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- Colorado River problem
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- LA RUE ON THE COLORADO RIVER PROBLEM 379 The functions of the lowest reservoir may be merely supplementary to the major storage in the head-waters, and its size, therefore, should be kept at a minimum, otherwise the investment will be so great that the reservoir must be operated independently of the head-water regulation, in which case, instead of adding to, it will detract from, the flexibility of the entire system. Eliminating the Glen Canyon Project from consideration for the present by no means exhausts the possibilities of head-water storage. Flaming Gorge, Dewey, and Juniper Reservoir sites offer excellent opportunities. Their combined storage capacity would be 6,940,000 acre-ft., the average annual run-off past the dam sites, 10,300,000 acre-ft., and their total cost, $31,200,000. The prospects are good for the early development of Flaming Gorge without cost to the Government. The Dewey site could be developed by the Government, or by other agencies, at an estimated cost of $11,200,000, and would serve for power regulation throughout the Canyon and for control of floods from the Grand River. The development of the Juniper site for combined irrigation, power, and flood control, might be made at a later date. The possibility of storage at the Mohave site is a comparatively new but important factor in the Colorado River problem. The Boulder Canyon site was formerly believed to be the lowest point on the river where large storage could be obtained, and this was properly advanced as a particularly desirable feature both because it gave additional flood protection and made possible closer regulation and avoidance of waste in the irrigation supply. It is now found that the original information was not complete, that there is ample storage at the Mohave site, providing the foundation conditions are satisfactory. It must be admitted that any advantages of position claimed for the Boulder site will apply with much greater force for the Mohave site. The Mohave site is 120 miles nearer the principal irrigation diversion, and its construction, according to the plans proposed by Colonel Kelly, will eliminate the necessity of constructing a re-regulating reservoir at Bulls Head. It will flood certain railway improvements, but, even allowing compensation for these, it is attractive financially. It will also flood certain irrigable lands, but these too are covered by the estimated damages, and, as the water supply is now shown to be inadequate for the full development of all available acreage, the elimination of this relatively small portion will not result in an ultimate reduction of the total area served. The importance of securing more detailed information on the Colorado, before adopting a final program of development, was recognized and emphasized in 1924 by a plank in the Republican platform. It is to be hoped that at an early date funds will be provided, the investigations completed, and the development of the stream started on a comprehensive plan under the Federal Water Power Act. E. C. La Rue,* M. Am. Soc. C. E.—Because of his investigations along the Colorado River during the past fourteen years, and his publication of considerable engineering data on the subject, the speaker is especially interested in all papers which deal with a plan of development for this great * Hydr. Engr., U. S. Geological Survey, Pasadena, Calif.
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