Page 87


Page 87
Colorado River problem
Is Part Of,8
Full text
392 DAVIS ON THE COLORADO RIVER PROBLEM be closed during the period of shortage the head-gates of all canals above them, that are junior to their appropriations of 1900 and earlier. This would include all three of the Government projects in the Upper Basin, two in Colorado and one in Utah, and many private enterprises as well which have hard enough struggle without adding water shortage and litigation. The irrigators in the Lower Basin do not desire litigation, as is shown by their avoidance of it during the past shortages. If a large reservoir is built and the water regulated, there will be plenty of water for them so there will be no litigation. The representative from Imperial Valley has testified that the District is willing to yield all claim to the low-water flow in exchange for a right in the reservoir, and no doubt the other irrigators served from the reservoir would do the same. Without storage in the Lower Basin, the junior rights in the Upper Basin are in continual jeopardy, and the situation must become more and more a handicap to the financing of new irrigation enterprises in the Upper Basin. A large reservoir at Boulder Canyon will correct all this, and make water rights above secure from molestation. A small reservoir would not have this effect. The author proceeds throughout the paper on the theory that a reservoir of, say, 4,000,000 acre-ft. capacity, would be as efficient for flood control as an equal capacity on the top of a reservoir six or eight times as large. This is not the case. If a reservoir with a capacity of 25,000,000 or 30,000,000 acre-ft. were provided to regulate the river, it would, by constant use and discharge of the stored waters, enter the flood season with its storage depleted to an extent exceeding 8,000,000 acre-ft., and any capacity held especially for flood control would be added to this. Therefore, the available storage for controlling floods would be several times the total capacity of the small reservoir proposed by the author, and its efficiency correspondingly multiplied. It is conceivable and possible to provide a reservoir at Boulder Canyon of such magnitude that the stream would be equalized through a series of years to a discharge of about 20,000 cu. ft. per sec. to be used for the development of power or some other beneficial purpose. Although such complete control might not be justified, any large reservoir approaching a capacity of 30,000,000 acre-ft., would approximate this result, and assure beginning the flood season in April with more than 10,000,000 acre-ft. of available space at the top of the reservoir to receive and regulate the summer floods. Any surplus received could be discharged during the flood season or soon after and not carried on to February, as alleged by the author. Colonel Kelly ignores the great fundamental fact that the larger the reservoir provided, the more complete will be the control of floods and the more water will be available for power and irrigation; and the larger the reservoir, up to 35,000,000 acre-ft., the cheaper the unit cost of power developed, so that the added value for other purposes costs nothing. He also ignores the fundamental fact that a deep reservoir of a given capacity with a moderate surface area will lose less water by evaporation and furnish more head for power than a broad shallow reservoir, which although it might require only a small amount of masonry for its dam,

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