Page images

15 or 20 sites were investigated and reported on by this committee of engineers who made this investigation; and after all this data had been digested a report was made confining the development to Boulder Dam as being the most practicable development. While I heard Mr. Ballard myself testify before the House Committee on Irrigation that if they were given the opportunity to go on the Colorado River and develop, and they have made some pretty thorough investigation themselves, he stated that their first development would be at Boulder Dam. That seemed to bear out the contention that this is the most practicable site.

Senator PHIPPS. You do not know whether or not the Department of the Interior to-day is standing firmly behind the findings of the so-called Fall-Davis report, or whether they have other ideas on the subject of flood control; do you?

Mayor Bacon. I do not know what their stand is to-day. I do know that some months ago—I think about a year ago—an effort was made, possibly, to offset the Fall-Davis report. There seemed to be a desire to discredit it. The Board of Engineers practically agreed on the Fall-Davis report. We must concentrate on some one thing if we are going to get anywhere. That is the only desire of the people of the Imperial Valley, and those of us down here in the Southwest, we are going to back up what we believe to be the most practicable thing. We felt that the Government going in there and making the investigation, while they may have made a mistake, the chances are they would not, they would hit on the most practicable scheme of development.

Senator Phipps. Mr. Mayor, in the testimony you spoke of the necessity of increased water supply for the city of San Diego. Mayor Bacon. Yes, sir.

Senator Phipps. Do you assert that it would be practicable to divert water from the Colorado River for domestic supply for the city of San Diego?

Mayor Bacon. Well, Senator, it has got beyond a practical point; it is an absolute necessity. We know what our water possibilities are; we know what our water necessities are in southern California; and we know if we can not get water from something like this we may have to go up to the Sacramento River. Los Angeles has faced the same situation. You will be given further information on that.

Senator Phipps. You have not found any possibility of a gravity flow from the Colorado River to San Diego, have you?

Mr. Bacon. Oh, my, no; we will have to pump it, and it will be expensive water; it will probably cost us twenty-five or thirty millions of dollars to bring it into the city. We will have to have water no matter what it costs.

Senator PHIPPS. You would have your canal to conduct the water to the city, and you are still convinced of the necessity of the operation!

Mr. Bacon. Yes, sir.

Senator Phipps. Which means constant daily pumping with some kind of power, presumably hydroelectric, to get it over the divide ?

Mr. BACON. Yes, sir.
Senator Phipps. No possibility of tunneling through?

Mr. Bacon. No; because it will be practically at sea level when we get it, and we would have to carry it some 70 miles through there

to the Imperial Valley. We will have to pump it up to a level of a thousand feet, carry it through tunnels probably 10 miles, then drop it down on the coast side of the mountains. Senator PHIPPs. How much water would you expect to divert?

Mr. Bacon. Oh, we would need in the neighborhood of--a development of that kind in order to pay out, the city would probably grow to a size by that time; we will need probably in the neighborhood of 50,000,000 of gallons a day.

Senator Phipps. Has any estimate of the cost of raising that water a thousand feet been made ?

Mr. Bacox. I presume it will cost us 15 cents per thousand gallons to bring it into the city.

Senator PHIPPs. That is a higher rate than would prevail on the average for the furnishing of water to most of the large municipalities in the East.

Mr. Bacon. No, sir; not in California. Los Angeles, I believe, has the lowest rate in the State. We are selling domestic water today in San Diego at 20 cents a thousand gallons, and I believe our rate is below the average municipality in the State. Water is precious out here.

Senator PHIPPS. Water costs double what it costs in the Eastern States.

Mr. Bacon. Probably so.
Senator Phipps. I have no further questions.
Chairman McNARY. Anything further?

Senator ASHURST. If I understand you, Mr. Mayor, you state there was no possible plan by which the city of Los Angeles could get potable water by gravity from the Colorado River? Mr. Bacon. I don't think so I don't think I made that statement. Senator ASHURST. San Diego. Mr. Bacon. By gravity from the Colorado? Senator ASHURST. Yes.

Mr. Bacon. No. A plan was proposed, I think, by Mr. Maxwell, and it cost a thousand million dollars to bring it in.

