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And we urge, accordingly, the adoption of the bill H.R. 12165 and to act on the amendments that have been recommended by the Committee of Fourteen.
Mr. JOHNSON. We want to thank you, Governor Rampton, for your participation. I see you pointed out in your statement the need to do something about the salinity problems as they relate to the Mexican Treaty, and also to take care of the river above Imperial Dam.
Now, most of us who introduced H.R. 12165 have made a trip and are quite familiar with many of the problems along the river. We have been told that the Bureau has made studies of the problem and has recommended certain remedies for some of the situations we face on the river.
We certainly appreciate your testimony in support of title II and hope that we can maintain a fair amount for the program during consideration and authorization of title II.
So, having you hear in support of 12165, title I and title II is very good news to me as the chairman, and I presume the other members of the committee, as well.
I know the State of Utah has a great deal of concern about the Colorado River, so do the rest of the States of the basin. You have been the leader in the field of water resource development. Many of your predecessor Governors have served as real leaders in the field of water resources. So I know how much you are interested, and how much the State of Utah is depending upon the water from the Colorado River.
I wonder if you Governors have discussed this, that is all seven Governors, and if you are in complete agreement with us on this.
Governor RAMPTON. It is my understanding that all of the Governors are in accord; and I might say it was one of the accomplishments of this committee to get the seven States together on position in regard to the Colorado River, that is not a usual thing to occur.
But certainly the committee, the two representatives from each State to the committees are in complete accord. You heard Governor Williams' testimony the other day; I talked to Governor Hathaway last night, and he has gone over my testimony. I have not talked to Governor Reagan, so I cannot tell you his position, but I assume he will concur.
Mr JOHNSON. Governor Williams gave us a very fine statement; and we had a statement from the Governor of Nevada. I asked that question for the simple reason that we know there are a lot of Governors in town, and I just wanted to make sure that all of the Governors are still with us. They all get here to Washington where the heat can be put on, and some might stray away.
Governor RAMPTON. Well, I think not on this point.
Mr. HOSMER. Thank you, Mr. Chairman. Like the chairman, I am also glad that the Governor is here. I am not going to question you, Governor, with respect to your somewhat cavalier upper basin statement with respect to what opposition exists as to the international boundary with respect to quality. I am taking these remarks by no means as a foregone conclusion that there is any obligation whatsoever with respect to quality of the waters that flow in the Colorado River across the international boundary to Mexico; and inasfar as title I of
this bill is concerned, that is a response to extraneous circumstances in the U.S. relationship with Mexico, to which some attention to the quality problem may in some way be in the self-interest of this country for reasons other than satisfying any legal obligation, which we deny exists.
Governor RAMPTON. Well, I hope my statement wasn't "cavalier”; I indicated that the agreement that was arrived at by the committee went beyond the Mexican treaty, and that is certainly true. But, I think the States generally recognize our obligation to get this matter settled.
Mr. HOSMER. I understand that, Governor, as a veteran in Congress on the Upper Colorado River problem. I do, as a Californian, have great fears, so would anybody representing the upper basin States. (Laughter.]
I am merely attempting to preserve any equities that we might have.
Governor ŘAMPTON. Mr. Congressman, I think you are getting more than equity now because our water is rolling downstream to you just because we can't get it on our land up to now.
Mr. Hosmer. I hope the situation will persist. [Laughter.]
Mr. Johnson. We want to thank you again, Governor, for coming here this morning; thank you, Mr. McKay.
Mr. McKay. Mr. Chairman, I might say at this point, I used to serve as the Governor's administrative assistant, and he still thinks I'm on his staff. So, maybe there is some reason why I'm here. [Laughter.]
Mr. Johnson. Most Governors do think that Congressmen should be working for them in the interest of the State.
Mr. McKay. Thank you.
Mr. JOHNSON. Our next witness will be Mr. Tom Allt, the former mayor of Yuma, Ariz., representing the city of Yuma. He is accompanied by Mr. Douglas Stanley, city attorney. Mayor, I used to work there in Yuma a long time ago. Since my last
. visit Yuma has developed into quite a city.
