Page images
PDF
EPUB

the Indians themselves, without expense to the Government. The ditches are usually located along steep hillsides or mountains, and divert from the streams with brush and rock dams which are replaced by the Indian fanners as frequently as they are washed out by flood. Many of the ditches have to be conveyed across ravines by means of wooden flumes, many of which are now in dilapidated condition, and in consequence, large quantities of water are wasted that could otherwise be beneficially used on the land. It is proposed, among other things, to replace many of these wooden flumes with metal flumes or pipe lines.

The Indian Service has been stressing gardening and fruit growing, and the Indians of this reservation have planted several thousand young fruit trees. Is addition to fruit, they can raise crops of corn, beans, melons, and alfalfa. This being an inland reservation, far from any railroad, industrial, or commerrui centers, there is practically no work for the Indians except in the development of their own resources. These little farms afford them a place to live, and, though small, supply them with much of their subsistence including garden vegetabisWithout irrigated farms the Indians would be practically unable to subsist sad to make efficient use of their grazing resources.

The total cost for irrigation works on the Fort Apache Reservation to June 30, 1936, is reported to be $106,457.14, of which $104,755.65 is for construction and $950.98 for operation and maintenance. A considerable part of this expenditure was for a hydroelectric power plant for lighting the Indian school and agencv buildings. This plant has worn out and is now being replaced through an allotment from the Public Works appropriation.

The construction program on this reservation contemplates the rehabilitation and improvement of 47 existing irrigation systems, consisting of 90 miles of canals serving 3,900 acres and including diversion works and headgates so as to make possible the efficient and beneficial use of water, and in this way to increase the production of Indian farms and gardens and at the same time protect the water rights by facilitating beneficial use of water. The work will directly benefit *H the 2,718 Indians living on the reservation.

The structures and canals involved are mostly small, making feasible the effective subdivision of the work program over several years. It is proposed to expend $10,000 during 1938 and to continue with expenditures of approximately $25,000 each year until the work is completed. The total estimated cost is $110,000. A large amount of hand work is involved.

These improvements are urgently needed, since the reservation is located in the watershed of the Salt River, where water is scarce and valuable and the various agencies for its utilization compete strenuously for it.

Mr. O'neal. That is a reimbursable item?
Mr. Wathen. Yes, sir; that is reimbursable.

IMPROVEMENT AND MAINTENANCE, HOPI RESERVATION IRRIGATION

SYSTEM

Mr. O'neal. The next item is Hopi, $25,000.

Mr. Dodd. The justification in support of this item is as folllows:

The one irrigation project on this reservation of some 2,472,320 acres, constructed by the Indian Service, consists of the Oraibi Wash development where a small rock masonry and earth fill diversion dam and a distribution system were constructed with a Public Works allotment of $14,000. The needs and problems of the Hopi Reservation, with a population of 6,000 Hopi and Navajo Indians, justify the development of all feasible irrigation possibilities as a supplemental means of livelihood. With an agricultuial record extending back through centuries it is believed that these Indians will make full use of the proposed permanent irrigation facilities. It is planned to replace crude brush dams which are annually destroyed by floods with i>ermanent diversion structures to provide adequate distribution systems to conserve the limited water supply and to assist the Indians in preparing their lands for efficient irrigation. The extent of the development is dependent upon the available water supply. Although the streams, for the most part, are ephemeral and the flow fairlv constant during the spring and early summer months, the supply is very limited and it is necessary to provide storage works where feasible, permanent diversion structures and "efficient distribution and spreading facilities if full use is to be made of the scant supply.

Preliminary plans and estimates have been made for projects aggregating 2,650 acres as follows:

[table]

The above estimate includes $50,000 appropriated for the fiscal year 1937. It is proposed to spread this work over a period of 4 or 5 years commencing with an appropriation of $25,000 for the fiscal year 1938 for the following projects:

Lower Dennebito:

600 acres irrigable land, laterals and turn-outs $9, 000

Subjugation 6, 000

15, 000

Upper Oraibi: 1,000 acres irrigable land, distribution system with structures- --. 10,000

Total... 25,000

Mr. O'neal. Have any of those projects been begun up to this time, sir?

Mr. Wathen. The Indians themselves have been irrigating as much as possible, and some of these projects have been started by the Indians. What we expect to do is merely to help them complete the development and to bring in as large an acreage as possible.

Mr. O'neal. Is this supplemental, or will this bring water originally to some point?

Mr. Wathen. It will provide permanent facilities for the area that they have been irrigating and will bring in some additional new acreage.

Mr. O'neal. Have you any idea what the proportion of the new acreage is?

Mr. Wathen. It is about 50 percent new acreage.

Mr. O'neal. About 50 percent?

Mr. Wathen. Yes, sir; a little over 1,000 acres of it is new land.

Mr. O'neal. And it is contemplated it will take $25,000 a year.

