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COLORADO RIVER BASIN
TUESDAY, DECEMBER 23, 1924
UNITED STATES SENATE,
Washington, D.C. The committee met at 10.30 o'clock a. m. in the committee room of the Committee on Commerce, Capitol, Hon. Charles L. McNary presiding
Present: Senators McNary (chairman), Jones of Washington, Gooding, Shortridge, Walsh of Montana, Ashurst, and Kendrick.
Present also : Senator Johnson of California and Representative Swing. The CHAIRMAN. The committee will be in order. Senator John
you desire shall now appear before the committee? Senator JOHNSON of California. I will ask Mr, Panter to make a statement.
son, who do
STATEMENT OF MR. T. A. PANTER, ELECTRICAL ENGINEER, WITH
THE BUREAU OF POWER AND LIGHT, LOS ANGELES, CALIF.
Senator JOHNSON of California. Will you state, if you please, your name, your residence, and your occupation, and then proceed with your statement?
Mr. PANTER. My name is T. A. Panter; a resident of Los Angeles; electrical engineer with the bureau of power and light, one of the two bureaus forming the bureau of public service mentioned by Mr. Mathews in yesterday's testimony.
In my testimony before the House committee on the companion bill with reference to the available market for the
the available market for the power which may be developed from the Boulder Canyon project were submitted certain tables (1157 to 1161, inclusive) showing the past and estimated future growth of California, as divided between northern and southern portions, and also for the city of Los Angeles. These indicated a very rapid increase in demand for the future. It was shown that by 1930 the city of Los Angeles would require 570,000 peak horsepower, or approximately 470,000 peak horsepower over that which it can generate from its present plants.
The extremely dry season (which is no doubt familiar to all here) reduced the flow in many streams to an unprecedented minimum. For example, the San Joaquin River on June 30, 1920, had a flow of 1,960 second-feet, as against a flow of 100 second-feet for the same date in 1924. Kern River normal July flow is 1,350 second-feet, as against a flow in July, 1924, of 120 second-feet. Kings River minimum normal flow in July is 10,000 second-feet, and, allowing for small variations in run-off, in June, 1924, this dropped to 220 secondfeet. The lowest previous record for this latter stream had been 728 second-feet.
I might say that all of these streams are tributaries to the power market for southern California, and Los Angeles in particular.
With all steam reserve plants in operation to full capacity and all companies interconnected, it necessitated a reduction in use over the year of 7 per cent, but having to be applied during a period of five months the situation was so serious that a power supervisor was appointed by the railroad commission who called for a 20 per cent reduction in all uses of electricity during that time, causing many hardships among manufacturers and merchants. All street lights, except those absolutely essential, were cut off. Northern California, with a smaller load and more rainfall, was just able to pass the crisis with very little curtailment.
Although the above situation, together with the hoof and mouth epidemic, had some effect on business conditions; it was clearly evident that the expected increase in demand would have been reached and possibly exceeded and that we must now look forward not only to the natural increase forecasted, but also to the demand temporarily withheld.
The companies are rushing to completion large new steam plants with their resultant draft upon the diminishing fuel oil supply and higher rates for protection from a repetition of the past year.
The city of Los Angeles, which at the present time is buying approximately 40 per cent of its power from a private company, was also curtailed in its supply and is therefore more anxious than ever to secure a block of reliable power for its inhabitants, especially one fed by a different watershed, such as the Colorado, and stands ready to contract for a substantial block of power in some such amount as indicated above.
Efforts have been made to give the impression that the development, as proposed at Boulder Canyon, will result in suddenly flooding the market with a tremendous block of power far in excess of the capacity of the market to absorb.
It is the plan of the engineers of the Reclamation Service that the outlets for power purposes would be located at a point practically one-half the ultimate height of the dam. As soon, therefore, as the dam is constructed a little above this point-approximately three or four years—there is no reason why power plants with necessary machinery can not be installed and the development of a portion of the total power be utilized, immediately becoming an asset and approximately three or four years before the full completion of the project. Equipment and machinery must be designed and installed, to fit the ultimate development and head, but it can also be operated successfully at the lower head contemplated, although at a somewhat reduced efficiency and power output. However, as the dam increases in height, with consequent increased water elevation, the amount of power and increase in efficiency will gradually reach the maximum for which they will be designed.
If actual construction were to commence at the beginning of 1925, it would be 1929 or 1930 before the first block of power would be available, at which time the demand for power in southern Cali
fornia would be increasing at the rate of approximately 110,000 horsepower per annum, and for the State approximately 190,000 horsepower per annum. The period of construction after the beginning of operation, as indicated above, being from three to four years, will permit the balance of the power to be brought into the market gradually. Moreover the Johnson-Swing bill contemplates that immediately after its passage, or as soon thereafter as possible, the power will be allocated to the various applicants and this feature, combined with the plan of development outlined above and the rapid increase in power demand, would give all concerned the opportunity of preparing for the arrival of the power from this project without appreciably affecting the existing systems of private companies or municipalities.
That is the statement I wished to make.
STATEMENT OF DR. WILLIAM F. DURAND, PROFESSOR EMERITUS
OF MECHANICAL ENGINEERING, LELAND STANFORD UNIVERSITY, CALIFORNIA
Senator JOHNSON of California. Will you be so kind, Doctor, as to state your name, your residence, and your occupation, and then proceed with your statement upon this subject matter?
Doctor DURAND. My name is William F. Durand. My residence is Stanford University, California. My present connection is professor emeritus of mechanical engineering at Stanford University, My particular relation with this undertaking arises from the fact that since 1909 I have been a member of the board of consulting engineers for the city of Los Angeles with reference to its hydroelectric power development.
