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Description.—The Grand Coulee Dam across the Columbia River will raise the surface of the river 355 feet. A power plant will be constructed at the base of the dam to furnish power for pumping and commercial uses. Water will be pumped from the reservoir formed by the dam into a distribution reservoir formed by two dams in the Grand Coulee. From the Grand Coulee, water will be distributed by gravity canals and pumps to the irrigable area. Power generated in the canals serving the lower lands will be used to pump water to the higher lands.
The irrigable area of the Columbia Basin project is situated in the "Bis: Bend" country of Washington between the Snake and Columbia Rivers. The lands extend northward some 85 miles from the junction of the two rivers at Pasco on the southern edge.
The total irrigable area is about 1,200.000 acres, of which 980,000 acres can be served with gravity canals from the reservoir in Grand Coulee and 220.0U1 acres will require pumping to an average height of 70 feet. The entire area was covered by a soil survey in 1928 by the Department of Agriculture. The soil and climate of the project are very similar to the Yakima irrigation project, but the growing season is longer. The region is suited to general diversified farming, including forage, grains, and all kinds of fruits and vegetables.
At the present time about <s"> percent of the land is privately owned and the remaining 15 percent is divided about evenly between public lands, State lands, aud Northern Pacific Railway grants. It is planned to limit the individual farms under the project to an area of about 80 acres.
A brief description of the various features of the project is given in the following paragraphs:
(Jrand Coulee Dam will he a straight-gravity type concrete structure, 550 fee; high, 4.200 feet long, 5(K) feet thick at the base and 30 feet at the top, and will contain 11,250.000 cubic yards of concrete. The spillway section across the river channel. 1.650 feet long, will be 30 feet lower than the nonoverflow abutments and will have a capacity of 1,000,000 second-feet. The spillway section will contain 80 gate-controlled outlet pipes at three different elevations (the lowest at about the level of the present stream bed), which will have a total capacity of 273,000 second-feet.
The reservoir formed by the dam will reach to the Canadian border, 150 miles upstream, and cover an area of 82.000 acres. Its total capacity will be 10.OOO.000 acre-feet, of which the top 80 feet, containing 5,000,000 acre-feet, will he used for river control, power production, and irrigation.
The Grand Coulee Dam and Reservoir is the key feature of the development of the Columbia River. The river control achieved by the storage in the reservoir will make for better navigation in the lower river and for a more dependable power supply at the various power sites on the river.
The power plant will be in two houses, one on each side of the river at the base of the dam. It will contain 18 120,000-kilovolt-ampere generators aud 8 service units of 7,500 kilovolt amperes each. From this installation 8,100,000.000 kilowatt-hours of firm energy and 5.000,000,000 kilowatt-hours of seasonal energy will be available yearly.
The plant for pumping irrigation water into the distribution reservoir will be situated just alnive the dam at the west end. According to present plans there will be 12 pumps, each driven by a 05.000-horsepower motor, with a combined capacity of 19.200 second-feet. The normal pump lift will be 295 feet and the maximum 3t>7.
The distribution reservoir will be fed from the pumping plant at Grand Coulee Dam. It will be situated in the ancient river channel of the Columbia River known as Grand Coulee. To form the reservoir it will be necessary to construct an earth fill dam. 70 to 90 feet in height, at each end of the coulee. The reservoir capacity will be approximately 340.000 acre-feet.
A system of canals and laterals will distribute the water to the land. Power plants will Ik> installed at six drops in the gravity canal, which will generate 45.tXX> horsepower to Ik> used for pumping to the higher land.
It is believed that a reasonable plan of construction would require about 22 years for the completion of the distribution system. Under this plan tbe first unit, to irrigate 150.000 acres, would be com;>!eted in 1943. aud 50.000 ae would be added yearly thereafter.
Protection of fish is a problem of Importance, as larce numbers of] Chinook salmon ami game tisb pass up and down the I'olumhia liiver. ing that the Grand Coulee Dam will he an insurmountable grating fish, tbe Bureau early entered into studies for their
operation with the United States Bureau of Fisheries, the Washington State Department of Fisheries, and the Washington State Department of Game. The plan of providing fish ladders or elevators for passing the fish over the dam was early discarded as being too expensive and of doubtful value. Subsequent studies have all been directed to some plan for trapping the fish for artificial propagation. Under this plan it is believed that the fish will have a better chance of survival than they would if left undisturbed in the river. The site now believed to be worthy of the greatest consideration for trapping the fish is at the fish ladders below the Rock Island Dam.
Estimated costs and funds available.—The estimated cost of the high dam and power plant is $180,000,000. The estimated cost of the foundation dam is $02.0<X),OOO. The Public Works Administration originally allotted $63,000,000 for the construction of the Grand Coulee low dam and power plant. This allotment was subsequently reduced to $15,000,000. An Emergency Relief allocation of $19,800,000 and a regular appropriation of $20,750,000 makes a total of $55,550,010 available to date.