Mr. Wathen. Yes, sir.

Mr. O'neal. For what period of time?

Mr. Wathen. We can use $25,000 a year until the project is completed, but we can complete it in 4 or 5 years, depending upon the desires of this committee. We can use funds faster than at the rate of $25,000 a year. We could complete the work in 4 years.

PRESENT SITUATION OF THE INDIANS

Mr. O'neal. Have the Indians been able to carry on there with their present faculties, or what is the general situation now?

Mr. Wathen. The Hopis are not in a very good condition financially. We feel that every irrigation project on the reservation should be developed as soon as possible, in order that they may raise subsistence—and it is simply a subsistence proposition—and after the construction work is completed, the Indians themselves will maintain and operate the works, with just a small amount of supervision, and perhaps the furnishing of some materials.

CONSTRUCTION COSTS NOT REIMBURSABLE

Mr. O'neal. It is not expected that the construction costs will be returned by the Indians eventually, is it?

Mr. Wathen. No; it is not contemplated that the construction costs will be returned. The Leavitt Act of 1932 provides that no construction assessment shall be made so long as the Indians retain title to the land, and there is no question but what they will retain title to that land indefinitely.

IMPROVEMENT AND MAINTENANCE, NAVAJO IRRIGATION SYSTEM, ARIZONA AND NEW MEXICO

Mr. O'neal. The next item is "Navajo, Arizona, and New Mexico, 3100,000."

Mr. Dodd. We submit the following justification:

The work contemplated involves construction or completion of 15 small projects scattered over the Navajo Reservation in Arizona and New Mexico which were started with funds either made available through direct appropriation by Congress or by allocations from the Public Works appropriation. The work includes construction of permanent diversion and storage dams, extension, or improvement of distribution systems, and the subjugation of land.

The construction costs to June 30, 1936, for all water development and irrigation construction in the Navajo area of Arizona and New Mexico amounted to 82,912,451.83 of which $1,191,415.51 was allotted by the Public Works Administration.

There are approximately 42 separate irrigation systems in the Navajo area having a combined area of approximately 19,000 acres under construction works. With the constant depletion of the range and the increase in population it is necessary to provide irrigation facilities wherever feasible for producing subsistence crops for local use and exchange for livestock from outlying districts. It is estimated that a total of approximately 34,000 acres can be made economically susceptible of irrigation at an additional cost of approximately $1,300,000. It is proposed to spread this work over a period of years. It is proposed to allocate the $100,000 asked for 1938 as follows:

Arizona:

Marsh Pass $4, 500

Lower Moencopi 5, 000

Navajo Canyon 6, 000

Nazlini 12, 000

Red Rock 6,000

Reservoir Canyon 24, 000

Segehotsoci 2, 000

Navajo subsistence projects 3, 000

Total ._ 62, 500

New Mexico:

Black Creek 10, 000

Red Lake 15, 500

Navajo Church Rock 12, 000

Total 37,500

Plans and estimates have been prepared for each project and work can be commenced immediately.

The Navajo Reservation today is in a critical condition. The primary elements of the problem are some 15,000,000 acres of depleted land and an ever-growing population, which at the present time approximates nearlv 50,000 persons The local aspect of the problem is to arrest immediately the destructive processes and to restore the land to its highest productive capacity as rapidly as possible.

There are, at present, approximately 9,547 acres under irrigation, 27,902 acres in floodwater farms, and 4,723 acres in what might be termed dry farms. Within the physical potentialities of soil and climate, this could be increased to an ultimate total of approximately 34,000 acres of irrigated land, 46,496 acres of floodwater land, 10,000 acres of dry-farm land, and in addition, water could be spread on approximately 160,300 acres to increase the production of native grasses—a small amount of which might be cut for hay.

The average size family on the Navajo Reservation is five persons and, on the basi.s of a population of 50,000, there are at present 10,000 families. If the present farm land were divided equally among all families, each would have 0.9 acres of irrigated land, 2.7 acres of floodwater land, and 0.4 acres of dry-farm land. Under the ultimate agricultural development, assuming that there is no increase in population, there would be available for each family 2.2 acres of irrigated land, 4.6 acres of floodwater land, and 1 acre of dry-farm land.

The range resources are as strictly limited as are the agricultural possibilities. The present carrying capacity of the range is 560,000 sheep units. Assuming that the average family needs 3 horses, an allowance should be made for 30,000 horses which, converted into sheep units on a basis of 5 to 1, would mean that 150,000 sheep units should be subtracted from the 560,000 total carrying capacity in order to obtain the possible productive units which would be 410,000. It makes little difference whether these be considered as cattle or sheep, as the productive capacity of the range would be approximately the same. On the basis of sheep alone 10,000 families would have 41 sheep each. It is rather difficult to predict the future increase in capacity of the range. Assuming that the present capacity could be doubled by proper range management and that the human population remains constant, each family could have 97 head of sheep.

