Page 92


Page 92
Colorado River problem
Is Part Of,8
Full text
WEYMOUTH ON THE COLORADO RIVER PROBLEM 397 Investigations of the Colorado River Basin were started by the Reclamation Service in 1904 with the view of augmenting the water supply for irrigation in the Lower Valley and of controlling the ever-present flood menace in the Delta region. Extended investigation of the Upper Basin indicated a lack of the requisite storage at reasonable cost, therefore, studies of storage sites in the lower river were undertaken. After a preliminary study of the problem and a reconnaissance of the river below the mouth of the Virgin River, work was concentrated, in 1919 and thereafter, on the better dam sites in Boulder and Black Canyons. The primary object was the regulation of the river for irrigation and flood control. As these investigations progressed, it became evident that a large amount of power could be developed without interfering with the primary use of the reservoir for irrigation and flood control, and that at the dam sites considered it would be possible to develop power which could be sold at a price sufficient to repay the cost of construction. In all these studies, the power problem was considered only as incidental to that of irrigation and flood control. Studies were largely concentrated at the Boulder Canyon Reservoir site where the requisite storage could be obtained at the lowest cost and where the development could be made without interfering with other uses of the river. A preliminary report on this subject under the title, "Problems of the Imperial Valley and Vicinity," was made in 1922 by Arthur P. Davis, Past-President Am. Soc. C. E., then Director of the Reclamation Service. The studies were continued after that report was completed and the results embodied in a voluminous report, containing nearly 2,000 typewritten pages, submitted by the writer in February, 1924, under the title, "Report on the Problems of the Colorado River Basin." When this report was written, the data available on dam sites above Boulder Canyon were practically limited to the Glen Canyon and Diamond Creek sites. In 1923, the U. S. Geological Survey made some topographical surveys and a general geological examination of the Colorado River Gorge from Lees Ferry to Las Vegas "Wash, the latter being between the Boulder and Black Canyon Dam sites, which were investigated by the Bureau of Reclamation for the Boulder Canyon Reservoir site. A few days prior to the completion of the writer's report, the Geological Survey furnished an approximate elevation of some of the dam sites below Diamond Creek. Brief studies, therefore, were made in the time remaining and led to the submission of an alternative plan limiting the height of the Boulder Canyon Dam to the level of the Bridge Canyon Dam site. It was pointed out that the success of this plan would depend on the feasibility of the Bridge Canyon for a high dam and power plant. Since then the Geological Survey has provided a preliminary profile of the Colorado River through the stretch investigated in 1923, as well as the topography of the principal dam sites noted by the survey party below Grand Canyon National Park. These data, in addition to those obtained from investigations by the Bureau of Reclamation, have made it possible to extend the previous studies and to determine the best plan for the development of

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