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of the Devils River into the Rio Grande. They realize that it is necessary to• prevent the destruction and devastation wrought by periodic floods but, they are opposed to the payment of conservation storage that would result in the impounding of the lower valley water supply some 600 miles upstream from the point of diversion and use, merely on the possibility of an average annual increase of 86,000 acre-feet conserved for beneficial use. This would greatly encumber, delay and hinder the release and delivery of water for use in this area, and would also subject some to hazards of unauthorized diversions between the proposed Amistad Dam and Falcon Reservoir and they would oppose it if it should involve the element of repayment or reimbursement to the Government of the cost of construction of this storage facility by water users in this area. They feel that from the standpoint of water conservation and the prevention of waste from floods and overflows, it would be more effective and economical to construct a series of storage dams across the Rio Grande River near the mouth of the river in Cameron County at an estimated saving in water of 140,000 to 200.000 acrefeet per year that would otherwise waste into the Gulf of Mexico.
Statement Of Ralph T. Agar, San Benito, Tex., General Manager,
Mr. Chairman and members of the committee, my name is Ralph T. Agar, of San Benito, Tex. I am manager and engineer of Cameron County "Water Improvement District No. 2, a 78,180-acre district; am engineer for the San Benito Cameron County Drainage District No. 3, a 91,000-aere district; am a director on the irrigation panel of the Texas Water'Conservation Association; am a vice president of the Lower Rio Grange Water Committee. "I have been connected, both directly and indirectly, with the water situation in the Lower Rio Grande Valley for the past 52 years; the district with which I am now connected began operating as the San Benito Land & Water Co. in 1906, when construction started on the canal system.
Many factors have tended to reduce the flow of the Rio Grande since the early development here in the lower valley, such as the impoundment of streams in Mexico, Elephant Butte Dam in the Rio Grande, etc., so that now any additional impediment to the flow would seriously affect the entire economic structure of our Lower Rio Grande Valley.
We, in the lower valley, have been water conscious for many years, opposing any additional filings with the State board of water engineers for diversions from the Rio Grande, however, many permits were granted over our opposition for flood waters only.
Prior to the completion of Falcon Dam, we were told by Commissioner Lawson and his chief hydrographer, Mr. Karl F. Keeler, that Falcon Reservoir would supply water for about 610,000 acres on the U.S. side of the river. Water is now being allotted by the 93d district court in Edinburg to 770,633 acres, an excess of 160,633 acres over the acreage for which water is sufficient. This is caused by the lack of, or the determination of water rights, and the battle between riparian and appropriative water users. This is the problem we are attempting to solve in court. I am attempting here to show that any additional diversions from our present water supply would prove hazardous.
The construction of Amistad Dam in the Rio Grande below the confluence of the Pecos and of the Devils River could completely stop any water from reaching Falcon Reservoir, and because water rights have not been determined in Texas could encourage new developments and additional withdrawals, sufficient to seriously affect our water supply here in the Lower Rio Grande Valley.
A computation made from the gage readings reported by the IBWC in their annual bluebooks for the floods of 1903, 1923, 1932, 1944, and 1954 convinces me that the greatest flood of record, that of the year 1954, would not have caused damage to the lower valley, except to the crops and improvements located in our $11 million floodway system. This is the flood, caused by Hurricane Alice, which caused heavy damage to the Laredo and Del Rio areas.
This district does not object to the construction of Amistad Dam for flood control^purgpses, nor for hydroelectric purposes, if the Government or the upper valley interests desire to construct it, but we do object to paying any portion of the cost or to having our present water supply impaired in any way.
Statement Of G. H. Loop, Brownsville, Tex., President, Board Of DirecTors, Cameron County Water Control And Improvement District No. 5'
Gentlemen of the^ committee, I am. G. H. Loop of Brownsville, Tex. I have resided■ on my own'farm of 102 acres about 3 miles out of Brownsville, for 38 years. My brother and I also farm 300 additional acres around my home. We grow cotton, tomatoes, onions, carrots, and other vegetables, and I also have 10 acres of citrus trees.
