Authorizing Construction of the Navajo Indian Irrigation Project and the Initial Stage of the San Juan-Chama Project as participating projects of the Colorado River Storage Project
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The Committee on Interior and Insular Affairs, to whom was referred the bill (H. R. 7596) to authorize the Secretary of the Interior to construct, operate, and maintain the Navajo Indian irrigation project and the initial stage of the San Juan-Chama project as participating projects of the Colorado River storage project, and for other purposes, having considered the same, report favorably thereon without amendment and recommend that the bill do pass.
The bill here reported, H. R. 7596 by Mr. Morris, is a clean bill which includes all of the amendments adopted by the committee to an earlier bill, H. R. 2552, also by Mr. Morris, on which the committee held hearings. Other bills considered by the committee were H. R. 6451 by Mr. Montoya and S. 107.
This legislation would authorize the Secretary of the Interior to construct, operate, and maintain the Navajo Indian irrigation project and the initial stage of the San Juan-Chama project as participating projects of the Colorado River storage project. The construction and operation of these works coordinated with the operation of the Navajo Reservoir, which is presently under construction, would enable New Mexico to put to use a major portion of the water of the Upper Colorado River system to which it is entitled under the Colorado River compact and the Upper Colorado River Basin compact. The Navajo Indian irrigation project would provide for the irrigation of about 110,000 acres for the benefit of the Navajo Indians. The initial phase of the San Juan-Chama project would provide for the diversion from the San Juan Basin to the Rio Grande Basin of about 110,000 acre-feet of water annually to be used to supply irrigation water to an estimated 121,000 acres of land in the Rio Grande Basin and furnish additional municipal and industrial water to the city of Albuquerque.
The committee first considered legislation to authorize these projects in the 86th Congress. Public hearings were held but no action was taken on the legislation. Legislation to authorize the projects passed the Senate in the 85th and 86th Congresses. In the present Congress, S. 107 was approved by the Senate of the United States on March 28, 1961. In the House, extensive hearings were held by the Irrigation and Reclamation Subcommittee on May 15 and 16, and on June 1.
The Navajo Indian irrigation project and the San Juan-Chama project would be authorized by this legislation as participating projects of the Colorado River storage project. They are a part of the plan of comprehensive development of the land and water resources of the Upper Colorado River Basin made possible by the Colorado River compact of 1922 and the Upper Colorado River Basin compact of 1948. The Colorado River Storage Project Act of 1956 provides for the main stream storage reservoirs which permit upper basin development to go forward and at the same time enable the upper basin to meet its commitment to deliver water to the lower basin under the compact. The Navajo Reservoir, which was authorized by the Colorado River Storage Project Act and is presently under construction, provides the regulation of the San Juan River necessary to firm up the water supply of these two projects.
The inclusion of the Navajo Indian irrigation project and the San Juan-Chama project in the upper basin comprehensive plan of development was indicated at the time of enactment of the Colorado River Storage Project Act by the listing of these two projects in such act as projects to which a priority in planning should be given. Also, the Storage Project Act provides, with respect to the Navajo project, that the costs of the Navajo participating project which are above the amount which the lands are capable of repaying, shall be nonreimbursable ‘‘in recognition to the fact that assistance to the Navajo Indians is the responsibility of the entire Nation.’’
The proposed plan of development of the Navajo Indian irrigation project contemplates the construction of facilities to provide a water supply for the irrigation of lands to be developed solely for Indian use. The total net project area is about 110,000 acres requiring a diversion annually of about 508,000 acre-feet of water. The area would include some off reservation lands, the acquisition of which for the Navajo Indians is provided for in the legislation. The project works would consist of a main canal, pumping plants, and a small seasonally operated powerplant. The main canal, which diverts from the Navajo reservoir near the dam, would be approximately 152 miles long with a capacity ranging from 2,405 cubic feet per second at Navajo Dam to 1,150 cubic feet per second at the end. The water would be diverted from the Navajo Reservoir at an elevation of 5,990 feet. At a distance of 75.6 miles from the main gravity canal heading, the water required for serving project lands west of Chaco Wash would be dropped through the 15,000-kilowatt Gallegos powerplant. The energy generated, which would be available only during the irrigation season, would be used solely to operate the three pumping plants. The main canal would extend an additional 77 miles beyond the powerplant to serve additional project lands. The Gallegos pumping plant, having a static head of 214 feet, would be located on the main gravity canal at the east reservation boundary line and would supply water to a net area of 9,273 acres. The Newcomb pumping plant, having a static head of 170 feet, would be located approximately 4 miles south of the village of Newcomb, and would supply water from the main canal to a net area of 6,688 acres. The Bennett Peak pumping plant, having a static head of 170 feet, would be located approximately 7 miles north of the village of Newcomb, and would supply water from the main canal to a net area of 12,940 acres.
The project is adapted to serve municipal and industrial water users as well as its primary purpose of irrigation. The officials of the State of New Mexico anticipate that a relatively large municipal and industrial water demand will develop in the San Juan River Basin. The legislation would authorize the provision of additional capacity for such purposes over and above that needed for irrigation on the Navajo Indian irrigation project. However, under language in the bill as amended, this capacity cannot be provided until contracts covering the furnishing of this additional water from Navajo Reservoir and the repayment for the additional capacity in the reservoir have been executed and approved by the Congress.
The proposed plan of development of the initial stage of the San Juan-Chama project contemplates an average annual diversion of about 110,000 acre-feet from the San Juan River for utilization in the Rio Grande Basin in New Mexico.
The imported waters would be used to provide, by exchange, an irrigation water supply to 39,300 acres of land in the Cerro, Taos, Llana, and Pojoaque tributary irrigation units in the Rio Grande Basin of which 22,800 acres are now irrigated and 16,500 acres are presently unirrigated lands interspersed among the irrigated portions. The imported waters would also provide a supplemental irrigation water supply for about 81,600 acres of irrigable land in the existing Middle Rio Grande Conservancy District. In addition to the irrigation supply, the imported waters would be used for the supply of about 50,000 acre-feet of additional municipal and industrial water annually to the city of Albuquerque. Recreation and the preservation and propagation of fish and wildlife would also be purposes of the project.
The works to be constructed involve three major elements, namely, the diversion facilities, the regulation facilities, and the water-use facilities. The diversion facilities, located in the San Juan Basin above Navajo Reservoir, would consist of three concrete diversion dams, feeder canals, and the main conduit. The regulation facilities, located across the Continental Divide, would comprise the proposed Heron No. 4 dam and reservoir with a capacity of 400,000 acre-feet and the enlargement of the outlet works of the existing El Vado Dam. The water-use facilities consist of four reservoirs required for the regulation of tributary flows to furnish water directly to the lands of the tributary units.
