« PreviousContinue »
peared before you, outside of those who have worked on the projects on the river. He knows the river from its mouth to its source.
Some years ago I took the matter up with Franklin K. Lane, who was then Secretary of the Interior, in regard to building a dam at Boulder Canyon. Mr. Lane went before Congress with this matter, and on the publicity that was obtained then all of this matter has been worked up against the building of the dam at Boulder Canyon.
Our own State of Arizona has tried to four-flush around about a dam at Bridge Canyon and dams at this place and that place. Some little fellow who is an attorney or who is cultivating a little area of land down here comes before your committee and tells you just what should be done with the Colorado River. The men who have made a life study of this do not know anything. The men who have made surveys at Boulder Canyon and Black Canyon, down here above Parker, and other places do not know anything about this. We are the ones who are going to do this business.
Now, gentlemen, let me put it up to you. When our State was organized our State divested itself of all right in the Colorado River, not only the waters of the Colorado but in all the lands and possible sites for reclamation. These gentlemen don't go into our constitution. They just simply read to you what our enabling act required in that constitution. But the constitution goes still further. Look it up if you wish. I am not a lawyer, nor am I an engineer, but, gentlemen, when you go over and look down into what they call Bridge Canyon you will wonder how anybody is going to take water out of it unless they are of the same caliber as I heard a story about Los Angeles some years ago.
Los Angeles was rather bewailing the fact that they had no seaport at its doors like San Francisco, and a San Francisco gentleman suggested to them that they build a large pipe line between the ocean and Los Angeles, and then if they could suck as well as they could blow they would have a seaport at their door.
Now, gentlemen, these high-liners are in the same position. They are going to take out of twin tunnels 40 feet square and over 100 miles in length water enough from the Colorado River to fill the Salt River Valley, to prevent California from getting any of it. That is the proposiiton they are making to you. Gentlemen, it can not be done.
Mr. La Rue tells you that he can go in Bridge Canyon and take out a gravity line to California, and at the same time develop a million horsepower at that same point. Now, gentlemen, if he takes it out for power he lowers it below the gravity line. You don't have to have an engineer's view on that proposition. They propose, gentlemen, to build this Bridge Canyon Dam as a rock-till proposition. They are going to shoot these great cliffs into that canyon and develop power or develop a diversion at that point.
Now, gentlemen, at Boulder Canyon we have this: We have a granite bedrock. We have everything that will make a dam safe. You understand a dam that is six or seven hundred feet high must be an impounding dam that will hold that water safely back of it.
At Black Canyon--they are all the same—it is all in the same canyon--they are the only places on the Colorado River upon which any engineering data has been obtained.
These fellows go over there and they look at a point, and they say, “Right here is where we are going to put in a dam.” The same thing with Glen Canyon. The Geological Survey sent a geologist up there and he said it was impossible. It is sedimentary and sedimentaries are not very good places for dams, I take it.
Now, when you came to bring your water down in this diversion which they say could be put in, it would take 700 miles or more of their canal to carry it down into this valley. It would take 30 miles to bring it out into the open from Bridge Canyon. Hence they will have to start this 70 or 80 mile tunnel—80 miles at the very least—to get it into where they would get a gravity flow down here. The same thing is true if they carried it over to drop it into an inverted siphon to give it to Los Angeles. It is an utter impossibility. It is chimerical on its face, gentlemen.
There is one place on the Colorado River, to my mind, where flood control and power can absolutely be developed, and that is in Boulder Canyon or Black Canyon. There is no question about it, gentlemen. This idea that we are going to sit down here and say to these people, “ If that dam is built we are going to get a tax on the power,” how utterly absurd it is. Suppose on the Pathfinder Dam they develop power and say to Nebraska, “Gentlemen, you will have to pay us for all the power that you get out of this dami because it is on Wyoming territory”; you would say, “that is absurd; the Government putting up its good money to build these dams and then these fellows taking the increment.'
There are 24 of these big dams that have been built by the Government throughout the United States, I believe. We didn't find any of this smoke screen put up around them when they were being built that is being put up now.
