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state line into Nebraska, during low water periods, is many times that which flowed of nature. This is the result of return waters. On this river there will be little reuse of return waters, because the waters applied to the mesas are applied but once, when they reappear
canyons and start on their way to the lower country. So the water will not be so badly worn out” in the process of uses on the Colorado drainage as it is on the adjoining South Platte or Arkansas drainages.
Senator Phipps. I should like to have you amplify that a little as to conditions in the Arkansas Valley drainage.
Mr. CARPENTER. The conditions are almost identical with those in the Platte. Both Plattes, the North and the South, joining, as they do, to form the main Platte at North Platte, Nebraska, and the Arkansas, are streams of similar natural characteristics. They are what we call “disappearing rivers." They rush out in flood stage during May and June of each year, diminish during the month of July, and then entirely disappear. The early settlers had to dig into the sand for water during August and up to the middle of September. When the weather became cooler and the evaporation less, the water would reappear and flow during the winter. That condition obtained on all three rivers.
The experience from reclamation on the South Platte is repeated on the Arkansas, except that the Arkansas is a little more recent in its development.
As you approach the Kansas line the stream becomes one of constant flow at the interstate line, where it was once a stretch of sand, and, so far as our river records show, the dependable supply of water of that stream into Kansas is greater than it was by nature
. The streams on the “ western slope" in Colorado can not be reused. When the water flows from the irrigated mesas it drops into the tributary arroyos and passes down into the various canyons, then on to the main canyon of the San Juan, the Dolores, the Grand, the Bear, the White, the Green, etc.
This upper region is one of power possibilities. But here again. in the main, the conditions are in bold contrast to the conditions to the south. The roof is so steep, as it were, the fall is so great, that irrespective of the apparent size of the basins or the height of the dams which might be constructed, the actual storage capacity of the basins are very limited. I believe the largest available basin is the Kremling site in Colorado. That site would hold, if a dam were constructed to the extreme height, some 2,200,000 acre-feet. Draw that, if you please, into contrast with the reservoir at Lee Ferry, Glen Canyon, or Boulder Canyon, where a dam not much higher would impound 20,000,000 or 25,000,000 acre-feet, ten times the capacity, because the country is flatter, the flow of the water is not so rapid, and the inclosing basin stretches farther back up the river. These power developments in the upper basin will be more a matter of temporary retardation than of storing of water to hold over from one season to another, but if either one of them were constructed it would help to solve the flood-flow problem to the south.
I might further observe that the greater part of the region of the Colorado River portion of the upper States is characterized by large coal deposits. It is said on eminent authority that there are beds of coal in northwestern Colorado, of semianthracite quality, 90 feet and more thick, that have never been touched. The same is true but in lesser degree in the San Juan basin to the southwest, and there are coal deposits all through that section of the country. Various estimates have been made of the coal supply, but the figures are staggering. The point I wish to bring out, however, is that the coal is so plentiful, that the supply is so great, that it enters into competition in the production of power, and it is very doubtful whether the hydroelectric development will be rapid in that country because of the immense quantities of semiwaste coal that are available for power development. In fact, on the eastern slope of the Continental Divide, where the country is highly developed, the streams are used scarcely at all for power development because of the fact that power plants are located in the coal fields, where they can use the slack and semiwaste portions of the coal mined. Blowing it into the furnaces with steam and getting the maximum combustion, puts coal into too advantageous competition with water power to make the development of the latter a financial success.
The main factor though that must be considered at all times is that of transportation. Because of our inability to lower the mountain ranges, to put jack screws under them and let them down as it were, those mountains stand there resistant walls of rock stubbornly fighting the building of railroads and transportation ways. Transportation will control the slow and gradual development in this upper country where otherwise development would be rapid.
The second phase is this: As you will notice on the map-and, Mr. Chairman, what shall we call it?
Senator ASHURST. Why not call it your Exhibit A?
The CHAIRMAN. I do not think the map will be placed in the record, but you can file it with the clerk of the committee, and I suggest that you designate it by some name that may occur to you.
Mr. CARPENTER. I will' designate it as “ The Meeker map.”
