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the present time has under cultivation and irrigation approximately 600,000 acres and is located in Imperial County, Calif.
Unit B Irrigation and Drainage District, North Gila Valley Irrigation District and the Yuma Irrigation District are irrigation districts located in Yuma County, Ariz., and also join in this statement. They, together with the city and county of Yuma, have authorized the representatives appearing before the committee to speak in their behalf.
The purpose of this joint presentation of the affected districts and political subdivisions is to urge the appropriation of $160,000 to the Secretary of the Army for the use by the Corps of Engineers in planning construction of the Painted Rock Dam on the Gila River in the fiscal year 1954. This appropriation would allow planning to be completed to the extent that construction contracts could be entered into in fiscal year 1955.
The appearance of these organizations before the committee is unusual and somewhat different from the testimony this committee usually receives from interested organizations and individuals. Ordinarily requests for flood-control purposes are from organizations and individuals who have built or otherwise encroached on hazardous areas and in turn they ask for certain types of flood-control assistance from the United States. In our case that is not true. Our hazards and dangers have been increased by certain actions taken by the United States. By the adoption of the water treaty of 1944 with Mexico, article 12 (a) of the Mexican treaty required that Mexico construct, within a period of 5 years from the date of the treaty, a diversion structure in the Colorado River below the point where the international land boundary line intersects the Colorado River. The Morales Dam was constructed by Mexico pursuant to the treaty and was completed in 1950, that being within 5 years from the effective date of the treaty with Mexico. All companion works necessary for flood control in connection therewith were to be built by the United States in this country with a certain cost-sharing ratio with Mexico. Studies by the organization charged with carrying out the treaty, that is, the International Boundary and Water Commission, were undertaken in collaboration with the Corps of Engineers, the Bureau of Reclamation and the Geological Survey.
Those studies showed that without flood control on the lower Gila River a peak discharge of 310,000 cubic feet per second could be expected to occur in the lower Colorado River at Yuma, Ariz. On May 6, 1950, the International Boundary and Water Commission representing Mexico and the United States, reached an agreement whereby levees would be constructed along the lower Colorado River to contain a peak flow of 310,000 second-feet. The cost of such work was to be shared between the United States and Mexico pursuant to pertinent provisions of the treaty. Shortly afterward the Congress of the United States, by the act of May 17, 1950, authorized the construction of Painted Rock Dam on the lower Gila River in Arizona as a floodcontrol measure. This dam would reduce the maximum probable flood discharge at Yuma, Ariz., in the lower Colorado River to 140,000 cubic feet per second and would also provide a greater degree of protection than levees alone. For this reason the United States and Mexico have constructed the lower Colorado River levee system and its design was based upon the construction of Painted Rock Dam as
authorized by Congress and the resulting reduction in the peak flow at Yuma, Ariz., to 140,000 second-feet. We are now placed in the position where Morales Dam was completed according to the treaty and placed into operation in 1950, but the companion Painted Rock Dam which is needed to adequately protect our area cannot now be completed and placed into operation before 1960.
Since the authorization of the construction of Painted Rock Dam by the Congress of the United States, the Wellton-Mohawk division of the Gila project has been constructed along the lower reaches of the Gila River. Its main canal system, as well as the lateral distribution system, has also been designed upon the basis that Painted Rock Dam would be constructed as authorized by Congress on May 17, 1950. This project by midsummer of this year will have almost onehalf of its acreage under irrigation and it is developing at a more rapid pace than was thought possible at the time the original studies were made on Painted Rock Dam. This one development alone represents an investment of some $42 million by the irrigation district, not to mention the many additional millions which have been and will be invested by the farmers in developing their lands and building their homes in the community.
As has been brought out in this hearing and earlier hearings, the disastrous 1916 flood on the lower Colorado River was occasioned very largely by discharges from the Gila River into the Colorado at their point of confluence just above Yuma, Ariz. If a major flood occurred prior to the construction of Painted Rock Dam, the following results could very easily happen. The new Wellton-Mohawk division of the Gila project would have a major portion of its carriage and distribution system completely washed out and ruined. The flood would then proceed downstream and inundate the areas encompassed within the North Gila Irrigation District and the Yuma Irrigation District, both of which are located at the point of confluence of the Gila and Colorado River. Because of the difference in gradient of the two rivers, great amounts of debris and other solid material would be deposited at that point. The result of such deposits would be to breach the present inadequate levee system and spread the river into the cultivated Indian lands, as well as the privately owned lands in that portion of the Yuma project located in California. It would also breach the main canal system of the Yuma project and the Unit B Irrigation and Drainage District.
