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Senator McCARRAN. Has the State of New Mexico ever attempted to exercise its right in the way of appropriating water?
Mr. HANNETT. No. We have determined upon the Colorado River compact. We have an undivided interest in the 7,500,000 acre-feet of water.
Senator McCARRAN. But prior to the compact, what, if any, steps were taken by the State of New Mexico to appropriate the waters of the natural flow of the Colorado River?
Mr. HANNETT. I do not think any State has, including the State of New Mexico.
Senator McCARRAN. You have in the State of New Mexico, I take it, as in other western States, the law that prior appropriation is a prior right. Then I take it you have your statute providing for the filing of appropriations under your State engineer administration, whatever it may be called.
Mr. HANNETT. That is right.
Senator McCARRAN. Now, do I understand, Governor, from your statement made to the committee here, that at the time of the adjournment of the Committee of Sixteen, the State of New Mexico and some other State refused to concur in the agreement ?
Mr. HANNETT. In the meeting of the four upper basin States, that broke up with Utah and Colorado approving, Wyoming and New Mexico disapproving.
Senator McCARRAN. Then you met at a later hour and said while you did not approve it, you would not oppose it. Is that my understanding of it?
Mr. HANNETT. That is right. While we did not approve it, we were not going to oppose it, and we were not attempting to answer for or bind the hands of either of our Senators or Congressmen.
Senator MoCARRAN. Is that your attitude now?
Mr. HANNETT. That is our attitude now. We feel that the law is inequitable, just as we felt then, but we are not here opposing, we are here explaining our position.
Senator CHAVEZ. And you think that modifications to clarify the rights of the State of New Mexico should be included in the bill?
Mr. HANNETT. I think they should be included in the bill, and I think that meets the objection that Mr. McClure and I have had to the legislation.
Senator McCARRAN. Under the existing Boulder Canyon Act, do you recall how long it would be before the State of New Mexico would receive any money at all?
Mr. HANNETT. I think it would be in the most remote future, and I think likewise, under the bill as it stands now, it would be equally remote.
Senator CHAVEZ, Governor Hannett, you stated in answer to Senator McCarran that we had some interest in some 7,500,000 acre-feet.
Mr. HANNETT. We had an undivided interest, just exactly as Colorado, Utah, and Wyoming have.
Senator CHAVEZ. The statement was made last week that all the possible water we could get out of the San Juan would be something like 200,000 acre-feet.
Mr. HANNETT. The San Juan diversion would give us 350,000 acrefeet.
Senator CHAVEZ. 350,000?
Senator CHAVEZ. Which would be a small amount considering our so-called equitable interest in the 7,500,000 acre-feet?
Mr. HANNETT. That is correct.
Senator CHAVEZ. The rest of the waters of the San Juan would still flow down into the Colorado and be of beneficial use, both at the dam and for other purposes below the dam?
Mr. HANNETT. Yes. There is a precedent for transmountain diversion. Colorado is diverting from the Colorado River in the Big Thompson, I think substantially 350,000 acre-feet.
Senator CHAVEZ. Do you want to ask him any questions?
STATEMENT OF THOMAS M. MCCLURE, STATE ENGINEER OF NEW
Senator ASHURST. Give your name, your address, and occupation for the record, please.
Mr. McCLURE. Thomas M. McClure. State engineer. Secretary of the Interstate Streams Commission. Santa Fe, N. Mex.
Senator CHAVEZ. What part, Mr. McClure, have you taken in the development of the proposed legislation ?
Mr. McCLURE. I have attended all meetings that have taken place on the Colorado River matters since 1933, as State engineer, and representative of New Mexico.
I would like to go into just a little history, if I may, Senator, in regard to the unique position that the San Juan River has in relation to the other tributaries of the Colorado.
Senator McCARRAN. May I ask a preliminary question?
Senator McCARRAN. Prior to that were you connected with that bureau ?
Mr. McClure. I was connected with the State on highway work, but not in the hydraulic end.
