Page 131


Page 131
Colorado River problem
Is Part Of,8
Full text
436 KELLY ON THE COLORADO RIVER PROBLEM One of the chief reasons for considering a development at Mohave Valley is that it is possibly the cheapest place to obtain a strictly flood-control project which would not increase the usable water supply in Mexico. The writer's presentation of possible power development at Mohave Valley (page 346), was intended to show that the project could be built to have a power value comparable to prospective Southern California projects; the comparison is believed to be essentially fair, but the writer does not advocate development of power at that site before a satisfactory treaty with Mexico has been arranged. Mr. Debler's statement in regard to development on the Colorado by private capital under adequate Federal and State regulation, that "speedy development can be obtained in this way, along lines, however, as favorable as possible for power but with a minimum regard for irrigation and flood control", implies that power development is in the habit of over-riding irrigation. A review of the power developments that have been made in the arid States will show that this is not the case. Irrigation has not only been fully protected, but has generally been benefited and has rarely paid for the benefits it has received. As Mr. Debler notes, the writer presents no definite plan of development as a substitute for the Boulder Canyon plan. The Bureau of Reclamation has conducted all investigations made by the Federal Government looking to development on the Colorado. Those investigations were concentrated on the Boulder Canyon Project and did not produce the data necessary to design that project, or any other, so as to conform to a full utilization of the waters of the Colorado. The writer has pointed out this fact and urged action to get the additional information without further delay. The additional information most essential is examination of at least four and preferably seven dam sites with sufficient borings to determine foundation conditions. Given that information, a specific plan can be prepared without much delay. Until that information is available no specific plan can be presented. These conclusions may be summarized, as follows: During the past four years as Chief Engineer of the Federal Power Commission, the writer's time has been largely devoted to examining applications for water-power projects to see that "the plans for same * * * shall be such as in the judgment of the Commission will be best adapted to a comprehensive scheme of improvement and utilization for the purposes of navigation, of water-power development, and of other beneficial public uses." As planned by its advocates, the Boulder Canyon Project, with its 605-ft. dam, does not, in his opinion, meet this requirement. Additional field investigations of dam sites immediately above and below Boulder Canyon are necessary to determine with certainty the extent to which the Boulder Canyon Project should be modified to make it fit into the best plan of development. The re-election in 1924 of Governor Hunt, of Arizona, on a platform definitely opposing the Colorado River Compact indicates that early ratification of that Compact is unlikely. The most active proponents of the Boulder project are primarily interested in securing a large block of power. The

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