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Now, we believe this, gentlemen-I am not an engineer and don't profess to be able to give you any statistics regarding the feasibility or the unfeasibility of the All-American Canal, but I do submit that the gentleman that we selected and the recommendation that he made as to the feasibility of the All-American Canal should be sufficient for this committee, together with the other evidence that you have.
Now, if this land is available, can be made available, we believe that this committee should consider this proposition seriously.
From this standpoint, Mr. Chairman, there has been testimony here to show that there are a million acres of land below the border in Mexico that can be reclaimed. We believe that the ex-service men should be given first chance at the waters of the Colorado River, rather than outside lands or lands in a foreign country, and that is why we contend that the All-American Canal should be constructed, and why we ask you to construct the All-American Canal and give the ex-service men the first opportunity to take the waters of this American river and apply them to American lands, rather than build a dam, store the water, and allow it to flow into a foreign country where it can never be used again by Americans or used on American soil.
The CHAIRMAN. Dr. L. C. House.
STATEMENT OF L. C. HOUSE, PHYSICIAN AND SURGEON,
IMPERIAL COUNTY, CALIF.
Senator Johnson. Just state your occupation, please, and your name.
Mr HOUSE. I am L. C. House; I am a physician and surgeon in Imperial County, Calif., and have been health officer in Imperial County since 1913, up until the first of this last year.
The CHAIRMAN. Your are a land owner?
Mr HOUSE. I don't come representing any league or club or anything of the kind, but merely to state to this committee something about the water that you may not already know that might help you in drawing your conclusions as to what you want to do.
As you already know, the water is taken out of the Colorado River about 10 miles below Yuma and then goes through Mexico for some 50 miles; then it reaches the line again. It is a notorious fact that a good many of the lower class of Mexican people dispose of almost anything they don't want by throwing it into the canal, horses, cattle, people, dogs and every other sort of refuse that they have. It is also well known that typhoid fever, esrecially, is a water borne disease. If at any time an epidemic should occur below the line, the health officer in Imperial County has no control over this water or over anything that may be in there. In Imperial County the canals are continuously patroled and dead animals and dead people, etc, are taken out. But below the line we have no knowledge of what gets in there until it strikes the head gates, and this takes about 24 to 48 hours for the water to reach the Imperial Valley from the intake. No one could think that the pathological bacteria would live, and they die during the course of their travel in 24 to 48 hours.
There is another thing that I would like to acquaint you with, although this is no fault of Mexico and perhaps no fault of anybody. The city of Yuma, with a population of some 6,000 to 10,000 people, empties its sewage directly into the Colorado River, which is 17 miles above our intake. All during the summer time we take all this water, and it is no small portion of the water that we unfortunately have to drink in Imperial Valley. Now, that is in Yuma. They have got to empty their sewage somewhere, but it is a situation that the canal, of course, would change. We have had some concern because of typhoid fever that has been directly attributable to drinking the water out of the canál without its having been filtered or chlorined, and this sewage is not filtered nor chlorined, and they don't have septic tanks, but if they did have a septic tank over there it would only decrease the need, so far as the drinking qualities of the water are concerned.
The CHAIRMAN. Don't you treat the city water by some chemical process?
Mr. House. We do, but the farming communities don't have that. The cities all treat it.
Senator JOHNSON. Would the All-American Canal obviate this condition that you have described?
Mr. House. It would.
Senator Dill. It would not in any way affect the stuff grown on the land?
Mr. HOUSE. No, because the irrigation does not go up over the laterals, nor any of the things that they eat. If it did, of course, they would be affected.
Senator JOHNSON. That is all.
STATEMENT OF D. A. HARRIGAN, HORTICULTURAL EXPERT,
OF IMPERIAL COUNTY
The CHAIRMAN. What is you name?
Mr. HARRIGAN. I own my property here in El Centro, and I have a desert land entry out at Westmoreland in the irrigated district.
The CHAIRMAN. Oh, yes.
Mr. HARRIGAN. There is a serious weed situation, noxious weed situation in Mexico. Johnson grass has become well established in the agricultural lands, considerable of it, and if allowed to spread in the future as it has in the past, it will only be a few years until it will cover the banks of the main canals that flow into the United States, and they will carry the seed to the agricultural lands of Imperial Valley.
The CHAIRMAN. That is considered a menace, is it, to the farmers?
Mr. HARRIGAN. Yes, sir; in California.
Mr. HARRIGAN. Yes, sir; there is a State law in California requiring that all Johnson grass be eradicated, and when it becomes thoroughly established you will lose the use of the land for two years.
The CHAIRMAN. I don't know what Johnson grass you refer to, but the Johnson grass in Oregon is not necessarily a nuisance to the farmer or the horticulturist. Thank you very much.
Senator Johnson. It is a real menace here, is it?
Mr. HARRIGAN. It is a real menace here, where you attempt to raise truck crops and alfalfa and other grains in Imperial County, and particularly cotton.
Senator Johnson. How much money has been expended in attempts to eradicate it in Imperial County?
Mr. HARRIGAN. I can't tell you offhand, but I dare say it costs the farmers of Imperial County at various times in the neighborhood of $75,000.
Senator JOHNSON. That is all.
STATEMENT OF J. STANLEY BROWN, FORMER COUNTY TREASURER AND FORMER DIRECTOR OF THE IMPERIAL IRRIGATION DISTRICT
The CHAIRMAN. Mr. Brown, for the record, your occupation, please, and where you live? Mr. BROWN. J. Stanley Brown. The CHAIRMAN. What do you do here, Mr. Brown? Mr. Brown. I don't do anything. The CNAIRMAN. What have you done some time in your life?