Available flows of the Rio Blanco, Little Navajo, and Navajo Rivers, all of which are tributaries of the San Juan River, would be diverted by the diversion works and feeder canals through the Continental Divide for release into the Willow Creek watershed of the Rio Grande Basin. The imported waters would be captured and regulated in the Heron No. 4 Reservoir and then released directly into the Rio Chama to fulfill the allocations for the several project purposes. The enlargement of the El Vado outlet works would permit passing Heron No. 4 releases through El Vado reservoir unimpeded in order to insure compliance with the Rio Grande compact. Water allocated to the Middle Rio Grande Conservancy District and to the municipal and industrial water supply would be released directly to those users from Heron No. 4 reservoir with no specific facilities provided for delivery of such waters. Water for the district would be diverted through the existing irrigation system while water for the city of Albuquerque would be delivered in the river channel by recharge of the ground water aquifer, or at diversions to be provided by the city. Releases would also be made from Heron No. 4 to replace water consumed on the tributary irrigation units.
A water measurement program is contemplated for project operation to account for both Rio Grande flows and imported San Juan River flows to assure complete replacement of depletions on the tributary units to the Rio Grande. The plan of development does not contemplate use of the imported waters to meet any deficiencies that now or in the future accrue under the Rio Grande compact. Also, it is not intended that the flow of the Rio Grande at the New Mexico-Texas line be increased.
The lands proposed for irrigation on the Navajo Indian irrigation project are situated on an elevated plain south of the San Juan River in San Juan County, northwestern New Mexico. The project lands range in elevation from 5,580 feet to 5,950 feet and lie from 200 to 500 feet above the river. The lands proposed for irrigation are located primarily in two large areas totaling about 110,000 acres of which about 40,000 are class 1 lands and 70,000 acres are class 2 lands.
The project area has a temperate and semiarid climate with a frost-free growing season of about 160 days. The annual average precipitation is about 8 inches with about half of the rainfall occurring during the growing season. Irrigation is necessary for successful crop production in the San Juan River Basin. With irrigation, however, the project lands are well suited for the raising of the types of crops normally grown on irrigated lands.
The project lands located on the Navajo Reservation are presently used by individual Navajo Indians under assignment from the tribe for grazing purposes and those project lands located outside the boundary of the reservation are used by Navajo Indian allottees and private ranchers for the same purposes.
The chronic economic distress among the Navajo people has long been a matter of national concern. There are now 85,000 Navajos on the reservation and their population is increasing. The low standard of living which prevails has resulted mainly from lack of opportunity. The Navajo project would provide irrigation benefits that would give the Navajos a better standard of living. It would provide a means of self-support for 1,120 families on farm units and create employment for an additional 2,240 families. It is estimated that the project would provide a substantial living for about 17,000 people of the present Navajo Indian population.
The San Juan-Chama project area varies widely in elevation from high mountains to the low valley lands of the Rio Grande Basin, with the elevation of most of the agricultural land ranging from 4,000 to 6,000 feet. The average annual rainfall varies from as little as 8 inches a year in the Rio Grande Valley to more than 30 inches in the high mountain areas. The Rio Grande Valley is one of the oldest agricultural areas in the United States. The agricultural economy of the valley is based primarily on irrigated land with grazing lands second in importance. The major part of the irrigated land in the basin is within organized irrigation districts. The remainder of the irrigated lands lie in small tracts along the upper tributaries and are supplied water through private or community-owned ditches.
The water needs of the Rio Grande Basin far exceed the amounts of water available, either in the basin or for diversion from the San Juan Basin. Water is the most precious natural resource in the State and is a limiting factor in the State's economic development.
The economic plight of the small communities on tributary streams in the northern part of the Rio Grande Basin has long been recognized as a major problem of the State. The economy of these rural areas is based on irrigated agriculture with the water supplies being obtained by diversion of the unregulated flows of the tributary streams. The most critical need in these areas is for an adequate and firm supply of water.
The need for municipal and industrial water in the Rio Grande Basin is even more critical than the need for irrigation water. Albuquerque is one of the fastest growing cities in the United States. The present population of the Albuquerque area is about 264,000 and it is estimated that this population will exceed 750,000 by the year 2000. This population increase has reflected an expansion of military activities and the growth of industry. Large installations in the vicinity of Albuquerque, including the Los Alamos Scientific Laboratory of the Atomic Energy Commission, play a big role in our program of research and development for national defense. An assured water supply is essential for the continuation of this program and for the anticipated growth of Albuquerque as a trade, industrial, and recreational center in the Southwest. Up to the present time the increased water needs have been met from underground sources. However, these sources are being exhausted faster than they can be replenished from surface flows. Curtailment of water use due to inadequate supplies has already occurred. It is necessary that future growth be provided for by the importation of additional surface water supplies for municipal and industrial uses.
In the State of New Mexico, with the arid climate, water is the limiting factor in its development. Water needs far exceed the available supply. The availability of water for the Navajo Indian irrigation project and the initial stage of the San Juan-Chama project became a primary factor in the committee's consideration of these two projects. Testimony and information given the committee included several different water supply studies, and, as a result, there appeared to be differences with respect to the available water supply. In addition to the committee members' study and questions of witnesses to clarify the water supply situation, the committee staff was directed to make a study of the water supply including an analysis of the various studies and testimony presented. The staff analysis indicated that the apparent discrepancies or differences were the result of different assumptions. The staff study covered not only the physical availability of water for the two projects but the matter of New Mexico's entitlement under the Colorado River compact and the Upper Colorado River Basin compact. The study indicated there is an adequate water supply for these two projects.
In connection with the water supply for these two projects, California witnesses called to the committee's attention the report of the special master appointed by the Supreme Court in the case of Arizona v. California and particularly to portions thereof which, it was said, construe certain congressional reports as indicating that future upper basin consumptive uses will not exceed 4,800,000 acre-feet per year. Exceptions to the master's report have been filed with the Court, but the case has not yet been argued. For the purposes of the committee, it is sufficient to point out that the Colorado River Storage Project Act was enacted for the purpose declared in section 1 of--
making it possible for the States of the upper basin to utilize, consistently with the provisions of the Colorado River compact, the apportionments made to and among them in the Colorado River compact and the Upper Colorado River Basin compact, respectively * * *
It is not the intention of Congress, in authorizing only those projects designated in section 1 of this Act, and in authorizing priority in planning only those additional projects designated in section 2 of this Act, to limit, restrict, or otherwise interfere with such comprehensive development as will provide for the consumptive use by States of the Upper Colorado River Basin of waters, the use of which is apportioned to the Upper Colorado River Basin by the Colorado River compact and to each State thereof by the Upper Colorado River Basin compact, nor to preclude consideration and authorization by the Congress of additional projects under the allocations in the compacts as additional needs are indicated.
Based upon the study of committee members and staff and upon the testimony given, the committee concludes that water is physically available and within New Mexico's entitlement under the compacts for the successful operation of the Navajo Indian irrigation project and the initial stage of the San Juan-Chama project. At the same time, the committee points out that its studies indicate that, with these two projects in operation, water uses in New Mexico may be approaching New Mexico's expected compact entitlement. The committee has added language in the legislation to require that additional water uses from Navajo Reservoir be fully justified on the basis of additional hydrologic studies and to require that contracts covering such additional uses be approved by the Congress before such contracts are executed.