Our interest in the San Juan is due to the fact that San Juan is the largest water-producing stream in New Mexico. Some three-fifths of all the water of the streams in New Mexico flow through the San Juan River. It is also the least used. The San Juan flows out of New Mexico into Utah through a barren space for which, up to the present time, no feasible use has been developed, in which the waters of the stream after leaving New Mexico can be used.
Of the 7,500,000 acre-feet allotted to the upper basin under the Colorado River compact, we have a mean annual flow leaving New Mexico of approximately 2,500,000 acre-feet per year.
Senator ASHURST. Out of the San Juan?
Mr. McCLURE. Out of the San Juan; yes, sir. That water is unavailable for any other uses except in the Boulder Canyon project
after leaving New Mexico. We feel for that reason that we have an appreciable interest in developing that water under the Colorado River compact.
Senator McCARRAN. What would you say the acre-foot flow was per year?
Mr. MoCLURE. A mean average of approximately 2,500,000 acrefeet per year. Our major project of putting that water to use in New Mexico is the transmountain diversion from the San Juan to the Chama and Rio Grande Basin, which is decidedly overappropriated, that is, the Rio Grande Basin water is. It involves shortages on that stream in some areas practically every year.
The other project for the utilization of that water would be our Navajo Indian project, which is a very expensive project. The lands are scattered and the construction of canals, the construction of storage facilities at the present time, with lifts that might be necessary for pumping to utilize all the lands that are irrigable, is far beyond our anticipation at this time. There are some 50,000 acres of land under irrigation in New Mexico on the San Juan.
Our interest in the adoption of amendments to this bill before us is in order to get a full protection for New Mexico, so that we can see a possible way of helping to finance the development of this transmountain diversion, so that we can put to beneficial use the equitable portion that we have in the 7,500,000 acre-feet allotted to the four upper States.
We felt, on the basis of the Sands report, that we had arrived at an equitable apportionment. Taking all factors into consideration, placing the rate of falling water at Boulder Dam on a competitive basis, both for steam and taking into consideration the district, we have definitely shown by facts that were brought out in our meetings that the rate of falling water at Boulder Dam was far below the rate of either T. V. A., Bonneville, or any other project of the United States of major hydroelectric plants. Mr. Sands worked with the Los Angeles engineers, among which there is a material difference of opinion in three or four matters, in which they never reached an agreement in any way. However, we felt that the Sands report, being made by Mr. Sands, who is an outstanding electrical engineer in the West, was sound and consistent in regard to the principles used nowadays. He corrected at several times after taking into consideration new developments which the Bureau of Power and Light had brought into the efficiency of their lines and their set-up out there. The upper-basin States, as Governor Hannett, said, approved this report and accepted it as being the basis for consideration. That is New Mexico's stand. We see no reason now to go back of that. On that basis, why, we feel that we should be fully protected for our development of the Colorado River Basin.
Under the joint investigation of the Rio Grande, which was conducted by the National Resources Committee, under the Planning Board, which was a factual investigation of three States, Texas, New Mexico, and Colorado, for presenting the factual data, which did consummate itself into a compact and settle the controversy of the Rio Grande, a full investigation at an expenditure of some $52,000 was made on the transmountain diversion. Its feasibility was established at that time, and an estimate of cost was made. The sounding of dam sites, the drilling of dam sites, the geology study, everything is complete with probably the exception of final design for contracting and construction work and for obtaining the right-of-way. There were two projects set up in that—that is, two lines run-and an estimate of cost was made of both of those for economy's sake, to determine which was the most economic. Under the Rio Grande compact the project is agreed to by Colorado with the qualification that present and prospective uses of the State of Colorado will not be injured. They have one small diversion that was studied at the same time as this, which would involve only 52,000 acre-feet of water.
Senator ASHURST. May I ask you there, is the relief you seek expressed in the amendment that was just read? Is that what you seek?
Mr. McCLURE. I believe it is; yes.
Senator ASHURST. You do not ask any additional amendment or change?
Mr. McCLURE. No.
Senator CHAVEZ. Governor Hannett stated that if the transmountain diversion project was concluded we would use 350,000 acre-feet, more or less.
Mr. McCLURE. That is right.
Senator CHAVEZ. If we use 350,000 acre-feet, there would still be a little better than 3,000,000 acre-feet to go down the Boulder Dam?