In addition to the funds for construction of the dam an Emergency Relief allocation of $250,000 is available for investigations and surveys for irrigation development. This work is now in progress.
Repayment.—Repayment contracts will be prepared as soon as funds are made available for construction of the irrigation system. Power revenues from the sale of electricity at 2 mills per kilowatt-hour will be sufficient to pay a large part of the cost of the irrigation system, as well as for the power facilities. Charges against the land for irrigation will be repaid over a period of 40 years without interest under the reclamation law and charges against the power system are to be repaid in 50 years with interest at 4 percent.
Studies of the available power market indicate that the normal expected growth in load in the Pacific Northwest will absorb the entire output of the Bonneville and Diablo plants by 1941, when Grand Coulee power could first be made available. If from that date only half the increased demand was supplied from Grand Coulee the entire output would be absorbed in 20 years without allowance for commercial power uses on the project
Construction program.—The structure for which the original allotment of $63,000,000 was made by the Public Works Administration was the so-called low dam and power plant. This structure would have been of little value except for the incidental generation of electricity. The storage capacity would have been too small to be of any use for river regulation and the water surface of the river would not have been raised high enough to permit pumping for irrigation. Although provision was made in the foundation for raising the (lam, the practicability of such a plan was very doubtful. Consequently a decision was reached to expend the same amount of money in construction of a foundation for the high dam.
This foundation dam will be of no practical value unless the dam is completed to its ultimate height. Furthermore, if the present construction is to be utilized to the best advantage, construction must go forward without cessation. The $7,250,000 requested will be used to complete the foundation dam.
Construction of this foundation under the present contract should be completed about the middle of the fiscal year 1938. Work completed to January 1, 1937, includes the excavation of approximately 10,000,000 cubic yards of material and the pouring of 1,760,000 cubic yards of concrete. The river was diverted from its channel in December and now flows through four 40-foot wide slots in the western section of the dam. Cofferdams are being built around the central part of the damsite, preliminary to unwatering the area, excavating the foundation, and placing the concrete.
The first stage in the making of economic surveys of project lands, including the retracement of section lines, setting permanent monuments, establishing level control and taking of topography, lias been in progress since 1935 under an Emergency Relief Administration allocation of $250,000. On January 1, 1937, retracement surveys had been completed for more than 500,000 acres, monuments placed for 400,000 acres, level control established for 375,000 acres and topograph; taken for ISH.OOO acres. This work can be carried on only through the fiscal year 1!<37 unless additional funds arc made available.
Mr. Leavy. Now. on the Grand Coulee project. Mr. Page, in this estimate you are asking for ^7,2:>O,000. Does that sum cany that )rojed to completion i
Mr. Page. No. That $7,250,000 will not even carry the project through the fiscal year 1938. In other words, if Congress makes no more money available, then that work at Grand Coulee Dam must be discontinued next year within 6 or 8 months.
Mr. Leavy. Before we reach the middle of the fiscal year 1938?
Mr. Page. Yes, sir.
Mr. Leavy. And that $7,250,000 will make how much that has been spent on the project?
Mr. Page. $63,000,000.
EFFECT OF DISCONTINUANCE OF WORK ON PROJECT
Mr. Leavy. If that work is discontinued there, even temporarily, would there be a substantial loss?
Mr. Page. If the work is discontinued there at all, all of the organization, and all of the people who have come into that territory to work on that project must disappear because there are no other sources of employment in that region. Further than that, if the work is discontinued, its later resumption would entail the reorganization of a new crew, and the bringing in of new equipment under a new contract, an expensive and wasteful business. The present appropriation, with this request, will complete the present contract for the foundation of the dam. It will not go beyond the foundation of the dam, and the foundation will be of no use or value if the work is discontinued at the present time. The interest alone on the cost of the foundation would represent quite a serious loss.
Mr. Leavy. And thus have no practical value whatever?
Mr. Page. That is right. The foundation will create only a ripple in the river. To be of practical value, the foundation must be incorporated into the high dam.
Mr. Leavy. It will be just merely a great block of concrete across the Columbia Kiver?
Mr. Page. Yes; about 4,000,000 yards of concrete.
AMOUNT REQUIRED TO CARRY WORK THROUGH FISCAL YEAR 1938
Mr. Leavy. Now, Mr. Page, did your department ask for a sum greater than this?
Mr. Page. Yes, sir.
Mr. Leavy. What sum would be required to carry you through the fiscal year 1938, and to keep that work moving without interruption?
Mr. Page. I think our program called for $16,000,000.
Mr. Leavy. That would permit you to move right along without, interruption of any kind?
Mr. Pace. That would permit us to carry on with probably no interruption of any kind. The present contract would be terminated, and a new one would be let covering construction of the rest of the dam. This new contract would be arranged to take care of our present plant and equipment, and there would probably be no time lost in the construction program.
