Page 81


Page 81
Colorado River problem
Is Part Of,8
Full text
386 DAVIS ON THE COLORADO RIVER PROBLEM 28,500,000 acre-ft.; it would cost about $43,000,000, and develop nearly 600,000 continuous h.p., or 900,000 on a two-thirds load factor. Marketed at 4 mills per kw., it would amortize the investment in about 40 years, meanwhile taking care of flood control and irrigation. The author states that the water supply of the Colorado is insufficient to irrigate the land available for irrigation, yet he objects to a large reservoir capacity on the ground that it would waste water by evaporation, and insists on providing for passing the surplus at the rate of 80,000 cu. ft. per sec., rather than storing and using it for power and irrigation. It should be emphasized that a dam of the height here proposed will develop power at a lower unit cost than any dam of less elevation, so that the additional storage for irrigation and the additional security against floods cost nothing. It is certainly better to hold the floods by storage, even if part of the water does evaporate, than to let them run to the sea, and fight them en route as demanded by Colonel Kelly. Power Market.—Concerning the market for power, the author says: "It it not extravagant to conclude that all the power in the Canyon Section of the Colorado may be absorbed in the next 25 or 30 years." This is a higher rate of demand than was assumed in the estimates of the Reclamation Service, but evidently it is justified. The Southern California Edison Company has repeatedly expressed willingness to expend from $30,000 000 to $40,000 000 per year to develop power in the Canyon if given the privileges. The City of Los Angeles offers to take all the power allocated to it from the Boulder Canyon Dam after States and other municipalities are satisfied, and the electors recently voted by a large majority to authorize the City Council to negotiate such a contract. The city is certainly a responsible customer, and with all this evidence there need be no doubt that a ready market will be found for the power. If the storage capacity allocated to flood control is too great, as implied by the author, a part of it can be used for power head and a part for storage, and the duty and consequent revenues of the reservoir increased. Mohave Reservoir Wasteful and Destructive.—The alternative reservoir strongly advocated by the author is at Mohave Canyon. Not only is the Mohave Reservoir extremely wasteful of water by evaporation, but will require the removal of about 20 miles of double track on the main line of the Santa Fe Railroad, increase its length about 3 miles, destroy the great bridge at Topock, submerge the large railroad hotel, roundhouse, machine-shops, icing plant, 24 miles of yard tracks, and the entire City of Needles. It will also require the reconstruction of part of the Santa Fe Trail Highway. These damages have been included in the estimate, and the cost will be about as much as the dam itself. There is not included, however, the important fact that this reservoir would also submerge the whole Mohave Valley containing nearly 30,000 acres of rich, irrigable bottom-land for which there is an ample water supply when storage is provided, and that this water cannot be used elsewhere except in Mexico, because the regulated water supply is ample for all

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