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COLORADO RIVER BASIN
FRIDAY, DECEMBER 18, 1925
UNITED STATES SENATE,
Washington, D. C. The committee met, pursuant to adjournment on yesterday, at 10.30 o'clock a. m. in the committee room of the Committee on Commerce, Senator Charles L. McNary (chairman) presiding.
Present: Senators McNary (chairman), Jones of Washington, Phipps, Gooding, Oddie, Shortridge, Johnson, Kendrick, Pittman, and Ashurst.
Present also: Senator Bratton and Representatives Swing, of California; Taylor, of Colorado; and Leatherwood and Colton, of Utah.
STATEMENT OF DELPH E. CARPENTER, ESQ.—Resumed
Mr. CARPENTER. Mr. Chairman, may I proceed?
The CHAIRMAN. Yes. I had understood, Mr. Carpenter, that you had concluded your statement.
Mr. CARPENTER. Yes; I left that impression, but possibly it would save some interrogation if I were to draw my remarks to a more definite conclusion. It will take only just a moment.
The CHAIRMAN. All right.
Mr. CARPENTER. It is our view that no major construction should proceed upon the Colorado River in either basin until the Colorado River
compact has been ratified and approved by the southern States and by the Congress. But if that ratification is too long delayed by the State of Arizona, and if the lower country is in jeopardy and legitimate development is held up, then a ratification by six States, including California, and by Congress might be satisfactory. But that ratification should precede any authorization for further development of the river. No attempt should be made by Congress to accomplish the purposes of the compact by the inclusion of clauses in any act passed by Congress the intent of which clauses would be to protect the upper basin; first, for the reason that Congress does not have complete jurisdiction over the subject matter, and second, because Congress by that act would be unable to protect the upper basin against lower appropriations which would be amplified and enlarged by reason of the use of the equated flow.
Next, a high dam or other development of the lower river for irrigation, power, flood control, and other purposes, at the conclusion of a compact, should proceed upon plans and manner satisfactory to the lower-basin States and should be supported by the upper States. Lastly, the levees in Mexico should be maintained and strengthened to protect against the Gila River, as well as the Colorado, and those levees must be permanent.
The CHAIRMAN. I think you have made your statement, which you have just brought to a conclusion, very clear in your former testimony, Mr. Carpenter, but we are very glad to have it accentuated. Senator Ashurst desires to ask you some questions.
Senator ASHURST. Mr. Carpenter, were you present when I asked the Governor of Utah and the gentleman who represented the Governor of New Mexico some questions concerning a letter written by Mr. McClure?
Mr. CARPENTER. Yes, sir.
Senator Ashurst. Só far as you know, or in your opinion, will there be any atteinpt made by the responsible authorities of the State of Colorado to obtain any revenue from, or in any wise to control, or have any voice, directly or indirectly, in the allocation of power developed on the Colorado River wholly within the lower 'basin ?
Mr. CARPENTER. Absolutely no. I can not conceive any condition under which the State of Colorado would feel that it had a legal or a moral right to go into the lower basin and demand either power or revenue, any more than the people of the lower basin would have a right to come up into Colorado.
Senator ASHURST. Thank you.
Senator KENDRICK. Would you not state a condition there, Mr. Carpenter-if I may interrupt--to the effect that the employment of water for power should not interfere with the use of the same in the upper basin for irrigation ?
Mr. CARPENTER. Yes; most certainly. Unconsciously, perhaps, I was relying upon the compact. Unless there is proper protection in that respect, by compact or other adequate measures, a power right in the lower States would be an appropriation which might be used to harass the upper basin; and, of course, any power use in the lower basin should be made subservient to the dominant use of water for irrigation and domestic purposes in the upper territory.
Senator KENDRICK. Further than that, as I understand you, our upper basin States would have absolutely no interest in the power development below the lines in those States?
Mr. CARPENTER. That is my belief.