STATEMENT OF TOM ALLT
Mr. Allt. Thank you very much, Mr. Chairman, members of the committee. The growth factor has created certain problems, and of course they are tied to water.
We have submitted our written statement to you, and I would like to go over it, if I may.
Mr. JOHNSON. Certainly.
Mr. Allt. The city of Yuma appreciates the opportunity to make its presentation to the Subcommittee on Water and Power Resources and respectfully submit its request for what we regard as equity to relieve our problem.
In November of 1959 the city of Yuma contracted with the Secretary of the Interior for delivery of 50,000 acre-feet of water per calendar year for use by the city, and the city fully recognizes two provisions in the contract (1) regarding the point of delivery as immediately
below the downstream edge of the California sluiceway at Imperial Dam; and (2) that the United States would not be responsible for the quality of water either at the delivery point, or at the city's point of diversion. I have some questions on that which I would like to pursue after I get through with the statement.
Historically, the city of Yuma domestic water system received its raw water directly from the Colorado River at a point immediately adjacent to the city waterplant. This point of delivery existed from the year 1892 under the Blaisdell Rights until late in 1961 when the Bureau of Reclamation in its efforts to solve the salinity probelms in the Wellton-Mohawk Irrigation District project area released the saline water from Wellton-Mohawk drainage wells into the Gila River, which then emptied into the Colorado River near the city of Yuma intake and deteriorated the quality of water—salt content-to the point where it could not be used for domestic pruposes and human consumption.
The city then was forced to look for another point of delivery for its source of supply and at that time contracted with the Yuma County Water Users' Association, with Bureau of Reclamation concurrence, for the use of the Colorado River siphon. The original price for use of the siphon (wheeling charge) was $3.10 per acre-foot. Later this price was raised to $4.50, and the price now being negotiated is $5.76 per acre-foot, making the annual cost of approximately $70,000 and the projection is for higher adjusted costs for each contracted period in the future.
The accumulated cost to date, since the city was forced to move from its original delivery point to the siphon, is $474,000, and the projected cost over the next 50 years will run into many millions if the city is obligated to rely on the use of the sipon for its point of delivery.
The city of Yuma respectfully submits that this added expense was imposed on them by circumstances beyond their control and an unreasonable burden was created that the water customers of the city were forced to accept.
The city of Yuma also respectfully submits that the Bureau of Reclamation in constructing the drainage system for the WelltonMohawk project rendered valuable service to the entire area in regards to agricultural progress and is to be commended for their fine work. However, what was of great benefit to the Wellton-Mohawk area was economically detrimental to the city of Yuma water customers, in the added cost to acquire raw water.
The same set of circumstances which took place regarding the water supply for the city of Yuma also became a point of issue and irritation for the neighboring country of Mexico, but with additional factors which are being recognized by the State Department.
The State Department, in an effort to accommodate the country of Mexico, had the Bureau of Reclamation construct a bypass channel in 1965 to direct the saline water to Morales Dam where Mexico could discern its best use. At that time the saline water also bypassed the city of Yuma water intake and Wellton-Mohawk drainage ceased to be a source of problem for the city of Yuma. However, the Bureau of Reclamation during this time had installed a drainage system in the Yuma Irrigation District in the Gila Valley and the saline water from this area was then released into the Colorado River near the city intake, thus continuing the degradation of the quality of river water and further making it impossible to use the river adjacent to the city as the city's source of supply.
Many times during this period the city has attempted to return to its original point of delivery by the city water plant but tests have shown this effort to be futile because of the saline content in the water.
In June 1971, the city of Yuma contracted with the Bureau of Reclamation for a special report—we have a preliminary copy of this report, it's dated May 1973–for a recommendation for a definity point of delivery and transmission system which would be owned by the people of Yuma as a part of the water system. This study is now being updated by the Bureau of Reclamation and should be available in the near future, probably by June 30, 1974.
Tentative recommendations in the preliminary report include a transmission line to the All-American Canal, the cost of which would be borne by the city. The city was and is interested in this approach to alleviate its problem and respectfully asks the subcommittee to take into consideration the Bureau's recommendation regarding the practical solution to the city's source of supply.
