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Section 103 of H.R. 12165 would appear to give authorization to a pumping war between the United States and Mexico. The section seems to say that if agreement can't be reached with Mexico on ground water pumping, then we should go ahead and start pumping ground water furiously ourselves. We will thus wind up with the United States on one side and Mexico on the other each pumping madly without regard to consequences.


In Section 204 of H.R. 12165 we think it would be desirable that provision be made that in the membership of the Advisory Council at least one member from each state be a representative of the environmental viewpoint.


We close by urging this Committee to undertake a full scale review of all irrigation projects proposed or in early stages of construction in order to determine their salinity problems, what downstream damages they might cause, and what the cleanup costs will amount to. We hope the Committee will take a critical look at the salinity problems associated with the Garrison Diversion Project in North Dakota. This project could do to Canada what the Wellton-Mohawk irrigation has done to Mexico. Last fall the Canadian Government sent a very strong note of protest to our State Department about the impending contamination of Canadian waters with salty return flows from the Garrison Diversion Project. The Bureau of Reclamation still does not know what it's going to do with these salty return flows. The Oahe Diversion Project in South Dakota is another project whose salinity problems are not adequately understood or appreciated by the Bureau of Reclamation. The Garrison and Oahe Projects typify the "build now study later”' attitude that has got to be changed if we wish to avoid serious problems in the future. We urged the Committee to take swift action to place a moratorium on these projects so that we can prevent ourselves from getting into a situation comparable to that which we now find ourselves in with Mexico.


THE SIERRA CLUB I am John A. McComb. I am employed by the Sierra Club as their Southwest Field Representative. I have an office located at 2014 East Broadway, Tucson, Arizona 85719. My territory includes virtually all of the Colorado River Basin. The Sierra Club has a long history of active interest in water resources and related development programs in the Basin. It is in large measure as a result of these programs that we are now confronted with the problems of increasing salinity of the waters of the Colorado River.

The problems, both domestic and international, resulting from salinity increases are well documented. A continuation of the present trend is clearly not desirable. The Sierra Club generally agrees that a program to control the salinity of the Colorado is badly needed. However, we do have some specific concerns about the institutional arrangements and types of projects that might be used to control salinity. The remainder of my statement deals with these concerns.


The largest feature of the proposed construction program to implement Minute 242 is a desalting plant whose sole purpose is to control the salinity of the drain waters from the Wellton Mohawk Division of the Gila Project. Estimated capital costs of this project and related facilities are nearly $100 million. Operating costs are expected to be nearly $10 million annually. The facility will require about 276 million kwh of electrical energy annually. The present worth of the capital costs plus the operational costs is approximately $250 million. Included in this program is a limited reduction in acreage within the Wellton Mohawk Division in order to reduce the amount of saline drain water which needs treatment.

The analysis of options prepared for the Department of State indicates that the same end in terms of salinity control might be achieved by total shutdown of the Wellton Mohawk Division at a cost of about $150 million, substantially below the cost of the program outlined by the administration. Admittedly the alternative of total shutdown would have a serious impact on the local human environment. However, in view of the high cost of the desalting plant and its accompanying wasteful use of energy, we believe that much more emphasis should be placed on shutdown (total or partial) of the Wellton Mohawk Division. This irrigation project has been plagued by problems from its very inception and we seriously question the wisdom of any further unneccesary expenditures of federal funds in order to keep it in operation. Since the cost estimates referred to above may not be strictly comparable, we ask that further study be given to the costs associated with shutdown of the division. Only with such information can a logical balance be achieved between the capital and resource intensive desalting plant and the nonstructural alternative of acreage reduction.

Page 7, lines 1 through 4 of H.R. 12165 contains an authorization for control measures below Painted Rock Dam. None of the ducuments we have seen describe just what control measures might be ocntemplated nor is there any information on their environmental impact. The Gila River channel and associated riparian vegetation below Painted Rock Dam is critical wildlife habitat. We are concerned that this provision might be construed to authorize or otherwise encourage channelization of this river or other works that could be very detrimental to this habitat. We urge that this provision be deleted.


Title II of H.R. 12165 authorizes a program of salinity control works in the Colorado River Basin. These works are all directed towards the end of reducing salt loads. While we have no specific objections at this time to any of the three projects (Grand Valley, Paradox Valley, or Las Vegas Wash) authorized by this bill, we are concerned about the general philosophy which appears to favor capital and resource intensive projects over non-structural programs which might achieve the same end.

In particular we believe that the alternative of limiting further water resource development deserves much more study and emphasis even though this alternative would be viewed as heresy or a denial of some absolute right by the water resource development agencies of the Upper Basin States. It is not clear, however, that this alternative is unacceptable to many of the residents of the area. We believe that more emphasis on this alternative would be welcomed by that increasing segment of the public which is concerned with our present indiscriminate quantitative growth mania without any regard for quality. The combined economic and environmental cost of “complete" water resource development in the Colorado River Basin may well exceed the benefits of such development.

