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The CHAIRMAN. Is the authorship shown?
Colorado Basin datar-Rough analysis by R. I. Meeker
(Amounts given in thousands)
Includes reservoir losses by evaporation Boulder Canyon and Glen Canyon Reservoirs.
Mr. CARPENTER. Now, I might ask your indulgence to observe that the compact was ratified and approved by six other States with unusual promptness. The seventh State neither ratified nor rejected it. The State of Arizona took the matter under advisement. Our commission adjourned while the compact was in that shape. In the interim a large number of filings by power applicants were being pressed for consideration before the Federal Power Commission.
The flood-control situation along the lower river was not being looked after by any active man except the repair of levees. It is considered very desirable, something to be done as early as possible. The compact provides on its face and by its terms that it shall not be effective until approved by all seven States and by Congress. The States of the upper basin, recognizing the immediate necessity of flood relief in the lower, last winter made an offer in the form of legislation to make the compact effective between the six States that had ratified without in any way prejudicing the rights of the seventh that had not yet ratified, leaving that matter entirely open to her own election whether she later might join or remain aloof, in order that the compact might then go on to Congress and the policy of the United States and the six States to be determined or to hasten the flood-control work. The offer was accepted by Nevada promptly, but California attached to the act a condition which suspends its operation.
The CHAIRMAN. That is already in the record, Mr. Carpenter. Mr. CARPENTER. Is it? The CHAIRMAN. We had that discussed at Los Angeles; yes. Mr. CARPENTER. Very well. And it remains in that shape and will remain in that shape, of course, until the condition is fulfilled or the statute amended.
The CHAIRMAN. Yes.
Mr. CARPENTER. I might at this time call the committee's attention to the recent ruling of the Federal Power Commission on the Diamond Creek project and ask to read into the record that ruling.
The CHAIRMAN. That is already in the record, Mr. Carpenter. Mr. CARPENTER. I thought it was merely giving the description.
The CHAIRMAN. The wires that I received, I think, were put in the record at San Diego. Is that different from the recent ruling of the Water Power Commission?
Senator PHIPPS. This is the one that I read, but I was not aware that that was put in the record. If it has been, then it is unnecessary to put it into the record at this time.
The CHAIRMAN. I indicated a few days ago at a meeting I had received a wire; so had other members of the committee. Leave it with the reporter, and the reporter will check up on the matter.
(The telegram above referred to is in words and figures as follows, to wit:)
WASHINGTOX, D. C., October 29, 1923. IION. LAWRENCE C. PHIPPS,
Barbara Worth Hotel, El Centro, Calif.: Following is exact wording of resolution adopted yesterday by Federal Power Commission here:
" That action on all applications for power licenses on Colorado River and its tributaries now pending before this commission and not finally acted upon including the Girard application is hereby suspended for a reasonable time. That constructive Government policy requires that States affected should, and they are hereby earnestly urged to reach as speedily as possible an agreement among themselves for the division of the waters of the river system, all to the end that thereupon development may proceed unchallenged on interstate grounds." Have notified Colorado dailies and Denver office.
C. BROOKS FRY, Secretary/. Mr. CARPENTER. I believe that is all at this time.
The CHAIRMAN. Does any member of the committee desire to propound a question?
Senator Ashurst. Mr. Chairman, I wanted to ask one question. I understood you to say that this originated as a result of the governors.
Mr. CARPENTER. No. You mean this matter to-night?
Senator ASHURST. No; no; that this pact originated as a result of the address to these governors ?
Mr. CARPENTER. No; the Colorado River Commission came into being as a direct appeal; rather, the recognition of an appeal.
Senator ASHURST. Made by whom!
Mr. CARPENTER. Made by the southern States to the northern, begging and pleading for food relief.
Senator DILL. It was the result of action or sentiment in the States rather than sentiment from Washington, D. C.?
