Page 100


Page 100
Colorado River problem
Is Part Of,8
Full text
SMITH ON THE COLORADO RIVER PROBLEM 405 about 90% of the power development in the canyon region will be within partial control of Arizona, it is desirable that the State should be represented in the studies and conferences which must precede any further construction on this important stream. Water Supply.—It has been assumed that the extensive records of stream flow on the Colorado and its tributaries were adequate as a basis for study. However, Herman Stabler, M. Am. Soc. C. E., has added material of great value by extending the records backward more than 20 years, as given in Table 5. The net result of this study is to indicate that the safe water supply of the river may have been over-estimated by about 12 per cent. In studying the water resources of the Gila River a few years ago a somewhat similar change in flow was noted, that is, a greatly increased run-off during the past twenty years. The average rainfall at Tucson for the period, 1885-1904, was 10.25 in., whereas the average from 1905 to 1923, inclusive, was 12.91 in. The records of rainfall do not demonstrate any periodic cycle, but they do give warning that the discharge records since 1902 are not an entirely safe basis for planning the utilization of the river. It has long been apparent that the water supply of the Colorado is inadequate for all the demands that will be made on it, as is the case with many other streams of the West. In the report of the Arizona Engineering Commission, Mr. La Rue pointed out that there is a 1,000,000-acre project with diversion point near Parker, Ariz., the development of which may be feasible in 20 or 30 years, but that there may be no water supply for it. Other projects may yet be found that are comparable with some of those now considered feasible. The adequacy of the water supply in the seven States will depend in a measure on the quantity of water granted to Mexico through a treaty. Such agreement may be complicated by a situation the reverse of that on the Colorado, which exists on the Lower Rio Grande, where the Conchos River of Mexico is a big factor in the water supply of lands in Texas. The writer agrees with the author that a treaty with Mexico, covering the quantity of water to be delivered at the International Boundary, should be negotiated as soon as practicable. It should require, also, the payment of a part of the cost of storage by the holders of the Mexican lands, in proportion as they are permitted to share in the benefits of storage. It must be confessed, however, that the use of water in Mexico may increase rapidly to more than the quantity agreed on by treaty, and the probable result would be another treaty granting a larger quantity. Comparing Mr. Stabler's estimate of dependable supply with Table 11, it, is apparent that ultimately the shortage may approximate 6,000,000 acre-ft. In California, the City of Los Angeles has filed application for a diversion of 1,500 sec-ft. in the vicinity of Blythe for use in Los Angeles and vicinity. It would add to the value of the paper if the author would state whether allowance has been made in Table 11 for such a diversion. The Division of the Water Supply.—As between the seven States that are interested in the use of the Colorado River for irrigation, the greatest care

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