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Cline. I am Secretary-Vanager of the Orange County Water District in Orange County, California which manages the surface and groundwaters of the lower Santa Ana River Basin. Our district serves about 1,500,000 people in rapidly urbanizing Orange County.

Mr. Chairman, our district has just moved its headquarters from Santa Ana to the new building that we erected in Fountain Valley on the corner of the site of our Water Factory 21. You, Mr. Chairman, Mr. Hosmer, who represents our district in the Congress, and other members of the Committee have visited our un wastewater reclamation and desalination plant while it has been under construction. We will begin testing the equipment soon and expect to have Water Factory 21 operating and providing fresh water of good quality for injection into our groundwater basin this summer.

Orange County which was largely agricultural 20 years ago is still rapidly increasing in population as it gains in importance in Southern California as the location of light and software industries, as a recreational center, and as one of the most desirable residential areas in our State.

While growth has strained all of the resources of Orange County, the water resources of our area have been most severely impacted. The reasons for this are several. The southern California Coastal Plain on which Orange County is situated is semi-arid. Its natural waters were overdeveloped very early, almost with the beginning of irrigation of the thousands of acres of orange groves that once flourished there and that gave the county its name. Orange County, like the Mexicali Valley, is at the end of the ditch. Upstream developments and water users on the Santa Ana River get first crack at the water produced by our principal local stream with subsequent degradation of quality. Because our current demand greatly exceeds local supplies, the entire Santa Ana basin is increasingly dependent upon imported water. For example, at present the Orange County Water District gets 30 percent of its water from the Santa Ana River and local supply, and receives 70 percent of its water through the Colorado River Aqueduct of the Metropolitan Water District of Southern California.

Being at the end of all of our supply systems, the Orange County Water District must accept water that has been used and reused. The water we receive from either the Santa Ana River or the Colorado River sources no longer is better than 750 ppm in total dissolved solids. That makes all of the water that we receive at least half again as high in TDS as is recommended by the U.S. Public Health Service for drinking water.

Orange County was fortunate in that originally it had a vast ground water reservoir of high quality water. The Orange County Water District was organized to manage that underground basin, to replenish the basin when it was pumped to depths that encouraged intrusion of ocean waters into the aquifers, and to guard and restore the quality of the waters of the basin, when reuse threatened to degrade the water on which most of the people in the county were and continue to be entirely dependent.

The Orange County Water District has encountered a salt balance problem, perhaps not so severe, but much like

that which plagues the irrigators and other water users in the Mexicali Valley. The high quality water in our ground water basin is increasingly restricted. It now forms a pool in the center of the basin with poor quality water surrounding it on all sides. The marginal quality water includes that which we have percolated through spreading basins to replenish the groundwater storage and that which has been affected by intrusions of saline water from the sea and intrusions from other degraded sources.

The OCWD conducted a consumer survey some months ago We discovered that the average family in our district is penalized approximately $220 per year in costs related to the use of poor quality water. These expenses are in addition to those related to the use of the water of better quality that we originally had available in the ground water reservoir. These penalty costs are the results of requirements for water softening, reduced useful life of appliances and plumbing, and, in increasing amounts, the purchase of bottled drinking water.

The Orange County Water District has not been oblivious to its responsibilities. To offset the insidious crisis of salt accumulation in the basin, the District recently began buying at high cost, water imported from the North through the facilities of the California State Water Project and the Metropolitan Water District. These waters used for ground water replenishment are much better quality than Colorado River water, and consequently do not degrade our reservoir to such a degree as does the Colorado River water. We have invested heavily in research and advance planning for a forebay water reclamation plant near Prado Dam and for a desalination plant at Anaheim Lake to reduce the total dissolved solids in the water that we receive from the Colorado River and other degraded sources. We hope to reduce the mineral content to about 250 ppm prior to percolating the water to out ground water basin. We project a 75 mgd project utilizing either reverse osmosis, electrodyalysis or ion exchange at Anaheim Lake. We are having six demonstration modules designed at the cost of almost half a million dollars at this time in an effort to perfect the technology.

