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- Colorado River problem
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- JARVIS ON THE COLORADO RIVER PROBLEM 417 sufficient capacity for the accumulation of silt, for flood protection, for ample irrigation and domestic supply, and for the development of enough power to satisfy the demand for many years. The selection of the agency or interests which shall effect this construction is a matter entirely foreign to the determination of the proper plan of development of the waters of the Colorado River. C. S. Jarvis,* M. Am. Soc. C. E. (by letter).—This paper and the discussions that have followed it are so timely and have done so much toward focusing attention upon the outstanding issues, that the main problems are several steps nearer solution. One of the important points brought out by the author in regard to the feasible irrigation development is that the ultimate depletion of the water supply due to the use in the Upper Basin will probably never exceed 5,000,000 acre-ft., or approximately 1 acre-ft. per acre supplied. Relating this fact to the apportionment of 7,000,000 acre-ft. to the Upper Basin under the terms of the Colorado River Compact as now drawn, it is apparent that although they may divert the prescribed quantity, the return flow should account for nearly 30%, or 2,000,000 acre-ft., to benefit the lower projects. Also, the return flow from the projects in the Lower Basin and above Hanlon Heading will inure to the benefit of the Imperial Valley and lands in Mexico. There seems to be no possible challenge to the author's statement of principles regarding the desirable locations for storage, and he plainly concedes that compromises have to be made to suit the natural conditions, such as available sites of sufficient capacity, dependable supply, and prior developments and rights. Inasmuch as the triple interests of irrigation, power projects, and flood protection must be served, it is evident that both upper and lower storage sites must be utilized. Most of these sites near the head-waters have such limited capacity as to be well within the scope of private enterprise. The investigations of the U. S. Reclamation Service during the past two decades furnish the most definite data yet made available as to comparative values of the various plans suggested. However, they were not extensive enough to determine the actual merits of the principal projects now advocated. It appears advisable to include an extensive examination of the proposed reservoir basins, especially that which would be utilized by the Boulder Canyon Project, because of the known deposits of rock salt and other soluble minerals which might prove harmful to the lands in the lower deltas. Two of the known salt ridges lie somewhat above the proposed high-water level of the plan advocated by the Reclamation Service; but the extent of the saline deposits within the flooded area should be known in advance. If some large storage reservoir is provided, such as has been suggested at Glen Canyon, Boulder Canyon, or the Mohave site, then, in order to realize on the power feature during the non-irrigating season, water must be wasted. This would make advisable the provision for auxiliary storage at some point down stream. Thus, the Bulls Head or the Parker site would be among those * Associate Highway Bridge Engr., U. S. Bureau of Public Roads, Santa Fe, N. Mex.
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