Page 5

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Title
Page 5
Source
The Colorado River Boulder Canyon Project and the All-American Canal
Is Part Of
http://digital.library.unlv.edu/u?/dig,8
Full text
a forbidding desert waste by the efforts of 65 thousand people, as many people as reside in the State of Nevada, producing a crop output of 65 million dollars annually. This threat is an ever recurring one, reaching its peak when the Summer flood flow starts each June. A flood menace is not the only problem these people face. The second problem results from the fact that the Colorado River, on the average, annually brings down as much silt or fine sand as all of the material excavated by Americans from the Panama Canal. This is 100,000 acre feet. This silt is deposited in the lower stretches of the River, with the result that the bed is raised higher and higher each year so that it is now 16 to 18 feet higher than it was in 1905 when it broke its banks. Only the maintenance, at tremendous cost, of levees, necessarily of temporary character, have so far prevented the full flow of that menacing stream from again entering the Valley. Great quantities of this silt are also deposited in the canal system. This requires the expenditure of from one and a quarter to one and three quarters million dollars annually in dredging, to permit the flow of water through the canal system. And these two problems are not the only ones. The third problem relates to the water supply for the Valley from the River. The Colorado River like all Western streams is subject to great fluctuations between the Summer floods and Winter flow. In 1905 when the river broke its banks it maintained a discharge for several weeks of over 200,000 cubic feet per second. On the other hand, the late Autumn flow is frequently inadequate. In the last two years the discharge in some months dropped as low as 1250 cubic feet per second, or about three times the capacity of the Los Angeles Aqueduct. This furnished only about 1/3 of the water needed by the farmers to bring to maturity growing crops. Moreover, under the conditions of a burdensome concession imposed by the Mexican Government upon the American farmers for the privilege of running the Canal through Mexico, 1/2 of meager supply must be delivered to the Mexican lands. Thus the farmers of Imperial Valley suffered a crop loss running into millions of dollars, notwithstanding the fact that because of lack of conservation enough water, on the average, is wasted each year into the Gulf of Lower California, to furnish an adequate water supply for an acreage three times the size of Imperial Valley. Even these three problems seem not to be all. A fourth problem relates to the fact that the Imperial Valley Canal, owned and maintained by the American farmers, immediately 4

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