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(From the Yangtze Valley and Beyond (vol. 2, p. 72), by Bird Bishop] The glory of Kuan is the temple in honor of Li Ping, a perfect in the aboriginal kingdom of Shu, the ancient Sze Chuan, the great engineer, and his son, whose work has redeemed the noble plain of Chengtu from drought and flood for 2,000 years. Just above Kuan Hsien there is a romantic gorge with lofty gray cliffs, down which one branch of the Min, a cold, crystal stream, rushes wildly; but still rafts and boats, carrying lime and coal from above, make the passage, often to their own destruction. On the right bank, high on the cliff, is a picturesque temple in a romantic situation, with a beautiful roof of glazed, green tiles, created in honor of Li Ping or his son, whose name has been so completely lost out of history that he is known only as “The Second Gentleman."
Above this perilous gorge the Min is about 200 yards wide, with more or less mountainous banks heavily wooded, and at the point where the Tibetan road crosses it, on a very fine bamboo suspension bridge about 200 paces long, the grandest temple in China stands, on a wooded height finely terraeed, and adorned with stately lines of cryptomeria and other exotic trees, one teak tree in a courtyard being 18 feet in circumference. These noble shrines, with their fine courtyards and the exquisitely beautiful pavilions and minarets which climb the cliff behind the tem le, and are lost among the cryptomerias of the summit, are the most beautiful group of buildings that I saw in the Far East, combining the grace and decorative witchery of the shrines of the Japanese shoguns at Nikko, with a grandeur and stateliness of their own.
This noble temple is scrupulously clean and in perfect repair. Magnificent objects of art, as well as tanks surrounded with exotic ferns, decorate its courtyards ; living waters descend from the hill through the mouths of serpents carved in stone; noble flights of stone steps lead to the grand entrance and from terrace to terrace; 30 Taoist priests keep lamps and incense ever burning before the shrines; an imperial envoy from Peking visits the temple every year with gifts; and tens of thousands of pilgrims from every part of the plain and beyond bring their offerings and homage to these altars.
The temple left on my memory an impression of beauty and majesty which nature and art have combined to produce. Outside, glorious trees in whose dense leafage the lesser architectural beauties lose themselves, gurgling waters, flowering shrubs with heavy odors floating on the damp, still air, elaborately carved pinnacles and figures on the roofs, even the screens in front of the doors decorated with elaborate tracery; while the beauty of the interior is past description; columns of highly polished black lacquer ; a roof, a perfect marvel of carving and lacquer, all available space occupied with honorary tablets, the gifts of past viceroys, while the shrines are literally ablaze with gorgeously colored lacquer and painting, and the banners presented by the emperors wave in front. The galleries facing the effigies of the great engineer and his son are carved most delicately with lacquered fretwork; and on pillars, galleries, and everywhere, where space admits of its decorative use, is Li Ping's motto incised or inscribed in gold, “ Shen tao tan ti tso yen". “ Dig the bed deep. Keep the banks low."
Although there is a shrine to Li Ping in this splendid “ Erh-Wang” temple, it was possibly erected in honor of “The Second Gentleman,” the temple to the father being (believed by Mr. Grainger) the more recent erection above the gorge of the crouching dragon. Every Chinese Emperor, from the Tsin Dynasty, 246 B. C., downward, has conferred the posthumous title of Wang, or prince, upon Li Ping and his son. A stone tablet in one of the temples records the story, which I learn from Mr. Grainger, who has translated the inscription.
The Chengtu Plain, which these deservedly honored engineers may be said to have created, is the richest plain in China and possibly in the world. It may be about 100 miles by 70 or 80, with an area of about 2,500 square miles. It produces three and even four crops a year. Its chief products are rice, silk, opium, tobacco, sugar, sweet potatoes, indigo, the paper mulberry, rape and other oils, maize and cotton, along with roots and fruits of all kinds. both musk and water melons being produced in fabulous quantities. From any height the plain looks like a forest of fruit trees, with clumps of cypress, cedar, and bamboo denoting the whereabouts of the great temples and fine farmhouses, with which it is studded.
It has an estimated population of 4.000.000 and is sprinkled with cities and flourishing marts and large villages, Chengtu, the capital, having at least
400,000 people. Along the main roads the population may be said to constitute a prolonged village. The abundance of water power produces any number of flour and oil mills, the plain is intersected in all directions with roads which are thronged with traffic, and boats can reach the Yangtze from Kuan Hsien, Chengtu and Chaing Kou.
