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is what is commonly known as the east side mesa, located on the eastern rim of Imperial Valley. This tract contains about 200,000
You will notice on the map that it is designated “East side mesa,” that land in dark coloring. It is a tract of land unsurpassed in soil, climate, and location. It can only be irrigated by means of the all-American canal, as under the present system the land is too high to be irrigated. It is some 100 feet higher than the canal, and could only be irrigated, of course, by a pump lift, but from the all-American canal it can be irrigated by a gravity flow, and that land will be available under the terms of this legislation for soldier settlement.
I would also call the committee's attention to the fact that in the Coachella Valley, which you will notice designated on the map there on the northwestern end of the Salton Sea, there is also a large tract of Government land available which can only be irrigated through the all-American canal. All of this development is possible only after storage has been provided and the all-American canal is available.
Under the terms of the Johnson-Swing legislation, this land will be available for soldier settlement, and the 210,000 ex-service men who now have their applications on file for farms and land upon which to settle, will have an opportunity to settle upon this land.
Soldier settlement in the lower basin of the Colorado River has been demonstrated to be a success by the United States Government itself, as the Federal Veterans' Welfare Bureau now has in the Imperial Valley some one hundred and odd trainees-somewheres around one hundred; I don't know the exact number—who have been almost completely rehabilitated and who are living on farms which they have been able to purchase with the aid of the Veterans' Bureau, and have proven themselves to be successful farmers.
The method under which the soldiers will settle upon these lands will be governed entirely by the present reclamation act, with which act the members of the committee are already very familiar. The terms under which the veterans will pay for the land are extremely liberal, and it has been demonstrated on practically every reclamation project that ex-service men have been eminently successful under this system. The legion, therefore, is vitally interested in this legislation, and especially urges this committee to give this matter earnest and careful consideration with the object in view to enacting this bill into law without further delay.
The CHAIRMAN. We are obliged to you, Mr. Heald.
STATEMENT OF COL. BENJAMIN FRANKLIN FLY, REPRESENTING
THE YUMA CHAMBER OF COMMERCE, YUMA, ARIZ., AND OTHER BODIES
Senator JOHNSON of California. Will you please state, Colonel, your name, your residence, and your occupation, and then your
interest in this project and your views concerning it.
Colonel Fly. My name is Benjamin Franklin Fly. I live in Yuma, Ariz. I am the personal representative of the Yuma Chamber of Commerce, composed of every business interest in Yuma; the Yuma Water Users Association, consisting of the owners of every irrigable acre of land; the Yuma project, and in addition to that I am the president and the representative of the Yuma Mesa Unit Holders Association, consisting of about 450 landowners, who purchased land from the Government on the Yuma Mesa at the Government auction on December 10, 1919. I am here as the personal representative of those organizations, and have been their representative here for 8 or 10 years at every session of Congress.
The CHAIRMAN. You appeared before the House committee? Colonel Fly. Yes, sir. Our direct interest in this legislation, Mr. Chairman and gentlemen, is that we want Boulder Canyon dam built, or some like dam, to save our property and our lives.
The Colorado River running wild as it does now, overflowing every year, compels the people of Yuma project to pay about $100,000 a year to maintain its levee system. That is one of the reasons why we are in favor of this bill.
Another is that we want the all-American canal built, which will do away with the present intake of the Imperial Valley irrigation system, which is a constant and an ever-increasing menace to Yuma project, having, as we claim, caused the overflow of Yuma Valley on one or two occasions in very recent years at a very tremendous loss to our farmers.
In order to get the water in the Imperial Valley canal, Imperial Valley obtained a permit to construct a temporary dam or weir. That weir is at a point about 6 or 7 miles below Yuma. That weir raises the water from 5 to 6 feet, which keeps it against that 6 miles of our drainage, creating seepage that runs then down the entire valley, which has compelled us to put in an entire and complete system of drainage canals, which is maintained at very great expense.
That will be largely done away with if we can do away with the Hanlon heading. Of course we want to see the Imperial Valley progress, because as that great country progresses so will Yuma. We are practically just across the river from them. Their county adjoins ours. We are separated from them only by the Colorado River.
