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Integration of all water and power supplies are imperative if California is to meet the responsibilities of its rapidly mounting municipal, industrial, and agricultural needs.
The entire economy of our State and Nation is affected by the well-being of its agricultural base.
What the nearly $3 billion annual gross income from California farms means to the rest of the economy is shown by a recent State chamber of commerce report. This showed that the State's farmers spend $314 million annually for livestock and poultry feed ; $100 million for commercial fertilizer ; $440 million for hired labor ; $70 million for petroleum products.
Farm commodities account for one-third of all railway freight traffic in the State. Supplying one-third of the Nation's canned food products, a large proportion of which originate in the service area of the San Luis project, every State will benefit from conservation of this annual reservoir of food and fiber. Handling and processing of raw farm products provides an additional tax base of $5.7 billion.
The San Luis project, proven feasible by engineering standards of the Bureau of Reclamation has a 2.5 to 1 benefit-ratio. Water can be delivered to the immediate service area at $7.50 an acre-foot.
There is no alternative to the San Luis project which is the only available means for saving the agricultural wealth of the west side of the San Joaquin Valley,
As wells now being drilled go deeper and deeper and cost more and more thousands of dollars to drill, the price of irrigation water, added to other constantly rising production expenses, becomes prohibitive.
Even where wells are sunk there is no certainty that they will not bring boron and salt up with water in such quantities as to poison the land.
The San Luis project is merely an extension of already financed and constructed features of the Central Valley project such as the Tracy Pumping Plant and the Delta-Mendota Canal, in which the people of our Nation have already invested more than $75 million.
Federal investment in reservoir and pumping plant to lift and store water into the San Luis Reservoir would, moreover, be fully repaid through contracts with water districts within a 40-year period.
Agricultural wealth, conserved and expanded through project water, will provide additional millions of dollars to municipal, county, State and Federal Government in the form of auxiliary businesses, employment, economic stability, and taxes.
Were the San Luis project under construction today it would provide a substantial deterrent to growing unemployment and stalemated rural business. Since we have allowed this opportunity to be delayed, let us take the essential step now to get this project underway. It can be completed within 5 or 6 years if financed and constructed by the Federal Government, as provided in the Sisk, Gubser, Knowland-Kuchel measures before your subcommittee.
We urge you to carry the Trinity Diversion project, now under construction, to its logical expanded development, and authorize immediate construction of the San Luis Reservoir project.
Mr. ASPINALL. At this time, the Chair would like to call upon our colleague, Congressman McFall, of California, for a statement he wishes to present in person.
STATEMENT OF HON. JOHN J. McFALL, A REPRESENTATIVE IN
CONGRESS FROM THE STATE OF CALIFORNIA Mr. McFALL. I have a written statement here.
I would like to merely state I am very much in favor of Mr. Sisk's legislation. I would hope that some sort of compromise would be worked out so that this legislation can go through, and merely submit this for inclusion in the record at this time.
Mr. ASPINALL. Unless there is an objection, the statement of Congressman McFall will be made a part of the record.
Would you rather have it at this place or would you rather have it at the place granted to you yesterday under unanimous consent?
Mr. McFall. At this point, if you please, Mr. Chairman. Thank you.
Mr. ASPINALL. It is so ordered. (The document follows:)
STATEMENT OF CONGRESSMAN JOHN J. McFALL, 11TH DISTRICT, CALIFORNIA Mr. Chairman: Thank you for this opportunity to enter testimony in support of H. R. 6035, the Sisk bill, which would authorize joint Federal-State development of the San Luis unit as a part of the Central Valley project.
The interests of all parts of California are fairly represented in H. R. 6035. This bill would permit the development of a true partnership among the water users, the State of California, and the Federal Government. The San Luis will be integrated both physically and financially with the Central Valley project.
As you gentlemen well know, a basic objective of this legislation is immediate construction of some facilities to make available surplus water in critical areas at the earliest possible moment, followed by a larger construction program which will increase the quantity of water available on a permanent basis.
Terms of the legislation have been worked out during months of discussions, engineering studies, and conferences at which the major differences have been ironed out. It is my understanding that a number of groups are now in Washington attempting to draw up certain amendments to this bill. Such changes might make the proposed legislation even more acceptable to all parties. However, I would suggest they should not be adopted unless agreeable to the author of the bill, the Department of the Interior, and the State of California.
The Secretary of the Interior has described this project as "economically feasible and with a very favorable benefit-cost ratio."
Now that there finally is substantial agreement among all parties concerned on details of the San Luis development, it would seem imperative that the work be undertaken without any further delays.
Particularly in this time of stress, the Nation's natural resources should be fully harnessed and utilized at the earliest opportunity.