These 2 associations serve approximately 53,000 acres with irrigation water. The levee system protecting portions of the city of Yuma and the Yuma Valley would also be breached and thereby flood extensive urban and rural improvements. If such a flood should reach into the Volcanic Lake area of the lower Colorado River delta, it would damage the All-American Canal siphon across the new river in Imperial Valley, Calif., as well as the All-American and west side main canal of the Imperial Irrigation District. The breaching of the All-American Canal or the west side main canal would result in the interruption in the supply of irrigation water to a minimum of 90,000 acres in the Imperial Irrigation District. This interruption of supply could result in the loss of the entire crop of that acreage. To briefly recapitulate, a major flood, by destroying the main canal systems of the projects listed above, could cut off the irrigation water supply to approximately 220,000 acres of land. Based upon current average crop values of $300 per acre, the loss from this 1 phase alone would be approximately $66 million. This does not take into consideration the other physical damages which would come as a result of such a flood to farmlands, buildings, canal systems, and urban improvements in and adjacent to the city of Yuma, Ariz.
Therefore, it is readily apparent that the construction of Painted Rock Dam is essential if these large flood damage losses are to be prevented. As stated earlier, the United States has contributed to the increase of this hazard and danger. In fairness to the people and organizations that have made millions upon millions of dollars of investments in these areas, United States should proceed at the greatest possible speed with the completion of planning and begin construction upon Painted Rock Dam. With a minimum of 4 to 5 years for construction of the dam, it would be 1959 or 1960 before it could be placed into operation. This would be 10 years from the date when the need of this work was greatly increased by action taken by United States. We, therefore, respectfully request that $160,000 be appropriated for the purpose of planning work upon Painted Rock.
Mr. Hand. Thank you, sir. We will give careful consideration to the project.
Mr. McELHANEY. I would like to introduce Mr. John C. Smith, Jr., who is with me.
Mr. John T. Smith is also speaker of the house of representatives down there.
Mr. PHILLIPS. I would like to give my time to the men who have come from Arizona. A 30-second statement would be that during the long discussion over the Mexican water agreement it was brought out that there were some items which California and Arizona felt should be settled before the agreement was signed. One of those was this matter of the drainage, and the proposed building of the Morales Dam. The State Department insisted on it, and we are now compelled to come and ask for preliminary money for investigation which is now necessary to protect the California and Arizona sides, in the Yuma Valley area.
Mr. Hand. Thank you very much, Congressman Phillips. Mr. Ruodes. This particular project doesn't happen to be in my district, but Arizona can scarcely afford the luxury of the hard and fast district.
As strange as it may seem, flood is a real danger in Arizona not only on the Gila but also on the Salt River. I am sure that the saving to property as a result of the removal of flood danger will be many times that of the cost involved in building the Painted Rock Dam.
Mr. Hand. Thank you very much, Congressman Rhodes.
Mr. Smith. I am John C. Smith, president of the Yuma County Water Users Association of Yuma, Ariz.
This organization has the job of delivering water to approximately 50,000 acres of productive land in the Yuma Valley. This division of the Yuma project was begun in 1902-05. The water was diverted from the Colorado River for the Imperial Valley down to the Arizona side of the Yuma River. The Yuma Valley is below the junction of the Yuma and Colorado Rivers and any flood will affect the Yuma Valley.
Back in 1902 and 1905 the United States Government saw fit to put a protective levee against the floods of the Colorado River so you
can see that any flood-control measure of either the Gila or the Colorado Rivers are very important to the farmers of this area. Because of the potential danger we might have from the floodwaters of the Gila, which have been set forth in the joint statement, any consideration of this problem would certainly be appreciated.
I want to thank the members of this committee for their time and consideration. Mr. Hand. Thank you
your statement. We will now hear from Congressman Patten.
Mr. PATTEN. I think this is rather clearly stated and if you consider the fact that we have, by treaty, forced Mexico to go in on the construction of these levees, later by agreement we allowed them to lower the levees and we have a moral obligation to the Painted Rock Dam.