Another reason why we want this legislation enacted, or legislation along similar lines, is purely a selfish one on the part of Yuma. As has been said here by previous witnesses, Imperial Valley has entered into a binding contract with the United States Government, acting for Yuma, to connect with the Laguna Dam, from which point it proposes to construct the all-American Canal. I was a party to that contract that was entered into here in 1918 with Secretary Lane. That provides for the payment of $1,600,000 under the terms of the general reclamation law-2 per cent for the first 4 years, 4 per cent for the next 2 years, and then 6 per cent for the remaining 14 years. Imperial Valley up to the present time has made those payments. Our next payment, something like $68,000, I think, is due, I believe, the 31st day of this month, which, when they pay that, they will have paid into the general reclamation fund about $268,000 or $270,000. It was understood when we were entering into that contract that that money would go direct to Yuma project to reduce its cost of construction, but under a decision of the Attorney General's office here it was held that that money had to go into the general reclamation fund, and the Yuma project credited with nothing, notwithstanding we are paying the $2,150,000 of the dam; that they come and take possession of five-sixths of it.
But this last session of Congress was good enough to pass a law which will automatically give Yuma this $1,600,000 if and when the all-American canal is completed. That is our direct personal interest.
But the flood control is first, the conservation of the waters for irrigation purposes is second, and the generation of electric power third.
If you build the Boulder Canyon dam, of course it will be the greatest structure of its kind ever conceived by man. The water impounded behind that dam would cover this District of Columbia 100 feet higher than your great Washington Monument. It would cover nine of your Eastern States over 1 foot deep in water. It will generate enough electric power to turn every wheel of industry within a radius of 600 miles of the generating plant. It will permit the Santa Fe Railroad, the Southern Pacific Railroad, that runs right through Yuma, and that whole country, to have electricity enough to serve its purposes. At Yuma, on our high lands that can not be reached by gravity, and up the Gila River it will bring in a million acres of as good land as there is anywhere on earth if you will give us this cheap electric power to pump the water out of the ground.
We are intensely interested in this. Every organization in Yuma and Yuma County has joined the Boulder Dam Association and advocates the construction of the Boulder Canyon dam and the allAmerican canal.
We made it a political issue in Yuma County in the last election, and we did not nominate anybody that was not in favor of it, either. A rock-ribbed Democratic county--and I am and old rock-ribbed Democrat—the first time in my life I ever flew off the handle.
Senator JONES of Washington. Did the Democrats take a position against it?
Colonel Fly. The Democrats were in favor of it, except Governor Hunt. And we carried that county for the Republican nominee for governor and for President Coolidge; and I led it, and I am a Democrat.
Senator Jones of Washington. I don't understand your political statements with reference to it. That situation seems a little involved to me.
Senator SHORTRIDGE. The Republican Party took a firm stand in favor of the enterprise.
Colonel Fly. The Republicans were in favor of it and many of our Democrats were against it and those who were defeated.
Senator ASHURST. The Colonel knows my record is straight.
Colonel Fly. I want to say to my distinguished friend, Senator Ashurst, that he knew how we stood, and he didn't come down.
Now, gentlemen, I want to say that we are intensely interested in this question. We sincerely hope that you will pass this bill. Of course, there are several amendments that I would suggest to Senator Ashurst that I know will be acceptable.
That is all I have to say, unless there are some questions the committee want to ask.
Senator ASHURST. Colonel, I should like to have you develop the difficulty they have had at Hanlon heading.
Colonel FLY, I will show it to the committee on the map. Here is Yuma at the end of that yellow line on this map. Here is the Imperial Valley intake. They put a diversion down right across the river. Now that backs the water up for the entire 6 miles and it seeps down all the way through our valley, you see. It is a very great menace to us. But they are kind enough, however, to take care of that when there is a flood coming. We are friendly with them and we get along splendidly with the Imperial Valley, and when we know there is a flood coming we serve notice on them and they come up with a hundred bags of dynamite, something like that, and blow it up, but they simply scatter the rock.
Senator SHORTRIDGE. Colonel, you maintain this levee indicated on the map here?
Colonel Fly. Yes, sir; we are compelled to maintain that. Senator Ashurst has a bill before the Senate on that.
