Page images

Brigadier General FERGUSON. Not until you get it.

Representative WHITTINGTON. If we give Morganza the_green light, we have got to give comparable relief in order to give Eudora the green light?

Brigadier General FERGUSON. No, sir. We have solved your engineering problem and have given you a solution that has not been contested by any engineer in America. The order of building works is an engineering problem.

Representative WHITTINGTON. I have no issue with you on that.

Brigadier General FERGUSON. The question of solving the political problem is a very complex one.

Representative WHITTINGTON. I have not asked you about the political problem, and I do not want to be so understood.

Brigadier General FERGUSON. The problem has stretched out now for a longer period than we had contemplated it would. We did not make the plans, so we could not operate. As it now stands we cannot give you relief such as might come from that lower outlet. The size of those rivers below, although there are two, is less by a large amount than the main river above, which is one river.

Representative WHITTINGTON. That is all I have to ask.
Senator MILLER. May I make one suggestion, Mr. Chairman?
Senator OVERTON (presiding). Yes, sir.

Senator MILLER. I should like to have introduced in the record, although not printed as a part of the record, this House of Representatives Document No. 1, of the Flood Control Committee, Seventyfourth Congress, first session.

Senator OVERTON. There is no need to have it printed in this record since it is already available.

Senator MILLER. But I just wanted to have it appear as a part of these hearings.

Senator OVERTON. Yes; by reference.
Senator MILLER. Yes; by reference.
Senator OVERTON. There are a few questions I desire to ask.

The report that you made in 1935 was based on river conditions as they existed at that time. I assume that that is correct?

Brigadier General FERGUSON. Yes, sir.

Senator OVERTON. The conditions have to some extent been changed by the work that has been done on the river. For instance, the carrying capacity of the river from the Arkansas on down to the mouth of the Red River has been increased by some 600,000 or 700,000 feet; that is correct, is it not?

Brigadier General FERGUSON. It is closer to 600,000.
Senator OVERTON. Let us say approximately 600,000 cubic feet?
Brigadier General FERGUSON. Yes.

Senator OVERTON. There is not as great a necessity for a Eudora floodway today as there was a number of years ago?

Brigadier General FERGUSON. I would not say that, Senator. The great flood that we cannot foresee or state when it will occur would make such a terrific disaster that we do not even dare say we can take it down the river until we get it as far as we finally can go with our river work. The magnitude of such a disaster would simply wipe out all the efforts that everybody connected with the valley has made. Our conception is that it is just as imperative that we do not get caught in another calamity.

The question of when it shall be done is, of course, another question. If you were to give us $300,000,000 tomorrow morning, I would say that we would put them all in by Christmas. But the problem, I think, is how to attempt to prevent a disaster from some lesser flood, but one a little greater than we had last year, which is more probable than the great big flood. So, I am asking for authority to do the things that are not in controversy, so that everybody can take a little greater flood next year than he had last year; not until eventually can anybody say whether or not we would need the Morganza, but we would not dare not to keep it authorized.

Senator OVERTON. I think I fully understand that. When it comes to a superflood, no man knows what will be the result. I have heard so much about the superflood that I do not know whether with reservoirs, floodways, or anything else we can protect the lower valley, but the point I am bringing out is this: The amount of change in the flow of the river south of the Arkansas River has been such that a Eudora if it existed today would be used less frequently than it would have been necessary to use it a number of years ago?

Brigadier General FERGUSON. Undoubtedly.

Senator MILLER. May I make one suggestion, Senator? The General has spoken about the adjustment of the levees, the heights of levees in accordance with the flow lines—the present fow lines as I understand, and he has the profiles of those adjustments. I wonder if it would not be a good thing for him to prepare in narrative form a statement about the places on the river where those adjustments should be made or where there now is under the law the authority to make those adjustments.

Brigadier General FERGUSON. Yes, sir. In general, we think we have authority to make an apparent adjustment.

Senator MILLER. Could you prepare a statement in narrative form and give those various places, for the benefit of the committee?

Brigadier General FERGUSON. Yes, sir.

Senator MILLER. I should like to have that go into the record, because I think it would be of help.