Mr. ASPINALL. The Chair recognizes the gentleman from California, Mr. Sisk, to present 1 telegram and 1 statement which he wishes to present to the committee at this time.
Mr. Sisk. Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
This is a telegram that was forwarded from the city of Coalinga, which is in the area to receive a supply of municipal water provided this project is authorized and constructed.
The telegram is addressed to the chairman of the subcommittee, Mr. Wayne N. Aspinall:
Urgent. We request this telegram be read to your committee. In its current hearings the city of Coalinga has a critical situation as the water level in our local basin is dropping at the rate of 4 to 6 feet yearly. We must drill at least one new well and possibly two. These wells will increase the rate at which the water level is dropping outside of our basin and immediately surrounding the city. The water level is dropping at the rate of 20 to 30 feet yearly. The water surrounding the city of Coalinga is already approaching the salinity point. The rapid lowering of the water level surrounding Coalinga is affecting our water level and the time is fast approaching when our own water will become saline. We are satisfied on the basis of information received that if relief is not forthcoming within the next 7 to 10 years the water in this area will be unusable.
According to the Federal census taken in 1955 the population of the city of Coalinga was 6,021. The urgency of the situation is apparent when it is realized that the people of Coalinga may be without usable water within 7 to 10 years.
As has previously been reported to your committee the city of Coalinga at present hauls in all its potable water by tank cars a distance of 45 miles.
We request that the contents of this telegram be incorporated in the records of your committee. Reference is made to the statement by Rex L. Pressey
on behalf of the city of Coalinga at your hearings held in May 1956 and also to Resolution No. 393 of the city of Coalinga which were made a part of the records of those hearings.
Request is made that the foregoing statement and resolution be incorporated into the current proceedings as exhibits.
Jack W. Rodner, who is currently appearing before the committee, is thoroughly familiar with the Coalinga situation and the position of the city of Coalinga. He is authorized to speak for the city of Coalinga at the current hearings as agent of the city of Coalinga. The city council had planned on sending a representative to your hearings but due to circumstances beyond our control this has not been possible. We therefore beg your indulgence in this matter. Unless the problem is solved, our community cannot continue to exist indefinitely.
That is signed "City of Coalinga, Calif., W. L. Wallace, Mayor.” Mr. ASPINALL. Thank you very much.
The statement is in essential conformity with the statement made by Mr. Pressey, representing the town of Coalinga in the 1956 hearings.
The Chairman sees no reason to incorporate directly into this hearing the resolution and statement made in the former hearing, because we have it before us, page 35 of the hearings held in 1956.
Do you have another statement, Mr. Sisk!
Mr. Sisk. I do have another statement, Mr. Chairman, but if I could add just one sentence with reference to the city of Coalinga at this point, if it is in order.
Mr. ASPINALL. You may proceed.
Mr. Sisk. That is based on the latest figure. This fall the city of Coalinga is paying $2,150 per acre-foot for its domestic water supply.
Mr. ASPINALL. By that you mean potable water, drinking and domestic use?
Mr. Sisk. The water which they have at present cannot be used for drinking and cooking and other things that go into domestic use.
The other statement, Mr. Chairman, which I have to read, is covered by a letter from the Central California Irrigation District, with headquarters in Los Banos, Calif. The covering letter was addressed to me on January 8, 1958.
The enclosed statement of the Central California Irrigation District, the San Luis Canal Co., the Firebaugh Canal Co. and the Columbia Canal Co., located in Stanislaus, Merced, Fresno and Madera Counties in the San Joaquin Valley, is respectfully submitted in connection with pending hearings on the proposed San Luis project.
"The above companies representing the historically irrigated areas lying generally below the proposed San Luis project service area, are very much concerned with the implications and effect on the overall drainage problem by the importation of additional waters into the Valley, and sincerely believe that there should be no San Luis, Feather River or any other project, either Federal, or State, unless and until drainage facilities within the service area of the project and a master valley drain are provided contemporaneously therewith.
It is signed, “Board of Directors, Central California Irrigation District, the San Luis Canal Co., the Firebaugh Canal Co., the Columbia Canal Co., by: C. W. Bates, Secretary: Central California Irrigation District," and their resolution follows.
Mr. ÁSPINALL. The resolution is in conformity with what
Mr. Sisk. It is in conformity and simply verifying the personal letter signed by Mr. Bates.
The reason I read the personal letter only is the fact the other is a mimeographed copy
Mr. AsPINALL. Unless there is an objection, the resolution will be made a part of the record.
Hearing no objection, it is so ordered. (The document follows.)