The existing compacts and other legal measures which apportion the water among the various states should not be regarded as a license for development at any cost. The alternative of limiting development has many political, economic, and environmental ramifications, but it should definitely not be casually dismissed.

The Sierra Club generally agrees that a program to reduce salt loads should be pursued. However, we believe that such control programs should be directed primarily at man caused increases in the salt load. The Grand Valley and Las Vegas Wash projects are good examples. Many of the natural sources of salt are also features of outstanding natural interest. Attempting to control them could result in destruction or impairment of significant natural values.

One example of this is Blue Spring on the Little Colorado River. Blue Spring is the largest single point source of dissolved solids in the Colorado River Basin. Projects to control this source have been under consideration. We are pleased to see that they are not a part of the present proposal.

Blue Spring itself is one of the largest springs in the West and thus is of interest for that reason alone. The canyon in which it is located is an integral part of the Grand Canyon in addition to being spectacular in its own right. Thirdly, the high mineral content of the water has formed a series of beautiful travertine dams in the thirteen miles between Blue Spring and the confluence of the Little Colorado River with the main stream. Another factor is the religious significance of these springs to several Indian tribes.

Many other natural sources of dissolved solids have similar values which deserve protection. Programs which would affect these sources should very carefully weigh the economic benefit of reduced salt load against the adverse effects the control program might have on features of natural interest.

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Our last major concern with Title II lies in the financing system proposed. Even though this legislation specifically refers only to the three projects authorized, it may well become a model for financing future salinity control projects if adopted.

Ön the surface it appears to provide that 75% of the total cost shall be borne by the federal government with 25% to come from local interests via the basin funds. In reality, much if not all of the latter 25% is also non-reimbursible since the basin funds in themselves are an integral part of the heavy federal subsidy of water resources development projects.

We strongly believe that the costs of any salinity control program should be borne by the beneficiaries, or those responsible for the salinity increases, or perhaps some combination. In the case of future water resource development projects or other activities that increase the salinity, we urge that costs of salinity control be considered as an integral part of the cost of the development and be entirely paid by the beneficiaries of that development, rather than being considered as an obligation of the federal government.

One example I would like to mention concerns the potential impact on salinity of the oil shale developments proposed for the Upper Basin. It seems obvious to me that the salinity control costs associated with this development should be borne by the oil shale industry, and not the public at large. We believe that this same principle should apply to all projects (large or small) which contribute to the salinity problem of the Colorado River.

The attempt to justify 75% of salinity control project costs as non-reimbursible on the basis of the policy established by the Federal Water Pollution Control Act Amendments of 1972 is not in accord with either the intent of or the specific language of that Act. This Act suggests such a subsidy only for domestic waste treatment facilities and it very carefully excluded industrial and agricultural sources of pollution from receiving such largesse. The salinity increases in the Colorado River system are due primarily to agricultural and industrial users and not domestic sewage, If there is to be any subsidy for salinity control projects it should be limited to financial assistance to projects designed to control domestic sewage.

Thank you for this opportunity to present our views.

Mr. JOHNSON. Our last witness this morning will be Mr. L. Graeme Bell II, attorney with the Native American Rights Fund, representing the Cocopah Indians.


Mr. BELL. I am here today speaking on behalf of the Cocopah Tribe of Indians, which occupy a reservation some 15 miles out of Yuma along the Colorado River. I say along the Colorado River, but for the last 2 years they have been fighting to get back the land. Recently there was a decision in the U.S. District Court in Phoenix saying that this land does rightfully belong to them.

As we understand the plans involved by the Department of the Interior project of desalination plant is on land s recently included within the Cocopah Reservation. My clients are very concerned about this for a number of reasons.

The first is that they are very proud having won these lands; the second problem is that they fear the canal will cut them off from the river, which of course is a very valuable resource to them; thirdly, they worry very much about the seepage of the high saline water into their water supply, the water supply that serves the reservation.

I am here today not to make a suggestion as to an amendment, or a discussion as to what my clients ultimately feel about the bill. I would like, if possible, to keep the record open for a period of 4, or 5 days, the end of next week, for receipt of more technical comments by my clients.

Mr. Johnson. Your request will be granted and the record will be kept open for 10 days for the benefit of all those who testified, and some who might not have been notified and want to get something into the record.

Mr. BELL. Thank you, Mr. Chairman.

Mr. JOHNSON. Are there any other witnesses? If not, I want to thank all of you who have appeared. As stated, the record will be held open for 10 days. Anyone having any suggestions, amendments, or information that he would like to get into the record, may submit it within 10 days. [The following late statements and letters were recorded :)


Los Angeles, March 12, 1974.
Chairman, House Interior and Insular Affairs, Subcommittee on Water and Power

Resources, House Office Building, Washington, D.C. DEAR CONGRESSMAN JOHNSON: Enclosed is a copy of a resolution adopted by the Colorado River Board of California in support of the “Colorado River Basin Salinity Control Act of 1974” (H.R. 12165).