Mr. Brown. I helped to reclaim this valley—17 years of the best part of my life, I spent.
The CHAIRMAN. Are you owner of land in the Imperial Valley?
Mr. Brown. Mr. Chairman, honorable gentlemen, I have had the pleasure of attending the major portion of these hearings during the last several days and I have been much interested and edified by so doing. I have listened as carefully as I could to all the evidence that has been given, and, as I say, I have been much educated by that. Now, it seems to me that the two great, important points in this question have been so thoroughly discussed and listened to that it would be wholly unnecessary, even if I were capable, to speak upon those particular points at this time. The engineering feature has been so well demonstrated and explained to you by some of the most eminent enigneers in the United States that it would seem that the feasibility and the practicability of that part of it has been practically settled. The financing, which, of course, is not only necessary, but one of the first and most important parts of any great scheme of this character, as you know, has been taken care of by pledges from the great cities and towns and other organizations throughout the Southwest, made to you by those in authority to offer their pledges. So it seems that that part has been amply taken care of.
Now, then, what am I to talk about? I don't want to take up but a very few minutes of your time
The CHAIRMAN. Let me ask right here what financing have these communities done, or do they expect to do?
Mr. Brown. I have heard their promises, that is all, the same as you.
The CHAIRMAN. For what, to build the canal ?
Mr. Brown. Yes; in Los Angeles, I heard them pledge that they would pay their proportion of the allotted cost of the dam. So it seems to me that there is only one phase of the question left for me to talk about, and that is the human element that enters into this great project, and that is an element that enters into every great project that is successful in consummation. And if I may have your pardon for using the personal element in illustrating the points that I want to make, I will be brief about it.
In the first place, I landed in this city, which was a city of stakes at that time, 20 years ago last December. Now, there are many here tonight or this evening that know that there was nothing here at that time except the desert. It would seem that it was an impossibility to reclaim it in such a short time as 20 years. Some of you people will appreciate this, because you know, and you, who have seen a mirage on the desert, you have seen it. My good wife and I stood out here a little below where the Hotel Barbara Worth is now, and looking to the west we saw a mirage there that defies description. We saw the most beautiful landscape, with green fields, the beautiful homes, the trees and the shrubs and the cattle and the hogs and the horses and all of those things that go with a beautiful farming country. And in looking upon that and knowing at the same time that it was nothing but an optical illusion, there came over us a feeling that no one can describe unless you have been standing on the edge of some great calamity and had that same feeling; and I turned to her and said, “It looks like a promise. It was a promise. And that promise has been partially fulfilled, as you have already seen.
That dream, as has been mentioned here before, has partially come true; but there were nightmares with the dream; and they came true, and we want to say, gentlemen, that in looking into the faces and becoming acquainted with the men and women, the pioneers of that time, that they were as brave and courageous a lot of people as ever tried to reclaim a new country.
And when conditions looked the very worst, when it seemed as though it was going to be impossible to stop the river, yet there was nothing said except to fight, and those people stood day and night ready to do anything within their physical or mental power to check that river. Some 8 miles below here, where the water was threatening to come across Mill(?) Canyon they sent out a call for help, an S. O. S. they call it now. Every man that had a team or a scraper or shovels or something to work with, responded from all parts of this valley. They came to the place where the water was just lacking about that much (indicating] of coming over the main canal. A few miles on the other side of that main canal was just a sea of water. And I tell you frankly and truthfully that I stood there and saw the time when one shovel full of mud would check the water that was oozing over the bank of the canal, and had that water over broken across it would have come right down through the center of this valley and we would not any of us, I believe, be here today, because I think it would have ruined this valley to such an extent that it never could have been reclaimed. And there they stood, as we say now, fighting with their backs to the wall, and it was a case of hard fighting. We had to carry the loose dirt and sand from this side of the main canal on planks that we had put across because there was nothing on the other side to get a hold of to stop it except to dig the mud right out of the ditch bank, and if any of you have ever had any experience digging adobe mud, you know what that means.
But we stopped it.
And so to-day you have seen what the result has been in the face of all these hardships and troubles and trials and one thing and another. The people yet have stood firm and they are still standing firm, endeavoring to reclaim this valley. They have undergone the most severe tests of hardships and struggles. They have suffered mentally and physically and they have not complained. They have stood by their guns in an endeavor to hold onto what little they brought into this valley and to make more if possible.
And I say to you, my good friends, that under all these conditions, that after these long 20 years of hard suffering of the people of this valley, that for the Congress of this great United States to desert them now would be as though an army should desert its leader upon the field of battle.
And I can but say to you, I hope you will give this matter the most serious consideration, and I believe that I voice the sentiment of a great majority of the people of the Imperial Valley and a still greater majority of the people all over the great Southwest, when I say to you that if you, in your wisdom, feel it advisable to lend us your support, both morally and officially, in the passage of this bill now before Congress, that the people of Imperial Valley will not only rise up and call you blessed, but God will reward you
your service to humanity and you will leave behind to posterity a rich and lasting legacy which they will never forget. I thank you.
STATEMENT OF AIKMAN ARMSTRONG, PRESIDENT OF THE
PALOS VERDES IRRIGATION DISTRICT
The CHAIRMAN. For the record, Mr. Armstrong, state your name and residence?
Mr. ARMSTRONG. Aikman Armstrong, Blythe, Calif.
Mr. ARMSTRONG. I am ranching by proxy and president of the Palos Verdes irrigation district.
The CHAIRMAN. Where is that district?
Mr. ARMSTRONG. It is 20 miles up the river, sir, about 80,000 acres of very good tillable land.
Senator Dill. Up. what river?