I am the president of the board of directors of Cameron County Water Control and Improvement District No. 5, commonly known as the El Jardin Water District. Our water district takes water from the Rio Grande River about 5 miles below Brownsville, Tex. We then transport it through our canal system and furnish domestic and irrigation water to about 2,000 people and 19,300 acres of irrigable'land, all within our district. We also operate and maintain a drainage system throughout the water district.
Our El Jardin district is the last water district pump on the Rio Grande River. We have our water stored in Falcon Dam, and after it is released it takes from 7 to 8 days to reach our pumps.
Falcon Dam and the Rio Grande River are truly our lifeblood. We have no other source of water. As it is, we still live on the ragged edge of trouble from year to year as to our water supply. For example, in 1956 there was a severe water shortage in Falcon, so that we were without irrigation water and had to haul domestic water in truck water tanks from the city of Brownsville.
We simply do not want Amistad Dam to any further diminish our supply of water coming into Falcon Dam. If that happens our livelihood would be seriously damaged or destroyed. We have insufficient rainfall to make crops. We must have water from Falcon Dam and the,Rio Grande River to live.
All of us farmers and water users at the end of the River certainly want our fellow Texans around Laredo and Del Rio, Tex., to have a flood control dam. They need it for protection of life and property. But we feel that conservation storage in Amistad Dam is not necessary, and we feel it will shorten our available supply of water in Falcon Dam.
As we farmers in the El Jardin district understand it, conservation storage in Amistad Dam is supposed to give an average increase of about 86,000 acre-feet of water here, for which we water users will have to pay about $12 million. The El Jardin Water District already has a bonded indebtedness of $424,000, which is a debt of $212 per acre of each and every acre in our district; and in addition, we pay State, county, school, and drainage district taxes on our lands and homes. We just don't see how we can help pay an additional $12 million for conservation storage in Amistad Dam for a small estimated increase of water in Falcon, which we don't believe will ever get to Falcon.
If the Congress decides the United States will have to provide for conservation storage in Amistad Dam if Mexico does the same, then we will not fuss at you. But we simply state to you, with all the sincerity we know how to use, that we American water users below Falcon Dam should not be required to pay for conservation storage in Amistad, and above all, we ask you to protect our present annual supply in Falcon Dam, so that we will not get less water than we are now getting from Falcon. Please protect us on this, as we will be destroyed if Amistad Dam shortens our present annual yield of water from Falcon.
We feel that you will do your best for us.
Statement Of Leo T. Moses, Los Fresnos, Tex., Director, Board Of Directors, Cameron County Water Control And Improvement District No. 6
Gentlemen of the committee, my name is Leo T. Moses. I am a farmer, residing on my farm about 2 miles from the town of Los Fresnos, in Cameron County, Tex. I farm 290 acres of land and grow cotton and various winter vegetables such as tomatoes, onions, carrots, and cabbage.
I am a director on the board of directors of Cameron County Water Control and Improvement District No. 6, and am secretary of the board. Cameron County Water Control and Improvement District No. 6 is an organized irrigation district, taking water from the Rio Grande River just above Brownsville, Tex. We furnish water for 21,000 acres in our district, and we also pump water from the Rio Grande River and transport it to Cameron County Water Control and Improvement Districts Nos. 10, 11, and 12, and to Cameron County Fresh Water Supply District No. 1 of Port Isabel, Tex., which furnishes domestic water to Port Isabel and environs. We pump and furnish water to about 50,000 acres of irrigated farmlands, and furnish water to about 20,000 people for domestic purposes on the farms, and in the towns of Los Fresnos, Olmito, and Port Isabel, Tex. We all have no other source of water, except water which is retained in Falcon Dam and released to us in the channel of the Rio Grande River. It takes about 6 days from the time water is released from Falcon Dam for it to reach our pumping stations on the bank of the Rio Grande nearBrownsville.