Having in mind the desire of the committee for brevity, I shall endeavor to cover the two points which I have in mind as briefly as possible. Likewise avoiding, so far as I may, a repetition of testimony which may have appeared elsewhere. My remarks will run particularly to the subjects of the markets for power in the territory which might be served either by the Colorado River with reference to this particular project or from the Sierra Nevada Mountains, or both.
Senator GOODING. Do you mean by that that you cover all the potential power for California in your discussion?
Doctor DURAND. Of the southern part of the State. I should have made that limitation—the power available from the Sierra Nevada Mountains naturally allocated to the southern part of the State. In other words, I am trying to present a picture, so far as I may, of the entire territory, market conditions therein, which might be served either by power from
the river or by the power developed in the southern portion of the Sierra Nevada Mountains.
I refer first, as a matter of record, to the fact that the percentage rate of growth based on a compound-interest method of computation in the recent past, and referring now to southern California, has varied from 13 to 15 per cent. In the city of Los Angeles it has been considerably greater, but in this statement I shall not refer in any restricted manner to the city itself. I am attempting, rather, to picture the larger situation.
It has resulted from these facts, which again are matters of record, and which will be found in certain tables just referred to by Mr. Panter and presented in the House hearing on this bill last spring, that at the present time the demand in all of southern California may be represented by the figure, in round numbers, of 500,000 horsepower, and that means the average demand through the year. In other words, it has the same unit as the 600,000 horsepower which has been spoken of in connection with the development of power at Boulder Canyon.
Likewise, the most reliable figures which seem to be available indicate in the remainder of this broad territory to which I have referred, and including in particular the States of Arizona and Nevada, a present demand of the order of 150,000 horsepower. It would be understood, of course, that these figures simply represent our best interpretation of the existing data.
This represents something of the order of 30 per cent, as representing the demand in the territory outside of southern California, based on the demand in southern California.
So much for the immediate past and the present time. And by present time I am picturing what we may call the 1925 demand. In attempting to project the past into the future we can only be guided of course by the facts as they are matters of record, in the future, and the interpretation of those facts in such way as shall seem to take into account the various factors which enter into the growth of population, the growth of wealth, the growth of power demand, etc.
Senator GOODING. Let me ask you this question: That covers the territory of California as far north as Sacramento, or still farther north?
Doctor DURAND. No, not as far north as Sacramento. It covers the territory, so far as power demand is concerned, which would be represented by Los Angeles County, San Bernardino County, San Diego County
Senator JOHNSON of California. Riverside.
Doctor DURAND. I should say I would need some help, Senator. And Riverside.
Senator JOHNSON of California. And Orange.
Doctor DURAND. And Orange. That is the southern section of the State.
Senator JOHNSON of California. The interior of the State.
Senator JOHNSON of California. As we term it, south of the Tehachapi.
Doctor DURAND. South of the Tehachapi; that is right.
Senator Johnson of California. It is an impossibility, Mr. Chairman, to state, but let me say to you that the registration in the county of Los Angeles at the last election was 656,000. Now you figure that at three to one, and you have practically 2,000,000 people. If you figure it at two and a half to one—and you can not figure it at any less than that under any circumstances-you have over a million and a half of people in the county of Los Angeles alone. I give you those figures because it shows a tremendous growth in population in that particular territory.
Now there has been a like growth in Orange, and I think some of the other counties may not have kept pace with the tremendous ratio, but the growth in all of the counties has been extra ordinary.
Doctor DURAND. It is a well recognized fact that as population increases, especially in large centers of population, that there tends to develop a slowing down of the rate of increase. When a population is streaming into an unoccupied territory, especially when the conditions for an increase of such population are favorable, the rate of increase is very rapid. As the populations increase, as they approach what is termed a condition of saturation, there tend to develop opposing tendencies to this rapid rate of increase. That is a perfectly well recognized fact, and is always taken into account in connection with estimates running into the future regarding these matters.
In order to be responsive to this condition, the estimates which have been made covering the future, with special reference to power demand, have been discounted in this manner. Whereas in southern California in the past the rate of the power increase was based on this compound-interest rate, has ranged from 13 to 15, the estimates which I shall present are based on these figures :
For southern California, from the present time to 1930, a compound interest rate of 11.2 per cent; from 1930 to 1935, a rate of 9 per cent; from 1935 to 1940, a rate of 7 per cent.
In my own judgment these percentage rates are distinctly conservative, and I should be prepared to believe that the actual facts might rather overrun than underrun the figures which would develor from the application of these particular values.
Another interesting point to which I think attention should be called here, because it fits in just at this juncture, is the fact that the increase in the demand for power, in all centers of population particularly, tends to far outrun the rate of increase in population. That simply means that as time goes on we are using more and more per capita. Especially is this true when a population changes over its activities from an agricultural community to a highly organized industrial community.
Senator KENDRICK. That suggests the more close acquaintance on the part of the people with the real practical use of electrical power.
Doctor DURAND. Quite so. And furthermore, of course, when a community develops large industrial undertakings, manufacturing on a large scale, manufacturing, which means the consumption of large amounts of power, it naturally means a very great increase in the consumption per capita. As a matter of fact, and as again can be determined as a question of record, between 1910 and 1920—this is for all of California—the increase of power to population was about in the ratio of 412 to 1. Power demand increased about four and one-half times the increase in population.
For the city of Los Angeles, representing a city which had made already some advances along the line of industrial development, the same proportion was 210 to 1. These figures are mentioned simply as indicating the well-recognized fact that the demand for power increases at a considerably higher rate than does population.