Pima Indians and the San Carlos Irrigation Project
HOMER P. SNYDER, New York, Chairman
The Chairman. The committee will come to order. Under a pre-arrangement with the gentleman from Arizona, ranking member of the minority side, we have agreed to consider S. 966 this morning, and Mr. Hayden desires to make a statement to enlighten the committee to some extent with reference to the proposed legislation.
Be it enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives of the United States of America in Congress assembled. That there is hereby authorized to be appropriated, out of any money in the Treasury not otherwise appropriated, the sum of $5,500,000, or so much thereof as may be needed for the construction by the Indian Service, of the San Carlos Reservoir project for storage purposes as contemplated in report submitted by the chief engineer of the Indian irrigation service to the Commissioner of Indian Affairs under date of November 1, 1915, mbodied in Appendix A, hearings before the Committee on Indian Affairs, House of Representatives, Sixty-sixth Congress, first session, act of June 30, 1919, provided the total cost of the project shall be distributed equally among the lands in Indian ownership and the lands in private ownership that can be served from the waters impounded in said reservoir: Provided, That the cost assessed against the Indian lands shall be reimbursable to the Treasury of the United States on a per acre basis under such rules and regulations as the Secretary of the Interior may prescribe, and there is hereby created a lien against all such lands, which lien shall be recited in any patent issued therefor, prior to the reimbursement of the total amount chargeable against such land, and that the construction cost as fixed against the land in private ownership under the project shall be paid by the owners in not less than twenty annual installments, in accordance with such rules and regulations to be promulgated by the Secretary of the Interior: Provided further, That said project shall only be undertaken if the Secretary of the Interior shall be able to make or provide for what he shall deem to be satisfactory agreements with the private landowners for the repayment of their proportionate share of the cost of the project and the money hereby authorized to be appropriated shall be available for the acquiring of necessary rights of way by purchase or judicial proceedings and for other purposes necessary in successfully prosecuting the work to complete the project: Provided further, That for the beginning of this work, subject to the provisions hereof, there is hereby authorized to be appropriated $500,000, to be immediately available and to remain available until expended.
It appears that this project has been studied by the chief engineer of the Indian irrigation service, whose report of November 1, 1915, was printed as an Appendix A, hearings before the Committee on Indian Affairs, House of Representatives, Sixty-fifth Congress, first session, ‘‘on the condition of various tribes of Indians.’’
Should Congress decide that the construction of this reservoir is desirable and that an appropriation therefor should be apthorized, this department will be glad to carry out any construction work directed.
Mr. Hayden. Mr. Chairman, I shall make a brief statement in regard to the bill, and then call upon the Commissioner of Indian Affairs and some other gentlemen present who have visited the lands to be irrigated under the proposed San Carlos project. After they have made their general statements I shall ask that a subcommittee be appointed to go into the details of the bill.
I have known the Pima Indians all of my life and can truthfully say that there are no better Indians to be found on the American continent. My first nurse was a Pima Indian woman who came from near Sacaton. She taught me how to count in the Pima tongue and I have not forgotten how. Humako, Kok, Viak, Keek, Hustasp, Tjoop. The old chief of the tribe, Anton Azul, was a great friend of my father's and as a boy explained to me some of the traditions of his tribe.
The Pima Indians have always been the friends of the white people. There is no record of their being engaged in any war against the Americans. When the white men first came to this country the Pimas were living in the Gila Valley and had an adequate water supply for their crops. Over-grazing the country and diversions for irrigation higher up the stream changed these conditions until year after year these good Indians have suffered from drouth.
There is no question about the feasibility of the San Carlos project. Every board of engineers that has examined into it has pronounced the plan of reclamation to be entirely practicable. The engineers know what to do. All that is needed is the money to pay for the work. The fact that the Pima Indians, wards of the Federal Government, are to be among the chief beneficiaries, and the further fact that the enterprise is of such magnitude that it could not be undertaken by private interests, fully justifies the United States in providing the necessary funds.
Mr. Hayden. Yes. Four years ago eight members of the Committee on Indian Affairs went over the ground to be irrigated, at Sacaton and in the vicinity of Florence, and then visited the San Carlos Dam site, so that a number of Members of Congress are familiar with the project of their own knowledge.
It was expected that this project would be the first to be undertaken under the reclamation act of 1902. The Reclamation Service recommended the Salt River project in lieu thereof to the great disappointment of the Pima Indians and many of their friends throughout the United States.
We have been compelled to approach the San Carlos project in an unusual way. On most of the other Government irrigation projects, storage has been first provided, but here the great reservoir which will crown the plan with success remains for the last. Everything that has been done contemplates the building of the San Carlos Dam. The diversion dam above Florence, completed at a cost of about $250,000, and the other one now under construction near Sacaton, at a cost of $700,000, are essential features of the project. The same is true of the main canal for which appropriations have been made so that it can be completed within the next year. The Indians and the white people have already constructed the smaller canals and laterals.
The result will be that the very first year after the San Carlos Dam is completed it will be put to use. The Pima Indian's are ready and waiting. They have practiced irrigation in the Gila Valley for hundreds of years. Unlike the buffalo-hunting Indians of the Northwest, who never were farmers, it is only necessary to give the Pimas water, and they will promptly and properly apply it to the production of crops.
There will be no delay as has occurred on other projects in finding settlers to go upon the land. Experienced white farmers are also at hand and well prepared to make excellent use of the water. It will not be necessary to instruct them in the first principles of irrigation agriculture, as is the case with settlers brought from Great Britain to the new projects in Australia, nor as happened in many instances in the United tates.
I want to be perfectly frank with the committee. This is a combined Indian and white man's irrigation project. That is the only way it can be undertaken successfully. If the flood waters of the Gila River are impounded by the San Carlos Dam there are not enough Pima Indians to utilize it. The Indians can not pay for the project by themselves, but if Congress takes care of the Indians first and restores their ancient water rights, which they lost by reason of the fact that this Government neglected to protect them as its wards; if we take care of them first, then we are a liberty to provide water for such quantity of the privately owned lands as the water supply will permit.
The white men and the Indians have a common problem which can only be solved by action taken for their mutual benefit. Let us frankly recognize this community of interest and do one thing which remains to be done if they are all to prosper--build the San Carlos Dam. Without the assistance of the white farmers in paying for the project, nothing can be done for the Pimas.
Mr. Hayden. It does not. It is an appropriation out of the Treasury of the United States by reason of the fact, that the interest to be served is primarily Indian. That is why the bill appears before this committee in this form.
The Pima Indians of the Gila River Reservation and the white people of Pinal County have anxiously awaited the construction of the San Carlos Dam. They have suffered hardships and privations, always in the hope that the work would not be long delayed. Time and again they have had to drink from the bitter cup of disappointment, but they have never lost sight of the fact that theirs is a land well worth reclaiming. When the waters of the Gila are conserved they will have attained that which is worthy of the long struggle that they have made.
Mr. Burke. Mr. Chairman and gentlemen, I will make only a very brief statement. I am not going to discuss the details of this proposition from an engineering standpoint, because I am not capable of doing so for many reasons. I want to indorse what Congressman Hayden has said with reference to this proposition.
These Indians, numbering, I believe, about 6,000, are exceptional in many respects. They have always been peaceful. They have always been friendly, and, as the Congressman said, they are natural irrigators. They have been irrigating for three centures or more. I think ever since I have had to do with Indian matters, covering a period of 25 years, this subject of more water for the Pima Indians has been presented in one form or another. I have visited the Pima Indians. I expect to be there again within a very few days. I was impressed on the occasion of my visit there with the position of these Indians as compared with that of the Indians generally, particularly in the Northwest. Our Indians in the Northwest, when the commissioner goes among them, importune him for gratuities and more money; it is just a constant demand for something for nothing. The Pima Indians do not pay much more attention to the Commissioner of Indian Affairs than they would to a traveling man who might be in the community except when you confer with them they say to you that they have one hope, and that is that they may be given sufficient water to irrigate their lands and be provided with opportunities for education. As the Congressman has said, at one time they did have sufficient water. Due to many conditions, as he has indicated, to-day they are practically up against a proposition in which it is wonderful how they do survive.