The Orange County Water District has cooperated with the Office of Saline Water, with other Federal and State agencies, and with neighboring and other water districts to explore all promising opportunities to improve water supplies and services.

Mr. Chairman, I assure you that the Orange County Water District has no lack of sympathy with our good neighbors in the Mexicali Valley. On the contrary, we know what they have been suffering, because our situation is much the same as theirs. We heartily endorse the objectives of Minute 242 of the International Boundary and Water Commission. We agree that the Federal Government should build the desalter to freshen the waters of the Wellton-Mohawk drain and to reduce the total dissolved solids in the diversions at Morelos Dam. We would point out, however, that if the work that you authorize is limited to that which is needed to resolve the Mexicali Valley problem, your efforts will fall far short of meeting the needs of the people of the Colorado River service areas.

The waters going to Mexico, admittedly, have been the worst that have been delivered from the Colorado River. The quality of the river's waters degrade progressively year by year, however, and the quality already is very bad at Imperial Dam and it is quite poor at the Colorado River Aqueduct intake in Lake Havasu. For those of us in Orange County who have to use Colorado River water after it has been further degraded and percolated to our groundwater basin, our advantage over the Mexicans is not large today and, in our view, it will disappear entirely within a short time if the great desalter is built on the WelltonMohawk drain.

The Orange County Water District strongly urges full consideration and approval of the more comprehensive program of water quality improvement for the Colorado River Basin that is incorporated in H.R. 12165. The program proposed in the bill is sound. The costs of the program will be shared. The benefits will flow to water users in the United States as well as to those in Mexico.

Environmental considerations impel us toward greater efficiencies in the use of our water supplies, toward reclamation and reuse of water in order to extend the supplies, and toward conjunctive management of surface and groundwaters both for supply and for quality control. Without salinity control of the Colorado River, it will become increasingly difficult to sustain programs for recycling water not only in our area but throughout the entire Southwest. The time is approaching when such efforts will be self-defeating for those who, like the Orange County Water District, are at the extremity of the delivery systems, unless the Colorado River water quality problem is treated comprehensively. The Orange County Water District

also wishes to note that we have appreciated the pioneering work done by the Office of Saline Water. We do not believe the Research into desalination has been completed. We do not think that the agency, which has developed the expertise in desalination, should be cut out of the Colorado River programs. OSW, if it is employed in these landmark projects now under consideration, will be in the best position to make the new work succeed and also to make the salinity control program serve to advance the science of desalination and to strengthen the desalting industry.

The Orange County Water District, as I mentioned, has cooperated with many others in the improvement of water supplies. We have helped to organize the National Water Supply Improvement Association, which last year succeeded in bringing together public agencies from the Virgin Islands to California with industry representation and interested individuals for the purpose of promoting desalination and other water sciences

for use in the improvement of community water supplies. This year the Orange County Water District is cooperating with a dozen other water agencies in California in formulation of WATERCARE. WATERCARE will sponsor research and studies designed to advance the programs of recycling water supplies in order to extend their uses.

William E. Warne, of Sacramento, is here speaking for NWSIA. I want, as an officer of NWSIA, to associate myself with his presentation. WATERCARÉ is not officially making a statement at this time, because the organization is too new to have made adequate preparations before the date of your hearing. The stated

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purposes of WATERCARE, however, are completely in line with the proposal that you have before you to clean up the Colorado River on a comprehensive basis.

Thank you, Mr. Chairman, and members of the Committee.

Mr. JOHNSON. Our next witness will be Mr. Northcutt Ely, special counsel for the Imperial Irrigation District, accompanied by Mr. Carl Bevins, president; Mr. Robert Carter, general manager, and Mr. Reginald Knox, general counsel.


Mr. Ely. Mr. Chairman, the hour is late. Our statement has been filed, may I ask that it be inserted into the record as read.

Mr. JOHNSON. Your statement will appear in the record as if read in full. You may summarize, and if the other gentlemen wish to make any remarks, feel free to do so.