Senator SHORTRIDGE. The local interests maintain that levee?
Colonel Fly. Yes, sir; the operation and maintenance costs us about $100,000 a year.
Senator ASHURST. Yuma's interests would not be merely the getting of the $1,600,000 alone?
Colonel Fly. Oh, no; by no means.
Senator ASHURST. Yuma's interest would also be, which is important, security and safety.
Colonel Fly. Abolishing the Hanlon headings and regulating the river up there so that we will never have any other trouble.
Senator JOHNSON of California. You can not abolish the heading without having the all-American canal, though?
Senator ASHURST. No. Colonel Fly. You can not abolish the heading without having the all-American canal, and we will have trouble as long as the Imperial Valley gets its water and takes it 60 miles from Mexico. The allAmerican canal would be built along that red line as shown on the map, and you are wholly within the United States, and if Mexico wants to get any water, instead of taking it now at her own will, why the United States will let Imperial Valley tap it here [indicating on the map] and furnish it for such lands.
Senator ASHURST. Colonel, I have always in my personal relations with the people of Mexico and the officials of Mexico been friendly, and have been and am friendly with ex-President Obregon and with the present President.
Colonel Fly. Yes; so am I very friendly to them.
Senator ASHURST. And we are happy to be friendly with Mexico. But what would happen if unfriendly relations, through some odd mischance, should take place in Lower California? The jugular vein of Imperial Valley would be for 60 miles at the control of some unfriendly power.
Colonel FLY. Absolutely.
Senator ASHURST. And could within an hour deprive fifty or sixty thousand people of water.
Colonel Fly. One stick of dynamite would blow the whole thing out, and then Imperial Valley would never get another drop.
Senator ASHURST. We do not anticipate such a thing, but no man has a mortgage on the future.
Colonel FLY. No.
STATEMENT OF MR. Q. C. WEBSTER, FARMER, PRESIDENT IMPE
RIAL COUNTY FARM BUREAU, RESIDING AT BRAWLEY, CALIF.
Senator JOHNSON of California. Mr. Webster, if you will state, please, your name, your residence, and your occupation, and then your feeling upon the pending measure.
Mr. WEBSTER. My name is Q. C. Webster; I reside in Brawley, Imperial County, Calif.; my occupation is farming. At the present time I am president of the Imperial County Farm Bureau. *And I am trying to represent them here at this hearing.
We are most_vitally, as farmers, interested in this legislation, gentlemen, and I will just say in passing that I think I represent about 1,300 organized farmers in this farm bureau.
We are interested first, in this legislation, in the flood control. Of course, that is the first consideration. To get the water under control.
Second, conservation of water, because, as has already been testified for several days here before this committee, we were exceedingly short of water for irrigating purposes this summer.
I want to try to make a little statement to you of something of the effect of that shortage, at the outset, and I have here in my hand a compilation of the damages, as near as they can be estimated in a hurried manner, by the manager of the Imperial County Farm Bureau.
The damage to milo maize amounted to 25 per cent. There were 24,180 acres of milo in the valley this year. The average yield of milo in Imperial Valley is about a ton to the acre; therefore the loss would amount to about 6,000 tons. The average price received by growers for milo has been $35 per ton. The total loss, therefore, would run to about $210,000.
The loss to the cotton growers would run to about 25 per cent. There were about 58,000 acres of cotton in Imperial Valley this year. The average yield of cotton in Imperial Valley is about a half a bale to the acre. A 25 per cent loss on 29,000 bales would, therefore, be 7,500 bales, at $120 per bale, which has been the average price this year. The loss would be about $900,000.
The loss to farmers growing alfalfa for hay would amount to probably half a ton per acre, due to the fact that they were not able to irrigate as soon in the fall after letting their alfalfa go dry during the summer, as they ordinarily do. There were about 50,000 acres devoted to the production of hay, therefore this loss would be about 25,000 tons. At $10 per ton the loss would run to about $250,000.
The CHAIRMAN. Mr. Webster, what is the annual production per acre of alfalfa in the Imperial Valley ?
Mr. WEBSTER. About 7 tons.