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General MARKHAM. They are located generally on the Grand Neosho River and tributaries in eastern Arkansas.
Mr. WHITTINGTON. Now, General Markham, you were asked a question with respect to eliminating the Eudora, raising the fuseplug area and eliminating that. If that policy is pursued, it merely means that the policy that obtains would be continued and that the lower Mississippi valley would be faced with destruction such as we had in 1927?
General MARKHAM. That is my belief; yes, sir.
Mr. WHITTINGTON. If that flood demonstrated one thing it demonstrated that their levees only must be supplemented, and if you went back and eliminated the diversions and spillways you would return to the condition that resulted in the greatest disaster ever known to the lower Mississippi Valley.
General MARKHAM. I think it would be to the highest degree ill-advised.
Mr. WHITTINGTON. You might as well eliminate the Bonne Carre spillway and the New Madrid spillway and just return to the condition we were in in 1927.
General MARKHAM. It is my belief that the people in the lower valley, so far as I have been able to understand the matter and apply my thought to it, for their future safety, remote, perhaps, or it may be immediate, had better regard the reservoir theory as being the accumulation of so much fat, and take care of themselves positively, if the United States will supply the money, in the discretion of Congress.
Mr. WHITTINGTON. And the one great national problem is the main river, and I say that, living on a tributary, and the one thing we must not lose sight of in all this legislation, regardless of any other provision, is the security of the main river area.
General MARKHAM. That is my judgment.
Mr. DEAR. How many reservoirs do you think will be necessary to construct to hold the flood plane down to the 1927 flood, in the Arkansas River, or in any of the tributaries?
General MARKHAM. General Ferguson is familiar with the whole reservoir report. It has never come to me, and I think he can probably give you basic figures in that regard.
Mr. DEAR. If the fuseplug is built up to the 1928 grade and section, it would pass, as I understand it, a flood equal to the 1927 flood ?
General MARKHAM. Perhaps it might and perhaps it might not.
Mr. DEAR. If a flood equal to the 1927 flood comes down the river and can be held to that stage by reservoirs, would that endanger the levees on the east bank of the Mississippi River to any great extent?
General MARKHAM. Assuming your premise, of course, if you could assume that these accessory things had accomplished what you say, then I assume that the 1927 flood would go through as to mere height without endangering the east side at the latitude of the fuseplug.
But I like to think of levees as being concerned not merely with height, but with thickness and composition, involving saturation and other things, because numerous levees have crevassed without water being up to the critical height toward the top. Considering blowouts and other things, I prefer to see all of what I call “ fat” gotten into the system. Therefore, if you are dealing solely with height, the question you propound' might be answered in the affirmative, and yet I think that such an answer is doubtful.
Mr. Dear. In the event that the reservoir system is not practicable, and we may yet expect a superflood
General MARKHAM. I think the reservoir system is clearly practicable as an engineering matter. It goes back to cost and economics.
Mr. DEAR. Assuming that would not be the solution of our problem and it would be necessary to use the Eudora spillway, would it be practicable from an engineering standpoint to raise the fuseplug section up to standard and put in the control works, with a narrow controlled spillway owned and operated by the Government; my idea being, with a very much narrower channel owned by the Government, with the necessary ditches and well drained, whether it might care for enough water to bring the crest down to within the 19:27 flood ?
General MARKHAM. I think you would have to give us the opportunity of determining what reservoirs should be built, and what those reservoirs would hold back, considering the total question on the basis of the reservoirs withholding so much water. In other words, I would prefer not to answer that question out of hand.
Mr. DEAR. Leaving out the question of reservoirs at this time, is it practicable and feasible to have a narrow spillway owned and operated by the Government, from the intake in the north on down to the backwaters of the Red River, in which there would be no one living, the people having been moved out, and levee it, and have another channel from there south?
General MARKHAM. No. We think deliberately that if we are going to construct the Eudora floodway on the terms you describe, which excludes reservoirs, that it should be approximately of the widths that have been indicated so that the levee heights shall not be excessive, with the purpose that out of the spillway shall be drawn about 700,000 second-feet, supplemented if conditions get worse by three or four hundred thousand feet over the fuseplug to the north. The Eudora floodway, ultimately, with improvements in drainage, and so forth, should be capable of carrying from the main river down to the Red River backwater territory up to a million second-feet of water. But we cannot carry a million secondfeet in any narrower floodway than we have calculated.