Mr. Ely. With me are Robert Carter, general manager of the Imperial Irrigation District; Reginald Knox, general counsel, and Mr. Carl Bevins, director, and member of the Colorado River Board of California.

I would refer the committee to the conclusion of our statement, commencing on page 10. The Imperial Irrigation District, occupying a position at the tail end of the Colorado River system, is perhaps more interested in alleviation of salinity than those who are more fortunate and are located in the upper reaches.

The district has faced up to its problems of silt and salt in the past, and expects to continue to do so in the future. For example, it will be necessary, as shown in the annexed tabulation, to expend approximately $167 million to complete the district and landowners' concrete lining and tile drain programs. The total overall capital outlay, on completion, will exceed $246 million, some $60 million having been spent out of the district's resources.

The Imperial Irrigation District has made and is making its contributions, and we feel that it is appropriate, as well as timely, for the United States to do its part to reduce salinity of the waters reaching


Imperial Irrigation District does not desire a reduction of its rights or obligations with respect to the main All-American Canal, and prefers that the full capacity of the main canal be maintained.

If there are to be changes in any water delivery contracts, they will be amendments or supplements negotiated between the Secretary and the particular water user, such as Imperial Irrigation District, or Coachella Valley County Water District, without effect on contractual rights of others.

We made amendments to both H.R. 12165 and H.R. 12834 to carry out the foregoing recommendations.

Imperial Irrigation District takes this occasion to state its appreciation for the efforts of the Committee of Fourteen, and its support, in principle, of the committee's recommendations.

The Imperial Irrigation District believes that the Government should move forward with its obligation to fund this legislation to accomplish the objectives as a national obligation. We strongly recommend enactment of H.R. 12165 because it comes to grips with the salinity problem on a basinwide basis.

Thank you, Mr. Chairman.

Mr. Johnson. Thank you for your statement, and your summary; it is very thoroughly stated, concerning the interests of the people you represent.

I was down in the area of the Imperial Valley long before knowledge of these things. My first venture was back in the midtwenties when I used to go down to help harvest the crops. Then I was in and out of there through 1938. I noticed a great change when we made the trip down there 2 years ago. We saw from the air that you

have continued to perfect it. I have never seen a better irrigation district improvement for cropping and for drainage works than has been built. When we got on the ground we had the opportunity to see the drainage program. They were having some problems and were installing a new type of drainage. They tell us you have now taken care of that.

We certainly don't want to do anything in this legislation that would in any way impede your operation there, as you have had a very successful irrigation district over a period of time.

Mr. Ely. It has been for the period of time that we have been in existence, and I assume it will continue to be that way.

Mr. JOHNSON. Do the other gentlemen have anything to say?

Mr. CARTER. I think the record speaks for itself. And as you said, going over the ground with us a couple of years ago, you did see firsthand the problems we are confronted with.

Mr. JOHNSON. Mr. Knox?
Mr. Knox. I have nothing, Mr. Chairman.

Mr. BLEVINS. As counsel noted, we have put an amendment in there, and ask for consideration as far as our interest and protection is concerned.

Mr. Johnson. We thank you for coming, gentlemen. I have noted that you have been here for the entire hearings, so you know the story of the administration. I am glad to see you supporting H.R. 12165, and support the Committee of Fourteen. Thank you.


ELY, SPECIAL COUNSEL Mr. Chairman, my name is Northcutt Ely. I am an attorney with offices in Washington, D.C. I am appearing before this Committee today to present the views of the Imperial Irrigation District of Imperial County, California.


First, I would like to point out, for the benefit of Irrigation and Reclamation Water and Power Committee members on Interior and Insular Affairs, that Imperial Irrigation District is a publicly-owned water and power utility organized pursuant to the Irrigation District Act of 1911, which operates under the Water Code of the State of California.


The District performs three functions: (a) Diversion, transmission and delivery of Colorado River water for irrigation and domestic uses; (b) Operation and maintenance of drainage canals and facilities; and (c) Generation, transmission and distribution of electric energy to a 7,500 square mile area equal in size to the states of Connecticut and Rhode Island.