The Navajo Indian irrigation project is estimated to cost $134,359,000. This amount does not include any part of the cost of Navajo Dam and Reservoir or the cost of surveys and investigations. The part of the Navajo Reservoir cost which had been allocated to the Navajo Indian irrigation project is $18,453,000 and the cost of surveys and investigations is $974,000. The entire project cost is allocated to irrigation.
The Navajo Indian irrigation project would produce four types of measurable benefits. They are (1) direct benefits--the increased net farm income resulting from irrigation: (2) indirect benefits--the benefits derived from secondary use of products: (3) public benefits--the benefits resulting from increased or improved settlement, employment and investment opportunities, community service facilities, and the stabilization of local and regional economy: and (4) school benefits--benefits from reduction in cost to the U.S. Government in providing schools for the Navajo children.
The total annual amount for all four types of benefits was determined to be $8,536,900, consisting of $3,365,400 in direct benefits, $3,019,900 in indirect benefits, $1,194,000 in public benefits, and $957,600 in school benefits. On the basis of a 100-year period of analysis, the benefit-cost ratio would be 1.62 to 1.
Repayment ability studies indicate that class I lands could repay toward construction $4.90 per acre per year, and that class II lands could repay $3.15 per acre per year. During a 50-year period the total repayment capability of the lands would be $20,920,000. Under the provisions of the Colorado River Storage Project Act of April 1, 1956, this amount of $20,920,000 is subject to the Leavitt Act of July 1, 1932, and repayment would be deferred as long as the lands remain in Indian ownership. Also, under the Colorado River Storage Project Act, the remaining amount of $113,439,000 would be nonreimbursable in recognition of the fact that assistance to the Navajo Indians is the responsibility of the entire Nation.
The initial stage of the San Juan-Chama project is estimated to cost about $86 million on the basis of current price levels. This amount has been allocated by the Bureau as follows: $53,400,000 to irrigation, $29,200,000 to municipal and industrial water, $400,000 to recreation, with $3 million deferred. The committee deleted the authority for the deferred cost allocation, requiring the reallocation of the $3 million. This results in an allocation of $55,338,000 to irrigation and an allocation of $30,262,000 to municipal and industrial water.
The initial stage of the San Juan-Chama project would produce annual benefits of $3,767,000, consisting of $2,258,000 in irrigation benefits, $1,426,000 in municipal and industrial water benefits, and $83,000 in recreational benefits. The overall benefit-cost ratio, analyzed over a period of 100 years, was determined to be about 1.26 to 1. Details of the economic studies indicate that the benefit-cost ratios for all purposes and for each tributary unit are better than 1 to 1.
The repayment ability studies of the Bureau indicate expected payments toward construction costs ranging from $2.35 per acre per year to $6.25 per acre per year from the tributary units and $0.54 per acre per year for the supplemental water furnished the Middle Rio Grande Conservancy District. The total payment by the irrigation water users over the 50-year repayment period is estimated to be $8 million. The remainder of the irrigation allocation amounting to $47,338,000 would be repaid from New Mexico's entitlement of surplus power revenues in the Colorado River Basin fund. The 1960 financial analysis of the Colorado River storage project indicates that revenues in the basin fund credited to New Mexico will be sufficient to repay this amount within the required repayment period.
At the present time the 110,000 acres proposed to be irrigated in the Navajo Indian irrigation project are used almost exclusively as dry grazing lands. Under irrigation, it is expected that the lands will be devoted primarily to alfalfa, beans, and irrigated pasture, with some acreage devoted to corn, oats, and barley.
Of the 121,000 acres to be furnished water in the initial stage of the San Juan-Chama project, about 104,000 acres are presently capable of being irrigated, but something less than this number of acres is cropped each year because of the shortage of water. For instance, last year only about 70,000 acres were cropped. The principal crops presently being grown on the San Juan-Chama project lands are alfalfa, hay and pasture, small grains, wheat, corn, barley, and some cotton. Under irrigation, it is expected that most of the 121,000 acres will be irrigated every year. A big increase in acreage devoted to alfalfa and barley is expected, with some increase in acreage devoted to corn and small grains. Decreases are expected in acreage presently devoted to hay and pasture, wheat, and cotton.
One of the matters discussed during the hearings was the relationship of the crops expected to be produced on these two projects to the existing agricultural surplus problem. As a result, the committee adopted amendments which provide that, for a period of 10 years after completion of construction, no water from either of these two projects shall be delivered to the water users for the production on newly irrigated lands of any basic agricultural commodities as defined in section 408(c) of the Agricultural Act of 1949 unless the Secretary of Agriculture calls for an increase in such commodity.
Actually, five crops constitute the bulk of farm commodities under loan or in the inventories of the Commodity Credit Corporation. They are wheat, corn, upland cotton, grain sorghums, and tobacco. While some of these crops are expected to be grown on these two projects, the acreage would be very small. Also, because of the temporary nature of our present crop imbalances, it is very likely that by the time the 10-year restrictive period has expired we will have no agricultural surplus problem. As is the case at present, practically all the corn, grain, and grain sorghums would be used for local feeding. Records furnished the committee for 1959 and 1960 indicate that there are no CCC loans for cotton, corn, and grain sorghums in the project service areas, and loans totaling only about $11,000 for wheat.
Most agricultural authorities believe that our present crop imbalances are only temporary and that continued efforts are needed in the conservation and development of our soil and water resources. Population growth in the United States to 330 million, which is expected to occur prior to the year 2000, plus the increase in per capita consumption will boost the total requirement for food products to a level double that of the present time. This tremendous population growth combined with the fact that the acreage of good cropland is diminishing at a rate of about 3,000 acres per day due to the construction of new roads, airports, cities and so forth will very likely change our present agricultural abundance to agricultural shortages in the not-too-distant future. It appears that the continued development of supplemental water supplies for existing irrigated areas as well as water supplies for new lands is entirely consistent with sound, long-term agricultural objectives.
The committee wants to make it absolutely clear that the reference to that portion of the San Juan-Chama project proposed for authorization in this legislation as the ‘‘initial stage’’ of the San Juan-Chama project and the authority contained in this legislation to build excess capacity into certain of the collection and diversion works is not to be construed or interpreted as committing the Congress to future authorization of works for any additional diversions of water from the San Juan Basin or as indicating any expectation that the Congress will authorize the extension of the San Juan-Chama project in the future. The reference to the project authorized by this legislation as the ‘‘initial stage’’ corresponds to the plans and report of the Department of the Interior and is necessary for identification of the works to be built. The committee understands that the capacity which is frequently referred to as ‘‘excess’’ and which would be necessary if the project were later enlarged will also serve a useful purpose in connection with the initial stage in that it will permit more efficient operation of the initial stage. In addition, should additional diversions be possible sometime in the future because of favorable water conditions, shifts in water use, etc., the cost of adding the capacity at that time would be many times the cost of building this capacity into the presently proposed works.
The committee took the position of not objecting to including the excess capacity since New Mexico feels that the possibility of future diversions warrants the relatively small expenditure at this time and the State is willing to repay the cost of providing the excess capacity as a part of the project cost from revenues in the basin fund assigned to New Mexico.