The desalting plant now under consideration adds a new dimension to the solution of the problem encountered by the city. With the potential to use some of the desalted water from the desalting plant the city requests the subcommittee to include this potential in their deliberations.
The city of Yuma can and does understand the effort made by the State Department to relieve what they consider a national problem by guaranteeing quality to Mexico and on a nonreimbursable basis, however, we are disturbed that the people of Yuma should bear a disproportionate part of the burden when the very cause which creates a problem for Mexico also caused an economical problem for the people of Yuma.
The city of Yuma, in a search for equity is asking for the same kind of consideration as being received by the country of Mexico and respectfully requests the subcommittee to add language to the bill now being considered, which will give the city of Yuma the recoynition and ability to negotiate with the U.S. Government in a manner which will serve the best interest of the city of Yuma and the U.S. Government.
The Bureau of Reclamation records will indicate specific dates and events leading up to and subsequent to what the city of Yuma considers a problem not of their own making and the city of Yuma appeals to the subcommittee for assistance in obtaining relief to solve a problem of great magnitude to the city of Yuma and its people.
Respectfully submitted, Thomas Allt, special representative of the city of Yuma, Ariz.
If I might go back to the words, "the Bureau of Reclamation concurs, we understand that the Bureau of Reclamation does not recognize our contract between the city-for the use of the canal. However, that contract, or several contracts have been in use for 11 years, and it's hard to see how anybody isn't agreeing that it isn't all right if they haven't stopped it in il years. So, we think that in a sense it is a concurrence.
I would be happy to answer any questions, if there are.
Mr. JOHNSON. Well, thank you very much for your statement, Mr. Allt, regarding the problems that exist in the city of Yuma with the water users.
Now, as I understand it you contracted with the Federal Government for 50,000 acre-feet a year.
Mr. Allt. Yes, we did.
Mr. Johnson. And the point of delivery at that time was directly from the river to your plant that is located adjacent to the river.
Mr. ALLT. The actual delivery point was right at the river, adjacent to the city. However, in the contract it said that the delivery point is the downstream edge of the Imperial Dam, the California sluiceway at the Imperial Dam. But, historically we have not been told to get to that point in that sense, but rather have been allowed to use the river adjacent to the city.
And, when we couldn't use that because of the salt content, the nearest point was the siphon operated by the Yuma County water users; and that was done on a contract basis, negotiated twice.
Mr. JOHNSON. At that time, was the Bureau requested to work out a solution, when you first entered in the contract with the siphon people?
Mr. Allt. Well, I wasn't there, sir, so I can't tell you specifically what happened. But, it is my understanding that the Bureau must, or should approve anything that takes place in agricultural delivery. The other question that is in my mind is, it is my understanding that agricultural canals should not deliver M. & I. water.
Mr. Johnson. Seemingly you have an open-ended contract, as far as price is concerned.
Mr. Allt. Yes, sir. Mr. Johnson. In other words, they made delivery in the amount of water that is needed, but they keep increasing the price.
Mr. Allt. Yes, they do, like all other things. I guess the cost of living is up there, also.
Mr. Johnson. Now, in your most recent activity with the Bureau of Reclamation you asked them to study a project that would give you a better point of delivery at a fixed cost.
Mr. Allt. Yes, sir. They made three tentative recommendations. The first recommendation would be to construct a pipeline to the All-American Canal. This has great feasibility, as far as we are concerned. A closed pipe eliminates seepage, evaporation losses, and what have you.
Mr. JOHNSON. How much cheaper would that be, what would the estimate be as far as price compared to the present cost of delivery?
Mr. Allt. Well, if we could project it over 50 years, I think the projected price in the first report was $1,900,000; upgraded that probably would exceed $2.5 million for the capital investment for the pipeline. Under the present rules of the game we would have to pay 150 percent on top of that. So, we are talking about almost $6 million total cost for the pipeline.
As opposed to that, if our water use increases and the price per acre-foot delivery charge increases, over the next 50 years we would potentially pay $24 million for the same delivery system.
We think that is not very much foresight, we think that perhaps the best approach would be the pipeline.