Page 105


Page 105
Colorado River problem
Is Part Of,8
Full text
410 SMITH ON THE COLORADO RIVER PROBLEM it is easily accessible from the railroad and has convenient space close by for construction operations; and its distance from the center of gravity of the power market is little more than the distance from Boulder Canyon. The power installation of the Diamond Creek Project with the unregulated river flow will be between 200,000 and 300,000 h.p., depending on the height of the dam. If the Dewey Dam is built, an equal amount of power will be added, and the power possibilities will be further increased by the Flaming Gorge Project. A large part of this power would be marketed in California. Arizona needs the Diamond Creek Project, but there is no urgency analogous to the situation in the Imperial Valley. Arizona has excellent power projects on the Salt and Verde Rivers and one at Yuma; the development of these projects is under way or is planned. The San Carlos Project of the U. S. Indian Service on the Gila River should include power development. Besides, it is a political question as to who should build the projects on the Colorado, whether private or public agencies, and, in this struggle, each side seems to be very successful in preventing progress by the other. Assuming that storage for stream regulation has been obtained above the Canyon Section, then the problem in the Lower Basin involves the following desiderata: 1.—Power development at an early date and at minimum cost; each project to be part of a comprehensive plan that will utilize the maximum feasible head. 2.—Silt storage; this is of doubtful importance, as the silt problem will be less acute when the Imperial Canal is connected to Laguna Dam. 3.—Re-regulation; although not essential now, it will become so as the development of irrigation increases. 4.—Minimum loss by evaporation from reservoirs; this also will become important as irrigation development advances. These conditions are met at the Boulder site far better than at Topock; and, as a first power project, the Diamond Creek location is better than the one at Boulder, assuming, of course, that regulation of the river is effected in the Upper Basin. The importance of making power available at an early date cannot be over-estimated. Despite the generous surplus of power for 1924 shown in Table 14, there is a critical power shortage throughout Southern California now (July, 1924), and it is doubtful whether the supply will again equal the demand until power is obtained from the Colorado. The growth in population, or in use of power, is not the only factor; the amount of rainfall, the price of fuel oil, and other elements enter, many of which cannot be forecast at all. It is unlikely that power from the Boulder Project can be obtained in less than 10 years; power from Diamond Creek can be had in 4 years, if the deadlock between those interests that are seeking to control the development can be broken. The author has referred repeatedly to the need of conforming to one optimum comprehensive scheme of development. There can be no objection on this ground to the immediate development of the Dewey and Flaming Gorge Projects and probably none to the Diamond Creek Project.

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