The committee has received testimony indicating that there is agreement on this legislation within the State of New Mexico and among all the States of the upper basin. It took many years for the State of New Mexico itself to arrive at a unified position on this use of a major portion of its available water supply. In recent years there has been some difference of opinion between New Mexico and Colorado as to the effect of the operation of these New Mexico developments upon proposed development in Colorado. Agreement between New Mexico and Colorado has now been reached on the language in this legislation although there remains some concern by the Southwestern Water Conservation District of Colorado.
The committee believes that the future development of the Animas-La Plata project in Colorado and New Mexico would not be adversely affected by the projects authorized in this legislation but will be benefited by the operation of the Navajo Reservoir pursuant to language included in this legislation.
The first amendment to the original bill adopted by the committee was in the nature of a substitute bill which rearranged the makeup of the legislation into three parts entitled ‘‘Navajo Indian Irrigation Project’’, ‘‘San Juan-Chama Reclamation Project--Initial Stage,’’ and ‘‘General.’’ In other words, the two projects proposed for authorization are clearly separated in the legislation. A section authorizing the appropriation of funds is included for each project. The language in the section authorizing appropriations for the Navajo project requires that the funds needed for construction be included in the budget for the Bureau of Indian Affairs and that appropriations be made to that agency. The purpose of this amendment is to make it clear that the Navajo Indian irrigation project would be funded and operated as an Indian project under Indian laws even though the construction would be by the Bureau of Reclamation.
Among the other amendments adopted by the committee are several which have been already mentioned hereinbefore. Two of these relate to our agricultural surplus problem and restrict for 10 years the growing of crops that are in surplus on any new lands of either project. Another relates to the supplying of additional water from the Navajo Reservoir and requires additional hydrologic studies, determinations as to the availability of the water by the Secretary, and approval by the Congress of the contracts covering such additional supply before any water other than that required for these two projects can be furnished from Navajo Reservoir. This amendment makes it clear, however, that there is no prohibition against temporary water supply contracts for water uses in New Mexico where water is legally available for use in the upper basin and not needed in other parts of that basin or for delivery at Lees Ferry. The one other amendment already mentioned herein removes the authority for deferring the repayment of some $3 million of the cost of the San Juan-Chama project which is for the excess capacity proposed to be included in certain of the collection and diversion works. The effect is to require the reallocation of this amount, as discussed hereinbefore, and to require the repayment thereof from revenues in the basin fund credited to the State of New Mexico.
The committee adopted an amendment deleting language requiring the Navajo Tribe to pay for the private lands that would be purchased for project use. The tribe would not be prevented from paying for the lands if it wants to. The private land that would have to be purchased would amount of about 5,000 acres and the value is estimated at between $50,000 and $70,000.
The committee adopted a series of amendments consisting of several new sections which are designed to give protection to the States of the lower division and to assure such States that the Colorado River Compact, the Treaty with Mexico, and the various statutes which make up the so-called ‘‘law of the river’’ will be fully complied with. The first of these is a new section which provides that these two projects shall be operated in accordance with the provisions of all the various compacts, statutes, and treaties in effect in the Colorado River Basin, and declares that Congress, by enacting this legislation, does not interpret these documents.
A second new section directs the Secretary of the Interior to comply with all the provisions of the various compacts, statutes, and treaties relative to the storage and release of water and, in the event of the failure of the Secretary to so comply, permits any State of the Colorado River Basin to bring an action in the Supreme Court of the United States to enforce such provisions.
Another new section directs the Secretary to continue his studies of the quality of the water of the Colorado River system and to report the results of his studies to the 87th Congress and every 2 years thereafter.
The last new section provides that the diversion of water for these two projects shall in no way impair or diminish the upper basin States' obligation under article III(b) of the Colorado River Compact with respect to the depletion of flows at Lee Ferry. It also provides that the diversion of water for these two projects shall in no way impair or diminish the obligation of the upper basin States in connection with furnishing water to Mexico under article III(c) of the Colorado River Compact.
On June 16, 1960, the coordinated report of the Bureau of Indian Affairs and the Bureau of Reclamation covering the Navajo Indian irrigation project and the San Juan-Chama reclamation project was transmitted to the Congress with the recommendation of the Secretary of the Interior, Fred A. Seaton, that the two projects be authorized and constructed. This coordinated report has been printed as House Document 424 of the 86th Congress.
On April 5, 1961, the Secretary of the Interior, Stewart L. Udall, reported favorably on this legislation to authorize these two projects, recommending its enactment. Secretary Udall's report and supplemental reports dated April 24, 1961, and June 22, 1961, follow:
DEAR MR. ASPINALL: This responds to your request for the views of this Department on H. R. 2506, a bill granting approval of Navajo Indian irrigation and San Juan-Chama as participating projects of Colorado River storage project, and an identical bill except for the title (H. R. 2552) to authorize the Secretary of the Interior to construct, operate, and maintain the Navajo Indian irrigation project and the initial stage of the San Juan-Chama project as participating projects of the Colorado River storage project, and for other purposes.
These bills would approve the Navajo Indian irrigation project and the initial stage of the San Juan-Chama project as participating projects of the authorized Colorado River storage project and authorize their construction by the Secretary of the Interior. The coordinated planning report on the Navajo Indian irrigation project and the San Juan-Chama project, prepared jointly by the Commissioner of Indian Affairs and the Commissioner of Reclamation, has been submitted to the Congress and printed as House Document 424, 86th Congress.
These bills are consistent with our understanding of agreements reached between representatives of the States of Colorado and New Mexico for such legislation at the time of the hearing held on May 20, 1960, before the House Subcommittee on Irrigation and Reclamation, 86th Congress, 2d session, on H. R. 2352, H. R. 2494, and S. 72.
The proposed plan of development for the Navajo Indian irrigation project contemplates the construction of facilities to provide a water supply for the irrigation of lands to be developed solely for Indian use. The conservation and development of fish and wildlife would be a purpose of the project. The plan would not provide specific works for recreation or flood control.
Prior to construction of the project, studies of incremental canal capacity would be made to determine the feasibility of conveying domestic and industrial water supplies for potential requirements as recommended in the planning report. Officials of the State of New Mexico anticipate that a relatively large industrial water demand will develop in the San Juan River Basin. This would be accompanied by associated water requirements for municipal, domestic, and miscellaneous purposes in the adjacent areas. Prospective municipal and industrial water users have already expressed interest in receiving water from the proposed Navajo Canal and have approached the Department in that regard. Section 4 of the bills would authorize the provision of additional capacity for such purposes over and above the diversion requirements for irrigation on the Navajo Indian irrigation project.
Water for irrigation of the lands proposed to be included in the Navajo Indian irrigation project would be diverted from Navajo Reservoir which is now under construction as a storage unit of the Colorado River storage project. A main gravity canal would extend from Navajo Dam a distance of 75.6 miles to Gallegos powerplant. There the water would be dropped to develop electrical energy for pumping water to lands in the Newcomb and Bennett Peak areas of the project. The main canal would extend an additional 77 miles beyond the powerplant to serve project lands.