Now, gentlemen, they will tell you that Arizona's opinion as expressed by these gentlemen here is the true opinion. Just let me tell you it is not. Last year there was an election held in Arizona. The Democratic majority in Arizona is 30,000. Governor Hunt, expressing himself in favor of the high-line fellows, got through with a majority of 800. Does that show that the people were in favor of anything of the kind? Absolutely not. You will find that the people were opposed to any investigation by the State because they turned down an appropriation for it, but the legislature following that made an appropriation of $50,000 to ease their consciences and let these fellows go through with this quasi examination of the Colorado River.
But, gentlemen, as sure as you live, Arizona is going to ratify the compact; take it just as it is; and, gentlemen, had Mr. Dwight B. Heard come out and said, “I am in favor of the compact just as it is written,” he would have been Governor of Arizona to-day.
The CHAIRMAX. Mr. Smith, pardon me, but you will have to conclude in one sentence.
Mr. Smith. All right. Gentlemen, I thank you.
Mr. Davidson does not seem to be present. The chairman has a statement from him which will be placed in the record.
Is Dr. L. D. Ricketts present?
STATEMENT OF LOUIS D. RICKETTS, MINING ENGINEER, BISBEE,
Mr. RICKETTS. Mr. Chairman and gentlemen of the committee, I am a mining engineer with about 43 years' experience. I am very much exercised about the question of power for Arizona. The Inspiration Copper Co., of which I am president, uses about 100,000,000 kilowatt-hours a year, and it is constructing a large leaching plant which will consume additional power. I have had a survey made of the entire State, and the mining companies use about fifty to sixty thousand kilowatts of continuous power that is generated direct by fuel.
At the present time Arizona is supplied with comparatively cheap fuel in the form of fuel oil from California, but in the future this fuel promises to so increase in value as to prohibit its use, and coal will have to be substituted therefor. This will necessitate additional investment charges, if not an increased price for power.
For this reason I have investigated the consumption of power in Arizona and the sources from which hydroelectric power can be obtained.
The Salt River Valley Water Users' Association is operating a storage reservoir known as the Roosevelt Dam, where the water of Salt River is stored for the purpose of irrigation, and the Inspiration Consolidated Copper Co. for many years has been purchasing the surplus power, or the peak load, over the obligations of the association to other consumers. It is therefore connected with Roosevelt by a transmission line, and as the Roosevelt project uses 25cycle 3-phase alternating current, it is like Roosevelt-tied to a current of this frequency.
Recently this company has made an arrangement whereby the water users are to build a high dam at a point called Horse Mesa, below Roosevelt, in consideration of a contract with the Inspiration by which the mining company obligates itself to take power at the rate of about 100,000,000 kilowatt-hours per year.
The water users have a low dam at Mormon Flat, whereby they can allow the water from the Roosevelt Reservoir to flow regularly for power purposes at the average flow of the river, and the Mormon Flat Reservoir will store a part of the water when the farmers do not need it all and discharge the surplus when they need more, thus allowing a variable flow according to the requirements of the farmers. This condition is ideal and could well be followed in a study of a larger project.
Chiefly because Arizona needs further power, I have given a great deal of attention to the Colorado River as a source thereof, and I have joined with others in an investigation of the Colorado River as a source of hydroelectric power for Arizona, and a very considerable sum of money has been spent upon the Girand filing near the mouth of Diamond Creek on the Colorado River. The results of these investigations have convinced me that it is feasible to build a dam at Diamond Creek, but because of the magnitude of the project it will be necessary to distribute power not only to mines in Arizona but also to California, where at the present time vast amounts of power are being generated with fuel oil and natural gas.
The Girand filing made previous to the formation of the present Water Power Commission voluntarily became subservient to the Water Power Commission created by Congress. It has attempted to comply with the requirements of the commission by furnishing it with the large amount of information the commission has asked for at considerable expense and in every other way.
The general plans prepared have, I believe, the approval of the commission, but the commission has hesitated to issue a permit for the building of this dam, and it is at the present time holding its decision in suspense for a time in order that the Colorado River pact may be ratified by all of the States involved in its present form or with such modifications as may be made.
I feel that Mr. Girand and his associates have acted strictly under the law, and, in any event, all that they ask is to be given a license, as the law provides, in case it is legally entitled to it, and nothing more, and I hope in the course of time the commission will feel the law is mandatory, and it will grant the license.