Under rights which are vested, the District annually diverts approximately 2.9 million acre-feet of water from the Colorado River at Imperial Dam, and transports the same into the main All American Canal for a distance of 80 miles

into its 1,650 mile canal system to serve 6,000 headgates which, in turn, deliver water to 444,000 acres of farmland and to the seven incorporated cities for municipal and industrial purposes within its service area. Said area is principally comprised of the Imperial Unit, which occupies the central and main portion of land within the boundaries of the District (see General Map 27F0189 attached).1

The District is the largest single diverter in the entire Colorado River system, with present perfected and vested rights to the water it diverts dating back to 1901. The District enjoys a third priority for the water it receives from the Colorado River pursuant to the Seven-Party Agreement, the California Limitations Act, the Colorado River Compact, and the Boulder Canyon Project Act.

The District further provides a 1,375 mile drainage system serving an 18,988 mile_grid of subsurface farm drains, which serve 385,146 acres (as of 12/31/73, see Exhibit B). This system, in turn, helps to remove four million tons of salt from the soil annually, resulting in the net removal of 500,000 tons of salt from Imperial Valley soils each year, which is a direct reflection of the historic application of Colorado River water.


The contract service area of the District, including Imperial, East Mesa, West Mesa, and Pilot Knob units, approximates one million acres (see Exhibit 27F0189). The presently developed area of Imperial Valley is part of a delta of the Colorado River. The soil, to great depths, is made up of silt brought in by the river from the seven states of the Colorado River Basin. These highly stratified alluvial deposits, comprised of fine-textured clays, silts and fine sands, have resulted in a very complex soil which has offered many problems in connection with providing adequate drainage.

Though these river deposits of silts and fine sands in place have produced a splendid productive record from an agricultural point of view, we must not forget the difficulty the District experienced during its early years of development when it had to adjust its operations to handle tremendous volumes of suspended solids. Obviously, this silt burden represented a high degree of pollution; but, on the other hand, we must accept the fact that it was a problem that created a challenge to the pioneers who had to resolve it. I have heard it said that “The First Forty Years of Imperial Valley History” vividly sets forth the trials and tribulations suffered in attempting to recover enough water from the mud to grow a crop.


Though the District has been successful in controlling the silt problem to a certain degree, it now faces the pollution problem of salinity. This has yet to be resolved, although Imperial, with its own resources, has accomplished a great deal at high cost. For example, as shown in the appendix, nearly $67,000,000 has already been spent to create a massive drainage system. Further, in 1957, the District expended 1.5 million dollars to construct the Vail Cutoff Canal and the Rositas Supply Canal, intertying the East Highline Canal with lands to the west of the Alamo River. These canals serve a combined area of 50,000 acres, which were previously served by diversions from that river. It became obvious, however, in the mid 1950's that the salinity level in the Alamo River had reached an intolerable level, and that the supply of water for these acreages must, necessarily, be of a better quality.

In reviewing the records, we find the quality of water coming into our system as late as 1953 averaged 600 ppm at a minimum, while today we are required to use water that averages approximately 900 ppm. The battle against salinity has been a continuous one. Of the 444,000 agricultural acres referred to previously, 385,000 acres had subsurface tiling installed by the end of 1973, at a cost of $43,759,700, leaving 59,000 acres to be tiled, which will cost an additional $25,400,000, thus representing a total capital investment of $69,159,700 (see Exhibit B).

In 1968, Imperial Irrigation District presented testimony before the Subcommittee on Irrigation and Reclamation, of the House of Representatives Committee on Interior and Insular Affairs during hearings concerning Bills H.R. 3300 and S. B. 1004. On page 884 of the transcript of these hearings T-1044 entitled, “Salinity of Irrigation Water Received by District and Leaching Requirement, 1964-66", (resubmitted here under the same designation), indicates that 926 ppm water requires a leaching factor of 22%.

1 Placed in Subcommittee file.

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