Page 103


Page 103
Colorado River problem
Is Part Of,8
Full text
408 SMITH ON THE COLORADO RIVER PROBLEM It can be completed in three years. After other dams have been built on the river, the Dewey Project can be used, in part, for power. By increasing the height of the dam to 245 ft., the storage capacity would be increased to 3,000,000 acre-ft. This would necessitate moving about 8 miles of the Denver and Rio Grande Railroad. The topography, however, is favorable, and the cost would be not more than 5% of the cost of the dam. The Dewey Reservoir alone does not provide the 4,000,000 acre-ft. of storage required for flood control. The additional storage can be provided on the Green River, either at Flaming Gorge or at Juniper Mountain and Flaming Gorge. It is almost certain that the Flaming Gorge Dam will be built by the Utah Power and Light Company. The Federal Government should provide for a 30-ft. increase in height of the dam to give 1,000,000 acre-ft. of storage for flood control only. It is within the province of the Federal Power Commission to require this if the funds are provided by Congress or by projects farther down stream that will be benefited. The most pressing problem of the Imperial Valley is not flood control, but the increase in the late-summer water supply. The shortage was acute and caused much damage in 1915, 1919, and 1922. The flow at present (July, 1924) is lower than on the corresponding date on any one of those years, and forecasts a severe shortage this year. Another year with as little run-off as 1902 would cause a complete loss of summer crops. The Dewey Reservoir alone would provide an ample late-summer water supply for at least 20 years. It would be filled each year in May and June and emptied gradually during the next six months. It has been claimed that the first reservoir should be on the lower river below the mouth of the Virgin, so as to regulate the floods from the Virgin, the Little Colorado, and the San Juan. High floods on those streams are short-lived and are flattened out before they reach Yuma. The highest flood ever recorded on the San Juan occurred in 1911 and was estimated at 150,000 sec-ft. The maximum flow at Yuma during the period was only 60,000 sec-ft., of which only a part was due to the San Juan flood. The Little Colorado flood of September, 1923, was exceptionally high, but the discharge at Yuma did not exceed 60,000 sec-ft. Of course, those floods might have occurred coincidently, but it should be borne in mind that for a long time to come the levees of the lower river will be maintained for protection against floods of 200,000 sec-ft. from the Gila River. Furthermore, within recent years, an excellent system of flood warnings has been perfected, and track and quarry facilities at Andrade have been made very effective for fighting floods. The cost of the Dewey Dam, or a part of the cost, should be pro-rated by the Federal Power Commission among the down-stream projects which will be benefited. The Diamond Creek Project could well afford to pay the entire cost, but the Boulder and other projects should each pay a share, because each will be benefited by it. The Federal Government should contribute to the cost of this and other dams on the head-waters of the Colorado under the same theory of government as was exemplified in the building of thirty-three dams on the Ohio River, that is, to secure river regulation and control, to make the stream

Cite this Item

When linking to this object, please use the following URL:,1710



Subscribe to recent comments

There are no comments yet. Be the first to comment below!