Senator OVERTON. So far as the Morganza is concerned, however, the flow conditions have not changed, so in the event there was a Morganza in operation would it be used less frequently than it would have been used several years ago?

Brigadier General FERGUSON. No, sir.

Senator OVERTON. There is just as great a necessity for a Morganza now as there was when you filed this report in 1935?

Brigadier General FERGUSON. To be absolutely correct, you would have to say that the enlargement of the Atchafalaya would give perhaps a minute difference at Morganza today—that is, something less than a foot as compared with the changes in the main river above.

Senator OVERTON. As I understand it, the net result which you obtained in the Atchafalaya Basin was a reduction in the flood stage of approximately 50,000 cubic feet per second?

Brigadier General FERGUSON. A small amount; I do not recall it exactly.

Senator OVERTON. A small amount, 50,000 cubic feet per second or lower?

Brigadier General FERGUSON. We do not think a foot is worth talking about on this river.

Senator OVERTON. That represents less than a foot?
Brigadier General FERGUSON. Something like that; yes, sir.

Senator OVERTON. On the other hand, from the Arkansas down to the mouth of the Red River you have effected a reduction of approximately 600,000 cubic feet per second in the flow?

Brigadier General FERGUSON. Not to the Red River, you understand.

Senator OVERTON. No, not to the Red River; south of the Arkansas?

Brigadier General FERGUSON. Down to the high-grade levee below Natchez. You understand, some of that levee was built with an idea of settlement, and it is higher than the grade down there. That has a very treacherous foundation.

Senator OVERTON. Do you say down to Natchez?
Brigadier General FERGUSON. Down to the Red River backwater


Senator OVERTON. You can take care of 600,000 cubic feet more than

you could take care of several years ago? Brigadier General FERGUSON. Yes, sir. You understand that that does not mean that each place takes more than it took before, but as a whole; yes, sir.

Senator OVERTON. Just to get it so that we can understand it, the relative difference between what you have accomplished in the Atchafalaya and what you have accomplished in the middle section of the Mississippi River is the difference between, say, approximately 50,000 cubic feet and approximately 600,000 cubic feet?

Brigadier General FERGUSON. Yes.
Senator OVERTON. That is correct?
Brigadier General FERGUSON. Yes.

Representative WITTINGTON. Mr. Chairman, may I ask just one more question?

Senator OVERTON. Yes.

Representative WHITTINGTON. General, are we to understand now that since the hearings of January 1936 and up until this time-substantially in the last 2 years--you have made this 600,000-cubic-foot reduction from the Arkansas River to below Natchez or that you have increased the capacity in those 2 years?

Brigadier General FERGUSON. It is the whole period. In 1936 the actual flow was-well, I have forgotten the amount, but we estimated that we could carry 2,150,000 cubic feet with 1 foot freeboard all the way through. That would have been at 59.6 at Arkansas City, but instead of that—we just made an estimate of that-afterward we carried it at about 54. The total increase goes all the way back to all the cut-offs. We do not like to predict them and get people too optimistic, but this total runs from the beginning of all the cut-offs.

Representative WHITTINGTON. That is what I thought. You did not mean to say that you had done this work since the former hearing. That includes all the cut-offs that have been made from the beginning of the cut-off work.

Brigadier General FERGUSON. Oh, yes; it is the total.

Representative WHITTINGTON. How many have you made since the former hearing?

Senator OVERTON (presiding). Representative Whittington, it is now time for the members of the committee to go to the floor; we shall have to recess at this time.

Representative WHITTINGTON. May I ask, then, that the General supply that information for insertion in the record ?

Senator OVERTON. Yes.
The committee will recess until 2 o'clock.
(At 12 noon a recess was taken until 2 p. m. of this date.)


At 2 p. m. the hearing was resumed, at the end of the recess. Senator OVERTON (presiding). The committee will come to order. Mr. Klorer, will you take the stand?


Senator OVERTON (presiding). Will you give your name, residence, and what official position you occupy?

Mr. KLORER. John Klorer, consulting and planning engineer for the sewerage and water board, New Orleans.

Senator OVERTON. Mr. Klorer, how long have you been engaged in your work as engineer?

Mr. KLORER. Forty-two years.