Mr. CARPENTER. Oh, yes; and Washington was not called upon to take any activity until after the States had legislated and the commissioners been appointed.
Senator Dill. Then the act of Congress was presented ?
Mr. CARPENTER. Then the governors made a pilgrimage to Washington, called upon President Harding and upon Members of the Congress, and asked that Federal legislation be enacted authorizing the appointment of Mr. Hoover. Now, that history, however, is sketched in the governors' address that is in the record.
Senator Dill. I just simply wanted to get that clear.
Senator SHORTRIDGE. Reference having been made to the late ruling of the Federal Power Commission, in order that my position in respect to that_ruling and the matters to which the ruling applies may be clear, I desire to offer for the record a telegram which I forwarded to that commission as of October 21,
The CHAIRMAN. The telegram will be received and printed in the record.
SAN FRANCISCO, CALIF., October 21, 1925. To the CHAIRMAN FEDERAL POWER COMMISSION,
Washington, D. C.: I earnestly request that the hearing of the application of James B. Girard for permit to develop power on the Colorado River at Diamond Creek be postponed until December, and to such later date as you may order. The Senate Committee on Irrigation and Reclamation meets in Los Angeles on the 25th instant to consider and report on the Colorado River project at the coming session of Congress. It is hoped and believed that a wise solution of this great river problem will be reached by appropriate legislation whereby the legal and equitable rights of persons and States will be protected and the welfare of many thousands of citizens promoted. Manifestly the status of this project should not be disturbed or changed and the solution of this river problem be frustrated or made more difficult by the granting of this or other like application before said committee of the Senate has reported and Congress has had opportunity to consider and act. I am convinced that the public welfare will be conserved and advanced by postponement of hearing of said application as by me and many others requested.
SAMUEL M. SHORTRIDGE, Member of Senate Committee on Irrigation and Reclamation. The CHAIRMAN. The committee is obliged to you, Mr. Carpenter.
Mr. CARPENTER. Just one suggestion, and that is this, that before the committee closes the hearings the four upper States will probably wish to be heard at length at Washington.
The CHAIRMAN. They will be given full and ample opportunity.
Senator JOHNSON. Just before you retire, Mr. Carpenter, were you not in error in stating that Mr. Weymouth was present? He tells me he was not there.
Mr. CARPENTER. I am not clear.
Senator Johnson. The reason I asked you is because Mr. Weymouth tells me he was not present.
Mr. CARPENTER. You are speaking of the Santa Fe meeting?
Mr. WEYMOUTH. I was not present at the Santa Fe meeting, but I was present at the others.
Mr. CARPENTER. Very well; I am glad to have the mistake called to my attention.
STATEMENT OF P. J. PRESTON, SUPERINTENDENT OF BUREAU
OF RECLAMATION, YUMA PROJECT
The CHAIRMAN. Mr. Preston, you are superintendent of the Bureau of Reclamation on the Yuma project, and you desire to discuss the question of “ Power and Silt.” How long have you been superintendent of the Yuma project? Mr. PRESTON. I have been in charge of the Yuma project going on
Mr. CHAIRMAN. Have you been connected with the bureau for any great length of time?
Mr. PRESTON. I have been connected with the Bureau of Reclamation since October, 1917. The silt problem is one of the serious problems that the irrigator and water user has to contend with on the lower Colorado River.
The CHAIRMAN. Are you referring to the problem as it affects the Yuma project ?
Mr. PRESTON. It affects the Yuma project; it affects all the projects in a like manner.
The CHAIRMAN. Yes; we had a great deal of discussion on that particular matter at El Centro.
Mr. PRESTON. The particular feature that probably has not been discussed is the effect that the silt has upon the soil. I think that has not been discussed very thoroughly.
