Page 122


Page 122
Colorado River problem
Is Part Of,8
Full text
KELLY ON THE COLORADO RIVER PROBLEM 427 flows mainly due to fall and winter rains and rarely exceeding 1,500,000 acre-ft. in any year. These flood flows can be largely regulated and absorbed by the power dams in the Canyon Section and the re-regulating dam below. Such being the case the writer can see no justification for creating 34 000 000 acre-ft. of storage at the bottom of the Canyon Section. The Reclamation Service estimates indicate that the Big Boulder Canyon project is cheaper for power and storage than any other on the river. This may or may not be the case, but even if it be assumed that it is, the project should not be built unless it is made to conform to a plan of development that will get the fullest use of the water. Colorado River power can be developed cheaper than steam power in Southern California. It will all be needed and nobody should be permitted to "skim the cream," leaving a residue that cannot be used. Referring to use of up-river storage, Mr. Davis asserts that "This program would be an economic blunder of the first magnitude." His views on economics have often differed from those of the writer, but never more than on this point. It is undoubtedly feasible to regulate the flow of the Colorado above Glen Canyon. The advantage of placing regulatory storage as far up stream as possible is generally recognized, and on no other river known to the writer are the advantages so marked as on the Colorado. Mr. Davis and most of the Boulder advocates disregard the time element in discussing the Colorado. They compare the initial development of a progressive complete project with the very comprehensive results claimed for Boulder Canyon. If only one development were to be made on the Colorado, their arguments should be given considerable weight, but that is not the case, and Mr. Davis himself recognizes that the development of power will proceed rapidly and continuously to its full extent when the present deadlock is broken. Mr. Davis' statement that, "it is certainly better to hold floods by storage, even if part of the water does evaporate, than to let them run to the sea, and fight them en route, as demanded by Colonel Kelly," is the kind of argument advanced by several of the Boulder advocates. The writer has never demanded any such thing; on the contrary, he has endeavored to ascertain what degree of flood protection can be obtained by storage, and has indicated what he believes to be profitable as a first step, with the definite statement that full regulation will be obtained later as power and irrigation development proceeds. Under the heading, "Mohave Reservoir Wasteful and Destructive" (page 386), Mr. Davis exaggerates all the difficulties and slights all the advantages. The estimate of the Reclamation Service for flowage damages on the Mohave site is $12,775,000, made up as follows: Railroad ................................ $8,500,000 Highway............................... 200,000 General property damage................. 4,075,000 The railroad damages are based on a letter from an official of the railroad company which bears evidence of an intention to play safe. No allowance is made for the elimination of heavy grades on the present approaches to

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