Page 89


Page 89
Colorado River problem
Is Part Of,8
Full text
394 GRUNSKY ON THE COLORADO RIVER PROBLEM to know at the outset what proportion of the water and what proportion of the power output will ultimately fall to its share. It is not surprising, therefore, to find Arizona with only a limited area that can be brought under canal at reasonable cost, in the attitude of inquiry. There is some basis for the fear, for example, that if a dam is constructed at or near Boulder Canyon and a power plant is placed in operation, the predominating benefit will go to those regions where industries are already well established—that the southern part of California will absorb an undue proportion of the energy made available, at the cost of Arizona's future. A similar fear is expressed in the matter of the use of water for irrigation. Who, if there be no understanding on this point in advance, shall prevent the extension of irrigation to the most favorably located lands regardless of State, or even of National, boundaries, thereby possibly depriving one State or another of opportunities within its boundaries which, although perhaps not immediately attractive, may yet be of equal or greater value in a broad plan based on the ultimate greatest good to the greatest number. No reasonable regulation of the flow of the Colorado River by storage appears to be feasible except with the approval of and under the control of some higher authority than that of the individual State. This principle has already been recognized in the creation of the Commission which formulated the interstate pact. The Federal Government is the agency which, logically, should effect the regulation and apportion the output. As a possible alternative, the suggestion of Governor Scrugham, of Nevada, in an address at a meeting of the Pacific Coast Electrical Association, deserves consideration. He suggested that an interstate power and irrigation district be formed to plan and carry out the Colorado River project. If those who are directly concerned prefer district to Federal control, why should they not have it, provided, always, that the international phases of the problem are not overlooked? An interstate district, however, any more than the United States, could not prevent development along lines of least resistance, regardless of State boundaries, unless there be some pre-arranged plan of development, with power and water allotments adjusted in some measure to political sub-divisions. The time element should be taken into account and the desirable ultimate conditions should be forecast and carefully weighed. Although the ideal solution of such a problem as that of the Colorado River might ignore State boundaries, it must be submitted that their recognition may aid in securing desirable widespread, rather than concentrated, utilization of both water and power. In Mexico extensive areas have already been brought under irrigation with water from the Imperial Canal. There is satisfaction in the knowledge that the water in the Colorado River originates in the United States and that were it all retained and used within these borders, if possible, the nation's neighbor to the south would have to be content with a protest. This will never happen. Thus far, however, there has been no limit set to the quantity of water which is ultimately to be allowed to flow into Mexico, and the irrigated area in Mexico has been growing apace. On this subject the United States Govern-

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