Page 86


Page 86
Colorado River problem
Is Part Of,8
Full text
DAVIS ON THE COLORADO RIVER PROBLEM 391 The rock in Glen Canyon is so soft that it is difficult to break off a sample without crushing it; and such a sample carried in one's luggage for a few days is apt to yield more fine sand than rock. The caution of the Consulting Board was clearly well founded. Increase of Low-Water Flow.—The author opposes the increase of the low-water flow of the Colorado. He says: "The Boulder Project would provide water in the Lower Basin at all seasons far in excess of present irrigation requirements. This water will pass into Mexico and there be used for irrigation. Once used, its withdrawal for use in the United States will be difficult, if not impossible." The opposition to development is entirely unfounded. The proponents of the Boulder Project suggested the insertion of a clause in the bill reserving the benefits of storage to the United States. Legally and morally such a reservation is not necessary, but it would be good policy. Having provided the storage facilities, the United States would have both legal and moral rights to its benefits. The American lands being higher on the stream, these rights are easy of enforcement. On the other hand, the regulated water being subject to appropriation on American lands would facilitate development in Arizona and California, and the feasible irrigation projects in those States would just about absorb those waters as they come from the power plants. To irrigate additional lands, as those in Mexico, it would be necessary to re-regulate the waters, which would be entirely in the hands of the American authorities. Time of Construction.—The author states that flood control can be obtained more quickly by a dam in Mohave Canyon, than by one in Boulder Canyon, and compares the estimated time of constructing a large reservoir in Boulder Canyon with a much smaller one in Mohave Canyon. The investigations of Boulder Canyon have occupied nearly three years, and Colonel Kelly states that they are not sufficient. No investigations of Mohave Canyon have been made, and after these are completed, it would be necessary to take up negotiations with the railroad and hotel companies and hundreds of property owners for the removal of the railroad and the City of Needles. Such measures afford endless opportunity for delay whether carried out under private negotiation or by condemnation proceedings. No such difficulties are found at Boulder Canyon, and it is believed that a reservoir of any given capacity can be built there more quickly than anywhere else, if all reasonable precautions are observed. The Upper Basin's Interest in Boulder Canyon.—Four times in recent years, beginning in 1915, the irrigators of Imperial Valley have required and have taken from the Colorado River all the water flowing therein; each time it was less than the actual needs and a shortage occurred. As development progresses, this condition will be more frequent and intense, and if with present development, another series of low-water years should happen, such as occurred before and after 1902, the water shortage would be prolonged and disastrous. Under the principles of the Supreme Court decision in the Wyoming-Colorado Case, the farmers of Imperial Valley would have the right to cause to

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