Page images
PDF
EPUB

PROTECTION AND DEVELOPMENT OF

LOWER COLORADO RIVER BASIN

so

HEARINGS

BEFORE THE

COMMITTEE ON
IRRIGATION OF ARID LANDS

HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES

SIXTY-SEVENTH CONGRESS

SECOND SESSION

ON

H. R. 11449

By Mr. SWING

A BILL TO PROVIDE FOR THE PROTECTION AND DEVELOPMENT

OF THE LOWER COLORADO RIVER BASIN

[blocks in formation]

COMMITTEE ON IRRIGATION OF ARID LANDS.

HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES.

SIXTY-SEVENTH CONGRESS, SECOND SESSION.

MOSES P. KINKAID, Nebraska, Chairman.
NICHOLAS J. SINNOTT, Oregon.

CARL HAYDEN, Arizona.
EDWARD C. LITTLE, Kansas.

C. B. HUDSPETH, Texas.
ADDISON T. SMITH, Idaho.

JOHN E. RAKER, California.
JOHN W. SUMMERS, Washington.

HOMER L. LYON, North Carolina.
HENRY E. BARBOUR, California.

WILLIAM B. BANKHEAD, Alabama.
E. O. LEATHERWOOD, Utah.
WILLIAM WILLIAMSON, South Dakota.
SAMUEL S. ARENTZ, Nevada.
MANUEL HERRICK, Oklahoma.

A. R. HUMPHREY, Clerk.

PROTECTION AND DEVELOPMENT OF LOWER COLORADO RIVER

BASIN.

COMMITTEE ON IRRIGATION OF ARID LANDS,

HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES,

Thursday, June 15, 1922.
The committee met at 10.30 o'clock a. m., Hon. Moses P. Kinkaid (chairman)
presiding

The CHAIRMAN. The committee will be in order. This hearing has been called for
the purpose of hearing those who are interested in the problems of the Imperial
Valley and vicinity with respect to irrigation from the Colorado River. Mr. Swing,
we will say that we have a report on the Swing bill, just received a few minutes ago
from Hon. Albert B. Fall, Secretary of the Interior. I am going to leave it to you
to outline the program this morning. Do you wish to read that report?

Mr. HAYDEN. My suggestion would be that the bill be printed at the beginning
of the hearing, followed by the printing of the report, so that members of the com-
mittee and the Congress may have it for convenient reference.

(The bill referred to, H. R. 11449, and the report of Secretary Fall thereon are here
printed in full, as follows:)

(H. R. 11449, Sixty-seventh Congress, second session.)
A BILL To provide for the protection and development of the lower Colorado River Basin.
Be it enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives of the United States of America
in Congress assembled, That for the purpose of providing for the regulation, control,
and development of the Colorado River, an international, interstate, and navigable
stream, in accordance with a comprehensive and unified plan, conserving natural
resources, and aiding flood control, water supply, and power development, the United
States hereby reserves to itself the exclusive right to construct, provide, and control
dams, reservoirs, or diversion works upon the main trunk of said river below the
mouth of the Green River.

Sec. 2. That, for the purpose of regulating the lower Colorado River and controlling
the floods therein, providing storage of water for irrigation, securing the development
of electrical power, and providing homes for honorably discharged men and women of
the United States Army, Navy, and Marine Corps who served therein during the war
with Germany, the War with Spain, or in the suppression of the insurrection in the
Philippines, the Secretary of the Interior is hereby authorized and empowered to
construct a dam and incidental works for the purpose of providing a reservoir at or
near Boulder Canyon on said river, adequate for the purposes aforesaid, and to acquire
by proceedings in eminent domain or otherwise all lands and rights of way necessary
for the said reservoir and incidental works; also to construct a main canal and appur-
tenant structures located entirely within the United States, connecting the Laguna
Dam on said river with the Imperial and Coachella Valleys, in California, together
with such other canals and structures as may be required for the distribution and
delivery of water from said reservoir and said river to lands in the United States
which said Secretary may find practicable of irrigation and reclamation therefrom,
and to acquire by proceedings in eminent domain or otherwise all rights of way neces-
sary for such canals and structures. No expenditures for the construction of canals
or appurtenant structures authorized hereunder shall be made until the lands to be
irrigated thereby shall have first been legally obligated to repay their proper portions,
as may be determined by the Secretary of the Interior, of the total costs thereof to
the United States in accordance with the terms of repayment prescribed in the act
of Congress approved June 17, 1902, entitled "An act appropriating the receipts from
the sale and disposal of public lands in certain States and Territories to the construc-
tion of irrigation works for the reclamation of arid lands,” and acts amendatory thereof
or supplementary thereto, hereinafter referred to as the reclamation law.