Mr. CARPENTER. Referring, if you will, to the Meeker map, it is apparent that the areas of the lands served in this upper country are in comparatively small units. There are no great projects of half a million or a million acres of land all to be irrigated by one canal, or one reservoir, or one irrigation system. Taking the southwest portion, on the Dolores, for example, and there the Dove Creek mesa project is one of very alluring characteristics. The soil is red land. It is what people in that country call “ sweet” land—that is, there is no alkali in it. Now, that is one of the large projects, and yet you will observe it is probably a project of but 60,000 or 70,000 acres. And so it is from that on down to the lesser projects
. The topography of the country forces each of these projects to be confined within certain limits and boundaries that make it small in comparison with the projects to the south; and, of course, the same physical conditions that limit the size of a project also limit the transportation to get into it, because railroads can not build, can not afford to build into these regions to get the increased crop production resulting from the reclamation of these smaller areas. But in the
process of time every one of these areas will be served. A startling feature obtains with respect to the project I just mentioned—wherever you go over that mesa south of the Dolores This upper
River, there are ruins of dwellings of a prehistoric people, indicating that, not thousands but hundreds of thousands of people once subsisted on that region.
If we were to compare the upper basin with the lower, we might well say that the development in the upper basin would be within a period of from 50 to 100 years as compared with a development within 20 to 40 years in the lower country, because of these conditions I have mentioned and many, many more. country can not enter into a contest of speed for first development. In the wild scramble for water supply on the ordinary priority basis the upper country would find itself worsted by conditions it could not overcome.
There is one further feature that is rather startling, and that is in the studies of uses and consumption of water in irrigation it seems to be true that there is more actual production per acre-foot of water acquired in the upper regions than in the lower and that there is greater benefit to mankind, resulting from the fact that the evaporation is much greater in the South than in the North, and that the dews that collect on the plants, over night in the upper country, have a very decided effect in aiding plant growth; while in the South, because of the intense heat, dews do not precipitate. These and other factors demonstrate that the same quantity of water used in the upper country will produce more tonnage of hay or more agricultural products or growth than will the same quantity of water applied in the lower country near sea level. If we were to consider the river wholly from a standpoint of water economics, consumption of water, the upper country would have the better of the contest.
Senator SHORTRIDGE. Pardon me, but that would depend somewhat upon the quality of the soil, would it not?
Mr. CARPENTER. Naturally. All these factors enter into the proposition, but quality of soil of course does not affect the coolness of the nights.
Senator SHORTRIDGE. Oh, no. Mr. CARPENTER. And the precipitation of dews and retardation of evaporation by the coolness of the night. And I might call the attention of the Senator (Senator Shortridge) to the fact that these streams of this upper country do not flow day and night at the same volume. They reveal diurnal fluctuation caused by melting of snow by day and the freezing by night.
Senator Phipps. In that connection, Mr. Carpenter, will you please point out the difference in elevation as between the upper sources of these tributary streams and the point where they join the main channel, or say, the State line of Colorado, the elevation above sea level there.
Mr. CARPENTER. There are many peaks both on the continental divide and in the interior mountain masses in Colorado. The same is true of Utah and New Mexico. They run in elevation from 11,000 to over 14,000 feet above sea level-not occasional and isolated peaks but the whole mountain ranges run along somewhere about that altitude. They are regions of perpetual snow. As I recall, the average timber line elevation of that country is about 10,000 above sea level. And as I observed earlier in my statement, that practically marks the Arctic Circle in climatology. Then stepping down from these high areas, and I now point out on the Meeker map, at the town of Grand Junction, just above the interstate line, it is about 4,000 feet above sea level. In other words, there would be a drop of anywhere from—well, in extreme cases there would be a drop of 10,000 feet from the tops of those peaks to Grand Junction, thus making quite rapid changes in climatic conditions as the stream progresses down hill.
Senator PHIPPS. Then you get a further drop to the State line? Mr. CARPENTER. Yes; you get a comparatively rapid drop to the State line, and down to the canyon.
Senator PHIPPS. All right. You may go ahead with your statement.
