extremely long canal it is impossible to keep them out. They swim out in the water; you see a whole family out there paddling around in the water; it is a common practice among the Mexican people.

Senator DILL. It does not affect the health of this community?

Mr. Rose. It does not; the people of this valley are in a healthy condition, probably as good health as any place else in the United States.


The CHAIRMAN. Does the water receive chemical treatment for drinking purposes?

Mr. Rose. It is heavily silt laden; we settle the water and filter it for domestic use, and that is why there is probably no disease.

The CHAIRMAN. I think some one stated it received a chlorine treatment when I asked the question on another occasion.

Senator DILL. That was nine years ago, wasn't it?
Senator JOHNSON. The farmers take it right from the canal ?

Mr. Rose. The farmers take it right from the canal and settle it in a tank or basin before they drink it.

The CHAIRMAN. That is all; thank you. The next witness is Ira Aten, director of the Imperial irrigation district.



The CHAIRMAN. Please place in the record your full name, your occupation, where you reside, and how long you have lived about here?

Mr. ATEN. My name is Ira Aten. I am a director of the Imperial irrigation district, and have been since February 7, 1923.

The CHAIRMAN. Are you a landowner in the Imperial Valley?
Mr. ATEN. I am.
The CHAIRMAN. To what extent?

Mr. ATEN My family and myself own over 900 acres of land. I speak of my family in this way; it was all my wife's and my own filings and some acreage that we have bought, and we have given our children 80 acres apiece. They number four.

The CHAIRMAN. "Do you come here in a personal capacity or are you representing some organization?

Mr. ATEN. I am representing the Imperial irrigation district.

The CHAIRMAN. Have you been authorized by the district to speak on this occasion?

Mr. ATEN. Yes, sir.
The CHAIRMAN. How many members has the district?
Mr. ATEN. Five directors.
Senator PHIPPs. You are speaking of the division ?
Mr. ATEN. I am speaking as a director of the second division.

The CHAIRMAN. They have authorized you to appear and make a statement to the committee?

Mr. ATEN. Yes, sir.
The CHAIRMAN. Very well.
Senator JONES. Was the vote unanimous ?

Mr. ATEN. I think it was; I don't believe Mr. Brockman, the Calexico director, voted against me. I am sure he did not vote against me.

Gentlemen of the committee, before I start in to read my paper, which will cover the political situation of the Imperial irrigation district-and when I say political, I mean the ratification by the people of the contract with the Secretary of the Interior and a resolution authorizing the board of directors to make that contract-I came to Imperial Valley in 1904, in November. The first land I secured was the 9th of June, 1905. On the 12th of June, 1905, my wife and myself-she filed on 324 acres of desert land and I filed on

« PreviousContinue »