1

[blocks in formation]

Sec. 3. That the Secretary of the Interior is empowered to receive 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,
and, after full hearing of all concerned, to allocate to such applicants such portions
of such power privileges as, in his judgment, may be consistent with an equitable
distribution thereof among the various interested States and among the various
interested communities in each State. The said Secretary, in making such allocation,
may give consideration to the plans of the various applicants, having regard to their
relative adaptability to utilize such power privileges in the public interest, and at
reasonable cost to the communities served: Provided, That subject to such allocations
he shall give preference to applications made by political subdivisions.

Sec. 4. That the said Secretary is authorized to make leases of the power privileges
so allocated, limited to fifty years, on such terms and under such regulations as he
may prescribe, and to fix what he may find to be a reasonable compensation therefor.
Upon or after the expiration of any such lease, or renewal thereof, the United States
may take over the property of the lessee which is dependent for its usefulness upon
the continuation of the lease, and if it shall do so shall pay to the lessee its net invest-
ment in the property taken, not exceeding the fair value thereof at the time it is so
taken, with reasonable severance damages to property of the lessee not taken. Such
net investment, or fair value and damages, if not agreed upon, shall be fixed by a
proceeding in equity in the district court of the United States in the district in which
such property, or some part thereof, is situated. If the United States does not exer-
cise its right to take over such property, the Secretary of the Interior may, by agree-
ment with the lessee, renew the said lease for not more than fifty years, or in his
discretion may make a lease under the terms hereof to a new lessee, upon the condition
that such new lessee shall pay to the former lessee such net investment and damages
determined as aforesaid. If such property is not taken over by the United States,
or such new lessee, or such lease renewed, the said Secretary shall extend such lease
from year to year until such property is so taken over or such lease renewed.

SEC. 5. That any such political subdivision, instead of entering into a lease, may,
with the consent of the Secretary of the Interior, as the consideration for such power
privileges as may be allocated to it as above provided, pay to the United States in
annual installments, during such period not exceeding twenty-five years as may be
agreed upon, a total sum which shall bear the same proportion to the cost of construct-
ing such dam and incidental works and acquiring lands and rights of way for said
reservoir and incidental works, as the water allocated to such political subdivision
bears to all the water available for the generation of power at said dam, together with
a like proportion of the annual expense of operating and maintaining such dam and
incidental works and interest at the rate of 5 per centum per annum on the unpaid
portion of such proportionate part of such cost. Any or all of the installments of such
proportionate part of such cost may be paid in advance. The right to use for the
generation of electrical power the water so allocated, shall continue after the comple-
tion of the payment of such proportionate part of such cost, so long as such political
subdivision shall pay annually such proportionate part of such expense of operating
and maintaining such dam and incidental works. The said Secretary is authorized
on such terms and under such regulations as he may prescribe to make any contracts
which may be necessary to carry into effect the provisions of this section. The title
to said dam and incidental works and reservoir site shall forever remain in the United
States. Until the completion of said dam and incidental works the Secretary of the
Interior is authorized to use any money received under this and the preceding section
for the construction of said dam and incidental works.

Sec. 6. That the right to develop power from the water in any canal constructed
under this act, at points along such canal, shall belong to the districts, communities,
and lands which contribute to the construction costs of such canal and appurtenant
structures, in proportion to their contributions: Provided, That so long as any money
is owing to the United States on account of the construction of said canals and appur-
tenant structures, the Secretary of the Interior shall control the disposition of said
rights to develop power and the net proceeds from any power development in said
canals shall be applied upon such construction charges and covered into the Treasury
of the United States, and credited to the various districts, communities, and lands in
accordance with their interests in said canals.