If the present program is not carried out, the range will be rapidly denuded and most of the present farm land will be entirely destroyed. Under such conditions, it is quite apparent that at least half of the population must become dependent upon Government subsidy. Present records indicate that the absolute minimum for per-capita subsistence needs is $36 per year. With 25,000 Navajos receiving subsistence, the taxpayers would have to contribute $900,000 toward the support of the Navajos. This would be in addition to the regular administrative expenditures. On the other hand, if the present program is carried out to a successful completion, the resources of the Navajo Reservation should be at least adequate for the present population.

With 50,000 Navajos, there is but a very small margin of safety above the actual subsistence needs. Considering the present condition of the reservation, the subsistence needs of its population are not being met. If it were not for the present Government subsidy, a large proportion of the population would be in actual need. This is due in part to the uneven distribution of wealth and in part to the depleted and undeveloped resources. The various economic surveys which have been made on the reservation have shown that the subsistence income of an average Navajo family is about $235 on a trading basis. It has been calculated that it takes 57 ewes or about 6 acres of irrigated land to produce this amount of income.

It is estimated that 7,500 families are chiefly dependent upon livestock as a source of income. The remaining 2,500 families secure part of their income from livestock and the remainder from farm produce, arts and crafts, and labor. On the basis of 57 ewes per family, the forage resources of the reservation, under proper stocking, would take care of 7,193 families. If all the available and potential irrigated farm land were divided equally among the remaining 2,807 families, each would have 7.7 acres.

If all the agricultural and range resources were divided equally among the 10,000 families, the probable income would be somewhat as follows:

6 tons alfalfa hay from 2.2 acres of irrigated land, at $15.50 per ton $93

60 bushels of corn from 4.6 acres of floodwater land and 1 acre drv-farm

land, at $1 per bushel I 60

Income from 40 ev/es, at $4.10 164

Total income per family from all agricultural resources 317

Thus it will be necessary to have a more equitable distribution of wealth among all the families if thev are to be maintained above a bare subsistence level.

TOTAL COST OF PROJECT

Mr. O'neal. What is contemplated as the total cost of completing the job? The estimate is $100,000 this year. What is the rest of the program?

Mr. Wathen. $1,300,000 is our present estimate to complete all of the work in the Navajo area; both in Arizona and New Mexico.

Mr. O'neal. Of which $100,000 is asked for this year?

Mr. Wathen. Yes, sir; we are asking for $100,000 this year.

Mr. O'neal. That leaves a balance of $1,200,000 anticipated?

Mr. Wathen. Yes, sir; that is right.

Mr. O'neal. Will this bring in additional land for cultivation, or is this to furnish additional water for land that is already irrigated?

Mr. Wathen. This will bring in additional acreage.

Mr. O'neal. What proportion of it is new acreage?

Mr. Wathen. Practically 100 percent. The entire amount will be spent to bring in acreage for the Navajos.

Mr. O'neal. Is any of that now under irrigation?

Mr. Wathen. No. No part of the land upon which this particular money will be spend is under irrigation. This is principally for extending facilities to new land.

Mr. Leavy. You have a range problem down there that makes it necessary almost that you do bring in new land?

Mr. Wathen. That is correct; yes, sir; both for forage and subsistence land.

Mr. Leavy. The Indians' former range is almost lost by reason of overgrazing?

Mr. Wathen. Yes, sir.

Mr. Dodd. I think we should emphasize, in connection with these projects, that they are not commercial projects at all. We are developing tracts of land that can be used by the Indians for subsistence gardening.

Mr. O'neal. None of this is reimbursable?

Mr. Wathen. No. It will not be reimbursable so long as the land remains in Indian ownership.

IMPROVEMENT AND MAINTENANCE, SALT RIVER IRRIGATION SYSTEM

Mr. O'neal. The next item is Salt River, for which you are requesting $650,000.

Mr. Dodd. The justification in support of this item is as follows:

The estimate includes $150,000 for extension and improvement of the irrigation system on the Salt River Reservation, and $500,000 for transfer to the Bureau of Reclamation as part payment for the Indian share of the cost of the Bartlett Dam on the Verde River, now under construction.

Distribution system, $160,000.—The need for increased irrigation facilities for the Salt River Indians has long been recognized. By the act of May 18, 1916 (39 Stat. 130), Congress authorized the Secretary of the Interior to provide additional water for 631 allotments of 10 acres each. The additional water supply is to be provided through participation by the Indian Office in the cost of the Verde River regulating reservoir. To make proper use of this increased supplv it will be necessary to provide an irrigation system and to subjugate the land. There are at present 3,448 acres under constructed works which the Indians have attempted to irrigate with the meager supply of 700 miners' inches. These Indians have always made the fullest use possible of their irrigation facilities and there is every indication that full advantage will be taken of the increased project benefiting some 950 Indians.

« PreviousContinue »