Mr. McC'LURE. There would be a little less than 2,000,000 acre-feet.
Senator CHAVEZ. So we do not use all of the water, or hardly any of the water, that would flow down the San Juan River?
Mr. MCCLURE. None at all, hardly. We have 50,000 acres that are depleting their quota of that stream. That, of course, has been under irrigation for many years and is included. Above that we still have approximately 2,500,000 acre-feet per year passing out of the State.
Senator C'havez. Senator Hatch, do you want to ask any questions? Senator HATCH. No; I do not.
Senator CHAVEZ. Mr. Chairman, I ask permission of the committee to insert in the record of committee hearings, excerpts of testimony on the subject matter contained in the Report of Proceedings of the Fact Finding Committee of the Upper Colorado River Basin States, Green River, Wyo., July 1938, volume 2, page 286, as follows:
Mr. WALLACE. What is the status now as to construction?
Mr. MCCLURE, I believe that the project with the exception of right-of-way would be practically ready for construction, wouldn't it Mr. Debler?
Mr. DERLER. I would say this, the work is in the same State as we usually proceed to construction. You couldnt get construction contracts, but if money became available for construction we would then proceed to the final location surveys and the designing of the dam.
Mr. WALLACE. The surveys are nearly enough complete to determine the feasibility ?
Mr. DEBLER. No further surveys needed for feasibility.
STATEMENT OF WALTER E. WOEHLKE, ASSISTANT TO THE
COMMISSIONER OF INDIAN AFFAIRS, WASHINGTON, D. C. Senator AshuRST. Your full name for the record, sir.
Mr. WOEHLKE. Walter E. Woelke. Assistant to the Commissioner of Indian Affairs, Washington, D. C.
Senator CHAVEZ. Mr. Woehlke, are you acquainted with the whole area of the Colorado River River Basin that includes the San Juan River and the tributaries?
Mr. WOEHLKE. I am fairly familiar with that whole region, Senator.
Senator CHAVEZ. Will you kindly state to the committee in your own words what, if any interest the Navajo Indians might have under this compact, the possibilities of the development of those interests under the pending legislation, and anything that you may care to say to the committee?
Mr. WOEHLKE. May I first state, Senator, the Indian Service is interested in the proper development and use of the waters of the San Juan on both sides of the Continental Divide, both in the Rio Grande area and in the San Juan basin as such. In the Rio Grande Valley, to which it is contemplated to divert 350,000 acre-feet of the San Juan waters, the Indian Service is interested in some 20,000 acres of irrigable and irrigated land from which some 14,000 Pueblo Indians now derive the better part of their living.
As Governor Hannett and Mr. McClure stated, there is a shortage, a deficiency in the supply of water in the upper Rio Grande Valley even so far as the presently developed and cultivated land is concerned. So, from that angle the Indian Service is distinctly interested in making possible the diversion of the surplus water of the San Juan to the Rio Grande Valley.
So far as the San Juan Basin is concerned, the Indian Office has to look after some 50,000 Navajo Indians who are now deriving the bulk of their living from the operation of livestock. Some 10,000 Navajo families are making use of a total area which, for livestock, would be sufficient only to supply a fairly decent living to 600 white families, on the basis of about 1,000 sheep units per white family. So that you have the effort of these 10,000 Navajo families to subsist in an area on livestock which will support enough livestock to take care of approximately 600 white families.
On top of that, the Navajos are increasing very rapidly. In fact, the preliminary returns, census returns from one of the Navajo districts in which we had counted 1,200, indicated in this district there were approximately 1,800 Navajos. So that when the census returns are all completed, we may find that we have in excess of 60,000 Navajos trying to make a living on an area which will support only 600 white families.
There is no possibility of enlarging the Navajo Reservation as such, so as to provide more range for these 50,000 or 60,000 people, so that they might increase their livestock operations. There is no chance for doing that. So that these people are caught in a steel ring in which they are confined within their reservation boundaries, and within that steel ring they are expanding very rapidly. So that the only way in which they can possibly manage to survive, in which they can expand their production, is through the supply of irrigable land.