The farmers, whom I represent, almost all feel that Amistad Dam, as a flood control dam, is a necessity, and we sincerely hope it is built as a flood' control dam to protect the cities and towns of Del Rio, Laredo, and the other cities and towns above Falcon Dam, on both the Mexican and the United States sides. But we also feel that conservation storage in Amistad Dam is not necessary, and we are seriously worried that this would endanger supplying water to us, we being 500 miles below Amistad Dam. Even with Falcon Dam weknow we will have shortages from time to time, but we do not want Amistad Dam to increase that danger to us, which we feel it will do if it has conservation■ storage.
We farmers down at the end of the river also realize that if Mexico insists on conservation storage, then the United States will have to put in conservation storage, but if this happens we beg of you to clearly provide by legislation thatour supply of water in Falcon Dam shall not be less than we had before Amistad Dam was built. Otherwise, we farmers at the tail end of the river will have our livelihood seriously and adversely affected.
I, and all the farmers in the water districts to whom we furnish water, make our living by farming. Most of us would be called "small acreage farmers."' We already have a problem from rising costs and taxes that makes it difficult each year for us to make "both ends meet." We do not know how in the world we could pay any part of the construction costs of the conservation storage in. Amistad Dam; and we feel we should not be required to pay for something that we do not want.
On behalf of myself and the farmers and small towns for whom I speak, I respectfully request that this committee protect our interests, so that conservation storage is not included in Amistad Dam, unless required by Mexico' building conservation storage therein; and if conservation storage is included,■ that we farmer-water users below Falcon Dam not be required to pay any of" the cost of the conservation storage; and that we be fully protected from Amistad Dam depleting the present amount of water that we receive annually in FalcoaDam.
Statement Of H. C. Fitzpatbick, Los Fresnos, Tex., Member Of The Board or Directors Of The Cameron County Water Improvement District No. 11
My name is H. C. Fitzpatrick. I am a landowner and farmer, and I am now and have been a member of the board of directors of Cameron County WaterImprovement District No. 11 since 1947. This district was organized in 1928 and comprises 12,068 acres, of which 7,487 acres are actually receiving an allotment of water for irrigation purposes. This district has a present bonded indebtedness of approximately $112,000. The bond tax levied by the district to service the outstanding bonds is $1.80 per $100 valuation, the maintenance and operation tax levied to maintain canals, pumps, and other irrigation facilities is^ $6 per acre and the charge for irrigation water is $2 per acre for each irrigation. In addition to these taxes, collected by the water district, there are State, county, and school taxes. These taxes when added to the costs of planting, cultivating, and harvesting, place a burden on the farmer and citrus grower which in times of low vegetable and citrus prices as we are presently experiencing can easily result in a loss to the grower. Any additional costs such as might be called for, if repayment of conservation storage in Amistad is required would simply make the farmers' economic position more precarious.
In addition to increased labor, equipment, and material costs to the farmer, there is a steady diminishing of the dependable supply of water in the lower reaches of the Rio Grande. Based on 87 years of records, the annual average rainfall on the watershed of the Rio Grande above Falcon Dam, is approximately 18 inches. In years past, about 6 percent or a little over 1 inch of this rainfall reached the channel of the Rio Grande. Presently; only about 2 percent of such rainfall reaches the channel. Stated another way, there has been a reduction of two-thirds in the amount of rainfall which reaches the Rio Grande from its watershed above Falcon Dam. I am also reliably informed that a rainfall of 3 inches is required in order for any runoff to reach the Rio Grande Channel.
You may ask why this runoff figure has been so seriously diminished. The major reasons for the decreased runoff are farm conservation measures, more lands being put in cultivation, and increased construction of private lakes and ponds. There is available to the landowner, Federal governmental assistance, in defraying the costs of construction of tanks for impounding water, and the Legislature of the State of Texas has recently passed legislation allowing impounding of up to 200 acre-feet for domestic and livestock use. This impounded water can also be used for irrigation by applying for authority from the Texas Board of Water Engineers to so use it. All of these developments have necessarily lessened the supply of river water available to downstream users.