Oranges reappear in splendid groves, mixed up with the vivid foliage of the persimmons; mulberry trees are allowed to grow their full height and amplitude; spinning and weaving are going on everywhere; the soil, absolutely destitute of weeds, looks as if it were cultivated with trowels and rakes, "tilled "as Emerson felicitously said of England, with a pencil instead of a plow." There are frequent small temples, or rather shrines, to the god of the soil, of solid masonry, the image being inclosed by open fretwork, in front of which the incense sticks smolder ceaselessly; the long-drawn creak of the wheelbarrow is never silent during the daylight hours, agricultural energy and activity prevail, and the plain is a singular and perhaps unrivalled picture of rustic peace and security.
The population of 4,000,000 depends not only for its prosperity but for its existence on the irrigation works of Li Ping and “The Second Gentleman," carried out long before the Christian era. Without these, as has been truly said, “the east and west of the plain would be a marsh, and the north a waterless desert," and this great area, with its boundless fertility and wealth, and its immunity from drought and flood for 2,000 years, is the monument to the engineering genius of these two men, whose motto, “Dig the bed deep; keep the banks low," had it been applied universally to rivers of insubordinate habits, would have saved the world from much desolation and loss.
With a faithfulness rare in China, Li Ping's motto has been carried out for 21 centuries. The stone-bunded dykes are kept low and in repair, and in March the bed of the artificial Min, created by Li Ping by cutting a gorge a hundred feet deep through the hard rock of the cliff above Kuan Hsien, and which has been closed by a barrier since the previous November, with its subsidiary channels, is carefully dug out, till the workmen reach two iron cylinders sunk in the bed of the stream which mark its upper level. The silt of the year, which is from 5 to 6 feet thick, is then removed. The whole plain countributes to this expensive work, and a high official, the Shui Li Fu,
prefect of the waterways," is responsible for it. In late March or early April there is a grand ceremony, sometimes attended by the Viceroy, when the winter dam is cut, and the strong torrent, of the Min, seized upon by human skill, is divided and subdivided, twisted, curbed by dams and stone revetments, and is sent into innumerable canals and streams, till, aided by a fall of 12 feet to the mile, there is not a field which has not a continual supply, or an acre of the Changtu Plain in which the musical gurgle of the bright waters of the Tibetan uplands is not heard-waters so abundant that, though drought may exist all around, this vast oasis remains a paradise of fertility and beauty.
STATEMENT BY O. C. MERRILL, EXECUTIVE SECRETARY FEDERAL POWER
The CHAIRMAN. When Mr. Merrill appeared before the committee sufficient time was not accorded him to complete his statement. Consequently he was requested to supply the omission by a written statement, which follows:
FEDERAL POWER COMMISSION,
Washington, December 30, 1925. Hon. CHARLES L. McNARY, Chairman Committee on Irrigation and Reclamation,
United States Senate, MY DEAR SENATOR: In response to your request, I make the following comment concerning certain of the provisions of "A bill to provide for the protection and development of the lower Colorado River Basin," and since a substitute bill, S. 1868, materially modifying the bill previously under consideration, was introduced on December 21, 1925, and is presumably the bill now under consideration by the committee, I will confine myself primarily to the provisions of that bill. In such comments as I make I wish to be understood as expressing my personal views.
THE PROJECT AND ITS ESTIMATED COST
The bill proposes that there be constructed by the Secretary of the Interior “ a dam and incidental works in the main stream of the Colorado River at Black Canyon or Boulder Canyon adequate to create a reservoir of a capacity of not less than 20,000,000 acre-feet of water," the "all-American canal," socalled, and “such other canals and structures as may be required for the delivery of water from said reservoir and said river to lands in the States of Arizona, Nevada, and California, which said Secretary may find practicable of irrigation and reclamation therefrom."