I want to supplement what Mr. Hayden has said and to indorse what I am sure others will say here, that there is no more meritorious proposition than the one involved in this bill, which has for its purpose principally, and that is the part of it that I am most concerned about, to furnish to these Indians water in order that they may maintain themselves. If we were to take a pencil and contrast what is has cost the Government in connection with some other Indians, particularly the Apaches who are not far from where these Indians are located, in having to care for them and to restrain them when they were hostile to the Government, and then consider that these Indians have never at any time been anything but friendly to the Government, have never cost us anything to keep them in subjection, and that they are industriously inclined, that they are loyal and patriotic and want to work out their own salvation, and that it is merely a matter of the cost of supplying them with water, it seems to me from every standpoint, including the economic standpoint, that the Government would be justified in appropriating a good part of what is contemplated by this bill without any regard as to how much of it may be reimbursed to the Government.
The Chairman. Because it is clearly a proposition where many thousands of acres of land will be irrigated that will not be operated and improved by the Indians themselves. Let me suggest another thing. There is a great possibility of a splendid return from this dam in the matter of the sale of power. Do not overlook that as the best bet.
Mr. Burke. Undoubtedly, the proponents of the bill will be able to convince this committee beyond any question of doubt that it is a proposition that will be reimbursable eventually, but I am speaking independently of that, from the standpoint of the Indians and our obligations to the Indians, that if you eliminate that, we would still be justified in my opinion in saying lives and enabling 6,000 people to become not only self-supporting but eventually self-respecting and good, competent citizens, as they will be if we can give them relief in a way to enable them to have water and provide education for these Indians.
Mr. Burke. My understanding is that they do. We have a report from the Army engineers of the War Department, which is Document No. 791 of the Sixty-third Congress, second session, and in connection with that report, there having been some questions discussed in the Senate by one of the Senators when this bill was first brought out, we prepared in the office a letter in which we responded to the comments made by the Senator, and I will file a copy of that letter to go into the record so that it may be considered when you get into discussion of the engineering questions.
My Dear Senator: The several comments made in your letter of March 22, 1924, pertaining to statements contained in the report on the San Carlos Irrigation project printed in Appendix A, Indians of the United States, Hearings before the Committee on Indian Affairs, House of Representatives, Sixty-sixth Congress, First Session, are noted.
It will be noted the quotation in your letter taken from page 91 of the report comes under the subheading of ‘‘Alternative projects.’’ Immediately following this quotation it is stated the carrying out of either of the projects (referring to the alternative projects) would be based on a supply of water for one crop per year instead of a full supply basis. On the same page of the report the following appears:
‘‘The foregoing costs are based upon the assumption that the San Carlos Storage reservoir would be included in the project. If, however, the San Carlos reservoir is not constructed in the immediate future, other means should be found to supply water for the lands belonging to the Pima Indians on the Gila River Indian Reservation.’’
This part of the report clearly shows the intent of ultimate construction of the San Carlos reservoir. At the time the report was made it was hoped by the construction of the alternative projects referred to, being the ones mentioned in your letter, partial irrigation facilities for the Indian lands would be provided. This is borne out in the final recommendations on page 102 which are:
Recommendation No. 3, as will be noted, provides that title to the San Carlos reservoir site and as far as practicable the title to the other reservoir sites along the Gila and its tributaries be retained in the United States, having in mind the necessity of a reservoir to provide adequate irrigation facilities for the Indian lands and the ultimate construction of the San Carlos reservoir for this purpose.
This report was prepared in 1914 based upon conditions then existing. Since then considerable percentage of the work referred to as the ‘‘alternative projects’’ has been accomplished. The Ashurst-Hayden diversion dam across the Gila River above Florence, Ariz., has been constructed and the Florence-Casa Grande canal with lateral system and controlling works is being constructed as rapidly as available funds will permit. A diversion dam across the Gila on the Sacaton Reservaton, also a part of the general scheme, is more than 50 per cent complete and construction work is being pushed as rapidly as possible. These dams, etc., are the ones recommended in No. 2 of the general recommendations of the report. Authority for construction of these dams is found in the act of May 18, 1916 (39 Stat. L. 123-130) and subsequent appropriation acts. These dams provide only for the diversion of the natural flow of this river, which flow is gradually but perceptibly being diminished each year. Grazing and deforestation have made the Gila a flash stream, carrying large volumes of water one day and little or nothing the next, which means that the year's rainfall and the total run-off provided by nature are now delivered in a rush at short periods.
In addition to this condition the white settlements, irrigation on the upper Gila (Duncan and Safford-Solomonville valleys) and in the Florence-Casa Graude Valley above the Indian reservation now draw heavily on the stream before it reaches the Indians. These conditions have so affected the flow of this river since the report as to render it practically impossible to even successfully raise one crop a year by means of irrigation with the available water supply. This means that if present conditions are permitted to prevail the Indians within a comparatively short period of time will be entirely deprived of this natural flow of water to which they are entitled, rendering their land barren waste.
To add to this acute situation is the contemplated development of reservoir facilities by white interests in the valleys mentioned, which will undoubtedly materially interfere with the development of the Indians in that section, as their opportunity of providing adequate irrigation facilities will be gone forever. The only alternative would be water development by means of pumping, which is entirely too costly to be of material benefit. In order to safeguard these water rights it is absolutely necessary for the Government to initiate storage rights which can be accomplished by the beginning of construction of the San Carlos reservoir project. In this connection, time is a material element as it is necessary, in order to initiate and complete valid storage rights, to do so in such way as to not infringe upon rights of others; therefore, if the Government fails to initiate construction of this reservoir project prior to similar action being initiated by white interests mentioned by conducting other reservoirs, it might find itself, in so far as protecting the Indians is concerned, in rather an embarrassing position.
In my letter of March 17 it is stated this reservoir, when constructed, will provide adequate irrigation facilities for some 80,000 acres of land both in Indian and white ownership. The greater part of the lands in white ownership to be benefited are those in the Florence-Casa Grande district that come within the Florence-Casa Grande irrigation project constructed by the Government, consisting of 27,000 acres, as against 35,000 acres in Indian ownership (see the last paragraph on page two of this letter regarding the Ashurst-Hayden dam and canal and lateral system.) The Government has a lien against these white owned lands to assure repayment of the proportionate share of the costs of the project.
The matter referred to by you appearing on page 101 deals with the Florence-Casa Grande, or the Ashurst-Hayden division dam above referred to. The cost, as therein stated, was based on the cost of material, labor, etc., at that date, which cost has in many instances, more than doubled at the present time.
The reference made to that part of the conclusions appearing on page 96 thereof, which reads: ‘‘The proposed San Carlos project is entirely practicable from a construction standpoint, and is eminently desirable in that it will develop agriculturally a large section of Arizona which is now unproductive, but it has some serious faults, of a physical and economic nature, that should receive careful consideration before any plan of reclamation is adopted’’ has in mind practically the question of desilting the reservoir. The next paragraph states the most physical objection to the construction of the proposed San Carlos project is that due to the large accumulation of silt that will be annually deposited in the storage basin by the water of the Gila River. The silt problem since then has received much study by various branches of the Government, including the irrigation service of this bureau, and it is the opinion of the engineering force that much of the trouble in this respect contemplated at that time can now be obviated. It is believed by proper methods of retarding the velocity of the inflow of water into the reservoir, thereby eliminating silt from the water before it reaches the reservoir, this objection is removed. The fact should not be lost sight of that no engineering project of this magnitude is free of all impediments and that the report calls attention in advance to those that existed at that time.
I might say further that in view of the surrounding circumstances and conditions, and particularly the irreparable damage the Indians' lands will suffer by reason of loss of water right, the time is propitious to construct at the earliest practicable date, the San Carlos reservoir project and not to longer defer.