Mr. DEAR. You think a million second-feet would be impracticable and that it would be contrary to engineering principles to try to do that and not construct a channel such as I have indicated ?
General MARKHAM. I think it would be impracticable to attempt to carry a million second-feet in a narrow floodway.
The CHAIRMAN. Referring to your statement that a levee of any greater height at a certain time might crevasse, has it been your experience that flood peaks, when the flood comes, accumulate at different sections on the river?
General MARKHAM. Yes.
The CHAIRMAN. And in 1929 the peak accumulated at different places than in 1927.
With the cut-off enlarging the carrying capacity of the main channel and giving it speed, under ordinary circumstances, will that peak not be below Arkansas City ?
General MARKHAM. It will be.
General MARKHAM. It would pile up, below the cut-offs, to create sufficient height to pass that volume of water into the Gulf. So as you depress the flood level past the section of your cut-offs it is accumulating a height below so that it can, in the same time, get to the Gulf.
Therefore you accomplish a beneficence that is for the good of your cut-off territory, but you do not reduce your flood height below your cut-off.
The CHAIRMAN. By enlarging the Atchafalaya and increasing the speed and the flow; will not the flood peaks accumulate at lower stages on the Atchafala ya than they did before?
General MARKHAM. Yes; I think the faster we can get water into the Gulf, the greater the reservoir capacity of the river behind it, and having gotten rid of just that much additional water, to that degree the peaks will work down.
Our whole theory is to get the water as quickly into the Gulf as we possibly can do it by way of Morganza and the second outlet west of Berwick. The minute we see danger, the minute we see conditions behind that would indicate a disastrous flood.
Unless we increase the reservoir and flow capacity of the total system, by getting water out immediately and as extensively as we can from the beginning, we will not accomplish that result.
The CHAIRMAN. If all of our reservoirs are used for flood control they do not make sites for power development?
General MARKHAM. Very rarely.
The CHAIRMAN. When the water is taken in on account of the flood, in order to have the reservoir empty and ready for the next flood you must turn it loose?
General MARKHAM. It is possible in certain cases to say—we will assume that the volume above a certain level as being sufficient to withhold water for flood-protection purposes. You can take the water head below that level and call it power; but this is an unusual case.
In the ordinary case, if you are going to get the benefits of the reservoir for flood control, the reservoir must be empty when the rains come.
In general, you can say you are not likely to recover power from a flood-control reservoir.
Mr. WHITTINGTON. In reference to confining the 1927 flood in the vicinity of Arkansas City, Greenville, Vicksburg, Angola, and New Orleans, I direct your attention to paragraph 80 of the Chief of Engineers' Report, House Document 90, Seventieth Congress, in which he says
To raise levees on the Mississippi sufficiently to hold a maximum food of 5 feet would require that they be raised 12 feet, to carry 19 feet at Arkansas City-that is over the existing fuse-plug grade12 feet at Angola and 6 feet at New Orleans.
That is for the superflood, as you call it. Those are the figures that are also given by the Mississippi River Commission at page 48 of their report, Document No. 1, in which they state that it would require a 19-foot levee at Arkansas City.
So that both the Mississippi River Commission and the Chief of Engineers agree that levees only would require that the levees at Arkansas City be 19 feet higher than they are now, if they were then to contain a superflood.
I direct your attention to page 43 of the Mississippi River Commission's report with respect to gages, and I call your attention to the fact that on page 43 of Document No. 1, Seventieth Congress, is an estimate of the estimated stages at Arkansas City for the 1927 flood, and we have had no answer about it. On May 2 it would have been 69 feet. In other words, it would take a levee 812 feet higher at Arkansas City than the levee that now exists. And to contain a superflood it would require 25 percent in excess of what was necessary to contain the flood of 1927.