Senator ASHURST. Are you not aware that the most recent report of the United States Government, to wit, the La Rue report, Water Supply Paper No. 556, issued about 10 days ago, now on the desk of the chairman here, points out that potable water by gravity may be brought to the cities here?

Vír. Bacon. I don't think it could be brought to San Diego. There is a mountain divide between this section of the country and

San Diego.

Senator ASHURST. I will ask you kindly to read the La Rue report, the most eminent engineer on the Colorado River that we have. He points out that it can be brought here by gravity.

Mr. Bacon. Yes, sir.

Senator ASHURST. Do you know the depth to bedrock at Boulder Canyon?

Mr. Bacon. I can not give you those figures offhand; there are very complete drawings in that Senate Document 142.

Senator ASHURST. You are an engineer, but you are not familiar with this latest La Rue report?

Mr. Bacon. No, sir; I have not had an opportunity to see it yet.

Senator Ashurst. It is obvious that you have had no opportunity to see it, because it has been rather difficult to obtain the same.

Mr. Bacon. I don't pretend to read all the literature that comes out on the Colorado River.

Senator ASHURST. Are you familiar with the dam site on the Colorado River known as the Bridge Canyon Dam site?

Mr. Bacon. I have heard that discussed; yes, sir.

Senator ASHURST. Are you aware that Mr. La Rue points out the feasibility of the Bridge Canyon Dam site?

Mr. BACON. I believe Mr. La Rue has done that.
Senator ASHURST. In his recent report?
Mr. Bacon. I have not seen that.

Senator ASHURST. And that he does not recommend the Boulder Canyon dam!

Senator ODDIE. Just a minute, please; I think the Senator from Arizona misunderstands Mr. La Rue's statement. While he doesn't speak of the Bridge Canyon as feasible, he also says that Black Canyon, which is the name now for the Boulder Canyon, is also feasible. There might be a conclusion drawn from an analysis of the two dam sites that one may be better than the other. He rather favors the Bridge Canyon, because he says it is a better power scheme.

Senator ASHURST. I think the eminent Senator from Nevada has correctly stated the situation. Now, as to water supply. There is water enough in the Colorado River to irrigate all the irrigable lands in Arizona and California. For every acre irrigated in Mexico it means that an acre in California or Arizona must forever be condemned to a desert situation. You are, of course, in favor therefore, I take it, as an American citizen, of the proposition that the lands of Arizona and California should be irrigated rather than Mexico?

Mr. Bacon. Absolutely, sir. Senator Ashurst. And I drew from your statement the fact that all of the water now going into the Imperial Valley must first pass through a Mexican stomach; is that true? Mr. Bacon. Yes, sir.

Senator ASHURST. Then the alimentary canal of the Imperial Valley nourishes a Mexican stomach before it reaches Imperial Valley?

Mr. Bacon. Yes, sir.

Senator ASHURST. We have no treaty with Mexico under or by the terms of which we must send down one drop of water, have we?

Mr. Bacon. Not that I know of.

Senator ASHURST. We have not. Then, as a legal proposition, we may appropriate for Arizona and California every drop of water in the Colorado River? If I may answer that for you, I would say that we would not be an independent nation if we were precluded from taking all the waters of the Colorado River. I think it is quite important in this hearing to establish, first, that we are representing the American people, and we are not interested in those who have left their own country to go into Mexico to develop Mexican lands. There is no rule of comity, amity, or international law which requires the United States to send a drop of water to Mexico. Is that what you understand?

Mr. Bacon. That is what I understand; yes, sir.

Senator ASHURST. Are you familiar with the dam site known as Glenn Canyon in northern Arizona?

Jr. Bacon. I have not visited the site; I have heard reports on it; I have seen the information in connection with it and read the reports on it.

Senator ASHURST. I wish the record to show, in answer to your remark, that you had heard that Mr. Maxwell, a citizen of California for many years and a citizen of Arizona now, had advocated a gravity line to bring water to the southern California cities. Let the record show that the most recent report of the Federal Government also points out the feasibility of bringing water to these cities by gravity.

Mr. Bacon. The city of Los Angeles has appropriated $2,000,000 for making such an investigation; so looking at it from that standpoint they must consider it feasible.