Mr. McDowell. The Indians that will be primarily affected by the development of the San Carlos Dam are 6,000 Pimas, 2,500 San Carlos Apaches, and industrially and economically one-half of the 5,000 Papagos.
Mr. McDowell. Eleven thousand. I know very little about the engineering part of this project, but I have been down there several times and have knowledge of the local conditions. What Mr. Hayden said about the Pima Indians is absolutely true. They are the finest Indians we have. They are hard-working Indians and they were irrigationists before Coronado came there in 1540.
Mr. McDowell. That is one of their pieces of sentiment. That is a matter I can not pass upon because we get that in almost every irrigation project, the graveyard proposition. Aside from that a number of the San Carlos Indians hope that Congress will build the dam because they will get $5 a day working because they are worth it. They worked on the Roosevelt Dam.
The Pima Indians have always had hard work in getting water for their canals. As I say, they have been practical irrigationists for unknown centuries. The Government has built a diversion dam at Sacaton. That is entirely for the Pima Indians. There is another diversion dam above Florence for whites and Indians. Those two dams are fine when there is water in the river, but when the river is dry they are of no value.
Mr. McDowell. The San Carlos Dam will be a storage dam located considerably farther east than the Pima Indian Reservoir. The Gila River is a flood stream some days and destroys property and land, acres of which slide in, like the Mississippi and Missouri Rivers, and then on other days very soon afterwards, you can walk across the river bed. I remember one morning going across from Sacaton south of the north branch when it did not even dampen the tires of the automobile and three days later there was a muddy flood of water between us and Sacaton and we had to take a chance of getting across the railroad viaduct bridge with a little Ford.
That is the condition of that river. All that water going down there is lost. You can not use it at all, whereas if it could be held in this canyon back on the San Carlos Reservation and handled as has been the Roosevelt Dam, the river would not be flooded any time but you would have a continual flow of water that could be used for irrigation and power.
The Salt River project is just immediately north of the Gila River land. There is no dividing line. You go from one to the other. You step from cactus dry land with mesquites on it that is worth 50 cents an acre and go across some bridge onto land worth from $250 to $300 an acre. One has water; the other has not. It is the same land with everything, except the water.
Florence is 60 miles from Phoenix. Only last fall I was coming from Florence to Phoenix. It was warm crosing the Gila lands; coat off, sleeves rolled up; it was hot. All of a sudden we came to a little bridge and as we came across the bridge I turned to the Indian with me and said, ‘‘That is a cool wind.’’ He laughed. I put my sweater on. We left this dry land across that bridge and had gotten into the irrigated section of the Salt River Valley. The difference in temperature was so strong that in less than 50 feet I had to put a sweater on. That tells the difference between these areas of land; the same land, the same soil, the same sun, the same people; everything the same except the water. There is no question but that the San Carlos dam will be of infinite benefit not only to the Indians but to the white people. This is one appropriation where for every dollar you spend for the white man you give a dollar to the Indians: you can not help it.
As to the power development, there is one feature that will help the San Carlos Indians. Back of the San Carlos River, on the reservation proper, it adjoins the Gila River beyond the canyon where the dam may be built, and there is fine bench land up there. That land you can not reach by water because it is above the high water level, but with pumps you will do what they are doing with tens of thousands of acres on the Salt River where they irrigate with pumps from the Roosevelt Dam.
Mr. McDowell. We can take an ax and $20 in Michigan and be thrown off on a railroad siding and grubstake ourselves. You can cut out 160 acres, cut ties and sell them to the railroad for cash, but out there you must even carry water. Land without water is not worth anything.
The proposed San Carlos Dam on the upper reaches of the Gila River, Ariz., will impound sufficient water for the irrigation of at least 80,000 acres of fertile land lying in the Florence-Casa Grande Valley below. The Gila River is a flash stream carrying enormous quantities of flood waters at times and at others is practically dry. The Pima Indians were irrigating considerable quantities of land in the lower valley long before the white man ever visited that country. Gradual encroachments by the whites, whose diversions head in the stream above the Indian ditches take out practically the entire flow, thus leaving, during low stages of the stream but little, if any, water for the Indians. In extremely dry seasons not only the Indians but the whites as well suffer seriously from a lack of water. Storage, of course, will obviate this. Ample storm waters are available to more than provide for the acreage mentioned, 80,000 acres. It is not so much a lack of water as it is a lack of storage. An oversupply one day with none at all the next does not lend itself to successful irrigation. Aside from this the property damage during destructive floods is enormous. Construction of the proposed reservoir will not only prove highly beneficial from an agricultural standpoint but will also go a long way toward controlling those destructive floods which now sweep annually down the Gila River.
Under appropriations authorized by the act of May 18, 1916, two diversion dams with distributing systems are being constructed across the Gila River below the proposed San Carlos reservoir for the purpose of irrigation land in Indian and white ownership. One of those dams has been completed and the other is now under construction. Something over $1,000,000 have already been expended, or at least authorized, for the construction of those distributing works. Being diversion dams only means that when there is any water in the river it can be utilized but without storage; when water is most needed, none is available.
The area to be served by the proposed reservoir and now partly under irrigation from the distributing systems already constructed is almost equally divided between the Indians and the whites, there being about 35,000 acres of Indian land and 45,000 acres in white ownership. The soil is fertile and highly productive. Additional water only is needed. With an assured supply these lands are easily worth from $150 to $200 per acre. Without water they are practically valueless. The intermittent supply now available from the inconstant stream flow is too precarious to justify additional development without storage. The proposed reservoir is entirely feasible from an engineering standpoint and has been favorably reported on and recommended by competent engineers. The project is also fully justified from a financial standpoint.
Unless storage is provided in the near future there will be a real need for the Government, in behalf of the Indians, to enjoin the white water users above the Florence-Casa Grande Valley from diverting the water to which it is believed the Indians have a prior and better right. This is bound to lead to serious difficulties and possibly a substantial loss to white landowners who in good faith have expended largely their means in the development of their present holdings should it be judicially determined that the Indians had a prior right to the normal flow of the Gila River.
Mr. Brosius. Mr. Chairman and gentlemen of the committee. I have been acquainted with the Pima need for water for irrigation since 1898, when I first visited that reservation on behalf of the Indian Rights Association of Philadelphia. I fully indorse what has been said here in behalf of the Pimas by the honoroble commissioner and others.
These Indians occupy lands of great vantage if provided with water for irrigation. They have suffered untold hardships by being denied use of water for irrigation and are estopped from enforcing their right by reason of wardship.
A spasmodic effort was made by the Government some 25 years ago through injunction proceedings, to protect the Pima's right to use of water, but the effort was soon abandoned for political reasons, we have understood.
Backed by a continuous and lengthy line of decisions, the courts have held that the prior appropriators of water for irrigation are entitled to the amount they have turned to beneficial use. As first appropriators, the Pimas have an unchallenged right. Their record for industry and independence have been heralded with pride.
Nor have they been wanting in patriotism. Uniformly friendly to the Federal power, they have in the past taken up arms against the Apaches at the instance of our Government. With such a history through a long series of years, it is all the more deplorable that they are now reduced to the verge of starvation through the divergence of their water supply by citizens of the Territory: * * * The Pimas are not citizens, and hence have no status in the courts, and the duty devolves upon us of protecting them in their rights.
During the quarter of a century which has lapsed since the conditions existed as portrayed above, slight change can be reported. The Pima right to a share of the waters of the Gila River has been determined. The use of the water, however, has not been restored to them.
In justice to the Pimas, the San Carlos irrigation project should be undertaken without delay. The legal right is judicially determined. The great moral obligation of the Government as guardian of the Pimas calls for prompt recognition of their rights by construction of this irrigation project.
