Page 79


Page 79
Colorado River problem
Is Part Of,8
Full text
384 DAVIS ON THE COLORADO RIVER PROBLEM Herman Stabler, M. Am. Soc. C. E., estimates the storage capacity necessary to maintain reasonable uniform annual flow between 10,000 000 and 20,000,000 acre-ft. The U. S. Geological Survey places it at 18,000 000 acre-ft.,* which latter figure may be used for present purposes. To this must be added a large quantity for flood control, and another for the storage of silt, to prolong the usefulness of the reservoir. At the very least, 25,000,000 acre-ft. is necessary to solve the problems presented. A much greater quantity would be useful in saving the water of abundant years, but is, perhaps, not justified at present. Storage in Upper Basin.—The author states that the reservoirs above the canyon region should be used to regulate the river for use below. This is impossible, because they have not sufficient capacity, and are situated so that they intercept only a part of the flow, leaving a large area of water-shed unregulated. The Ouray site, the largest of those listed in the paper, should be eliminated, as the Secretary of the Interior has promised in writing to dedicate this site to the construction of a railroad when required. The Kremmling site already has a railroad through it. This leaves as the principal known feasible sites in the Upper Basin, those given in Table 26. TABLE 26.—-Colorado River Reservoir Sites. River. Reservoir. Capacity, in acre-feet. Average run-off, in acre-feet. Cost. Green...........___... Yampa___-------....... Colorado................ San Juan......_____ Flaming Gorge.......... Juniper................. Dewey............ ...... Bluff.................... 3,120,000 1,550,000 2,270,000 1,400,000 2,300,000 1,200,000 6,800,000 2,300,000 $16,000,000 4,000,000 11,200,000 8,800,000 Total............... 8,340,000 12,600,000 $40,000,000 These reservoirs aggregate an insufficient capacity and would be relatively inefficient as two of them, if put to use, would seldom fill for lack of water, and a third is too small to control the drainage into it. Far more important, however, is the fact that these reservoir sites are needed for local use, for which they would not be available if operated to accommodate the needs of the Lower Basin. This program would be an economic blunder of the first magnitude. Their use for the needs of the Upper Basin may be of incidental benefit to the Lower Basin, but to dedicate them to the needs of the Lower Basin would destroy their local usefulness, and could be justified only in part, even if storage opportunities were not available in the Lower Basin; but this is not the case. The opportunity for storage in the Lower Basin is much larger, cheaper, and more efficient than in the Upper Basin. Boulder Canyon Reservoir can be built to a capacity five times as great as all the reservoirs noted in Table 26 combined, and at much less cost per acre-foot. If desired it can be built to a smaller size, at much less unit cost than the upper reservoirs and, later, can be enlarged when the encroachment of silt deposits makes it necessary. * Water Supply Paper No. 395, U. S. Geological Survey.

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