The CHAIRMAN. That was discussed, but you may discuss it further if
desire. Mr. PRESTON. It has been a popular idea that the silts of the Colorado River were very fertilizing, and it is still a great deal of the popular idea. But as time goes on, with the application of the waters of the Colorado to the soil in the process of our irrigation, there is a partial desilting of the waters. As we will show you tomorrow, we take out at Laguna Dam the heavier materials. With the Imperial irrigation district they take out part of it through the process of sluicing or dredging, and it accumulates in the ditchesthat is, the heavier part of it; the finer particles pass on to the soil. Recently we have had six weeks' run of very silty water, which ran as high as 334 per cent by weight. Many of the farmers refuse to use the water in this condition, and it has come to the notice of a number of the water users that the effect of applying this water is to harden their soil. In fact, there is one quite prominent customer brought to my attention only a few weeks ago where with this silty water it was applied upon an alfalfa field. The neighbor adjoining refused to use the water. A short time after that there was 1.6 inches of rainfall. The field upon which the application was made the alfalfa became sickly looking and did not develop thoroughly, while the outer field came out very green. The effect of the silt is rather to stop the circulation of air, and this silt will vary according to the area upon which the flood comes. We get some of the worst floods—that is, carrying the higher silts and the most objectionable silts from the Little Colorado, some of the tributaries in the State of Utah, northeastern Arizona, and some from the Nevada streamsso that it is important that any flood protection, if it is going to help in the silt matter, must be low down on the stream. The only power we are interested in is the power locally, which is a plant that we hope to have some day not in the very distant future, at Laguna Dam. That is a low head, but the regulation of the river will make that much more available than it is to-day. At the present time we could not figure on more than 4,000 second-feet development there. With a regulation of the Colorado River that may be doubled several times.
Senator Phipps. Mr. Preston, may I ask, the supposed location of the power site is now at the Laguna Dam, is it?
Mr. PRESTON. No; the one we are developing is on the main canal.
Senator PHIPPS. On the main canal ? That is under construction, is it?
Mr. PRESTON. That is under construction; the machinery is all purchased for that, and the foundation is being put in; the contract for the erection of the building is still pending.
Senator Phipps. How niuch power will that generate?
Mr. PRESTON. That will generate a little over a thousand horsepower.
Senator PHIPPS. I have a recollection that I voted against that for the reason that a similar plant to that was operated in the Imperial Valley on the canal, taken out from the Alamo some years ago, had to be abandoned as an absolute failure on account of the silt getting at the wheels and making the operation too expensive and having very frequent interruptions in its operation, and I am very much afraid you are going to have a failure with that plant. I hope not. I had heard that it was proposed to change the location and put it at the Laguna Dam.
Mr. PRESTON. Senator, we couldn't. It was located at a specified place. That was taken up in a board report.
Senator Phipps. Are you familiar with the operation of power plants yourself, may I ask?
Mr. PRESTON. I am not.
Senator Dill. Do I understand that you are constructing a dam in order to desilt the river?
Mr. PRESTON. If we are to get flood protection the desilting is, I think, a very important thing, and it is cumulative. As we go on with the years, the land is going to become harder and harder. Now, the first flow of this silty water really isn't harmful—it may be beneficial—but after a few years, then, it becomes detrimental.
Senator Dill. What percentage of silt will be taken out by them up the river?
Mr. PRESTON. About 32 per cent. The larger part of that will be taken out; I should say, a greater part of it. You will pick up some silt anyway which we will have to contend with, but our objectional silt all arises above at least Boulder Canyon; it arises in the Little Colorado, the San Juan, and the Virgin Rivers, and the many tributaries that come in between them. It comes mostlythe objectionable silt comes mostly down from the arid sections, not from the mountains.
Senator DILL. Have you had any experience to know what percentage drops out of the water, what percentage of silt drops out of water in deep dams that have been built where waters were quite heavily silted with silt?
Mr. PRESTON. Well, a larger part of it will drop out because in time the settler lets that out here, but any velocity will carry it on.
Senator SHORTRIDGE. In still water it will settle to the bottom?