Senator Ashurst. The La Rue report is Water Supply Paper 556, issued under authority of Hon. Hubert Work, Secretary of the Interior

The CHAIRMAN. I think there is nothing further, Mayor Bacon. The committee is obliged to you for your statement.

Senator ASHURST. Mr. Chairman, may I make a brief statement? The CHAIRMAN. Yes.

Senator ASHURST. In view of the resolution of the State of California ratifying the Colorado River pact with certain reservations, I trust that after this action by the Legislature of California that the hospitable people of California will abandon their ungenerous criti(ism of Arizona for our action.

The CHAIRMAN. The next will be W. J. Carr, vice president of the Boulder Dam Association.


Mr. Carr. Mr. Chairman, members of the committee, when this committee held hearings on the Swing-Johnson bill in Washington last December, I discussed somewhat at length the relationship of the so-called Colorado River compact to this project. I don't propose at the present time to go over the ground covered there. Those of you who were present will perhaps remember that I tried to make clear to the committee that while Congress had the right to authorize this project, all representatives of the upper division of the State were at least to be organized in development of this character or any other development until some assurances were given to other that any rights that accrue in the lower basin that might stand in the way of their proper development in future years when they were economically ready to undertake that work. I also endeavored to make clear that there were two general methods by which that protection or assurances could be extended to them. The one was by a compact or treaty between the States, approved by Congress; the other, because of the fact of the existence of a large body of public land, and that the Federal Government would have control of the administration of the water and the privilege of using the water. And we urged, all of us that were opposing the SwingJohnson bill, and under all the circumstances, that that method should be followed, and with safety could be followed, that it was the method frequently used by the Federal water power act when they were granting permits or licenses under that act. And I pointed out to you that the matter had been discussed quite fully in the House committee. Mr. Hamly, attorney for the Reclamation Service, formally expressed the opinion that the reclamation could be handled that way. And Judge Davis of New Mexico, who was New Mexico's representative at Santa Fe, and is still, I believe, the solicitor of the Department of Commerce, appeared before the House committee and expressed it as his opinion that that should be done. All proponents of the Swing-Johnson bill presented to the House committee and the Senate committee discussed quite at length the various theories on which we thought that was justified. Since that time there have been some developments in connection with the compact, and my purpose this morning is to endeavor to bring that up to date.

Early in this present year it was suggested by representatives of some of the upper division states that the so-called Colorado River compact should be amended so that upon its ratification by any six of the seven States of the basin that it should thereupon become effective. Resolutions to that end were adopted by New Mexico, Colorado, Wyoming, Utah, and Nevada. California also adopted a resolution in precisely identical language; but California in its resolution deferred the operative date of its resolution, both as it affected the six-States compact, and also the seven-States compact, until such time as the Congress should authorize large storage at or near Boulder Canyon and exercise whatever power the Congress had to make the compact effective as to all the waters of the river. It is not true, as it has frequently been stated, that California has changed the compact or has ratified it conditionally or in a qualified way. It is perfectly common legislative practice, indulged in by Congress and all the State legislatures, to pass an act and provide that it shall take effect upon a certain date or upon the occurring of certain contingencies which can be definitely ascertained. Now, that is all that the California Legislature did. It might be appropriate rather briefly to the reasons that actuated California to defer the effective date in this ratification. The compact, as most of you know, as drawn up at Santa Fe, endeavored to divide the waters of the Colorado to the various States. Under that compact all upper States are obligated to deliver erery period of 10 consecutive years 75,000,000 acre-feet of water. It is a very peculiar provision. The Colorado River is an erratic river. Sometimes it flows as low as six or seven million acre feet; that means that the States of the upper division under that compact could withhold all the waters of the river for one dry year or two dry years and they probably would be safe in withholding all the water for three dry years, then they could make up the deficiency the next year.

So that if became necessary, if that compact were in effect, the lower basin must have large storage so that they could have the reserves of water against the exercise of the upper basin States of that provision under the compact. And there were many other reasons why the lower basin could not get any benefit out of the compact without large storage. There was another consideration that

« PreviousContinue »