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COLORADO RIVER BASIN
TUESDAY, DECEMBER 15, 1925
UNITED STATES SENATE,
Washington, D. C.
, . The committee met, pursuant to adjournment on December 10, 1925, at 10.30 o'clock a. m. in the committee room of the Committee on Commerce, Senator Charles L. McNary presiding.
Present: Senators McNary (chairman), Jones of Washington, Shortridge, Phipps, Johnson, Cameron, Simmons, Sheppard, Kendrick, and Ashurst.
Present also: Representatives Swing, of California; Taylor, of Colorado; Leatherwood, of Utah, and Colton, of Utah.
The CHAIRMAN. The committee will be in order. It is agreed among the members of the committee that this week be set apart to hear witnesses from the northern group of States, Utah, Colorado, New Mexico, and Wyoming. This morning we have representatives of the State of Colorado, designated by the governor of that State. Mr. Carpenter, you are first in order. If you will take a seat at the end of the table we will be glad to hear you. As the record will show, you gave testimony before the committee at Yuma regarding the compact. I only hope that you will not duplicate anything which has already gone into the record.
STATEMENT OF DELPH E. CARPENTER, ESQ., ATTORNEY AT LAW,
Mr. CARPENTER. I have had called to my attention the fact that some 80 witnesses testified before this committee on their journey through the South, and it is hoped that the few witnesses that appear for the North will be able to portray conditions obtaining in the Northern States, at least to cover the ground generally, and it is hoped that this committee will not judge us by the number of witnesses we produce or fail to produce.
The committee probably would have been benefited by having held hearings in Salt Lake City, Denver, Cheyenne, of the Northern States. We recognized, however, that it was not convenient for the committee to hold hearings at such places. On the other hand, owing to the long distance from home and the time required for men of affairs to be away, we are compelled to limit our presentation to that of a few witnesses, hoping that they will cover the ground and leave the record in such shape that our previous silence will not be misconstrued.
The upper basin States have presented very little opposition to the bills on this subject as they appeared before the Congress or rather before the committee. Such lack of opposition has not been through lack of interest. It was thought wise, in 1922, by those in the South who are interested in flood control, to present their bills before Congress and to proceed with the consideration of the subject matter of those bills, in order that all the time possible might be conserved and saved, and in order thăt when the treaty between the States has been finally approved, Congress would then be sufficiently advised to proceed at once to final legislation necessary for the protection of the Southern States.
In view of this general sentiment those bills were presented and have been considered, since the winter of 1922. Those bills, of which one is now under consideration, have for their principal objects the providing for flood control, power development, and irrigation in the lower river, and are in harmony with the Colorado River compact. In view of that fact it has not been encumbent upon the States of the upper basin to appear by a considerable number of witnesses and put on their case, because these bills had not arrived at the stage where they might get ahead of the treaty in the progress toward the final goal. The upper States merely wish to be protected by compact before further development is authorized.
It now, however, becomes incumbent upon the States of the upper basin to state their case as a matter of ample caution upon their part and as a matter of proper and courteous consideration of the committee, who are entitled to all the facts.
The witnesses have already described the Colorado River Basin. The basin is naturally divided into three well defined portions or subbasins. I have here a number of small maps entitled “The area affected by the Colorado River Project," that might be of service to the committee in a better understanding of what I will try to bring to your attention. It will be noted that these subdivisions of the basin consist of the upper basin, or the principal source of the water of the river; the middle section, represented by the canyon from the mouth of the San Juan River to Needles, or thereabouts; and the lower basin, or that below Needles, including the Imperial Valley in southern California and southern Arizona.
Senator JOHNSON. Where is Needles?
The CHAIRMAN. Will not you designate on the map what you have referred to a little more clearly?
Mr. CARPENTER. Let the lower basin represent the part shown on the map as than below the Black Canyon. Now, the upper basin includes all that part of the Colorado River drainage in New Mexico, Colorado, Wyoming, and Utah, except that the State of l'tah contributes water and lies partly within the middle section.
Senator SHORTRIDGE. You have, then, upper, middle, and lower sections?
Mr. CARPENTER. Yes.
Mr. CARPENTER. When I say Utah contributes to the middle section of the river, I mean it is the source of the Virgin River and other tributaries of that section.
This upper basin, situated mainly within these four States, named because of the topography of the country, because of the climatology, and many other natural features which control, irrespective of the works of man, differs from the lower basin, and one to be contrasted in most respects with the lower area. In the middle section or canyon region the greater fall occurs and the change from high to low altitudes takes place. The opinion seems to obtain in some circles that the upper basin is rimmed or bounded by sharp mountain ranges on the outer edge of the basin, that these mountains are the only mountainous areas in the basin, and that all the country lying within these bordering mountain ranges is flat and in some respects like the country of southern Arizona and southern California. Such is not the case. The upper basin is one great area of interior mountain masses, as well as an area bounded by the continental divide, with high peaks where the snow is perpetual. These interior mountain masses are more a source of supply to the river than is the continental divide itself, because, with respect to the continental divide, only that part of the snow falling on the western part of the range finds its way into the Colorado River, and that on the east finds its way into the Mississippi River, while all the water from the interior mountain masses is tributary to the river.
I have here, and I will ask that it be placed on the wall, a map prepared by Engineer R. I. Meeker after his extensive and thorough investigations of the western slope or Colorado River area in Colorado, showing the location of the streams of the western part of the State of Colorado, the irrigated areas along those streams, and the irrigable lands. I call attention to this map to bring to your attention the matter I have suggested, that the interior mountain ranges separating the various streams and their tributaries all constitute sources of supply of the river system. The same condition obtains in Utah, in Wyoming, and in New Mexico, for the most part. From this region (indicating on map], this upper section of the river, all streams flow toward Lee Ferry, and all the waters of every tributary in that great region of origin check in and flow through a common channel at Lee Ferry a short distance below the mouth of the San Juan River. So that as regards the hundreds of large and small streams in this upper region, or region of origin of the stream, all differences are ironed out and all waters unite at the head of the canyon at Lee Ferry. Then, as already described by the witnesses, these waters, augmented by some contribution below, plunge down through the canyon section and appear in the lower country at points below Boulder Canyon.
This upper country is one of high altitudes, short growing season, and varied climatology. The snow-capped peaks are devoid of timber, because they are so high that snow is perpetual and trees can not grow. “ Timber-line” corresponds with the arctic circle.
Then as you proceed down each of these streams you pass from the region of grasses and meadows at the head to the region of the hardy grains, such as oats, barley, etc. Farther down is the region of longer seasons and greater average temperatures where the potato and other crops join with the grains of the higher region. And thus it changes until you get into the valleys of the great fruit