Mr. Leavy. Is that highly desirable from the point of economics, a highly desirable situation?
Mr. Page. It is desirable both from the standpoint of economics and also from the standpoint of engineering. To continue inunediately would save millions. The engineering would be facilitated by immediate continuation of the work.
If the foundation is left for any length of time there will be a serious engineering problem in protection of the concrete surface and in making the bond between the top of the foundation and the new material eventually to be placed upon it in constructing the remainder of the dam.
Therefore from both the economic and engineering standpoints it is highly desirable that the work be continued without a shutdown and delay.
AMOUNT REQUIRED TO COMPLETE PROJECT
Mr. O'neal. How much more money would be needed to bring it finally to completion?
Mr. Page. The dam costs approximately $118,000,000.
Mr. O'neal. That is for the dam?
Mr. Page. Yes; and the power plant $68,000,000 additional.
Mr. O'neal. You have gotten $65,000,000 so far?
Mr. Page. $63,000,000. This estimate will bring the total to $63,000,000.
Mr. O'neal. $63,000,000, and this $16,000,000 would be $79,000,000?
Mr. Page. No; it is $63,000,000, including the $7,250,000 estimate.
Mr. O'neal. Making about $71,000,000. if you get $16,000,000, which would leave another $100,000,000 to appropriate before it would be put into operation?
Mr. Page. Yes, sir; I probably should correct that statement a little, by saying that power would be developed there long before we would need the total amount you mentioned, in that the first units would be installed as the demand for the power arose. The first power could probably be generated there in about 1940.
Mr. O'neal. Is there any place where it could be stopped today without being a real loss, or would we have to carrv it to full completion or suner the loss of what we have put into it?
Mr. Page. It practically amounts to carrying it to completion to get any benefit from the project.
AID TO NAVIGATION
Mr. Lf.avy. Now, Mr. Page, when completed, will it be a factor on the Columbia River in aiding navigation?
Mr. Page. It will aid in navigation and will have some value in flood control. It will be a very large factor in the development of
fewer, both at the site and down stream at Bonneville and Rock sland, by limiting the flow of water at times when it is not needed; saving the surplus and releasing it in the low-water season the power generated in down-stream plants is increased approximately 50 percent.
Mr. Leavy. Below the mouth of the Snake River?
Mr. Page. Below the mouth of the Snake River the water depth is increased about 3 feet.
Mr. Leavy. The Government has just built a power plant at Bonneville down near Portland?
Mr. Page. Yes, sir.
Mr. Leavy. The completion of Grand Coulee Dam, some four or five hundred miles away, will increase the power development at Bonneville, according to your engineer in charge, Mr. Banks, 50 percent?
Mr. Page. Yes, sir.
Mr. Leavy. And also that of the private power companies having the dam across the river at Rock Island?
Mr. Page. Yes, sir.
Mr. Leavy. The power development there upon the completion of the Grand Coulee Dam would he increased almost 100 percent i
Mr. Page. Yes, sir.
POWER SITES ON COLUMBIA RIVER
Mr. Leavy. How many other power sites are there on the Columbia River?
Mr. Page. Ten have been surveyed and planned by the Army engineers. Grand Coulee is the uppermost and the key dam of this series. It will increase the potential firm power at all of the sites about equally.
Mr. Leavy. Does this river lend itself to power development?
Mr. Page. It is almost perfect for that purpose.
Mr. Leavy. The water is clear?
Mr. Page. Yes, sir.
Mr. Leavy. Sediment is no problem there at all?
Mr. Page. No; it practically runs clear all the year round. The canyon of the Columbia provides good dam sites. The territory is developing and the demand for power is increasing more rapidly than it is in most sections of the country. Besides that, there is & vast area containing a tremendous amount of mineral resources which are wholly undeveloped. The Columbia is among our very best power streams.
TOTAL AMOUNT OF POWER DEVELOPED
Mr. Leavy. This project, when completed, would develop how much power?
Mr. Page. The total installed horsepower would be 2,520,000, and it will probably produce about 8,000,100,000 kilowatt-hours per year.
0O8T OF POWER
Mr. Leavy. Do you have the figures on the cost of it?
Mr. Page. The cost of the power?
Mr. Leavy. Yes.
Mr. Page. No; I do not have those definitely, but the approximate cost for firm power will be about 2 mills.
Mr. Leavy. Now. Mr. O'Neal asked you if we should not complete the project, would it be a loss. Would the dam and power plants have to be completed before it would begin to return revenue? What are the facts in that regard, Mr. Page?
Mr. Page. The dam must be completed, and the initial installation made in the power plant before we could get any revenue.
Mr. Page. That must be done before any revenue would be obtained from it.
Mr. Leavy. There are how many penstocks that will be laid out in this foundation?