Page images
PDF
EPUB

Mr. Turner, of the city of San Francisco. The city and the districts have been cooperating for some years and are in perfect agreement as to the development and operation of the Tuolumne River.

The history of irrigation in the Modesto and Turlock districts dates back to the efforts of the early settlers to obtain water in 1872. A special law creating the Modesto irrigation district was enacted by the California State Legislature in 1878, the first irrigation district in the State. It was not, however, until the passage of the Wright Act in 1887 that the districts were able to formally organize and function.

From 1891 to 1894 a dam 120 feet high was built across the Tuolumne River at La Grange. At that time it was known in engineering circles as the greatest structure of its kind. If you gentlemen can visualize a dam 128 feet high being built at that time, you will realize that was quite an undertaking with the equipment they had to do construction with in those days.

As the districts' water needs increased, a second dam was built at Don Pedro in 1921 and 1922. This dam also at the time of its building was considered an outstanding engineering accomplishment. This dam is 296 feet high and 1,020 feet across the top. A power plant was built in conjunction with this dam and power distributed to the people of our districts.

Today the districts are outstanding successes. This was not accomplished without hardships. Many years of litigation and financial burdens harried the progress of the districts before we reached the high state of perfection that we now operate under. We are particularly proud of our position. We therefore do not want any encroachment on the waters of the Tuolumne River by the Bureau of Reclamation or anyone else which will jeopardize the source of water for the farmers of our districts.

We are in accord with the report of the Army's Chief of Engineers as per Mr. Meikle's statement and urge that it be adopted as submitted and passed upon by the House. We strenuously object to the proposal of the Bureau of Reclamation which was made here this morning, to take the waters of the Tuolumne River into other areas of the State.

In addition, Mr. Chairman, it is my understanding that you have received a telegram from Mr. Frank Andrews representing himself to represent an organization known as the Modesto Irrigation District Water and Power Users Association, favoring the Bureau of Reclamation to build this project. For the information of the committee I wish to state for the record and your information that Mr. Andrews has been a chronic critic of the district for some 20 years. On several occasions he has endeavored to become elected å director of the Modesto irrigation district. On each occasion he has received very few votes, and the director elected who was opposing him received majorities that ran all the way from 5 to 7 to 1. This will indicate to you what the people of our district think of that gentleman.

During 1940 the irrigation district had occasion to appear before the Central Valley Water Project Authority of the State of Cali. fornia in Sacramento. Mr. Andrews at that time also appeared before this committee. Mr. Johnson, the State Treasurer of California, who was on that committee, had a telegram which Mr. Andrews had sent to Mr. Ickes. He asked Mr. Andrews how many people or

what percentage of his organization of the water and power users of
the district was represented by his organization. Mr. Andrews
couldn't answer. Mr. Johnson then asked him, he said, “I don't care
exactly how many, but about how many members do you have?” The
answer was "I don't know." He said, “Well, do you have 100 ?" He
said, “No.” He said, “Well, do you have 10 ?” He said, "No." He said
“Do you have any ?” He said, “We are just in the process of forma-
tion.” Now, Mr. Senator, that process of formation has been going
on for many long years before that meeting. Since that time we our-
selves, our directors who are elected by the people, among others, have
endeavored to find out if there were any other members to that organi-
zation, other than that one man. To date, we have been unable to
determine that there are any other members in that organization.
Therefore we consider that the telegram which he has sent to this com-
mittee has been sent under false colors and that it does not represent
any organization. That, Mr. Senator, is for your information.

Senator OVERTON. Thank you, sir.
Mr. PLUMMER. Thank you very much.
Senator OVERTON. All right. Mr. May is next, I believe.

repres

floodwn as the corage, a di Roy L. M
and Kerner from Ki Lake Bet of about

STATEMENT OF ROY L. MAY, ENGINEER, TULARE LAKE BASIN

WATER STORAGE DISTRICT Mr. May. My name is Roy L. May. I represent the Tulare Lake Basin water storage, a district of about 200,000 acres in the territory known as the Tulare Lake Basin, and the main area that receives the floodwater from Kings River, Tule River, Tulare River, Kaweah, and Kern Rivers. Mr. Chairman, do you want to make this as short as possible?

Senator OVERTON. I am going to recess at 5 o'clock, and I would like to have the engineers testify before that if we can.

Mr. May. I will make this just as short as I can, and then I will read this statement.