A net area of 110,630 acres of irrigable land has been proposed for development. The area would include off-reservation lands to be acquired in the south San Juan division and Navajo Indian Reservation lands in the Shiprock division. Section 3 of the bills would provide authority for the acquisition and addition of the off-reservation lands to the proposed project. The project's productive area, which would exclude farmsteads and other nonproductive areas within farm units, would comprise (a) 8,918 acres served by gravity below the main canal in the south San Juan division and 70,359 acres in the Shiprock division, and (b) 25,882 acres served from the pump canals in the Shiprock division, or a total of about 105,100 acres. An average annual diversion of about 508,000 acre-feet of water from San Juan River would be required for that purpose. This would result in an average annual stream depletion of about 252,000 acre-feet, exclusive of reservoir losses.
The estimated construction cost of the proposed Navajo Indian irrigation project is $135 million on the basis of January 1958 prices which reflect present prices. Operation, maintenance, and replacement costs are estimated to average about $481,000 annually at January 1958 prices. The benefit-cost ratio for the project would be 0.64 to 1 on the basis of direct irrigation benefits only and 1.44 to 1 on the basis of total irrigation benefits. The appraisal of annual economic costs includes the $2 per acre-foot depletion charge of the storage project assigned to all participating projects for all benefit-cost ratio purposes.
As provided by sections 4(d) and 6 of the Colorado River Storage Project Act of April 11, 1956 (70 Stat. 105), authorizing the Colorado River storage project and participating projects, in the event the Navajo participating project is authorized, payment of costs allocated to irrigation of Indian-owned, tribal, or restricted lands within, under, or served by such project within the capability of the land to repay is subject to the act of July 1, 1932 (47 Stat. 564); the costs beyond the capability of such lands to repay are to be determined and, in recognition of the fact that assistance to the Navajo Indians is the responsibility of the entire Nation, shall be nonreimbursable.
The coordinated report on these two proposed projects presents a comprehensive plan of development for the San Juan-Chama project including a plan for development of an initial stage of the project as proposed for authorization in these bills. The plan for ultimate development of the San Juan-Chama project is designed to improve and stabilize the economy of the water-deficient Rio Grande and Canadian River Basins of New Mexico by providing supplemental water to meet rapidly increasing needs. This would be accomplished by diverting water from the upper tributaries of the San Juan River. The water would be used for supplemental irrigation, for replacement of watershed depletions in the Rio Grande Basin, and for an additional supply for municipal, domestic, and industrial purposes. Recreation and conservation and development of fish and wildlife would also be purposes of the project. On the basis of January 1958 prices, the estimated construction cost for the project facilities studied in the plan of development is about $149 million. The evaluated total annual benefits for such a development would exceed the estimated annual costs in a ratio of about 1.7 to 1.
The proposed plan for the initial stage development of the San Juan-Chama project, as recommended by the State of New Mexico, contemplates an average annual diversion of about 110,000 acre-feet from the San Juan River for utilization in the Rio Grande in New Mexico. The imported waters would be used for municipal and industrial water supply (57,300 acre-feet) for the city of Albuquerque; new and supplemental irrigation water supply (30,100 acre-feet) to about 39,300 acres of land in the Cerro, Taos, Llano, and Pojoaque tributary irrigation units in the Rio Grande Basin, N. Mex.; and supplemental water (22,600 acre-feet) for about 81,600 acres of irrigable land in the existing Middle Rio Grande Conservancy District. Recreation and conservation and development of fish and wildlife would also be purposes of the initial stage of development.
The proposed plan of development for the initial stage would involve three major elements, namely, diversion facilities (diversion dams and conduits), regulation facilities (Heron No. 4 dam and reservoir, and enlargement of outlet works of the existing El Vado Dam), and water use facilities (principally for the tributary irrigation units). Minimum basic recreation facilities would also be provided at the five project reservoirs.
The estimated construction cost of the project features of the proposed initial stage, on the basis of January 1958 prices that reflect current price levels, is $86 million, which includes about $400,000 for minimum basic recreation facilities. Project operation, maintenance, and replacement costs are estimated at about $346,000 annually. Of the estimated project construction costs, reimbursable allocations of about $29,200,000 have been made tentatively to municipal and industrial water supply, $53,400,000 to irrigation, and $3 million to future uses. The recreation costs would be nonreimbursable. The proposed initial stage development would have engineering feasibility and would be economically justified in that the evaluated total benefits would exceed the estimated annual costs in a ratio of 1.26 to 1 for a 100-year period of analysis. If direct benefits only are considered in a 50-year period of analysis, that ratio would be about 0.81 to 1.
Costs allocated to municipal and industrial water supply, including interest during construction, would be repaid over a 50-year period with interest on the unamortized balance. Using an interest rate of 2.632 percent in accordance with the current rate under the Colorado River Storage Project Act of April 11, 1956, as amended by the act of June 27, 1960, the total to be paid by the municipal and industrial water users would be about $55,622,000. The cost of raw municipal and industrial water would be about 7.3 cents per 1,000 gallons, or about $24 per acre-foot.
This estimated municipal and industrial water rate would apply to water developed by initial stage construction. Repayment contract terms and water rates under subsequent development would be subject to reexamination as plans develop and additional quantities of municipal and industrial water would be contracted. Where necessary, in the adequate financing of any subsequent development, water rates and repayment provisions could be designed to reflect any significant change in municipal and industrial use, operation and maintenance costs associated therewith and other relevant considerations.
Irrigation water users probably would repay about $8 million of the allocation to irrigation. Repayment contracts would be negotiated and entered into with organizations of the type provided in section 4 of the Colorado River Storage Project Act of April 11, 1956, for contracting on the participating projects authorized by section 1 of that act. The costs allocated to irrigation in excess of the irrigator's ability to repay would be paid from New Mexico's apportionment of the Upper Colorado River Basin fund revenues as provided in the act. Costs allocated to future uses, which would involve the provision of excess capacity in the initial stage to permit later project expansion would also be an obligation against New Mexico's share of the basin fund revenues, to be paid from that apportionment if not otherwise collected as a result of subsequent allocations to the water users.
Authorization of an irrigation development such as the proposed Navajo Indian irrigation project would implement the recognition given in the act of April 11, 1956, of the Nation's responsibility to help alleviate the severe economic distress among the Navajo people by providing them an opportunity to earn a respectable standard of living. It would enable an estimated 1,120 families to establish homes on irrigated farms and would create employment for an additional 2,240 families. The proposed project has the support of the Navajo Indian Tribe and an on-the-farm training program, financed with tribal funds, is in operation to prepare members of the tribe for irrigation farming.
A development such as that which is embraced in the initial stage of the proposed San Juan-Chama project would help materially to meet the pressing need for additional supplies of water in the Rio Grande Basin where present requirements have reached the point where they far exceed available supplies. This need of the Rio Grande Basin vitally affects the welfare of more than half of the population of New Mexico and, if it is not satisfied in the near future, threatens to check the economic development of the State.
The Secretary's planning report on these projects recommends that detailed studies of fish and wildlife resources affected by both projects be conducted in accordance with section 2 of the Fish and Wildlife Coordination Act, and that such reasonable modifications in project facilities and operations, including the acquisition of land, be made by the Secretary as he may find appropriate to preserve and propagate these resources.