Sec. 7. That no part of the cost of the construction of said dam or incidental works,
or the acquisition of lands or rights of way for said reservoir, or incidental works,
shall be charged against any lands to be irrigated therefrom, but the total cost of all
irrigation canals and appurtenant structures which may be constructed hereunder
shall be charged equitably against such lands, in accordance with the benefits they
derive therefrom as may be determined by the Secretary of the Interior.

for power.,

SEC. 8. That the dam and reservoir provided for by section 2 of this act shall be used, first, for river regulation and flood control; second, for irrigation; and third,

Sec. 9. That nothing contained in this act shall be construed as limiting, diminishing, or in any manner interfering with any vested rights of the States above said reservoir, or of the citizens of said States, to the use,

within the Colorado River watershed, of the waters of said Colorado River.

SEC. 10. That all lands of the United States found by the Secretary of the Interior to be practicable of irrigation and reclamation by the irrigation works authorized by the terms of this act shall be withdrawn from public entry. Thereafter when such works shall have been so far constructed as to permit the delivery of water to any portion of said withdrawn lands which the Secretary of the Interior shall deem proper to

open for entry, such portion of said lands shall be opened to entry in tracts, varying in size, but not exceeding one hundred and sixty acres, as may be determined by the Secretary of the Interior, in accordance with the provisions of the reclamation law, and any such entryman shall pay the proportionate share, as determined by the said Secretary of the construction cost of the canal or canals and appurtenant structures, constructed for the irrigation and reclamation of said lands, as provided for by this act, such construction cost to be paid in such installments, and at such times as may be specified by the Secretary of the Interior, in accordance with the provisions of the said reclamation law: Provided, That all persons who have served in the United States Army, Navy, or Marine Corps during the war with Germany, the war with Spain, or in the suppression of the insurrection in the Philippines, and who have been honorably separated or discharged therefrom or placed in the Regular Army or Navy Reserve, shall have the exclusive preference right for a period of three months to enter said lands; and also, so far as practicable, preference shall be given to said persons in all construction work authorized by this act: Provided, That in the event such an entry shall be relinquished at any time prior to actual residence upon the land by the entryman for not less than one year, lands so relinquished shall not be subject to entry for a period of sixty days after the filing and notation of the relinquishment in the local land office, and shall, after the expiration of such sixty-day period, be subject to entry by the first qualified applicant.

Sec. 11. That for the purpose of constructing said dam and incidental works, and acquiring lands and rights of way for said reservoir and incidental works, and constructing said main canal from Laguna Dam to Imperial and Coachella Valleys, and appurtenant structures and acquiring rights of way therefor, there is hereby authorized to be appropriated, from any moneys in the Treasury not otherwise appropriated, such amounts as may be necessary to carry out the purposes of this act, not exceeding in the aggregate the sum of $70,000,000, to be appropriated from time to time upon estimates made by the Secretary of the Interior and transferred to the reclamation fund established under said reclamation law. All moneys received under leases and contracts authorized by sections 4 and 5 of this act, in excess of the expense of operating and maintaining said dam and incidental works, and not used for construction as provided in section 5 hereof, shall be covered into the Treasury of the United States. All money transferred from the General Treasury to the reclamation fund, and used for the construction of any canal or appurtenant structures authorized under this act, shall be repaid by the districts, communities, and lands benefited thereby, and the Secretary of the Interior is hereby empowered, after a full hearing of all concerned, to allocate the costs of any such canal and appurtenant structures among the various districts, communities, and lands served thereby, according to the benefits derived therefrom.

Sec. 12. That nothing in this act shall be construed as modifying in any manner the existing contract, dated October 23, 1918, between the United States and Imperial irrigation district, providing for a connection with Laguna Dam; but the Secretary of the Interior is authorized to modify the said contract, with the consent of the said district, in order to provide for the construction, in accordance with the terms of this act, of a canal or canals and appurtenant structures, adequate to serve the lands of said district, and other lands that may be served thereby, and to equitably allocate the costs thereof.

Sec. 13. That wherever the words “political subdivision” or political subdivisions”

are used herein they shall be understood to include any State, district, · municipality, or other governmental organization.

« PreviousContinue »