A dam to create a storage capacity of 20,000,000 acre-feet located at Black Canyon would raise the water level about 500 feet and have a maximum height of about 650 feet. Such a dam would cost, according to estimates of the Bureau of Reclamation, approximately $45,000,000. It is estimated that the all-American canal would cost some $31,000,000 and that the “other canals and structures
required for the delivery of water from said river to lands in the State of
California "—that is, the distributing system from the all-American canal-would cost $15,000,000, making a total of $91,000,000. The above figures do not include anything for “such other canals and structures as may be required for the delivery of water from said reservoir and said river to lands in the State of Arizona and “Nevada,
which said Secretary may find practicable of irrigation and reclamation therefrom," and they do not include interest during construction. The preceding figures, therefore, as well as those later used, must be taken as approximations only and are used hereafter primarily to illustrate the problems presented.
In addition to structures which the bill proposes shall be built and financed by the United States, the completion of the power project will require the construction at or in the vicinity of the dam of a power house or power houses and of high-tension switching and transformer stations, with transmission lines leading therefrom, step-down transformers and substations at the end of the transmission lines, and a regulating station midway on the line. It is estimated that the power house and equipment will cost approximately $15,000,000, and that the structures and equipment necessary for the delivery of power from the high-tension station at the dam into Los Angeles would cost approximately $30,000,000 more, or a total of $45,000,000. The construction of the dam and accessories, and of the power house, transmission lines, etc., exclusive of all costs for irrigation facilities, are, therefore, estimated to cost not less than $90,000,000. The power plant would have an installed capacity of about 600,000 horsepower.
CONSTRUCTION AND OPERATION OF PROJECT
The bill proposes that the dam and appurtenant structures and the canals and other works for irrigation shall be built by and at the initial expense of the United States, and that the power plant or plants, substations, transmission lines, and all other works incident to the generation, transmission, and distribution of the power shall be financed, constructed, owned, and operated by lessees of the United States, whose applications for “the right to use for the generation of electrical power portions of the water discharged from said reservoir and available for the generation of electrical power at said dam," have been approved by the Secretary of the Interior. Section 2 of the bill, in which is contained the language above quoted, appears to contemplate the possibility, at least, of several independent applications and of several independent power developments.
Whether as a practical matter independent developments of power can be made, or whether if practicable they would assure full economic utilization of the power resources available at the dam, is a matter of grave doubt. It is assumed, if the dam is constructed by the United States as proposed in the bill, that outlet tunnels will be provided as a part of the “incidental works.” There appears no doubt that the construction from that point on will cost materially less if a single power house is provided than if two or more are built. It is doubtful if there would be room in the river canyon for a series of power houses without entailing excessive and unnecessary costs for outlet tunnels to conduct the water to such power houses. The greater part of any power that may be developed will go into the southern California market.
To duplicate transmission lines for hundreds of miles, except to the extent necessary on account of volume of power transmitted, would be an economic waste. Likewise, individual operation of independent power houses would increase operating costs, and make full utilization difficult, if not impracticable. It is my opinion that if the power is to be developed by several lessees that such lessees should be required to pool their interests under some form of joint agreement which would provide for the construction of a single power plant to be operated as a unit up to the substations at the end of the transmission lines, and with costs and output shared on an equitable basis under the terms of the agreement.
Section 1 of the bill provides “ that no expenditures for the construction of canals or appurtenant structures
shall be made until the lands to be irrigated thereby shall have first been legally obligated to pay their proper portions,
* of the total costs thereof." I am of the opinion that construction of the dam likewise should not be started until agreements have been executed insuring the construction of power houses, transmission lines, etc., or so much of these structures as the United States does not itself build, concurrently with the construction of the dam and of a capacity adequate for full utilization within a period not exceeding 10 years of the power resources available at the dam. Only on such a basis do I believe that there can be reasonable assurance that the investment of the United States in the dam may not remain wholly or partially unused.
If it is deemed desirable that the construction of the dam be financed by the United States, particularly if some such plan of financing as hereafter suggested is adopted, I believe it would also be desirable for the United States to finance and construct the power plant and the high-tension transformer and switching station, just as has been done at Muscle Shoals, to lease the works for operation when completed, and to require its lessee to build and operate the necessary transmission lines, substations, and distribution facilities. Such a procedure would, I believe, obviate many complications that might otherwise exist, make easier the problem of financing the works to be constructed by the lessees, and give more assurance of adequate and early utilization of the resources available.
The bill provides that the Secretary of the Interior “ is authorized to make leases of the power privileges so allocated, limited to 50 years, on such terms and under such general regulations as he may prescribe, and to fix what he may find to be a reasonable compensation therefor." While it might be assumed that a Secretary of the Interior, being also a member of the Federal Power Commission, would not issue general regulations inconsistent with the Federal water power act, nevertheless, by the waiver of all the safeguards of that act, as the bill tacitly does, he would be fully authorized to omit them all, while any succeeding Secretary could modify the original regulations at his will.
