Page 32


Page 32
Colorado River problem
Is Part Of,8
Full text
THE COLORADO RIVER PROBLEM 335 "The conclusion is obvious that the water supply is inadequate to provide for a very large area in the projects that have been classified as becoming feasible only in the distant future. However, before such projects are seriously considered for development, far more and better information as to water supply will be available and a reasonably accurate estimate of the adequacy or inadequacy of the water supply available for them can be made. An attempt to solve all the problems of Colorado River at a single stroke on the basis of the meager information now available is likely to result in ill-advised expenditure if nothing worse." Storage Required at Present for Irrigation of Lower Basin The entire low-water flow of the Colorado in the Lower Basin is now appropriated, and storage will be necessary for any expansion of acreage and a small amount of storage should be provided to take care of present acreage in years of less than average water supply. The Fall-Davis report (page 40) shows that, in the year of smallest run-off, 2,340,000 acre-ft. of storage would be sufficient to provide for the feasible acreage in both the Upper and the Lower Basins. Since the Fall-Davis report was issued, the U. S. Bureau of Reclama-tion has made extensive studies of possible irrigation in the Colorado Basin, the net results of which indicate that all lands likely to be irrigated by 1940 in both the Upper and the Lower Basins can be provided for by 2,300,000 acre-ft. of storage in the worst year of record. Aside from 1902, which was the worst year, 1,500,000 acre-ft. of storage would have been sufficient. About 840,000 acre-ft. of storage will take care of all development contemplated in the Swing-Johnson Bill, including that in Mexico supplied by the Imperial Canal, for years like 1902, and 500,000 acre-ft. would be sufficient for all other years of record. If 4,000,000 acre-ft. of storage is provided for flood control, it can be operated in such manner as to take care of irrigation needs in the Lower Basin as far as it is profitable to do so at this time. Power The power demand in Southern California has increased in the past 14 years at a rate of about 13% compounded annually. There is a present mining load in Arizona carried by steam power that justifies the belief that 75,000 to 80,000 kw. could be absorbed from the Colorado as soon as it is available, and the development of power on the Colorado at Diamond Creek would now be under way but for lack of Federal authority to use the public lands neces-sary. There are mining possibilities in Nevada and Southern Utah that may create a large demand. They are too speculative at present to justify expenditure for power development, but may greatly accelerate such development once it is started. The mining load in the vicinity of Salt Lake City has grown so that development of the Flaming Gorge site on the Green River, just below the Wyoming line, is now under serious consideration by the Utah Power and Light Company. The use of power in the United States has grown with surprising rapidity. When it is considered that the use of electrical power commenced about 30 years ago, it is not extravagant to conclude that all the power in the Canyon Section of the Colorado may be absorbed in the next 25 or 30 years. Although immediate expenditure should be limited to immediate needs, the possibility

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