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- Colorado River problem
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- 380 LA RUE ON THE COLORADO RIVER PROBLEM river system. The author has analyzed the engineering data resulting from recent investigations on the river without fear or favor. His conclusions regarding a plan of development appear sound. In his discussion, the speaker will deal only with the physical facts as they relate to the various plans of development, and will not express opinions as to the agency which should develop the water-power resources of the river. During the past thirty-four years, engineers of the U. S. Department of the Interior have been investigating the water resources of the Colorado River Basin. Including its work in the Grand Canyon in the fall of 1923, the U. S. Geological Survey has mapped 1,800 miles of the river and its tributaries. All known dam sites on the main river, between Wyoming and Mexico, have been surveyed. Investigations made both by the Geological Survey and the U. S. Bureau of Reclamation, show that, with complete development, nearly 6,000,000 acres of land can be reclaimed in the American part of the Basin, and about 6,000,000 h.p. can be developed. It is also well known that property in the Lower Basin, valued at more than $100,000,000, is menaced by the annual floods of the Colorado River. Practically every one agrees that the flood menace should be removed by providing storage somewhere on the lower river. A report that is being prepared by the U. S. Geological Survey, will show the relative value of all dam sites on the lower river, their relation to each other, and to the full utilization of the water resources. Some fundamental facts should be recognized by all. The resources of the Colorado River are not unlimited. When its millions of horse-power have been developed, the end of water-power production in the southwestern part of the United States will have been reached. All the water resources of the Basin will be required for the irrigable lands within, or adjacent to, the Basin in the United States. If these resources are to be developed without waste, it is necessary that a comprehensive plan be made and agreed on before construction work is started. As explained by the author, the Boulder Canyon Project does not conform as a unit to the full development of the river. This is not surprising, for this project was selected and approved before field investigations were made to determine the proper plan of development. However, the Boulder Dam has not been built, and it is not too late to prepare a comprehensive plan for the development of the river, with the idea that the first dam built will be properly located. In his study of the subject the speaker has reached the following conclusions : 1.—As shown in the paper, the water supply of the Colorado River and its tributaries is not sufficient to irrigate the lands susceptible of irrigation lying in or adjacent to the Basin in the United States and Mexico. 2.—There are in round numbers, 1,000,000 acres of land in Mexico, which may be irrigated with the waters of the Colorado River. If these lands are irrigated, it will be necessary to dedicate to the desert forever about 1,000,000 acres of irrigable land in the United States.
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