In 1920, after more than 10 years of consideration, Congress established a general policy toward water-power development by private and public agencies, and toward the disposition of power privileges at dams erected or owned by the United States. In that legislation Congress sought to protect the public interest in the Nation's water-power resources, whether they were developed by private or by municipal agencies, and it saw fit to express its policy in a form that the Executive was not authorized to modify at pleasure. Certain public safeguards expressly set forth in the Federal water power act, and which are not made applicable under the provisions of S. 1868, are as follows:
“(1) There is no requirement, either with respect to the dam and reservoir, or the power plants built to utilize the water released, that the project adopted shall be best adapted to a comprehensive scheme of improvement and utilization for the purposes of water-power development and of other beneficial public uses.
“(2) There is no requirement that lessees shall maintain their works in a condition of repair adequate for their efficient operation in the development and transmission of power; or that they shall make necessary renewals and replacements; or that they shall establish and maintain adequate depreciation reserves for such purposes; or that they shall conform to such rules and regulations as may be prescribed from time to time for the protection of life,
health, and property; or that they shall be liable for damages occasioned to the property of others by the construction, maintenance, or operation of the project works or of works appurtenant or accessory thereto.
(3) There are no requirements respecting the time within which the project, or any part thereof, shall be begun or completed, and no provision for termination of leases for failure to begin or to complete construction, or to operate the project upon completion.
“ (4) The bill proposes that upon or after the expiration of any lease, the United States may take over the property of a lessee upon payment of the net investment in property taken, not to exceed fair value, plus severance damages; but there is no requirement that lessees shall maintain a system of accounting by which alone it will be possible to determine the net investment; or that they shall make and file on completion of the original construction, or of any extension or betterment, statements showing the actual legitimate cost of construction of such project, addition, or betterment; or that representatives of the United States shall have access to the books and records of the lessees to determine the adequacy of the records being kept and the completeness or correctness of any statements submitted.
* (5) There is no requirement that any Federal agency shall, in absence of State regulation or of interstate agreement, have any jurisdiction to regulate rates, services, or security issues of lessees, whether the power developed be or be not transmitted in interstate commerce.
" (6) There is no requirement that in valuation for rate making purposes no values shall be claimed in excess of the amounts prescribed for purposes of purchase by the United States.
“(7) There is no prohibition against transfers at the sole option of lessees of the rights proposed to be granted.
“ (8) There is no prohibition against execution without the approval of the United States, of contracts extending beyond the lease period, a situation which might result in placing such liabilities upon the properties of lessees as practically to nullify the right of the United States to acquire the properties on termination of a lease.
“ (9) There is no ovision for the appropriation of excessive profits; and no requirement that lessees shall out of surplus earnings, if any, establish and maintain amortization reserves, or that they shall compensate either the United States or others for benefits received from headwater improvements.
“(10) There is no requirement that, in case the safety of the United States demands it, the United States shall have the right to enter upon and use the properties of a lessee upon the payment of compensation based upon a reasonable profit in time of peace.
“(11) There are no provisions for enforcing any regulations made under the terms of the bill or of penalizing any willful failure to comply with such regulations or with the provisions of the bill."
The requirements recited above are the elements of an established national policy respecting power development, a policy that has been attended with marked success. Millions of horsepower have been developed under that policy in the last five years with full protection to every essential public interest. Nothing has come to my attention which would justify or excuse the repudiation of that policy on the Colorado River, however much any prospective applicant may desire to secure special privileges or to ignore the general public interest, or to escape the obligations assumed by every other agency public or private which develops a power site under the jurisdiction of the United States. These public safeguards can be maintained only if all leases of power privileges on the Colorado as well as everywhere else, and under the proposed bill or otherwise, are made subject to the provisions of the Federal water power act.
The bill proposes to place the administration of the project, the issuance of leases, and the determination of charges in the hands of the Secretary of the Interior. All other power projects under Federal jurisdiction are administered by the Federal Power Commission, of which the Secretary of the Interior is a member. The commission was created for the purposes of coordinating the power activities of the three departments which previously had acted independently and with conflicting policies. To return to the former