Mr. CARPENTER. In 1918 the situation obtaining upon the lower river was brought to a focal state at a meeting at Salt Lake City called at the request of the people of Los Angeles. At that meeting it was revealed that the studies of all the conditions in the basin, which had progressed over a period of years and been made by governmental employees, had been sufficiently concluded to justify the calling of a meeting and serious consideration of a program of development on the Colorado River. There at once developed at that meeting the ardent desire of the people of the south to do something quickly, and a prudent, conservative attitude on the part of the people of the north to encourage quick development provided they were not to be injured in the proceeding. The meeting adjourned after adopting resolutions that were not at all to the liking of the people of the south. In other words, they did not resolve to proceed at once to develop these enormous reservoirs on the lower basin, but resolved to start development on the headwaters and proceed gradually downward.
At that time our people of the north had an experience unique in American history, and, Mr. Chairman, I am going to mention these matters because I think the committee has already observed that a goodly part of the big problem of this river is the human element. The States of Colorado and New Mexico were suffering peculiar oppression. In 1896 the United States and Mexico commenced conversations respecting the use of the water of the Rio Grande at El Paso, and
Senator KENDRICK (interposing). May I interrupt you right there, Mr. Carpenter?
Mr. CARPENTER. Certainly.
Senator KENDRICK. To what do you particularly refer in connection with oppression?
Mr. CARPENTER. It was the oppression of the National Government strangling development, preventing development in the States.
Senator KENDRICK. I thought you had in mind-
Senator KENDRICK. I thought you had in mind the discrimination between the States in the use of the water, and if you had that in mind I wondered why you had left Wyoming out of the list.
Mr. CARPENTER. I will refer to Wyoming in a few minutes.
Senator KENDRICK. We have had our tragic experience in connection with the North Platte River.
Mr. CARPENTER. Yes, indeed. As a result of those conversations between our State Department and the proper authority in Mexico it was recommended by the Secretary of State that the Secretary of the Interior suspend operation of the act of 1891 known as the right-of-way act," under which easements must be secured for the construction of irrigation works over public lands. It so happened that a larger part of the Rio Grande area in Colorado and New Mexico consisted of public lands, and practically every project of importance was bound to cross some public lands. In harmony with this recommendation the Secretary of the Interior entered what was known as “the embargo order," whereby the Commissioner General of the Land Office was directed to approve no more filings under the act of 1891 until further orders. The effect of that order was just as though an army had been placed in that territory to prevent any construction activities. No building was allowed. The people are law-abiding and respected the order of the Secretary of the Interior, protesting of course wherever they could.
That order was modified in 1906, after the conclusion of a treaty between the United States and Mexico, in which the United States agreed to build a reservoir near Elephant Butte, and to supply the Republic of Mexico with 60,000 acre feet per year out of the supply of the whole river.
They then modified that order by allowing construction of reservoirs in connection with irrigation which had been commenced prior to 1903, but held that all projects started subsequent to 1903 should remain embargoed. That embargo was not lifted until last spring, in spite of the fact that scientific investigations and engineering studies over a period of years indicated that the waters of the river were ample to supply all lands in the United States and Mexico, the surplus going to the Gulf. Nevertheless, in that bureaucratic spirit of supercaution the Secretary of the Interior's office refrained from removing the embargo.
The same condition obtained on the North Platte. The States of Wyoming and Colorado contributed of their public funds, from their share of the reclamation fund, to build the Pathfinder Reservoir, a dam similar to the Elephant Butte, in that it is across the channel of the main river.
Senator SHORTRIDGE. Just where is that?
Mr. CARPENTER. In Wyoming, above Casper. After they had built this reservoir, which was to be utilized and has been utilized successfully in irrigation of lands in both Wyoming and Nebraska
Senator KENDRICK (interposing). But, if I may interrupt you, a very much smaller area in Wyoming than in Nebraska.
Mr. CARPENTER. The area in Wyoming is much less than that in Nebraska. After that reservoir had been constructed, in fact, during the construction, there was a policy adopted that there should be no more development in the States of Wyoming and Colorado by use of any part of the waters of that stream above the dam. Project after project was turned down because they “might possibly," to use their language, interfere with the water supply of the Pathfinder project.
Senator KENDRICK. May I interrupt you again?