So that if you eliminate the Eudora floodway, if we were to raise the fuseplug to a level 25 feet higher than it is, making the same height as above and below on the opposite side, there would still be likely not only in the fuseplug area, but in the area generally on the lower Mississippi, including the area from Cairo to the Gulf, the necessity for a further rise of the levees?
General MARKHAM. Yes, sir.
Mr. WHITTINGTON. That must be the difference between 60.09 and 79 at Arkansas City for the superflood and 60.5 and 69 plus freeboard for the 1927 flood ?
General MARKHAM. Yes, sir.
Mr. WHITTINGTON. So the 1927 flood, without reservoirs or other detention, could not pass if the fuseplug rises 3 feet?
General MARKHAM. No.
Mr. FERGUSON. From your statement I understand you are in entire sympathy with reservoirs in an engineering sense, but not in an economic sense?
General MARKHAM. Correct.
Mr. FERGUSON. In this report you have recommended the construction of seven reservoirs on the Yazoo flood-control project. Do they come under that same classification as being feasible as engineering ventures, but not economically sound?
Generaly MARKHAM. We have said in the report that the justification for the expenditure for those reservoirs is a combination of economic, humanitarian, sociological, and other things that attach to the times and conditions that are about us. But we are dealing with quite a serious question and you have to deal with it individually.
Mr. FERGUSON. And yet the reservoirs on the Yazoo seem to have more justification than on other tributaries.
General MARKHAM. Only because of what we believe to be the difficulties of that individual particular basin.
In speaking about reservoirs, generally, I am dealing particularly with the necessity for spending somewhere between a billion and a billion and a quarter dollars to effect the control of the main river.
Mr. MCCLELLAN. General, if I understand you correctly, the Boeuf floodway as it now exists, with the fuseplug levee and the proposed Eudora floodway with a fuseplug levee, are not designed solely to operate when a superflood comes, but the Boeuf is now so situated and in such a condition, and the Eudora as proposed will be so designed and constructed as will operate before a superflood comes, if needed and necessary.
General MARKHAM. Correct.
Mr. MCCLELLAN. With reference to building up the fuseplug, as has been suggested, if the fuseplug at the head of the Boeuf and at the proposed Eudora floodway were built up to the 1928 grade and section, would that afford additional protection to that particular area, to the Boeuf Basin and to the Eudora floodway basin ?
General MARKHAM. It would afford no additional protection to the Boeuf Basin if we built the back levee.
Mr. MCCLELLAN. I am not talking about the back levee; I am talking about building up the present main-stem levees, now, and the fuseplug levees up to the 1928 grade and section. Would not that afford some additional protection to the Beouf Basin and to the Eudora floodway?
If that is all you did, just go in there and build it up to the 1928 grade and section, would it not afford additional protection to that particular area?
General MARKHAM. I think the answer is obvious; of course it would.
Mr. MCCLELLAN. Leaving it in its present condition, or constructing it as you propose to do in the modified plan, is for the purpose not of giving additional protection to those particular areas, the Beouf area and the Eudora floodway area, but is to give additional security and protection to the valley as a whole?
General MARKHAM. Correct.
Mr. MCCLELLAN. And minimizing the danger to that particular area by constructing the fuseplugs up to the 1928 grade and section, as it decreases the danger to that particular area would increase the danger correspondingly, probably, to the other areas, would it not?
General MARKHAM. Without doubt, and increase the danger to the area further down along the main river. In other words, it would carry the danger below.
Mr. MCCLELLAN. I am talking now about that particular area. And of course it will increase the danger on the Mississippi side?
General MARKHAM. Without doubt.
Mr. McCLELLAN. Therefore, if the fuseplugs were brought up to the 1928 grade and section, you could not safely predict that you are protecting an acre when the people came on the levees, could you?
General MARKHAM. I would say, only in the sense of including what were their relative heights or what we knew about their foundations and all the things that would attach to and make for the security of a structure within a given range.
Mr. McCLELLAN. As it is now, you say in your report that you do anticipate that if a flood should come that break would occur at the fuseplug levee, but if it was brought up to the 1928 grade and section you would not be able to say where the break would occur.
General MARKHAM. That is difficult.