Mr. Meritt. Mr. Chairman and gentlemen of the committee, there are no better Indians in the United States than the Pima Indians. They have been the white man's friend for 300 years. While the Apaches were killing the white man and the Government was spending millions of dollars to keep the Apaches on the reservation, the Pimas were not costing the Government a dollar, but helped the white man in every way possible. The Pimas have been irrigationists for over 300 years and will utilize every drop of water furnished to them for irrigation purposes. The Government has promised the Pimas for years that they would furnish them with water. The Government has not yet made good on that promise. The Government is now helping by constructing dams on the lower Gila River, but these dams will not supply sufficient water, whereas if this San Carlos Dam is constructed a permanent water supply will be furnished those Indians. The Gila River water is being gradually taken away from these Indians by the white people above the San Carlos Dam, and if action is not taken soon by Congress there will not be sufficient water for the Indians. So it is important that action be take very soon. The land on the Pima Reservation without water is worth potentially about $10 an acre; with water it is worth from $150 to $200 an acre. Therefore, from a business standpoint, there is no question about the Government being reimbursed for this money that they will spend on this project, and that it is a good, safe investment. Every acre of land that will be irrigated will be worth more than ten times what it is worth now and will be worth $50 to $100 more than it will cost to irrigate it. So it is a good proposition from a business standpoint. There will be between 90,000 and 100,000 acres that can be irrigated under this dam when the dam is finally constructed.
Mr. Meritt. Yes, sir; because under the laws of the United States and also under the laws of Arizona the Pima Indians have a prior right to this water and they will also secure their prior right by utilization provided the dam is constructed.
Mr. Meritt. This matter was thoroughly investigated by Army engineers of the War Department and they submitted a report to Congress which contains full details. Here are pictures of the dam site. There is no better dam site in the United States than the San Carlos dam site. I will call attention to House Document No. 791, Sixty-third Congress, second session, and leave a copy of this for the committee's information.
The Chairman. Four years ago, at least four Members present here this morning made a thorough investigation on the ground, and I, at least, as one Member, was convinced that this proposition was feasible and ought to be constructed. I was completely won over to the question of irrigation by the wonderful sight that I saw due to the construction of the Roosevelt Dam and the prosperity of the people along the Salt River, due wholly to the construction of the Roosevelt Dam, thereby, making it possible to irrigate the loveliest valley that I have ever ridden through. I am convinced that if we ever build this proposed dam that a similar environment will spring up around the waters that will flow down the Gila River.
Mr. Hayden. In answer to Mr. Dallinger's question, I will state that it was expected that this would be one of the first projects undertaken under the reclamation act. That was not done, greatly to the disappointment of the Indians.
Mr. Hayden. Yes. Then Congress provided for another engineering investigation and we were ready to proceed when the war broke out. Everything was stopped on account of the war, due to the high prices of labor and material. We believe that now the San Carlos project can again be considered on its merits.
Mr. Hayden. There is a good market and excellent railroad transportation facilities. As the chairman has pointed out, since the Roosevelt Dam has been constructed there has grown up in the Salt River Valley one of the most prosperous communities in the United States. That land is worth from $150 to $500 an acre. Before the construction of the Roosevelt Dam the same land was worth about $10 an acre. Exactly the same conditions exist under the San Carlos Dam. We have demonstrated what can be done under the Roosevelt Dam, which fully justifies the construction of the San Carlos Dam.
Mr. Hayden. The Salt River Valley Water Users' Association, on the 1st day of last December sent the largest check in the way of reimbursement ever received by the United States Reclamation Service. It was for $609,000. The water users are in position to meet every payment as it comes due from now on. The only difficulty they had in making any payment when due was during the tremendous fall in agricultural prices, when the Secretary of the Interior allowed them to temporarily postpone payment. The Salt River Valley Water Users' Association has paid within the last year not only the $600,000 due, but the sum of a quarter of a million dollars not due until February, which they paid it in advance to stop interest. There is no question about future reimbursement being made. On the Roosevelt project the Government at an expenditure of a little over $10,000,000 created $100,000,000 in wealth. During the war the people under the Salt River project purchased war savings stamps and Liberty bonds to the extent of over $11,000,000, in a region that had been a barren desert before irrigation. If the books had been balanced at that time they owed the Government $10,000,000 and the Government owed them $11,000,000.
Mr. Hayden. The market conditions are most excellent. The main line of the Southern Pacific Railroad runs near the edge of this project. One of the principal markets is in Los Angeles, a city of a million people. The cotton and other nonperishable products go east.
Mr. Hayden. All kinds of subtropical fruits are grown there. The basis of the agriculture is alfalfa, and it is the most successful dairy country in the United States. They have some of the finest herds of Holstein cattle to be found anywhere. Dairying and feeding livestock are the basic industries. Then comes cotton as a cash crop. There was shipped from one railroad station this last winter 600 carloads of lettuce. There are also large crops of cantaloupes. The diversity of crops makes it a most productive region.
Doctor Lay. Mr. Chairman and gentlemen of the committee, I am a Presbyterian missionary on the Pima Indian Reservation. I have been there for almost 14 years. I came there September 3, 1910, and have lived with these Indians and been in their homes and have been with them almost daily since that time. These Indians, as has been said so well, are not wild Indians, and there are no better Indians anywhere in the United States. In the Senate committee I did my best to answer questions, and the matter that rests upon me and the reason why I am here, is simply the fact that these Indians, who have never killed a white man, have always been true and faithful to the United States Government. The first Arizonian killed in action in France in the World War was a full-blood Pima Indian, a volunteer. When the telegram came on the reservation that he had been killed, 6 acres of wheat, the only means of support of his widowed mother, were drying up because this Government had permitted others of our race to take her water. Her boy died in the scrap between white men and yet she is faithful and loyal and true to the United States Government and bought some of the Victory bonds. That is why I am here. My heart is in this subject and I am here to do anything I can in behalf of these Indians.
As far as the diversion dams that are there now are concerned, I have just talked with the superintendent of the Gila River reservation, who has gone back to Sacaton and he tells me that of the several thousands of acres of wheat that have been sowed in the Casa Blanca district, although there was a little water in the river during December, it dried up, and only 50 per cent of the land would make hay; the rest of the land would not even make hay. There are 1,200 Indians in the Casa Blanca district dependent on this dry bed. They are always true and faithful and have stood by this Government and have never raised their hand against it.
I feel that this project is something that is beyond all mere irrigation projects; that it is a bill of justice; Senate 966 is not an irrigation bill but a bill of justice to give back to these people that which belongs to them. As has been well said by the Assistant Commissioner of Indian Affairs, unless we start to make beneficial use of the flood waters, the flood waters will be taken away from us exactly as the normal flow of the river was taken away by irrigation above us.
In closing I just want to make this statement, it is not merely as a legal basis, but the basis for this work is that the American people want to deal justly with these Indians who have not cost the Government a penny during all the times that the Apaches were costing a great deal of money to be subdued. I am here in behalf of these Indians representing them, a large number of them. I talked with them during the holidays when I was back on the reservation and they asked me to come back here. They were ready to give up 80,000 acres of their surplus land, absolutely theirs, outside of the project. We have land more than enough for irrigation. If the white man wants it we will pay him 80,000 acres to just give us the water which was taken from us so we can farm and make our own living. We do not want to be ration Indians, and, gentlemen, unless you build the San Carlos dam, you are going to have ration Indians on the Pima Reservation. To-day there are just a few old people receiving rations, but soon you will have to feed all these Indians, unless the San Carlos Dam is constructed.
Doctor Lay. Two-fifths. We have a division of the water rights; through the Commissioner of Indian Affairs we have been able to reach an agreement. First the whites claimed all of it. Some of the men I first talked to talk differently now. It took a long time to convince them. They said, ‘‘We want this water.’’ To the credit of the Indian Department the last few years it can be said that they fought this thing out and they succeeded in getting a contract or an agreement that the Indians are to get three-fifths and the whites two-fifths of this water. The two-fifths naturally are interested.
Mr. Hayden. As to the white interests, they are Americans who have gone upon the land in the hope of building homes. They have lived there with a scant water supply doing the best they could and are worthy people. There is no large landowning interest. They are true pioneer settlers who have been struggling to make good.