Senator OVERTON. Were you ever connected with the State Board of Engineers of Louisiana?

Mr. KLORER. Yes, sir. I was connected in my early years with the Mississippi River Commission office in New Orleans and then with the board of State engineers, as a member of the board for 8 years, and then as chief State engineer for 2 years, and then I served in other capacities, as city engineer and as commissioner of public property in New Orleans, each of which assignments was 5 years in duration, and then I was chief engineer for the New Orleans Levee Board for 4 years, and I have held my present position with the sewerage and water board since September 1936 to date.

Senator OVERTON. Have you had occasion to make a study of flood-control problems in the lower Mississippi Valley?

Mr. KLORER. It has been a hobby with me.

Senator OVERTON. You have devoted considerable thought and attention to it for quite a number of years, have you?

Mr. KLORER. Yes, sir; so much so that I very often had to stand the criticism of my wife because I remember the dates of certain crevasses and forget the dates of the births of several of our children.

Senator OVERTON. Now, Mr. Klorer, we have under consideration a bill, the sole object of which is to separate the Morganza floodway from the Eudora floodway—I do not mean physically, but I mean legislatively, so that the engineers will be authorized to proceed with the construction of the Morganza when the required options of the Morganza have been obtained, without waiting upon or securing the requisite percentage of options for the Eudora floodway, and I should like you to make such statement as you deem proper in connection with this bill.

Mr. KLORER. Mr. Chairman, I find from experience that when it comes to speaking about matters of flood control, I am so easily led away from the main topic under consideration that it is far better for me to reduce to writing such comment or criticism or remarks

that I intend making and I have done that in this case, and believe that by so doing I would avoid a lot of circumlocution that I otherwise would indulge in, so, with your permission, I would like to read this statement for the record.

Senator OVERTON. Very well, Mr. Klorer, you may proceed and read the statement.

Mr. KLORER (reading). In the consideration of the proposed amendment to the Flood Control Act which will authorize construction of the Morganza floodway to be undertaken as soon as options have been obtained on 75 percent of the rights-of-way, there are several reasons that may be cited in its favor, but there is no valid reason that I know of that can be cited against its adoption.

Any plan for the removal of the excess floodwaters of the Mississippi River, or any other river, should contemplate adequate outlet provision first. This is elemental. It is a fundamental physical requirement recognized in the building of a sewer line or drainage line, or a plantation ditch, and applies equally as well to what has been termed the "Nation's ditch."

It has been stated that there is no engineering question involved in the consideration of this proposed amendment. This is not entirely correct. There is urgent necessity from an engineering standpoint for the immediate passage of this proposed amendment.

A new situation has been brought about in the regimen of the river, due to the commendable zeal displayed by the United States engineers in their successful effort to reduce flood heights in the length of river between Arkansas City and Angola by resorting to cut-offs, and this new situation calls for early action by the United States engineers.

It would not be correct to say that this new situation referred to was not anticipated. The distinguished President of the Mississippi River Commission, General Ferguson, is too able and too competent an engineer not to have realized what would happen after he ran out of available cut-off locations when he reached the mouth of Old River. The lopping off of a little over 100 miles of river bends in an original length of 330 miles of river, must necessarily result in an accelerated discharge which would cause a higher flood flow line on that part of the river where nothing had been done to improve its carrying capacity. This was well recognized by General Ferguson, and therein lies the reason for the Morganza floodway proposed by him, and designed to take by a short direct route to tidewater, the surplus floodwaters brought down by the accelerated discharge of the 200 or more miles of river above.

Perhaps the engineers did not expect the cut-off channels to enlarge as quickly as some of them have enlarged; and it is fair to assume that the slow progress made in obtaining the rights-of-way in the Eudora floodway was not foreseen. At any rate, the consequential effect of delaying the work of constructing the Morganza floodway on account of it being tied up with the Eudora, while admittedly embarrassing, was probably considered as a detail that could be corrected by amendatory legislation without causing any great disturbance to the planned program of operations.

When the 1937 record flood out of the Ohio entered the Mississippi River, there was an immense amount of hydraulic dredging done by the river in the section between Arkansas City and Natchez. The 11 cut-offs already made, and in process of being developed, in this

« PreviousContinue »