We recommend against the retention of section 8(a) of the bill in its present form. The language of this section is not clear. It may be that it is intended to reaffirm the provisions of article VII of the Upper Colorado River compact which charges water used by the United States or its agencies, instrumentalities, or wards to the State in which the use occurs. If this is all the language does, it would have no adverse effect on the operation of Navajo Reservoir or either project to be authorized by these bills, as each of them has been planned within the framework of the compact. If this is the intent, we believe that the section should either be couched in the same terms as article VII of the compact or, since it is unnecessary, be deleted entirely. If it does something more, or limits or restricts the rights of the Indians to the water, its inclusion in the bills is then improper.
DEAR MR. ASPINALL: On April 5, 1961, this Department responded to your request for its views on H. R. 2506, a bill granting approval of Navajo Indian irrigation and San Juan-Chama as participating projects of Colorado River storage project and an identical bill except for the title, H. R. 2552, to authorize the Secretary of the Interior to construct, operate, and maintain the Navajo Indian irrigation project and the initial stage of the San Juan-Chama project as participating projects of the Colorado River storage project, and for other purposes.
In that report we recommended against the retention of section 8(a) of the bills in its present form and, in so doing, suggested either the rewording of the section for clarification, or its deletion. We have given this matter further study and, in light of the clarifying language contained in S. Rept. No. 83, 87th Congress, on S. 107, we have no further objection to the inclusion in the legislation of section 8(a) as it is presently worded.
DEAR MR. ASPINALL: On April 24 we submitted to your committee a report supplementing our April 5 report on H. R. 2506, a bill granting approval of Navajo Indian irrigation and San Juan-Chama as participating projects of Colorado River storage project, and an identical bill except for the title, H. R. 2552, to authorize the Secretary of the Interior to construct, operate, and maintain the Navajo Indian irrigation project and the initial stage of the San Juan-Chama project as participating projects of the Colorado River storage project, and for other purposes.
In compliance with clause 3 of rule XIII of the Rules of the House of Representatives, changes in existing law made by the bill, as introduced, are shown as follows (existing law proposed to be omitted is enclosed in black brackets, new matter is printed in italic, existing law in which no change is proposed is shown in roman):
In order to initiate the comprehensive development of the water resources of the Upper Colorado River Basin, for the purposes, among others, of regulating the flow of the Colorado River, storing water for beneficial consumptive use, making it possible for the States of the Upper Basin to utilize, consistently with the provisions of the Colorado River Compact, the apportionments made to and among them in the Colorado River Compact and the Upper Colorado River Basin Compact, respectively, providing for the reclamation of arid and semiarid land, for the control of floods, and for the generation of hydroelectric power, as an incident of the foregoing purposes, the Secretary of the Interior is hereby authorized (1) to construct, operate, and maintain the following initial units of the Colorado River storage project, consisting of dams, reservoirs, powerplants, transmission facilities and appurtenant works: Curecanti, Flaming Gorge, Navajo (dam and reservoir only), and Glen Canyon: Provided, That the Curecanti Dam shall be constructed to a height which will impound not less than nine hundred and forty thousand acre-feet of water or will create a reservoir of such greater capacity as can be obtained by a high waterline located at seven thousand five hundred and twenty feet above mean sea level, and that construction thereof shall not be undertaken until the Secretary has, on the basis of further engineering and economic investigations, reexamined the economic justification of such unit and, accompanied by appropriate documentation in the form of a supplemental report, has certified to the Congress and to the President that, in his judgment, the benefits of such unit will exceed its costs; and (2) to construct operate, and maintain the following additional reclamation projects (including power-generating and transmission facilities related thereto), hereinafter referred to as participating projects: Central Utah (initial phase) [;], San Juan-Chama (initial stage), Emery County, Florida, Hammond, La Barge, Lyman, Navajo Indian, Paonia (including the Minnesota unit, a dam and reservoir on Muddy Creek just above its confluence with the North Fork of the Gunnison River, and other necessary works), Pine River Extension, Seedskadee, Silt and Smith Fork: Provided further, That as part of the Glen Canyon Unit the Secretary of the Interior shall take adequate protective measures to preclude impairment of the Rainbow Bridge National Monument.
SEC. 2. In carrying out further investigations of projects under the Federal reclamation laws in the Upper Colorado River Basin, the Secretary shall give priority to completion of planning reports on the Gooseberry, [San Juan-Chama, Navajo,] Parshall, Troublesome, Rabbit Ear, Eagle Divide, San Miguel, West Divide, Bluestone, Battlement Mesa, Tomichi Creek, East River, Ohio Creek, Fruitland Mesa, Bostwick Park, Grand Mesa, Dallas Creek, Savery-Pot Hook, Dolores, Fruit Growers Extension, Animas-La Plata, Yellow Jacket, and Sublette participating projects. * * *
SEC. 5. (e) Revenues in the Basin Fund in excess of the amounts needed to meet the requirements of clause (1) of subsection (c) of this section, and to return to the general fund of the Treasury the costs set out in subsection (d) of this section, shall be apportioned among the States of the Upper Division in the following percentages: Colorado, 46 per centum; Utah, 21.5 per centum; Wyoming, 15.5 per centum; and New Mexico, 17 per centum: Provided, That prior to the application of such percentages, all revenues remaining in the Basin Fund from each participating project (or part thereof), herein or [hereinafter] hereafter authorized, after payments, where applicable, with respect to such projects, to the general fund of the Treasury under subparagraphs (1), (2), and (3) of subsection (d) of this section shall be apportioned to the State in which such participating project, or part thereof, is located. * * *
SEC. 7. The hydroelectric powerplants and transmission lines authorized by this Act to be constructed, operated, and maintained by the Secretary shall be operated in conjunction with other Federal powerplants, present and potential, so as to produce the greatest practicable amount of power and energy that can be sold at firm power and energy rates, but in the exercise of the authority hereby granted he shall not affect or interfere with the operation of the provisions of the Colorado River Compact, the Upper Colorado River Basin Compact, the Boulder Canyon Project Act, the Boulder Canyon Project Adjustment Act and any contract lawfully entered [unto] into under said Compacts and Acts. Subject to the provisions of the Colorado River Compact, neither the impounding nor the use of water for the generation of power and energy at the plants of the Colorado River storage project shall preclude or impair the appropriation of water for domestic or agricultural purposes pursuant to applicable State law.
There is grave doubt about the water supply legally and physically available to the projects which would be authorized by this bill. Their cost is many times the value of the land, even when fully irrigated. Consideration of the bill at this time is premature.
It has become apparent that the water budget in the Colorado River system is out of balance; just how badly out of balance we will not know until two missing pieces of information become available to Congress. The first is a reappraisal of the water supply. The second is the decree in Arizona v. California, now pending in the U.S. Supreme Court.
