page 45

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page 45
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http://digital.library.unlv.edu/u?/dig,8
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45of composing the 20-year interstate water-right fight over this river and its tributaries.This commission spent nearly two years in negotiation and hearings, and finally signed an interstate compact at Santa Fe, N. Mex., on November 24, 1922, subject to ratification by the legislatures and by Congress. The compact was devoted solely to the question of water rights, it being thought that the only road to solution of many conflicts was by taking one at a time, and in the agreement no attempt was made to settle all the water right questions between the seven States, but only to separate the water rights of the four upper basin States from those of the three lower basin States, thus localizing the whole difficulty and freeing the development of each basin.The compact was ratified by all of the States except Arizona, whose legislature did ratify it subject to certain reservations, but approval was refused by the governor. A subsequent attempt was made to ratify the compact on a six-State basis and failed in California.The failure to secure solution to this primary question and thus clear the road for construction in the lower basin has been largely due to the desire of some groups in different States to assure themselves as a condition of ratification that their views as to the character of engineering works and their control should be adopted.Except for one group in Arizona, I do not believe there has been any serious challenge to the equity established by the compact.As a method for advancing solution of this problem it has been proposed that construction under authority of the act now before the committee should not be undertaken until California unreservedly ratifies the compact on a six-State basis, and that assurances should be given to the northern States that no water rights would accrue to the citizens, of any noncompact State from storage of water as the result of this dam.If adopted, this method at least composes a very large part of the interstate water conflict, leaving only the question of Arizona to be settled. It has been my feeling that if Arizona could confine her discussions with the lower States to the water rights only, solution could be found. The difficulty is that her officials have insisted upon injecting numbers of other questions as a condition for agreement on water rights.There has been great conflict over the character and location of the first works to be erected in the river. I believe the high dam should be erected in the vicinity of Boulder Canyon, which would serve a triple purpose of flood control, water storage, and development of power as the best compromise in all these views.There are theoretical engineering reasons for establishing storage works farther up the river and flood-control works lower down the river. They will undoubtedly both be built in time. The practical problem, however, is what we need to do for the immediate generations, and it has always seemed to me that by one construction in this locality we can accomplish three purposes of storage, flood control, and power of sufficient extent to cover the next 40 years, and being the nearest point to market for power we would have a larger economic return from works established there.

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