Doctor Lay. I will show you these ribbons that these Indians won at the State fairs in 1922 and 1923, at which we had products from this land with the little water we still have. All of that was raised, picked, and sorted by the Indians.
Doctor Lay. Quality. We won sweepstakes in wheat in 1922 and other ribbons and 15 blue ribbons in 1923. I shall insert in the record a list of persons and organizations that have indorsed the plea of the Pima Indians for the construction of the San Carlos dam.
National American Indian Memorial Association, New York City.
Mr. Howard of Oklahoma. I have one statement to make relative to the cost of this dam. I notice there is an estimate here of five and a half million dollars. I do not know the details of the building of it, but I think that should be looked into a little bit.
Mr. Howard of Oklahoma. I want to raise that question. I do not know how much of a dam you will build or how much land you are going to condemn, and how much you are going to inundate, but my attention is called to this amount by reason of the fact that just now my home city of Tulsa is constructing a dam that will inundate land and they had to condemn and pay for about 8 to 10 miles square of land. They are running 6 to 8-inch concrete pipe over 50 miles with two additional reservoirs, and that entire work is only costing about $6,000,000.
Mr. Howard of Oklahoma. That is the point. It is costing five and a half million dollars, and we are not only building the dam, but condemning the land, cleaning it off for a reservoir, and running 6 to 8 inch pipe for 50 miles, with two other reservoirs and pumping stations.
The Chairman. I assure the gentlemen that I will select a subcommittee that will go into all the details. If there is no objection, the chair will later appoint a subcommittee to discuss and investigate this entire matter.
The Chairman. Gentlemen, I understand that the subcommittee on S. 966 is to have a hearing this afternoon for the purpose of expediting the bill referred to. It is the understanding of the chairman that there are some gentlemen here who, for various reasons, are more or less interested in being heard.
Mr. Hayden. Mr. Chairman, at a previous meeting of the committee you stated that you were interested in evidence to show the productivity on the Salt River project, as indicative of what could be accomplished under San Carlos dam.
The Chairman. What I am interested in and what I think would be interesting to the House is to have some concrete evidence, if possible, to show the condition of the Salt River section previous to the installation of Roosevelt Dam, and what has happened since--not only to the land, but what has happened to the people and the environment, etc.
Mr. Hayden. I am sure that no better witness could be found to testify on that subject than the former governor of the State, Mr. Campbell. He has been serving as chairman of the advisory committee to the Secretary of the Interior, otherwise known as the fact finding commission, whose duty it was to consider the entire reclamation situation out West. In the course of the investigation they have made a study of the Salt River project. The governor is present and I would be glad to have him proceed along the lines suggested by the chairman.
Mr. Campbell. Replying to the statement of the chairman relative to the storage of water on Salt River, which brings about the present condition in that valley, I will state that I will have to draw upon my memory as to conditions as I knew them as a member of the Territorial legislature. Prior to the construction of Roosevelt Dam, that section depended upon the waters of Salt and Verde Rivers, with the result that in the high growing season, in the summer, during dry seasons, there was so little water in the river it very seriously affected production. In the years 1903 and 1904 the water was so short that there were large areas, highly cultivated in the principal crops, which were killed out. The result was that the settlers being there, in order to make a living from agricultural pursuits in the Salt River Valley, ascertained it was necessary to put in storage water for use in the growing season of the crop year, and the result was the building of what is now known as the Salt River project, by the Reclamation Service, which is a very great success, both from an engineering and agricultural standpoint.
As a member of the advisory committee to the Secretary of the Interior on reclamation, we have been studying all the projects in the West since the 15th of last October, presenting our report to the Secretary on April 10, which report I understand will be referred in its entirety to the Congress within a very short time. Referring particularly to the Salt River project, known as Table No. 1 that accompanies the report referred to, Exhibit No. 2, I can give you the figures in detail covering the years from 1912 to 1923, inclusive, of all productions of the main crops on the Salt River project.
Mr. Hayden. Confirming what the Governor said, during the dry years that he mentioned, there were great rows of cotton wood trees that died for lack of water. I have seen horses pawing the roots of alfalfa for something to eat. Many people abandoned their homes. We were at the limit of our water resources when the Roosevelt Dam was undertaken.
Mr. Campbell. I might add that it was impossible in many of the arid regions of the Southwest to farm without storage water, and unless you have water stored for the growing season it is very discouraging and impossible to succeed. I might add at this stage of my testimony that I am very familiar with the location of the proposed San Carlos Dam, and also the lands that will come under that project if it is constructed. They both lie in the same delta desert valley, the soil analysis of both of the projects would be practically the same; the production from those two valleys would be the same, being physically similar, with the same growing season, and with the same local and general markets. The system of transportation is practically the same, being served by the Arizona Eastern Railroad, also the Southern Pacific.
The Chairman. What I had in mind in asking that question was whether or not after the proposed project shall have been completed, if it is completed, where would the trend of the productivity naturally go to--toward Phoenix or away from it?
Mr. Campbell. Referring to the possibilities of the Salt River project, which is so similar to the Casas Grande, Florence, and San Carlos projects, it is very interesting to offer this information in the general summary.
In 1912 the average production per acre was $30, and the total value was $4,775,000. These figures I am presenting at this time to the committee do not include the income from the disposition of livestock or the products therefrom. That was impossible to obtain and is not covered in any census of figures that we could obtain. Consequently, these figures are simply the farm value of the production.
I desire to add at this time that our studies of all these projects indicate that the Salt River Valley project stands fourth of all the projects in agricultural value per acre produced. It stands first in the total amount of production. Its production during this period from 1912 to 1923 is 28 per cent of the total production of all the reclamation projects in the West.
Mr. Campbell. No. These were based upon the production, plus the average value upon the farm. Upon the table I just read from there are included about 40 different items of agricultural production, and it gives the total of each particular crop.
Mr. Campbell. Well, the acres in alfalfa during any one of these particular years--let us take 1912. There were 68,900½ acres in alfalfa. The yield per ton per acre in that year was 4 tons of alfalfa hay. The value per ton was $7. I could go through the entire table with data of that kind.
The Chairman. If there is a difference in the amount received for the product where all acres are being used each year, that is based on the value of the crops, considering the time, and what the condition is in the market. It is the market price of those various products, but is that affected by the fact that you did not have water? Before you had water you had occasionally a year when you got some sort of a crop, but you then had other years when you did not get anything.
Mr. Campbell. That is correct, Mr. Chairman, upon this project, and the same thing obtains in reference to the project under discussion. You have the advantage of an all-the-year-round growing season. There is something grown of economic value every day in the year. And if you were interested in the climatological study statistics we could give you that. But I presume the members of this committee and the members of Congress have that testimony.
Mr. Campbell. Mr. Chairman, I can refer here to our special report upon the Salt River project which will be of interest. It is not very long, and in its entirety will give you a great deal of information, if I can read it to you.
Mr. Campbell. The location of this Salt River project is in Arizona, in the counties of Maricopa and Gila, with project headquarters at Phoenix. The railroads are the Santa Fe, the Prescott & Phoenix, and Arizona Eastern. The Arizona Eastern is a subsidiary of the Southern Pacific, and for that reason we do not put it in this particular table.
The change in the original plan, increasing the height of the Roosevelt Dam from 190 feet to 225 feet, and acquiring of the distribution system or water supply from the Salt and Verde Rivers and from wells.
The Chairman. Just a moment ago you said the expenses for operating the dam and operation and maintenance--not operating the dam, but the expense of construction, operation, and maintenance, up to July 1, 1923, had been $15,000,000 and something.
Mr. Hayden. The gross amount you stated was $15,458,000 plus. Then you substract from that the revenues that accumulated of $4,558,000, and you have this balance. Those revenues were obtained in this way, that during the period of construction the Government was collecting for water sold to the settlers, and so the gross expenditure, was $15,000,000, of which $4,500,000 and over was collected during the time of construction, leaving a net due of $10,500,000. Am I correct about that?