I hope this $160,000 for this preliminary planning for this project will be forthcoming. I also hope we do not have a major flood and until we get a dam in there we will be in trouble with all the people of the city of Yuma and the Imperial Valley and the people of Mexico because it would probably wash out the levees otherwise.
Mr. Hand. Thank you very much for appearing here today, gentlemen.
HOWARD E. MUNRO, LEGISLATIVE REPRESENTATIVE, CENTRAL
LABOR UNION-METAL TRADES COUNCIL, PANAMA CANAL ZONE GEORGE D. RILEY, AMERICAN FEDERATION OF LABOR JAMES A. BROWNLOW, PRESIDENT, METAL TRADES DEPARTMENT,
A. F. OF L.
Mr. IIAND. The committee is glad to have with it this morning Mr. Edward E. Munro and Mr. George D. Riley, who will discuss some problems in connection with the Panama Canal.
Mr. Munro. Mr. Chairman and members of the committee, I appear here today with Mr. George D. Riley, legislative representative of the American Federation of Labor, and Mr. James Brownlow, president of the Metal Trades Department of the American Federation of Labor. Our testimony concerns the treatment afforded the United States citizen employees of the Panama Canal Company and Canal Zone Government dealing directly with the appropriation bill before this committee.
I have a prepared statement and two exhibits which I have given the clerk of this committee, I will appreciate it if the statement is made part of today's official record. The two exhibits are referred to in the statement and are supplied for reference study.
I would like to bring certain parts of my statement to your attention and answer questions if I have failed to make our position clear.
The statement on page 1, paragraph 4: It is apparent that the Company's attitude has been formed by the Bureau of the Budget, predicated on the desires expressed in the past by former Civil Functions Appropriation Committeeshas reference to House Report 544, 82d Congress, civil functions appropriation bill, fiscal year 1952, page 7; and House Report 1652, 82d Congress, civil functions appropriation bill, fiscal year 1953, pages 11, 12, and 13.
Under the heading “The Canal waterway” will be found our position on the purpose of the canal which is more aptly stated by this committee's report, House Report 1652, 82d Congress, page 12.
Starting on page 2 under the heading of “Employees" will be found an explanation of the so-called override on their salary. This is not an increment to induce employees to take temporary employment outside the United States. This is base pay to compensate permanent employees for certain disadvantages, inconveniences, and health requirements of working in the Canal Zone. This is discussed fully in the Hearings Before the Rent Panel on page 23, second and third paragraphs, which is quoted from House Document 460, 81st Congress; the last 2 paragraphs on page 26 before the recess—this is also taken from House Document 460, 81st Congress, pages 52 through 38 of the exhibits under the heading of “History of employees income," page 75 last paragraph through first paragraph page 77 of the hearings, and last 3 paragraphs on page 128 through page 129.
On page 3 “Appurtenances" we state that the facilities necessary to support the existence of an employee is an expense of the Company in the same manner as any other tool necessary to put ships through the canal. This principle is recognized by many private companies which maintain company towns.
Under the heading “The Canal Zone," pages 3 to 5, inclusive, we have tried to point out that the Canal Zone is not a city of 50,000 population operating as a city of comparable size in the United States. There are 32 town sites and 4 rural districts loosely connected by a railroad and a highway. The portion which connects the Atlantic side with the Pacific side is located outside the Canal Zone in the Republic of Panama.
The cost of hospital care and duplication of hospitals was discussed before the Senate Civil Functions Appropriation Committee by the General Accounting Office. I assume it was likewise discussed before this committee when they appeared before you. Page 5 explains what disastrous results will occur if any increases in medical services are placed on the employee.
Starting on page 6 under "Accounting procedure,” we point out that rising costs were reducing the amount available for the Panama Canal to pay its interest obligations to the United States Treasury. This condition was recognized by this committee in their report last year, House Report 1652 and stated :
The Governor is directed to take prompt and immediate action on this matter in the manner provided by law. The committee will expect the increased toll rate to be in effect prior to the submission of the budget estimates for fiscal year 1954 and to be reflected therein.
The company policy of shifting certain costs to the employee, apparently based on the wishes of this committee and interpreted by them, and other Federal agencies, in additional to the unexpected increased number of ships using the canal, has apparently nullified the need of an increase in tolls. The budget estimate for fiscal year 1954 does not reflect any increase in the toll rate.
The transfer of certain costs, formerly borne by tolls, to the employees caused the employee to protest vigorously. As a result of this