Page 130


Page 130
Colorado River problem
Is Part Of,8
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KELLY ON THE COLORADO RIVER PROBLEM 435 by the Reclamation Service engineers, to whose opinions Mr. Hill doubtless refers, and the writer has found no reason to change his conclusions. The writer regrets that he did not specifically acknowledge the use of the data prepared by Mr. R. A. Hill. It was obtained from the Bureau of Reclamation, together with much other data, and so was acknowledged en masse as the work of that Bureau. The writer agrees that it will be desirable eventually to equalize the flow of the river as far as practicable, but he also believes that the partial equalization set forth in his paper is sufficient to remove the flood menace and that until certain other matters are arranged, such as a treaty with Mexico and flood control on the Gila, no greater equalization is advisable. The question has already been discussed as to whether the water supply from the Colorado is sufficient to meet all future irrigation needs, and the writer will do no more than reiterate his statement that in such a vast arid region, whatever present expectations may be, it is certainly prudent to avoid all unnecessary waste of water. Mr. Lane raises the interesting question as to what results will follow the release of practically clear water into the silt-filled valley below the Canyon Section of the river. There are so many unknown factors in the problem that, as he points out, no one can predict results with certainty. It can hardly be doubted, however, that the river will pick up a new load of silt in a relatively short distance below the dam. Until it has acquired its new load, there will doubtless be an increase in the tendency to meander through the wider stretches of the valley, combined with a tendency to lower the bed of the stream, and these actions may affect the equilibrium of the stream all the way to its mouth. H. T. Cory, M. Am. Soc. C. E., has discussed* the effect of Laguna Dam, which had a capacity for storing about 20,000 acre-ft. when it was first completed in 1909. Unfortunately, the effect of this silt storage was largely obscured by the effect of change in river conditions below. The river dropped out of its old channel into Bee River and Volcano Lake in 1909 and the lowering of the bed due thereto was probably greater than that due to the clearing of the water. Mr. Debler's discussion is that of an advocate. He presents no new facts but puts forward arguments to prove that the large Boulder Canyon Dam should be built by the Federal Government. In some instances his statements are not sufficiently complete to give a true impression of the facts. For example, he quotes Messrs. Preston and Priest as saying that "overflow of the natural banks below Yuma begins at discharges of 30,000 to 50,000 sec-ft., depending on river conditions". This statement is correct, but needs qualification. As shown in the paper (page 317), overflow at these discharges does not occur above the lower end of the Yuma Project where the levees on the two sides begin to recede. The writer's original discussion of flood control and river conditions under different discharges was very carefully prepared and nothing in the discussions presented has indicated the need of a change therein. * Transactions, Am. Soc. C. E., Vol. LXXVI (1913), p. 1204.

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