Page 48


Page 48
Colorado River problem
Is Part Of,8
Full text
352 ALLISON ON THE COLORADO RIVER PROBLEM All-American Canal.—To February 29, 1924, the Imperial Irrigation District had expended $511,357.60 for All-American Canal surveys, Boulder Canyon Dam surveys, lobbying and conference expenses, and in the Laguna Dam connection to the Imperial Valley Water System; by far the larger part of this expense was incurred through the desire on the part of politicians within the Imperial District to create an All-American Canal. The argument for an All-American Canal dates from the execution of the contract of October 23, 1918, referred to by the author, between the Secretary of the Interior and the Imperial Irrigation District. Contrary to the interpretation placed on it by advocates of the All-American Canal, this contract does not provide for the construction of such a work; it provides principally for a connection of the Laguna Dam above Yuma with the Imperial Valley Canal System at the International Boundary Line to avoid the necessity of further temporary dams in the river at Hanlon Heading, the intake of the Imperial Canal System that is objectionable to the water users in the Yuma Project directly across the stream. It provides, secondarily, for a survey of the All-American Canal which, if found practicable by the Secretary of the Interior, was to be built by the Imperial Valley System, work commencing within a period of two years. The late Secretary Lane, the author of this contract, positively disapproved of building the All-American Canal on account of its impracticability, as found by the survey; hence, the contract in this respect is of no effect. Colonel Kelly's misunderstanding of the contract of October 23, 1918, does not differ from that of a great part of the public interested in the project. The voters at the election on its ratification were voting for a connection with Laguna Dam to avoid a threatened water shortage and further disagreement with the Yuma water users; they were not voting for an All-American Canal. The Engineering Profession is making a grave mistake in sanctioning, without protest, the building of a nationally known work on the location adopted for this so-called All-American Canal, especially without a more complete understanding of the necessities making such an enterprise even worthy of consideration. Although the engineers engaged in the design of this work have protested its limitation within the United States, their protest has not been so strong as to prevent the politicians and selfish interests from passing quickly over it and proclaiming the location of the canal as one freely chosen and sanctioned by the Engineering Profession. Thus, they have gained the confidence of the public and through this confidence have nearly succeeded in securing Government financing through what is known as the Swing-Johnson Bill. Just as surely as the promotion of the project has been tied to the engineers of the country, just that surely will its construction failures be fastened to the engineers unless they examine forthwith in detail all phases of the project and proclaim their findings in no uncertain terms. Then, if such a work is ever financed and built, it may be known as a political necessity and not as a sound engineering structure. Colonel Kelly's position with regard to the building of the connection between Laguna Dam and the Imperial Valley Canal at the International

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