The Colorado River Board of California is the state agency charged with the responsibility for protecting the rights and interests of California, its agencies and citizens, to the water and power resources of the Colorado River system. The Board is represented on the seven-state Committee of Fourteen through its Chief Engineer, Myron B. Holburt. On March 5, 1974, the Committee of Fourteen presented a statement on behalf of the Governors of the seven Colorado River Basin states that recommended enactment of H.R. 12165, subject to specific amendments to the bill. The views of the Colorado River Board of California are reflected in that statement.

The Board is composed of six members, each from one of the major public agencies of California having established water or power rights from the Colorado River. These agencies are: The Metropolitan Water District of Southern California, City of Los Angeles-Department of Water and Power, Imperial Irrigation District, San Diego County Water Authority, Coachella Valley County Water District, and Palo Verde Irrigation District. Each of the afore-mentioned agencies have also supported H.R. 12165 in statements to your committee.

We would appreciate it if this letter and resolution were made a part of the record of the March 4-8, 1974, hearings on H.R. 12165. Respectfully yours,


Chairman and Colorado River Commissioner. Enclosure:

RESOLUTION OF COLORADO RIVER BOARD OF CALIFORNIA The Colorado River Board of California supports in principle the Colorado River Basin Salinity Control Act of 1974 (H.R. 12165) introduced in the Second Session of the 93d Congress, which encompasses the following objectives:

1. To provide for the construction, operation and maintenance of four salinity control projects in the Colorado River Basin that would remove from 514,000 to 594,000 tons per year of dissolved salt from the river system, thereby reducing the impact of continuing increases in the river's salinity on users both in the United States and Mexico,

2. To provide for the construction, operation, and maintenance of those facilities and non-structural measures to implement the recent agreement with Mexico (Minute 242, of the International Boundary and Water Commission) pertaining to the salinity of the Colorado River,

3. To expedite the investigation, planning, and implementation of the salinity control program generally as described in Chapter VI of the Secretary of the Interior's 1972 report “Colorado River Water Quality Improvement Program”, and


4. To implement the salinity control policy adopted for the Colorado River in the Conclusions and Recommendations of the Seventh Session of the Conference in the matter of Pollution of the Interstate Waters of the Colorado River, which includes the objective of maintaining the salinity of the River at or below existing levels, while the Upper Basin continues to develop its compact-apportioned waters. State of California COUNTY OF LOS ANGELES, ss:

I, Harold F. Pellegrin, Executive Secretary of the Colorado River Board of California, do hereby certify that the foregoing is a true copy of a resolution unanimously adopted by said Board at a Postponed Regular Meeting thereof, duly convened and held at its office in Los Angeles, California, on the 21st day of February 1974, at which a quorum of said Board was present and acting throughout. Dated this 22nd day of February 1974.


Executive Secretary.


Boulder, Colo., March 22, 1974. Hon. HAROLD T. JOHNSON, House of Representatives, Longworth House Office Building, Washington, D.C.

DEAR CONGRESSMAN JOHNSON: We enclose a statement on behalf of the Cocopah Tribe of Indians. As you will see from the testimony, the Tribe proposes that land now managed by the Bureau of Land Management be transferred to the Tribe; this exchange would fairly compensate the Tribe for the damage which the Tribe will suffer from the fact that the proposed reject stream will split the Cocopah Reservation in half. This is an extremely important issue to the Tribe and we hope that you will give the proposal every possible consideration.

May I think you for the courtesy which you and Mr. Casey have extended to the Tribe. Very truly yours,



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The Cocopah Tribe of Indians supports the general concepts expressed in H.R. 12165, but believes that additional provisions to protect the rights and interests of the Tribe are essential. The Tribe is organized and recognized by the Secretary of the Interior, pursuant to the Indian Reorganization Act of June 18, 1934 (48 Stat. 984), as amended by the Act of June 15, 1935 (Pub. L. No. 74-147). The Tribe is the governing body of the Cocopah Indian Reservation, located southwest of Yuma, Arizona, established Executive Order No. 2711 on September 27, 1917. The Reservation was thought to consist of 528 acres, although as a result of a recent court decision, discussed below, an additional 877 acres has been added to the Reservation.

In common with many Indian communities, many members of the Tribe are poverty-stricken. Unemployment is a major problem. The Tribe has been striving mightily to develop a self-sufficient economic base on the Reservation, but its efforts have been hampered by several factors. Probably the most severe problem is the small size of the Reservation. The Colorado River Basin in southern Arizona is ideally suited for production of specialty crops but, because of the limited size of the Reservation, agriculture has not provided a means of sustenance for all the tribal members. This situation has been alleviated somewhat as the result of a decision by Judge Walter E. Craig of the United States District Court for the District of Arizona on September 24, 1973.* The Tribe was declared entitled to approximately 877 acres of accreted lands along the Colorado River adjacent to the Reservation. In addition, since 1956, the Tribe has leased two lots covering approximately 62 acres about seven miles southwest of Yuma, Arizona. This additional acreage will help in the struggle for economic viability.

*Cocopah Tribe of Indians v. Morton, No. CIV-70–573-PHX-WEC.

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