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- Colorado River problem
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- THE COLORADO RIVER PROBLEM 345 development, so that Plan 2 represents full development under the Reclamation plan. Plans 3 and 4 contain similar structures, namely, a dam 180 ft. high at Mohave, a dam 387 ft. high at the Reclamation site in Boulder, and a dam 298 ft. high at Devils Slide. Plan 3 is comparable to Plan 1 and Plan 4 to Plan 2. The comparison shows that the Reclamation plan will cost $12,000,000 less, but will ultimately prevent the development of about 300,000 h. p. and 50,000 acres of land. The magnitude of this loss of power may be made clearer by pointing that the hydro-power generated in Southern California in 1923 was just about 300,000 h. p. If applied for under the Federal Water Power Act, the Reclamation project would be refused a license until it was modified to conform to a full plan of development. It should not be built by the Federal Government on the lines proposed. Plan 5 is presented in order to illustrate the limit in curtailment of evaporation losses. It should be stated in connection with the figures used in the comparative plans just mentioned, that power and evaporation losses of the Boulder Project are believed to be low and complete data probably will modify estimates of cost so as to wipe out more or less the difference of $12,000,000 and, as a flood protection and irrigation project, Mohave has so many advantages that it should be fully investigated before any other project is adopted. If it is found feasible, a site should be sought at the lower end of Black Canyon for a power dam sufficiently high to back water up to either Pierce Ferry or Devils Slide, and the relative feasibility of the two latter sites should determine the height to which the dam should be built. Silt The Colorado carries large quantities of silt. If a flood-control and irrigation dam at the lower end of the Canyon Section were the only one in prospect, large capacity would have to be provided for silt. With the Diamond Creek Dam ready to be built for power and other power dams sure to follow before Diamond Creek can become filled, there is no justification for a large increase in present expenditure to provide silt capacity. If the Mohave Reser-voir is built to a capacity of 6,000,000 acre-ft., it will give liberal capacity for silt deposit. Increase of Low-Water Flow Undesirable at Present There is serious objection on the part of the upper States to a material increase of the low-water flow of the river until the Colorado Compact is ratified by Arizona, the only State which has not yet done so. This compact was negotiated for the purpose of determining by mutual agreement, rather than by litigation, the allocation of waters between the several States in the Basin. There is good basis for objection to the Boulder Project of the U. S. Bureau of Reclamation, because it would put to beneficial use for power practically all the water in the river and thereby acquire prior rights that might have to be purchased before any further irrigation up stream could be accomplished.
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