I have attempted as briefly as possible to present some of the problems faced by the farmer and landowner in our area below Falcon Dam. These are in summary—increased costs and a steady diminishing in the dependable supply of water to our area.
I thank you for allowing me the privilege of presenting this statement.
American Federation Of Labor And Congress
Of Industrial Organizations, Washington, D.C., March 3, 1960. Hon. Abmistead I. Selden, Jr.,
Chairman, Subcommittee on Inter-American Affairs of the House Committee on Foreign Affairs, Washington, D.C.
Dear Congressman Selden : This letter is written to state the position of the AFL-CIO and of the Ttexas State AFL-CIO on legislation now being heard before your subcommittee to authorize the United States to participate with the Republic of Mexico in the joint construction of Diablo Dam on the Rio Grande River.
We are in general accord with the purposes of the bill and' the need for construction of the project for the storage of water, for flood control, irrigation, generation of hydroelectric power and other beneficial uses. However, we oppose legislation to authorize the project as it is now written because of the inclusion of section 2 of the bill. This section would, in effect, give away control to a private utility of a valuable power resource which belongs to the people. If enacted, H.R. 8080 would seriously weaken Federal reclamation law and policy, which has been in existence for a half century, dealing with the marketing of power generated by Bureau projects.
You will recall that this type of proposal was made in 1955 when there was enacted into law legislation authorizing the construction of the Trinity project in the Central Valley of California. The law provided that the Secretary of the Interior was to report within 18 months to the Congress with recommendations as to whether the power facilities should be provided and operated by the Federal Government or by a privately operated electric utility, in this case the Pacific Gas & Electric Co. The issue of Trinity partnership was not resolved until legislation to implement the Secretary's report was finally rejected by the House Interior and Insular Affairs Committee and the initial appropriation to install Federal power facilities was provided by the Congress last year.
In the President's budget for fiscal 1961, he has acknowledged defeat of hi* partnership policy at Trinity by requesting $10 million to carry forward construction of the Trinity power facilities as part of an all Federal project.
The proposal to lease the falling water to a private utility under H.R. 8080 would produce the same effect in this area of Texas as Trinity partnership would have in Central Valley, Calif. It would place a private utility in complete control of both the generation, marketing and price of power from a public project. The value of this power is in excess of $1 million annually. As such, we repeat, it would be an undesirable precedent undermining national policy dealing with the marketing of Bureau reclamation power which has been supported by both political parties, since 1906.
Section 2 contains a provision which would give the Foreign Affairs Committee of the House and Foreign Relations Committee of the Senate the power of final decision on any such proposed contract to lease the falling water at Diablo Dam to a privately owned utility.
We oppose this language as foreclosing full and searching debate by both Houses of"Congress. "Thisis-partUrularly desirable with respect to this legislation which proposes to establish an important policy precedent which will have serious implications on our entire reclamation policy.
We, therefore, urge that section 2 of this bill be stricken and in its place an amendment inserted to provide that the U.S. portion of the power facilities at Diablo Dam be constructed, financed and operated by the Bureau of Reclamation under provision of the Reclamation Act, as amended, dealing with the marketing of power.
If this amendment is made, the AFL-CIO and the Texas State AFL-OIO will support and work for the early passage of this legislation leading to construction of the Diablo project. Respectfully yours,
Andrew J. Biemuxer, Director, Department of Legislation.
West Texas Chamber Of Commerce,
Abilene, Tew., March 5,1960. Hon. Armistead Selden,
Chairman, Subcommittee on Foreign Affairs for Inter-American Affairs, House of Representatives, Washington, D.C. Dear Congressman Selden: We wish to register our strongest support for the construction of the Amistad Dam on the Rio Grande for the protection of life and property from the floodwaters of that watershed.
It is our belief that the record amply reflects a need for this project and an obligation for our Government to undertake this construction in accordance with our treaty with Mexico.
If water for the production of hydroelectric power is made available or if power is produced by the facilities installed in this project, we urgently recommend that the water or the power be made available for sale to the highest bidder.
Yours very truly,
Fred H. Husbands, Executive Vice President.