It is generally conceded that multiple-use projects should be built by the Federal agency having the dominant interest in the benefits to result from the project. This is the opinion expressed in the letters of the President to the chairman of the Flood Control Committee of the House. If this principle is followed, these projects will be approved for construction by the Corps of Engineers, United States Army, as now provided in H. R. 4485.

The lands in the Tulare Lake Basin water-storage district-200,000 acres-suffer the principal flood damages from the floods on all four of these streams. This has been recognized in all reports.

Inflow to Tulare Lake Basin is widely variable. Series of years having little or no inflow may occur. In other series of years large areas of cropland in the lake-basin area may be submerged. Years since 1937 have been ones of generally above-average inflow, and from 25,000 to 112,000 acres have been out of crop due to submergence. In 1944, 90,000 acres could not be planted as the result of floodwaters accumulated in the basin. In addition, 23,000 acres were only able to be planted because of assistance from the Corps of Engineers, United States Army, in repairing the levees surrounding these areas. The Corps of Engineers, United States Army, have constructed emergency flood-protection works within the basin and con

[ocr errors]

trol structures at the division of Kings River into its north and south channels, and is well established there in meeting and handling the flood-control problems of this area.

In addition to the average flood-control benefits of over $1,680,000 per year, which it is estimated the Tulare Lake area will secure from these projects, some benefits will be secured from the regulation of its supply to meet the irrigation demand and from the reduction in evaporation at the mountain reservoir sites as compared to the present shallow storage in Tulare Lake Basin. This water-storage district has repeatedly expressed its willingness to pay for such irrigation benefits on any fair basis. H. R. 4485 includes such adequate provisions for determining the benefits to irrigation use and proper charges therefor. There should be no delay in authorizing the Kings, Kern, and Kaweah-Tule River projects, as such determination of other uses and benefits can be made after authorization and prior ti completion of construction. To delay authorization now will delay the badly needed major benefit of flood control to work out the minor use for irrigation.

The Tulare Lake Basin cannot avoid receiving the surplus floodwaters of its tributary streams as it is a closed basin without outlet. Waters reaching this area cause damage by submergence, but are later used by pumping for irrigation of the adjacent croplands.

Transfer of storage from this basin to proposed mountain reservoirs will increase the total water supply available. Costs of pumping from the lake reservoir will be saved and present evaporation losses of about 40 percent of the inflow will be conserved. Storage at Pine Flat on the Kings and Isabella on the Kern for irrigation use has been under discussion for over 25 years. While its advantages have been recognized, local interests have not felt that its benefits to irrigation alone would justify the necessary costs. It is generally recognized that should a reservoir be constructed at Pine Flat for irrigation use only, a capacity of about 350,000 acre-feet could be justified. This is only 35 percent of the flood-control capacity found to be needed for this purpose by the Federal agencies. Similarly, in studies made by irrigation interests on the Kern River, it was found that 150,000 acre-feet of capacity was all that was needed for irrigation purposes alone, or only 27 percent of the storage recommended for flood control. This again illustrates the dominant interest of flood control in these projects.

All of these projects are justified by flood-control benefits alone. The need for relief in Tulare Lake Basin is urgent, not only for immediate war food production, but also permanently. These projects should be authorized now as flood-control projects to be built by the Corps of Engineers, U. S. Army, so that their plans may be completed for post-war construction. Appropriations for construction should be made as soon as war conditions may justify the use of labor and materials for such purposes. Usefulness for other purposes and the part of the costs chargeable to other uses can be worked out in accordance with the provisions in H. R. 4485. Work on such determinations can be started following authorizations of these projects so that the results will be available when needed prior to the completion of project construction.

T'he past delays have subjected the landowners in the Tulare Lake area to large crop losses and expenses in maintenance of local works which could have been largely saved. These crop losses have been reflected in the reduced assessed valuation of the land on the county assessor's book.

The assessor of Kings County—the county in which Tulare Lake Basin is located-stated that in the Tulare Lake Basin area, only, the assessed valuation before the floods of 1937 and 1938 was $2,148,385. The reduced assessed value in 1939 due to these floods was $1,483,385, a reduction in assessed valuation of $700,755.

The assessor estimates possible increase in assessed value if the flood control work on the Kings, Kern, Kaweah, and Tule Rivers are completed as $656,500 above the 1936 assessed valuation or a total of $1,357,255 above the present assessment.

The Tulare Lake Basin water storage district respectfully urges that Congress retain these projects in the flood-control bill, H. R. 4485, and its passage this session.