STATEMENT ON SAN JOAQUIN VALLEY DRAINAGE PROBLEM, BEING THE CONSENSUS
OF OPINION AT A MEETING OF THE BOARDS OF DIRECTORS OF THE CENTRAL CALIFORNIA IRRIGATION DISTRICT, THE SAN LUIS CANAL CO., THE FIREBAUGH CANAL Co., AND THE COLUMBIA CANAL CO. At Los BANOS, CALIF., DECEMBER 23, 1957.
It is agreed that a master San Joaquin Valley drainage conduit should be constructed at the earliest possible date to provide an adequate outlet for the existing and potential unusable drainage waters, both surface and ground, in the San Joaquin Valley, and that the first portion of such conduit to be built should be the portion extending from the Firebaugh-Los Banos area to San Francisco Bay. This conduit should be built by the State of California as one of the first units of the California water plan. The foresight and cooperation of the State of California, and in particular of its department of water resources, in initiating a 4-year study of the valley's drainage problem and in making this conduit a feature of the California water plan is hereby commended.
It is further agreed that before the introduction of any substantial additional imported waters into the San Joaquin Valley there must be constructed adequate local drainage facilities to take care of the drainage, both surface and ground, necessarily resulting from such imported waters and to take care of, as well, the drainage that is now required of excess surface and ground water. However, in order for these local drainage facilities to be effective, they must have an outlet and such outlet should be the aforementioned master drainage conduit.
It is further agreed that the cost of the main laterals to this master drainage conduit and the cost of other drainage ditches, conduits, wells, and other means of capturing, transporting, or disposing of unusable drainage waters, both surface and ground, should be borne by each area on an equitable basis in proportion to the contribution of each area to the areawide drainage problem.
It is lastly agreed that any legislation, Federal or State, authorizing any project under which substantial additional waters would be imported into the San Joaquin Valley must contain the provision that drainage facilities, sufficient to remove completely from the valley all drainage waters, both surface and ground, necessarily resulting from the use of such imported waters, shall be constructed as an integral part of such project and contemporaneously and concurrently with the construction of the remainder of such projects. In other words, no further water in substantial quantities should be imported into the San Joaquin Valley unless and until drainage facilities are provided to take the drainage excess, both surface and ground, of such waters completely out of the valley.
Mr. ASPINALL. I wish to thank my colleagues for appearing this afternoon.
If there is nothing further on the agenda for today, the committee stands in recess until 10 o'clock tomorrow morning.
(Whereupon, at 3:10 p. m., the committee adjourned, to reconvene at 10 a. m. Friday, January 17, 1958.)
SAN LUIS PROJECT, CALIFORNIA
FRIDAY, JANUARY 17, 1958
HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES, SUBCOMMITTEE ON IRRIGATION AND RECLAMATION OF THE COMMITTEE ON INTERIOR AND INSULAR AFFAIRS,
Washington, D.C. The subcommittee met, pursuant to recess, at 10:05 a. m., in the committee room, New House Office Building, Hon. Wayne N. Aspinall, chairman of the subcommittee, presiding.
Mr. ASPINALL. The Subcommittee on Irrigation and Reclamation will now be in session for further consideration of H. R. 6035 and kindred bills.
This morning we are to have before the committee Congressman Charles S. Gubser, of California, who will be accompanied by Mr. Albert T. Henley and Mr. Frank Polak, representing the Santa Clara, San Benito, and Alameda Water Authority.
Congressman Gubser, we are very glad to have you with us, and if you will make your statement and then present your companions, we will question all three of you together, if that is satisfactory to the committee.
Hearing no objection, it is so ordered.
STATEMENTS OF HON. CHARLES S. GUBSER, A REPRESENTATIVE
IN CONGRESS FROM THE STATE OF CALIFORNIA; ALBERT T. HENLEY AND FRANK POLAK, REPRESENTING THE SANTA CLARA, SAN BENITO, AND ALAMEDA WATER AUTHORITY, CALIFORNIA
Mr. GUBSER. Thank you, Mr. Chairman and members of the committee.
As a Californian, I would first like to express my appreciation to the members of this committee for taking their time to assist us in the solution of a very grave California problem, namely, our water problem. We, of the 10th District of California, comprised of Santa Clara, San Benito, and Santa Cruz Counties are strongly in favor of construction of the San Luis project. We favor it either as an allFederal project or as a joint Federal and State project.
For the purpose of orientation of the committee, I have asked that a brochure be placed before you which has a map on the cover. The area which I represent is the blue shaded area in the center of the map, and then, of course, the mountainous area to the left is Santa Cruz County, and then immediately at the bottom, close to the blue-shaded area, is San Benito County.