The Colorado River pact as prepared under the commission authorized by Congress, under the chairmanship of Secretary of Commerce Hoover, found that the upper States feared the law of the land which provides that the first user of a water right obtains permanent title to the water used, and as a consequence an agreement was finally drawn through which the upper States were to receive a guaranty of the right to use a certain portion of the run-off of the Colorado River at any time during a period of 40 years, whether the water had been put in use below or not. There was allotted to the lower States a definite quantity of water which the lower States, namely, Arizona and California, could appropriate and use at any time.
It happens that Arizona finds itself in much the same position with reference to California as Colorado and the upper States find themselves with relation to the lower States; and yet no provision was made in the agreement as drawn up to protect Arizona in the use of water during the 40-year period, but left the law and the ruling of the courts to stand, namely, that the first user has the first right as between Arizona and California.
Personally, I am a strong indorser of the Colorado River paet in principle, because it is a constructive move made to take the curse from the Colorado River and permit its use, but I would not as a citizen of Arizona be in favor of my State ratifying the contract unless it receives a guaranty to the use of a reasonable portion of the water now allotted to the lower States, and a like portion of any additional water that may be allotted to them in the future. I believe, solely with such an agreement, Arizona should ratify the pact, and not otherwise.
I recognize the imminent danger of a disaster to the Imperial Valley that would be almost national in character, as serious in character as was the San Francisco earthquake, and I believe when an abnormal spring flood comes in the Colorado River, if long-continued winds are blowing up the river, or otherwise, there will be a serious break in some levee that may destroy the valley, for the reason that if a gorge like that formed above Calexico at the time Epes Randolph closed the gap for the Southern Pacific should be eroded
back to the Colorado River bed, then and in that case the damage would become irreparable and the Yuma project would likewise go.
For this reason there is urgent need of a dam that will at least partially equalize the flow of the river, restraining the floods and storing part of the water during the flood season and discharging it at low-water periods.
A study of the profile of the Colorado River shows that the river in the lower portion of its course in Utah and the upper portion of its course in Arizona flows with a very slight fall. It enters more resistant rocks below Lees Ferry with a decided increase in fall, and for the next 200 miles it has an aggregate fall of several thousand feet. Some distance below Diamond Creek the river again flattens and presents a profile suitable for water storage at various points if the necessary dams can be built.
Above Lees Ferry the distance to bedrock is considerably less than 100 feet, whereas on the lower river at some points, at least, bedrock appears to be more than 150 feet below the low-water mark, and I am not familiar with the foundation of considerable length that has been laid under the conditions that exist on the Colorado River with bedrock at this depth below low water.
The argument has frequently been advanced that the use of water for power is secondary to its use for agricultural and domestic purposes. This should not fog the fact that power in the Colorado River is a national asset, and if with an equalization of the flow of the river the power production at the different dam sites is likewise equalized with no unreasonable additional cost a great advance would be made.
From this viewpoint it seems to me that if the flow of the Colorado River is going to be equalized, not only for the safety of the Imperial Valley but to regulate the flow for agricultural and domestic purposes, it should likewise be equalized for power generation in the canyon, because without regulation the continuous power that can be furnished at a given point with a given head is not over a third of the amount that can be generated with an equalized flow.
For this reason I agree with the opinion held by many engineers that attention should be given to building the first storage reservoir for the waters of the Colorado River above Lees Ferry. This would protect the Imperial Valley, give a uniform flow of water throughout the year, and benefit the power generation as well as agriculture. At the same time, or later, a second reservoir of smaller size could be built where the river flattens out below the canyon, to regulate the uniform flow obtained from the upper reservoir in such a manner that it will fit the seasonable variations demanded by agricultural and domestic users. By such a method the uniform output of power to be obtained at any of the given power sites would be increased threefold and would furnish as needed the vast quantity of power required by Arizona and the Pacific coast cities, as well as for pumping water for use in California and for other purposes not yet visible.
I know of no better example of the proper method for the storage of water and the regulation of its flow than that developed by the various engineers responsible for the Roosevelt project and the new dams of the Salt River Valley Water Users' Association. This development is so simple and so complete that I earnestly recommend