« PreviousContinue »
"I hereby concur in the board approval and urge prompt action on this important project. Recent devastating floods which have occurred on the Rio Grande, causing great loss of property and human suffering on both sides of the river fully justify the highest priority which can be given to this project."
The order of the State Board of Water Engineers to which the Governor referred is printed in full, beginning on page 136 of the Senate Document No. 65, 86th Congress, 1st session "Rio Grande International Storage Dams Project: Proposed Amistad Dam and Reservoir (formerly known as Diablo Dam)."
After due notice and public hearing, the State Board of Water Engineers "found that the said Federal project was feasible and that the public interest would be served thereby, and on October 24, 1958, entered its order approving the preliminary report on the Federal project of the Department of State, International Boundary and Water Commission, United States and Mexico, Rio Grande international storage dams project, proposed Diablo Dam and Reservoir, subject to the following:
"(a) The proposed Diablo Dam must be integrated with other water conservation activities on the Rio Grande below Fort Quitman, Tex., and operated in such manner that the amount of water allocated to the American section and available for release from and through Falcon Dam which would otherwise be available for use by existing lawful diverters and appropriators of the American section below Falcon Dam will not be impaired or diminished; and
"(6) All releases of conservation storage water allocated to the American section from the proposed Diablo Dam for hydroelectric power purposes shall be subordinated to higher priority or preference uses of lawful diverters and appropriators of the American section below Diablo Dam and in accordance with State law."
I understand the above qualifications to mean that existing lawful diverters and appropriators of water below Falcon Dam will continue to have available for beneficial consumptive use at least the same amount of water, including that provided through regulation by storage, as would be available to such users without Diablo on the river. And I, therefore, concur in the qualifications and support the views and recommendations of Gov. Price Daniel and the Texas State Board of Water Engineers on the proposed Amistad Dam and Reservoir on the Rio Grande.
As I construe section 3 of H.R. 8080, to authorize the conclusion of an agreement for the joint construction by the United States and Mexico of Amistad Dam and Reservoir, it embraces the above qualifications.
I respectfully urge that the existing rights and uses of waters of the Rio Grande below Falcon Dam and Reservoir be recognized and fully protected in this authorizing legislation. Respectfully submitted.
J. E. Sturrock.
Mr. Selden. If there are no further questions and no further statements, the subcommittee stands adjourned until 10:30 tomorrow morning.
(Whereupon, at 4:15 p.m., the subcommittee was adjourned, to reconvene at 10:30 a.m., Tuesday, February 9,1960.)
(The following letters were submitted for inclusion in the record:)
Arroyo Colorado Navigation District
Of Cameron And Willacy Counties,
Harlingen, Tex., February 3,1960. Hon. Thomas E. Morgan, Chairman. Committee on Foreign Affairs. Bouse of Representatives, Washington, D.C.
Dear Sir: Note your committee will have a hearing beginning February 8 in regard to Diablo Dam, now called Amistad Dam, above Laredo.
We are very definitely in favor of this dam for the reason that during the last flood in 1958, the channel of the Arroyo Colorado was used to divert floodwaters of the Rio Grande in addition to the flood control system of the Rio Grande Valley. At the height of the flood 21.000 feet of water was turned into the arroyo, which overflowed in several places and caused a great deal of damage to Port Harlingen by siltage.
We understand the International Boundary Commission now has plans in case of a serious flood to divert 50,000 feet of water into the arroyo, which would very definitely cause untold damage.
Since a great deal of water comes from above the proposed dam, in time of floods this new dam would definitely relieve the pressure on the lower reaches of the Rio Grande and flood control system, therefore we wish to go on record approving this dam and hope that construction will start very soon. Yours very truly,
Clifford H. Pubdy, Chairman.
Harlingen, Tex., February 4,1960. Representative Thomas E. Morgan, Chairman, Committee on Foreign Affairs, House of Representatives, Washington, D.C.
Dear Sir: I would like to submit some information and pictures to be presented before the hearings on the Ainistad Dam which are to be held February 8 and 9. I am submitting six pictures of the Arroyo Colorado which were taken in the vicinity of Harlingen, Tex. This flood was in the fall of 1958, and approximately 21,000 second-feet of water went through Harlingen at that time.