Mr. Campbell. The project took advantage of the so-called leniency act and had the payments extended the same as other projects. The result is that they were not paying during the years 1921 and 1922. Since June 30, 1923, they have met those payments to the extent of $832,000.
The Chairman. I have not quite gotten all the figures I want. Then considering that statement, what is the total amount the Government has been reimbursed on the $10,000,000 obligation that remained when the plant was taken over?
Mr. Hayden. From your knowledge of the Salt River project and from your knowledge of the proposed project under the San Carlos Dam, is there any doubt in your mind that an acre-foot of water would produce equally as much on the one project as on the other?
Mr. Hayden. In your general report of projects throughout the Western States, I notice from press reports that distressing conditions have resulted and that your commission has recommended relief. Are any of those distressed projects located in the Southwest?
Mr. Campbell. No. We found that all of the projects that were located in the Southwest, beginning in New Mexico, the Carlsbad project, the Rio Grande project, the Salt River project, the Yuma project were not in the class of distressed projects.
Mr. Campbell. They do, largely, but I will add that a number of other distressed projects in Western States have as good transportation but they can not grow the crops, and in our general report we show that they ran down as low as $15 per acre per annum.
Mr. Campbell. Yes; they are equal. In fact I do not think there are as good road develoment in any project in the world as the Salt River. By connecting the San Carlos project with the adjacent mining trade, and with the railroad, it is as well, if not better, located than the Salt River project, because it is on the main line of the Southern Pacific Railroad.
Pinal County road bonds issued $1,300,000. Expended $471,000 within area of San Carlos project, on roads from Florence to Casa Grande, Casa Grande to Sacaton, Casa Grande to Red Rock, Casa Grande to Maricopa, and Casa Grande to Chluchiuschu. Roads good to all points mentioned. Also State has spent in addition a considerable amount within said area.
Mr. Campbell. And I can testify that the road conditions for automobile transportation from the farms to the railroad points are much better than in the ordinary county elsewhere in the United States, although they are not as good as they are in Maricopa County, because we have paved roads over that entire project.
Mr. Hayden. Not by any means. My recollection is that the assessed value of property in Maricopa County, which is practically the Salt River project, is now nearly $100,000,000 as compared with about $12,000,000 before the project was undertaken.
Mr. Hayden. There is one other thing I would like to mention at this time, in addition to what Governor Campbell has said, that demonstrates the value of the Salt River project to the rest of the United States. I have here some figures made up by the Southern Pacific and Santa Fe Railroad Companies, showing the number of carload shipments into Salt River Valley for last year. The grand total for 1923 was 6,846 cars of various kinds of merchandise. I have segregated these shipments by States to show the points of origin. For instance, there are from California, 2,594 cars; from Michigan, 397 cars; from the State of New York, 38 cars; from Ohio, 169 cars, etc.; showing that the production of this new wealth by irrigation creates a market for the manufactured products of other States. With your permission I would like to insert this table in the record.
Mr. Campbell. Yes, sir. As I started to say, they had an upset price and the payments were to be made in accordance with the extension act on the basis of 2 per cent of cost for the first four years, 4 per cent for the next four years, and 6 per cent for the next fourteen years. This project has already paid its first four 2 per cent, and its second four 4 per cent, and is now on the basis of 6 per cent, and this 6 per cent amounts to about $609,000 per annum they are paying back. It happens that there are 203,000 acres, and at $3 per acre makes the $609,000. I might say that they have just taken in some more land, amounting to some 30,000 acres, in addition, which will all contribute to payments in addition to the $609,000.
Mr. Campbell. That is a mooted question. We are of the opinion that they will care for, operate, and maintain the project, and all of the profits that may flow from it, and the good that may come from it they will enjoy as an association, but the head works, having in mind the Roosevelt Dam, and the diversion dams and the main canal, will remain forever in the ownership of the United States Government. That is the law at the present time.
The Chairman. Because there is bound, it seems to me, to flow from a project of that kind where they can be operated, as they can in that country, eventually a profit. When you shall have paid off this $10,000,000 principal, then where is your $600,000 a year going? You would then have to collect but $1.70 per acre for maintenance and operation. But if you succeed in selling power enough you might do away with all cost of water and that would be quite a handicap on other parts of the country that had originally put their money in there for the benefit of that particular section.
Mr. Hayden. Another reason why the title to the works remains in the United States Government, very cheerfully, with the consent of the water users is because property which belongs to the United States can not be taxed. Inasmuch as the dam is located in one county and irrigates the land in another, the farmers in the lower county are not anxious to have the other county tax their property.
The Chairman. That is a question hardly apropos, but it is illustrative of what may take place in an irrigation project, that is a success. But this is the only one I have ever heard of so far that turned out to be a success, and that is the reason why I for one am willing to go on record here now, that since you men say (and my own observation leads me to believe that what you say is true), that we can not set up in the San Carlos and Gila River Valleys a project equal to the Salt River project, and if so it is bound to repay the money back and maintain itself.
The Chairman. The only thing I have any worry about up to this moment is, considering the location where you have this dam and the distance you have to carry that water and distribute it, and considering the cost of construction for a dam now as compared with what it was when you built the Roosevelt Dam, that $5,500,000 is hardly enough to start it. Five million five hundred thousand dollars does not go very far nowadays in construction.
Mr. Hayden. There is one other question I would like to ask Mr. Campbell, and then we will hear from Mr. Reed. I notice you have submitted a draft of legislation to Congress wherein six new projects are to be undertaken. The draft of a bill I have before me here proposes to authorize the construction of these new projects, conditioned on certain things being done. The first condition is that there shall be an irrigation district organized. Your commssion is unanimous in their opinion that that is the proper thing to do, is it?
Mr. Campbell. Absolutely; or they fall into the failures as they are doing on some other projects, and the result is we have no contracts made, with 500,000 acres subject to irrigation, some of it being operated under water rental right contract.
Mr. Hayden. Another recommendation is that there shall be an appraisal of the value of the privately-owned land, irrespective of the proposed reclamation work, and that appraised price is to be agreed upon before the project is started.
Mr. Campbell. That is one of the things necessary before you start the project. Otherwise you are putting a premium upon the speculator, and putting a burden upon the man who must till the soil and make his living out of it.
Mr. Hayden. And you further propose that in the contract it shall be agreed that if the land is sold by the present owner to anyone else at a price higher than the appraisal, that one-half of the increased price shall go to the United States to reimburse it for the cost of construction.
Mr. Hayden. I have here the draft of legislation proposed by the fact-finding commission. It contains a provision that where a man has more than 160 acres of land he shall turn the excess over to the United States at the appraised price, that price to be credited on his remaining land in reduction of the construction charge thereafter to be assessed against it. Provision is also made that lands so conveyed to the United States shall be subject to disposition to settlers at the appraised price by the Secretary of the Interior. The idea is that the Government shall protect the actual home owners and not the land speculators, and that 160 acres is ample for one man.
Mr. Hastings. You believe then that the recommendations of the advisory commission with respect to the conditions which should be adopted in connection with any new project undertaken by the Reclamation Service, should be applied to the San Carlos project?
Mr. Hayden. If the average gross production of the Salt River project over this 10-year period has been practically $60 an acre, would you say that 5 per cent of that, or $3 per acre, would be a fair charge upon a farmer under the San Carlos project in the way of a repayment; a charge that he could meet?
Mr. Campbell. That would be a fair charge, and from our knowledge of these other projects it is one that they could meet. In other words, 5 per cent of his gross production for construction charges is the proportion that he can contribute and still live.
Mr. Hayden. The difficulty in starting a new project is that we have not a 10-year's background, but we have the actual record of the Salt River project which is a next-door neighbor to the San Carlos project. My thought was that if we provide in this bill that the farmer on the San Carlos project should pay $3 per acre per annum, after he has established himself on the land, it would be a fair and equitable charge.