The necessity for a new appraisal of the water supply is made apparent by the report of the U.S. Bureau of Reclamation released in September 1960. This shows that the estimates of the Colorado River water supply upon which Congress has previously relied in authorizing new projects are overstated, by as much as 2 million acre-feet per year; the whole usable supply that would be available at Lee Ferry, if there were no depletions whatever in the upper basin, would not exceed an average of 14 million acre-feet per year. This is the average of the entire ‘‘virgin’’ flow for the 40-year period since gages were first installed at Lee Ferry in 1922. The estimates of the flow prior to 1922 are inflated by inclusion of the estimated flows of six great flood years, more than a half century ago.
Even if these estimates were accurate, the recent Bureau of Reclamation study shows that these great floods could not have been fully captured, stored and utilized, but that many millions of acre-feet would necessarily have wasted to the Gulf of California. This would be true even if all the storage projects which Congress has authorized (Hoover, Davis, Parker, Glen Canyon, Flaming Gorge, Navajo, Curecanti Dams) had all been constructed prior to 1896, and had stood there, empty, awaiting the arrival of these great floods. Past estimates have failed to take into account these huge ‘‘spills’’ of uncontrollable floods, and have assumed, mistakenly, that the average flow is the usable flow. And not all of the Lee Ferry flow is available for use in the United States. At least 2,600,000 acre-feet must be deducted, because the Mexican treaty requires delivery of 1,500,000 acre-feet at the boundary, and the losses between Lee Ferry and the boundary exceed the inflow from tributaries between these two points by another 1.1 million acre-feet. Subtracting these quantities from 14 million, it is apparent that the whole main stream supply usable on a permanent basis in the United States, in both the upper basin and lower basin, does not exceed 11.4 million acre-feet. Most of this is already committed to existing and authorized projects. For example, projects now existing in the upper basin, plus those which Congress has already authorized (exclusive of those proposed in the pending bill) would deplete the Lee Ferry flow by about 4 million acre-feet. Existing main stream projects in Arizona, California, and Nevada require a minimum of 6.7 million (of this over 6 million was actually consumed in 1960, and the capacity to utilize the balance is already constructed). Existing and authorized projects in the two basins thus require at least 10.7 million. Subtracting this quantity from 11.4 million acre-feet, it appears that only 700,000 acre-feet per year or less remains as the residue available to sustain all expansion in both basins. But the demand for new projects greatly exceeds this. The projects which would be authorized by the pending bill and others reported at this session of Congress would require over 400,000 acre-feet, reducing the uncommitted margin to less than 300,000. The central Arizona project, which is involved in the Supreme Court litigation now pending, if authorized, would require 1,200,000 acre-feet. There is thus a direct collision between the plans for expansion in the upper basin and hopes for expansion in the lower basin.
Put another way, there is insufficient water for both the central Arizona project and the San Juan and Navajo projects unless nearly a million acre-feet of water required by existing projects in Arizona and California is taken away from them.
Indeed, the committee has been informed by the Interior Department that upper basin depletions could be expected to rise to a total of about 6.2 million acre-feet (if there were water to support them) soon after the payout period of the projects now reported favorably by the committee. If this should happen, the resulting deficiency in the lower basin main stream supply is easy to calculate. Since only 11.4 million was available to the two basins in the first place, the subtraction of 6.2 million acre-feet of upper basin depletions from this 11.4 million would leave only 5.2 million acre-feet available to supply all main stream uses in Arizona, California, and Nevada. Since the requirements of existing and authorized main stream projects in these three States exceed 6.7 million acre-feet, the minimum deficit would be 1.5 million. If the central Arizona project were built, the deficit would rise to 2.7 million. If the projects which Nevada hopes to build were added, the total deficit would approach 3 million acre-feet. To the extent that the Colorado River compact may be construed to give the lower basin greater protection than this, it diminishes correspondingly the supply available for upper basin projects.
The report of Special Master Simon H. Rifkind, now pending before the U.S. Supreme Court, construes the Colorado River compact as a ‘‘ceiling on appropriations’’ of each basin against the other, and not as a reservation of water in perpetuity to either basin. He believes that the responsibility rests with Congress to weigh the equities between existing projects in the lower basin and proposed projects in the upper basin.
If this view of the compact is sustained by the Supreme Court, whenever Congress authorizes a project in either basin, Congress, in effect, appropriates water to that project as against the other basin, and this process continues until the compact ceiling is reached-- [...].5 million in the lower basin, 7.5 million in the upper. If Judge Rifkind is right, the compact is not what the sponsors of the upper basin projects have heretofore assumed it to be, a dedication of water for use in the upper basin. It is simply a ceiling on upper basin appropriations. Manifestly, there is not enough water to supply both the upper basin and lower basin ceilings. Indeed, the projects we are asked to authorize in the present bill might well overappropriate New Mexico's share of the Colorado River supply. This is because New Mexico's share under the Upper Colorado River Basin compact is 11.25 percent of whatever may be the total of the depletions available to the entire upper basin under the Colorado River compact. We do not know what this total will be, and cannot know until the Supreme Court speaks. We do know that the requirements of projects which would be authorized in this bill, when added to those which New Mexico already has or which she is actively seeking, would exceed 670,000 acre-feet. This is 11.25 percent of about 5,950,000 acre-feet. Enactment of this bill would thus pose a triple dilemma for Congress in the future: (1) If we do not hereafter authorize projects in Colorado, Wyoming, and Utah which, with the New Mexico projects now under consideration, would increase total upper basin depletions to nearly 6 million acre-feet, then (2) we are now putting New Mexico in a disproportionately advantageous position as compared with the other three upper basin States. (3) But if total upper basin depletions are permitted to approach 6 million acre-feet, the dependable supply available for Arizona, California, and Nevada will be less than 5,500,000 acre-feet. This is 1,200,000 acre-feet less than the requirements of existing projects, even if the central Arizona project is never authorized and if no new projects are ever built in Nevada. It is some 500,000 acre-feet less than existing main stream uses in Arizona, California, and Nevada in 1960.
The committee is thus asked today to make a historic policy decision between expansion in the upper basin and the lower basin, and possibly between expansion in New Mexico and expansion in the other three upper division States.
Authorization of the San Juan-Navajo projects will make it impossible for Congress in the future to both authorize new projects in Colorado, Utah, and Wyoming, and authorize the central Arizona project, irrespective of the outcome of the present Supreme Court suit.
Before making this policy decision, the Congress obviously must be fully informed as to the total water supply available, and must weigh carefully the possible effects of any new authorizations upon the supply that would remain available for existing and authorized projects. Until this is done, and a decree is entered in Arizona v. California, Congress is working in a vacuum in which it will be unable to appraise the effects of authorizations such as are proposed in this bill upon the economies and rights of either upper basin or lower basin States.
Aside from the problem of upper basin versus lower basin requirements, there is a local water supply problem on the San Juan River. The water supply physically available in the San Juan River is [...] sufficient to take care of the existing and committed demands upon that supply and in addition the demands that would be imposed by the two projects specified in the bill. The testimony proves that [...] additional demands could be met without imposing severe and intolerable shortages in critical periods of low flow. Nevertheless, the records of this committee are replete with indications that further large municipal and industrial requirements are contemplated by New Mexico and others in the San Juan Basin. As indicated by the engineering consultant of the committee in his report, such uses do not appear to be available without reduction in irrigation uses. New Mexico cannot have her cake and eat it too.