Senator ASHURST. Then, Mr. Carpenter, if the Federal Government should construct dams at Bridge Canyon, Boulder Canyon, or Glen Canyon, or at any other point or points below Glen Canyon, or if the State of Arizona should build such a dam, then, according to your view, Colorado would not be interested in obtaining any revenue from hydroelectric power generated there, or interested in the allocation of such power?
Mr. CARPENTER. Not in the least. After the river has crossed our frontier it ceases to be our river.
Senator ASHURST. I wish to refer to the Gila River. I am willing to hear your revised figures. Have you any figures showing how much of the waters thereof arise in Arizona and how much in New Mexico? Mr. CARPENTER. I have the Meeker tables, which I will make a
Senator ASHURST. Who is Mr. Meeker?
Mr. CARPENTER. Ralph I. Meeker is the hydraulic engineer who has given the Colorado River a complete study for the benefit of the State of Colorado. This is his map on the board, and I will introduce some tables prepared by him.
Senator ASHURST. Is he a citizen of Colorado?
Senator ASHURST. I wish you to state the quantity of water which the Gila River sends down to the Colorado River; how much of the Gila arises in New Mexico and how much thereof arises in Arizona ?
Senator Johnson. May I inquire if the geography of the Gila River has been settled ?
Senator KENDRICK. May I inquire, in that event, as to the location of the head of that river?
Senator ASHURST. Some of the waters of the Gila do head in the western part of New Mexico, near the Arizona line.
Senator SHORTRIDGE. I noticed, Senator, that you used the word “dew.” The river consists largely of dew that settles there overnight?
Senator ASHURST. I have seen the Gila River when it would float the flying squadron.
Mr. CARPENTER. New Mexico's supply to the Gila River is given by Mr. Meeker as 143,000 acre-feet p r annum on the average, consisting of 244,000 from the Gila and 199,000 from the San Francisco, a tributary of the Gila. The Arizona supply to the river, that is, the supply having its origin in that State, is given at 2,677,000 acre-feet per annum, making a total supply of 3,120,000 acrefeet as the average annual supply of the river.
Senator Ashurst. That is, according to Mr. Meeker, the mean flow of the Gila River, which empties into the Colorado a little above Yuma, Ariz., is, so Mr. Meeker says, about 3,120,000 acre-feet, of which Arizona furnishes 2,677,000 acre-feet?
Mr. CARPENTER. Yes, sir; would empty if not used in Arizona.
Senator Ashurst. But the San Francisco empties into the Gila in Arizona. It is an Arizona river.
Mr. CARPENTER. That is, that amount of water would go in if it were not retained and used for irrigation. This is what they call the reconstructed total.
Senator Ashurst. Will you include that table in the record at this point ?
Mr. CARPENTER. Yes, sir.
[Compiled by R. I. Meeker, irrigation engineer, December 2, 1925]
TABLE A.-Colorado River Basin water supply-Contributions by States
These figures represent conditions of reconstructed river or river flow un. reduced by irrigation uses. Actual river flow is now less due to consumption by irrigation. The Arizona figures include the Gila River, which is a part of the Colorado River system,
Colorado produces 55 per cent of the Colorado River water supply.
Upper basin allotment under the terms of the compact will be 35 per cent of the basin water supply and 44 per cent of upper basin production.
COLORADO RIVER BASIN WATER SUPPLY--AVERAGE YEARLY FLOW OF BASIN
Based on long-time mean, covering wet and dry cycles. Recorded flow corrected for depletion by irrigation. These figures represent approximately the total yearly flow of the Colorado River basin unreduced by irrigation consumption; in other words, the run-off of the reconstructed river. Upper and lower basin terms fit definitions of same in Colorado River compact as drafted at Santa Fe, N. Mex., November, 1922.
TABLE 1.-Total basin water supply-reconstructed river
TABLE 3.-Water-supply data
(Values in acre feet ]
Reconstructed Colorado River at Lees Ferry----
225, 000 Nevada (Virgin)
75,000 Arizona (other tributaries).
1, 175, 000
Reconstructed Gila River :
New Mexico supply,
Total water resources, Colorado River Basin.
21, 595, 000