Senator OVERTON. Thank you very much.

STATEMENT OF LOUIS T. ROBINSON, PRESIDENT, TULARE LAKE

BASIN WATER STORAGE DISTRICT, CORCORAN, CALIF. Mr. ROBINSON. Mr. Chairman, I will cut my statement very short in keeping with your request. I am instructed by the farmers and board of directors of this district to inform you as follows

Senator OVERTON. Which district ? Mr. ROBINSON. The Tulare Lake Basin water storage district, comprising 200,000 acres in the Tulare Lake area.

First, we believe the merits of the project warrant the construction of it by a Government agency at the earliest date possible, with due consideration to the war emergency. Second, the plan proposed by the Army engineers is fully acceptable. Third, the plan proposed by the Bureau of Reclamation is not acceptable. We will oppose any Government agency that attempts to construct this project or any other project on the Kings River if the plan proposed limits the use of water or limits the ownership of land in the district.

If such a position on our part brings a decision on the part of the Government agencies or the Congress not to build the dam promptly, we request that the land needed for the construction of the project be made available to the owners of the land and water in the Kings River service area. We will then be in a position to build the project through our own efforts and secure the flood protection and other benefits we are entitled to receive from the Federal Government. Under no circumstances or conditions will we trade our rights to own property for this project or any other project.

Your committee has possibly been led to believe that you are called on to determine whether the Army engineers or the Bureau of Reclamation is the proper Federal agency to construct this project. Actually, however, you are not called on to make a choice as between the two agencies. The owners of the land and water will not accept the Bureau's plan. The real determination is whether you shall authorize the project of the Army engineers or return it to the farmers.

Senator OVERTON. Thank you very much. Who is next going to be heard ?

STATEMENT OF CHARLES L. KAUPKE, ENGINEER AND WATER

MASTER, KINGS RIVER WATER ASSOCIATION, FRESNO, CALIF.

Mr. KAUPKE. Mr. Chairman and gentlemen, my name is Charles L. Kaupke. I am a graduate civil engineer of the University of Oklahoma. I am the engineer and watermaster for the Kings River Water Association, consisting of 8 irrigation districts with a combined area of 657,000 acres, and 9 mutual water companies with an area of 243,000 acres. For more than 25 years I have devoted all my time to the measurements of canals and rivers and the distribution of the water of Kings River and the preparation of engineering reports.

I have here, M. Chairman, a report entitled “Report on Kings River Project” which was prepared by four engineers, including myself, which I wish to leave with the committee. We prepared also a complete synopsis of that report which I think gives the contents. I have a sufficient number of copies of that for all members of the committee. I also have a prepared statement which I shall not read, but which I would like to include in the record. If that is satisfactory, I shall confine myself merely to conclusions.

Senator OVERTON. Thank you. That will be satisfactory. Mr. KAUPKE. It won't take me but just a few moments. In the testimony that was given here this morning the statement was made that the Kings River project is an integral part of the Central Valley project. In answer to that I wish to direct your attention to appendix B, page 124 of the report which I just handed you. This appendix is a letter from the Secretary of the Interior dated September 16, 1941, transmitting a memorandum to the Secretary dated July 31, 1941, prepared by John C. Page, Cominissioner of Reclamation. Under item 2, the first sentence readsit is not contemplated by the Bureau that any surplus water remains above the needs of the Kings River area with proper operation of the reservoir. We are heartily in accord with that statement. We feel we have appropriated and made a complete use of all the normal and subnormal river flow. In direct answer to the statement that Kings River is an integral part of the Central Valley project I wish to read from page 126, item 4, of this same report, this statement:

The Kings River project and the Central Valley project are separate entities and are apart in all their phases except as it may become desirable by agreement to arrange for coordinated operation after the construction of the Pine Flat Reservoir.

The Bureau of Reclamation has no interest in such irrigation uses as will be made; it neither owns nor controls any water of the stream, nor does the Federal Government own any lands in the service area in which in the exercise of its proper functions the Bureau of Reclamation could claim any interest. Since the waters of these streams are wholly in private ownership and the lands served have long since been highly developed by their private owners whose organizations have administered the river flows for 50 years or more with outstanding success, there is no need whatever for any Federal protective custody or control by the Bureau of Reclamation. I would say, Mr. Chairman, we have settled our water rights. We have set up an organization for distributing these waters in accordance with agreed schedules

60479-44—---20

« PreviousContinue »