All the foregoing is stated without consideration of the fact that there is room for reasonable doubt as to the actual consumptive use requirements of the proposed Navajo Indian irrigation project. Serious question has been raised by competent engineers as to the amount of return flow from the proposed irrigation diversion and hence the amount of consumptive use.
The estimated costs of the proposed irrigation developments in both projects are several times greater than the estimated value of improved land in the areas fully improved and with full water supplies.
The excessive costs in terms of the total required Federal investment including interest during construction and during the development and repayment periods are not fully revealed in the material submitted to the committee by the Department of the Interior.
Including a share of the cost of the Navajo Dam and Reservoir which is essential to the successful operation of the irrigation project, the total construction cost of the Navajo Indian project is more than $1,500 an acre, or about $150,000 per farm family that would be located on the project. If interest during construction and development periods is included, the total investment required by the Federal Government to get the project into operation and production would amount to $240,000 per farm family. There are cheaper ways for the United States to take care of whatever obligation it has to the Navajo Indians. The sawmill being built by the Navajos themselves will, according to testimony, support about 500 families, at a cost of only $15,000 per family.
For the irrigation portion of the San Juan-Chama diversion project the cost per acre ranges up to approximately $1,300 for a supplemental water supply of only a few inches in depth per acre per year. This is for land estimated to have values ranging from about $130 to about $300 per acre fully developed and adequately supplied with water. The irrigators could repay only 15 percent of the cost.
If, as has been said by proponents of the bill, most of the water diverted to the Rio Grande Basin will ultimately be used for municipal and industrial purposes, then, if this need is great enough, the necessary facilities can be built and paid for by the municipalities in the area without the necessity of the Congress putting the Bureau of Reclamation in the municipal water supply business.
CRAIG HOSMER.81520°--61 H. Repts., 87-1, vol. 4--64
As members of the Committee on Interior and Insular Affairs, it has been our purpose to diligently study all of the testimony and statistics that have been submitted in relation to the San Juan-Chama reclamation project, and the Navajo Indian irrigation project. Inasmuch as these projects have been before the committee for an extended period of time, there has been a wealth of information filed which identifies the objectives, purposes, and probable economic gains that might be accomplished were the projects to be approved by the Congress.
In reviewing the testimony, it appears to us that these projects do not serve the best interest of either the present or future national economy or the agricultural situation which presently exists throughout the Nation. These additional views are designed to set forth briefly the facts which support this opinion. Testimony before the committee has revealed that there are serious questions still unanswered as to an adequate supply of water to accommodate the needs and appropriations of the respective areas. There is also substantial evidence that but for the fact that the Navajo Indian Reservation constitutes a major part of the land to be irrigated this project would be economically unfeasible.
We shall confine our views, however, to the relationship that these projects bear to our agricultural economy. According to figures presented in a letter from Mr. Floyd E. Dominy, Commissioner of the Bureau of Reclamation, the Navajo Indian project provides for the irrigation of 110,600 acres of land. Presently, there are no crops on this land and it is used primarily as a grazing area for sheep and cattle. It is indicated that with irrigation the following crops would be grown:
The San Juan-Chama project would provide supplemental water for 95,000 acres which are presently irrigated and on which additional water is necessary in order to increase production. In addition, there would be added roughly 26,000 acres which are not presently irrigated. This would change the production pattern of these acres as follows, according to the Commissioner's figures:
These figures, therefore, indicate that there would be an increase in the production of alfalfa hay to the extent of 48,600 acres; barley, 27,400 acres; small grains, 5,200 acres; and corn, 34,200 acres.
These figures do not include moneys already expended for either project. These expenditures when related to the acres, would amount to over $1,200 per acre in the instance of the Navajo Indian project and from $200 to $1,200 per acre to provide a supplemental water supply for the San Juan-Chama project. This would further mean an investment of over $120,000 per 100-acre farm. These figures indicate a cost that is even greater than the actual land values would be after the project is completed. Most surely, this emphatically indicates the uneconomical status of these projects. It becomes even more apparent that the projects are not economical when we realize that they will bring into new production 48,600 acres of alfalfa hay, while we presently have in the State of New Mexico over 865,000 acres of productive land placed in the soil bank at the taxpayers' expense in order to reduce production. On these soil banked acres the farmers are not permitted to either cut hay or graze livestock. Surely the same is true in relation to the expanded acreage of 34,200 acres of corn, 27,400 acres of barley and 5,200 acres of small grains. The recent June 8 release of the Department of Agriculture shows that in New Mexico we are diverting under the new feed grain program 109,000 acres at a cost to the taxpayer of $1,139,000. For the Nation as a whole we have diverted over 26 million acres at a cost of nearly $349 million.
Testimony by the Bureau of Indian Affairs further indicates that the proposed lands to be irrigated now support 5,116 sheep units per year and that this would be increased to a total of 436,000 sheep units. Again, it was announced by the Department of Agriculture on June 1 that their program of purchasing frozen lamb in order to improve lamb prices has cost $4,333,000 since its instigation on the 27th of February this year. In this period of slightly over 3 months, the Department has purchased 11,928,000 pounds of lamb.
It has been stated many times by responsible people in the Department of Agriculture and numerous congressional leaders that there is a prime need for a reduction in agricultural surpluses and a bolstering of the farm economy. As these figures indicate, this project would in all instances contribute adversely to any attempts that the Congress might make in trying to alleviate the surplus agricultural problem, improve income and security for the family farm, and provide benefits to the taxpayer and the community. The importance of this has already been acknowledged by the House Interior and Insular Affairs Committee in the adoption of an amendment which prohibits the provision of water to any user for the production of any of the six basic agricultural commodities which may be in surplus. This amendment, however, does not prevent the use of water for any of the other crops referred to in this statement, which will aggravate the agricultural economy and prove just as distressing to family farms throughout the Nation, as well as to consumers and taxpayers. Surely it is not by any interpretation, fiscally responsible for the Congress on the one hand to appropriate large sums of money in order to curtail production and on the other hand to appropriate equally large sums of money to increase production.
The total appropriations required for these two projects approaches a quarter of a billion dollars, but actually this represents only a part of the total cost to the taxpayer. For if we hope to accomplish the purposes of the agricultural proposals which are presently before Congress to reduce production, then we must add to the stated costs of these projects the costs of accomplishing comparable reductions by means of diverted acreage. Surely it is discriminatory for the Congress to demand farm families in other agricultural areas to reduce their production, suffer adverse price conditions, and at the same time provide for expenditures for these projects which can result only in demanding of them further reductions.
It will be necessary to hold tightly to prudent fiscal standards and I must request the Congress in this respect to refrain from adding programs, desirable as they may be, to the budget.
This statement would seem to be aimed directly at this kind of project. For these reasons it seems must undesirable to us that the Congress at this time should consider making these appropriations or approving these projects which affect adversely the agricultural economy as well as the entire Nation's fiscal policies.
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