Mr. Campbell. We have recommended in our general recommendations that there shall be two types of public notice, one at the time when they know the project's cost. That will be the first public notice. Then, not less than five years after he gets water he then comes under a public notice to repay. Our investigation has been that by the time he gets water in order to break up his land, put in ditches, barns, and that sort of thing, it will take him five years before he has it in shape to start the repayment of the principal account.
Mr. Hayden. I ask to include in the record the proposed draft of the bill prepared by the commission of which Governor Campbell is chairman, entitled ‘‘A bill authorizing appropriations from the reclamation fund to provide for the investigation and construction of certain Federal irrigation works,’’ as a basis for this committee to work on.
Be it enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives of the United States of America in Congress assembled, That the following sums are authorized to be appropriated out of the special fund in the Treasury of the United States created by act of June 17, 1902 (Thirty-second Statutes, page 388), and therein designated ‘‘the reclamation fund’’ to be available immediately subject to the applicable provisions of the reclammation law.
Sec. 2. That no part of any sum provided for herein shall be expended for construction on account of any division of any project until an appropriate repayment contract, in form approved by the Secretary of the Interior, shall have been properly executed by a district or districts organized under State law, embracing the lands irrigable under such division, and the execution thereof shall have been confirmed by decree of a court of competent jurisdiction, which contract, among other things, shall contain an appraisal approved by the Secretary of the Interior, showing the present actual bona fide value of all such irrigable lands fixed without reference to the proposed Government development, and shall provide that until the Government construction charges against such lands shall have been fully paid, upon any and every sale of the land or any interest therein 50 per centum of all moneys, credits, and property received therefor above the value thereof as shown by said appraisal, shall belong to the United States to be credited in reduction of the construction charge against the land so sold, and the Secretary of the Interior may convert into money through legal process, if necessary, any such credits or property so belonging to the United States; and all public lands irrigable under such division shall be entered subject to the conditions of this section which shall be applied thereto: Provided, That no part of any sum provided for herein shall be expended for construction on account of any division of any project until all areas of land irrigable under such division and owned by any individual in excess of one hundred and sixty irrigable acres shall have been conveyed in fee to the United States free of encumbrance to again become a part of the public domain, under a contract between the United States and the individual owner providing that the value as shown by said appraisal of the land so conveyed to the United States shall be credited in reduction of the construction charge thereafter to be assessed against the land retained by such owner; and lands so conveyed to the United States shall be subject to disposition under the reclamation law when so ordered by the Secretary of the Interior: Provided further, That no part of any sum provided for herein shall be expended for construction on account of any division of any project until an appropriate contract in form approved by the Secretary of the Interior shall have been properly executed by all holders of Federal land grants of more than one hundred and sixty acres irrigable under such division, which shall provide for the sale of such lands to actual bona fide settlers at not more than the value thereof as shown by said appraisal: And provided further, That the provisions of this section shall not apply to lands to be served with water from the Guernsey Reservoir of the North Platte irrigation project, to land to be served with water under the Warren act of February 21, 1911 (Thirty-sixth Statutes, page 925), nor to Indian lands in any project.
The Chairman. I am glad to note that the fact-finding commission on irrigation have taken the account some effect of the law we put in through this committee several years ago, in regard to these repayments, etc., and I am glad to hear the recommendation that before we go ahead with any project there must be a contract with somebody to use the water and pay for it eventually.
Mr. Campbell. No, sir. I think that is all, Mr. Chairman. I will be here for perhaps a week or more at hearings before different committees in reference to some general recommendations, on United States Reclamation, and shall be glad to appear before you at any time.
Mr. Hayden. Mr. Reed, I am sure that the chairman and the members of the subcommittee would like to have you to state whether you can build the San Carlos Dam for the $5,500,000 authorized in this bill. And if so, after it is built, will it be a successful project? Please state how many acres it is proposed to irrigate. The committee would like to have the engineering and cost details that enter into the project as a business proposition.
Mr. Reed. The San Carlos reservoir has been under study by engineers at intervals for the last 30 years, beginning in 1895--I believe was the first report--the reports have been made by Arthur P. Davis, by J. B. Lippincott, J. D. Schuyler, by a board of Army engineers, by a board of Indian irrigation engineers, and finally the last report by a board from the Reclamation Service.
The studies have covered everything from hydrographic, or the flow of the stream; topographic, both of reservoir and lands to be irrigated; and soil surveys to determine what lands are available for profitable production.
A point that has called for perhaps the deepest study of all is that of the available water supply. The Geological Survey has carried on a series of measurements for many years, part of that expense being contributed by the Indian Service, and every board that made the study has reported favorably, but not as to the same extent. The area capable of being irrigated has varied from 80,000 acres to a little over 130,000 acres, this depending, of course, upon the flow of the river stored so that the high yields could be distributed throughout the low years. There has been some little difference between the various engineering reports as to the size of the reservoir that would be most feasible and economical for this project.
The first studies advocated a smaller reservoir, only of a size capable of storing practically the average yearly flow, while one of the reports advocated building a reservoir of a size practically four times the capacity of the average flow.
A part that has entered into this has been that those who have opposed the project based their opposition upon the question of disposal of the silt. Some schemes have been studied and advocated for that purpose, but at the present moment I think it is the consensus of opinion that the extra storage should be put into the reservoir itself in order to obviate the necessity of trying to pass the silt for at least 50 or 60 years.
The engineering studies have called for two different investigations of the bottom of the river, or the foundation conditions. The last one was made, I believe, by the Army board, and by moving a little distance from where the first one was found they succeeded in getting a better foundation, and they also found it at a much shallower distance.
Mr. Reed. It was very fortunate. The studies of the Indian Service are printed in the hearings of the former congressional investigating committee, known as hearings before the Committee on Indian Affairs, on the condition of various tribes of Indians.
Mr. Reed. Yes, sir. That is published so far as the descriptive matter in the table is concerned, but the appendices which lead up to all the opinion and conclusion were never published, but are available if desired.
Mr. Reed. There were maps and tables and water measurements, and, I believe, twice as much as was published. The Army board report in 1914 has been published--Sixty-second Congress, second session, Document No. 791. That contains a vast amount of information, and from all of these the chart computations that I am presenting here have been made.
Mr. Reed. There will be some expense in the purchase or in the payment for condemning buildings and some small works of that kind. The estimate made by the representatives of the Indian Service was practically $200,000, and the Army engineers, after investigating, concurred.
Mr. Reed. Yes. The distribution system will consist of diversion dams lower down, one of which, as you know, is already constructed. The other one is now under construction with appropriations sufficient to finish it. That includes a bridge as well as the dam. The canal is also under construction, and $400,000 has been appropriated outside of the appropriation for this year, which I understand is in the neighborhood of $200,000.
Mr. Hayden. There is an existing canal system and laterals for the lands in private ownership and you contemplate no appropriation out of the Treasury of the United States to carry the water from the main canal to the land belonging to white people? They do that themselves?
Mr. Reed. Yes; I was just coming to that. When we had this San Carlos feature staring us in the face we made contracts before the Ashurst-Hayden dam was constructed, before we began any operations we entered into a contract with all the white interests and in that, knowing that the system serving to some extent at the present time was there, and had been constructed by the people, we did not include the distributing system for the scheme at all.
We left this out, believing that it would be more to the satisfaction of a greater number of people to construct and maintain and operate their own distributing system than for the Government to do it. On the Indian reservation there also is a system, but not in as good shape, that will require some repair, but I have no doubt if the water can be served in the main ditches that the Indians will be glad to furnish the labor necessary to build their sublateral system. So that those two items, which ordinarily enter into an irrigation project will be necessary but will not be a part of the Federal expenditure or activity.
Mr. Hayden. Assuming that the San Carlos dam is built, and approximately 80,000 acres is irrigated, what amount of that acreage will be cultivated by the Indians themselves? I am speaking now of the Indian cultivation, not land to be leased by Indians but cultivated by the Indians.
Mr. Reed. The flood-water project is assumed to serve 62,000 acres. Of that 62,000 acres the Indians have 35,000 and the whites 27,000. It is contemplated in working this scheme out that the Indians shall be allotted 10 acres for each individual.
Mr. Hayden. On the basis of 80,000 acres, figuring in the cost of the dam at five and a half million dollars, and the cost of these other works that have heretofore been constructed, which would be for the benefit of the project, what does that make the charge per acre?
Mr. Reed. Without a doubt. Considering the statistics of crops just read by Governor Campbell, and there is no doubt whatever but what the quality of the land and the climate is the same, with the transportation facilities, in my estimation, a little better, it is very easily seen how the small yearly return that would come from either the scheme represented in this bill, which you just presented, or even on the old 20-year plan of $4 a year for 20 years, could be easily made.
Mr. Hayden. On the basis of the crop production of the Salt River Valley of approximately $60 an acre per annum, which is the average for the last 10 years, 5 per cent of that would be $3 an acre, which the Governor says is the finding of his commission that the farmer can afford to pay, or one-twentieth of his gross toward construction. At a total cost of $80 and a repayment of $3 an acre, could the farmers pay for that project in 27 years?
Mr. Hayden. With respect to the Indians and their ability to reimburse the United States. If this 80,000 acres of land were irrigated, will a water table be formed so that some of it would have to be drained or the water pumped out?
Mr. Reed. Undoubtedly. That has been the experience on all other projects. Theoretically you could apply just enough water for crop production, but practically and within the limits of economics you can not do it, and the result would be that the water table would rise and in a few years some of the lower portions of the project would probably begin to deteriorate without drainage; unless there was drainage that would be the case.
Mr. Reed. That varies in different sections with different soils and different slopes. I have estimated on this project that it will be at least 30 per cent, that there will be available 30 per cent of the water that is used for extension obtained from the drains or by other means, such as pumping from wells.
Mr. Reed. If the whole canal system were operated from the very beginning over the 80,000 acres, you would probably reach the point of saturation before 10 years, but if it came in gradually it would be probably 10 years before we were getting the maximum return.
Mr. Hayden. I have understood from the Rev. Dirk Lay that the Indians on the reservation are perfectly willing to sell their surplus lands in the way of reimbursement. When their lands, consisting of about 40,000 acres, that would be required to provide for each man, woman, and child of the Pima Tribe, is furnished with water, they are willing to sell the surplus land they have unallotted that could be irrigated by the return waters, and the proceeds applied in part repayment to the Government. Do you think it is feasible to realize anything from such a plan as that?
Mr. Reed. I think that might be a good business stroke for the Indians. I have had no conversation with them on that particular point. But it would go a long way toward relieving them from their construction charges and somebody is going to require the water, somebody is going to have that water, and if the Indians do favor a plan of that kind, I would think it an admirable scheme.
Mr. Hayden. Then in your judgment there would be probably 25,000 acres of surplus unallotted land which could be irrigated with the return or drainage waters that the Indians could sell, to repay the United States in part, at least, for their construction costs?
Mr. Reed. I have no doubt of it. The limit of irrigation down there is not land; it is water. You could build this project and develop it and still have land left, not altogether Indian, but in that vicinity.
Mr. Hayden. Would you consider it the part of wisdom to provide in this legislation that when the project is completed and the Indian lands have been supplied with water, and the return or drainage waters are available, that the Secretary of the Interior should be authorized to dispose of this surplus land, and use the money to repay the United States for the Indian share of the cost of the reservoir, as far as that money would go?
Mr. Lay. The matter was brought to the attention of all the villages of the reservation in an informal way the first part of January, and after the matter had been thoroughly discussed some of them were in favor of offering the surplus lands to the Government now if they would just give us back our water. Others said that they always stood by the Government and the Government ought to stand by us now. We think that we ought to have the Government build a dam first, that we are sure of our water, and then let them have our land.
Mr. Lay. After we had our powwow, which lasted all day, they had a vote and there were three opposing votes. There were 122 present representing the whole district of the villages, and those three happened to be from the district that is now irrigated almost fully; that is way down where the Salt River Valley project touches the Gila Valley. The Maricopa people have land down there now. They are not in this project and did not want to give up their share in that. The others are all in favor of it. That is purely informal; there was no authorization, but I asked the Indians and got their opinion and thought I should state it here. There is no contract of any kind that I have entered into with them; I am speaking for them informally.
The Chairman. Assuming that the San Carlos Dam was constructed along the lines proposed and it was full of water and you could keep it full normally, how many years of land would you expect to actually irrigate annually?
Mr. Reed. Some of the engineers have figured that, but we could not arrive at that from a study of the flow for the years in which the record was available. It is true that some years you could have increased that amount by 50 to 100 per cent, but we have proposed in our work to carry in storage double the average flow of the river or have a capital of that, so that we could carry the low year over to the higher year.
The Chairman. So that if you did irrigate 80,000 acres with a dam at a cost of $5,500,000, and you carried this system at 5 per cent, and the acreage produced at $67 an acre, as has been the average for the Salt River, the Government after the period of the payment, would receive approximately $200,000 per annum back on the project?
Mr. Hayden. In addition to that there are the other appropriations that have heretofore been made that are reimbursable that must be added to the construction charge, so that the total cost would run up to $81 an acre. At $3 an acre it would take 27 years to pay, 23 years of that time to pay for the San Carlos Dam, and 5 years more to repay the other moneys heretofore advanced for the works that have already been built?
Mr. Hayden. Your idea in limiting the irrigable area to 80,000 acres, if I understand you correctly, is that you prefer to have a less acreage with an absolutely assured water supply than a larger acreage which might be caught in droughths in the lean years of rainfall. Is that the reason you cut the area down?
Mr. Reed. That is it exactly. There is where the difference, to some extent, has existed between the different engineering boards, some of them assuming that it would be better to take advantage of the high years and then suffering sometimes in the low years, while we have been figuring safely and trying to have a supply every year.
Mr. Hayden. There is only one other element that has entered into the Salt River project that has not been considered here. That is the question of the development of hydro-electric power. Does the plan contemplated at this time provide for the installation of any power development at the dam?
Mr. Reed. We have made no estimates on that. We have not made the study that should be required, and as a matter of fact the power that would be developed from this dam would be used for the same kind of service, that is, irrigation; it would be used in the extension of this project and should become a charge against the land to receive the benefit.
Mr. Hayden. The dam would be constructed so that power could be later developed, but you see no necessity for putting in a power plant now. You would deliver water and develop the land below and when new lands are irrigated on the reservation with the return waters that could pay for the power development.
Mr. Reed. Yes. There is a portion of the year that no water would be turned out of the reservoir. That would mitigate against making a power plant for commercial purposes and it would be much better to develop the power for irrigation because the service would be at the same time that the water is flowing out of the reservoir.
Mr. Reed. Not from the Roosevelt Dam. You might up on the hill at Globe. Here [indicating on map] is Phoenix. The land that you begin to irrigate on is in here. That is the distance your water comes down. Here [indicating] is the San Carlos and here is where we commence to irrigate.
Mr. Reed. About 25 per cent. Here is Florence, there is the San Carlos, here is Phoenix, and here the Roosevelt Dam; this is the main line of the Southern Pacific Railroad. There is a branch line to Florence that crosses here [indicating]. The transportation facilities are hard to beat.
The Presbytery of Phoenix of the Presbyterian Church, United States of America, whose ecclesiastic jurisdiction embraces all Pima Indian Reservations in the State of Arizona, met in session in Tucson, Ariz., April 16, 1924, does hereby express the following sentiment toward an adequate provision of irrigation water for this destitute tribe. Inasmuch as the Senate of the United States of America unanimously passed a bill that the Sixty-eight Congress in first session is now considering as an act. Senate 966, this Presbytery hereby unanimously urges and prays that no stone be left unturned by the Congress in doing this elemental justice to the Pima Indian.