I have talked with local officials of the International Boundary and Water Commission and they tell me that after the Anzalduas diversion dam has been completed they plan, in time of peak flow, to put 51,000 second-feet of water through the Arroyo Colorado, which is approximately 1% times more water than was sent through Harlingen during the last flood.
Since the last flood, the International Boundary and Water Commission has spent approximately $90,000 clearing the brush to facilitate the flow of water through the Arroyo Colorado.
I have numbered the pictures in the order that the water flowed through Harlingen. Picture No. 1 shows several houses inundated. Picture No. 2 shows the water almost up to the bypass bridges of the expressway now under construction. There will be a high span between the two bridges shown in this picture.
I have been told by the city engineer of Harlingen that in case of a peak flood, it is their intention to use the bank of the main irrigation canal of Cameron County District 1 and attempt to hold the floodwaters on the Arroyo side of this canal. All homes in these pictures would be flooded at times of peak flood if this proposal is followed.
Picture No. 3 shows the sewage plant of the city of Harlingen, which was barely able to keep functioning during the last flood, as its outlets were many feet below the flood level.
Picture No. 4 shows the Arroyo at my home. The water was approximately 5 feet from the floor level at my home. My neighbor's house on the right was in approximately 3 feet of water.
Picture No. 5 shows two houses where it was necessary to use sandbags to keep out water. I would also like to point out that a very few more feet of water would flood many points in this subdivision.
Picture No. 6 shows Port Harlingen. The people of Cameron County have voted Arroyo Colorado Navigation District bonds in the amount of approximately $1,500,000, and the Federal Government has spent approximately $1 million to help on Port Harlingen. The major part of the port facilities was rented by Olin Matheison Chemical Co. and they suffered a large loss in materials in their warehouse and moved out after the flood.
I wish to emphasize that all of these pictures were taken at the time there was a flow of 21,000 second-feet in the Arroyo Colorado. I have been told by Mr. Moore, local official of the International Boundary and Water Commission, that he expects the water in the vicinity of my home to be 39 feet in time of maximum flood. This would place the water approximately 14 feet higher than it was in the flood in the fall of 1958.
The reason we are to get the additional flow is that, under the treaty, when the Anzalduas Dam is completed, it is the plan of the International Boundary and Water Commission to use the north floodway and the Arroyo Colorado as the principal means of alleviating the flood situation. By doing this, there will be no chance of flooding Matamoros, which has no floodwalls or other means of preventing the city from being flooded.
1 am also enclosing a brochure put out by the Harlingen Chamber of Commerce which will give you some idea as to why Harlingen needs this dam for flood protection.
I respectfully submit this information in the hope that your committee will do everything possible to facilitate the early construction of this dam, as the city of Harlingen is in dire need of this protection. Yours very truly,
Edwabd H. Green.
AMLSTAD DAM AND RESERVOIR
TUESDAY, FEBRUARY 9, 1960
House Op Representatives,
Washington, D.C. The Subcommittee on Inter-American Affairs met pursuant to adjournment in room 1310, House Office Building, at 10:30 a.m., Hon. Armistead I. Selden, Jr. (chairman of the subcommittee), presiding. (Also present were the Honorable O. C. Fisher, a Representative in Congress from the State of Texas, and the Honorable Joe M. Kilgore, a Representative in Congress from the State of Texas. Mr. Selden. The committee will come to order, please. Today we will continue our hearings on the Amistad Dam project. We are very pleased to have with us this morning to testify the junior Senator from the State of Texas, the Honorable Ralph Yarborough.
STATEMENT OF HON. RALPH YARBOROUGH, U.S. SENATOR FROM THE STATE OF TEXAS
Senator Yarborough. Mr. Chairman and members of the committee, it is a great privilege to come here from the coordinant body of the Congress and I want to express my appreciation for your permitting me to give my brief testimony first so that I may turn to other duties.
I appear here in support of this Diablo Dam, or Amistad Dam, as it is now called. I want to point out a few general considerations about it. I shall not attempt, of course, any detailed information of an engineering or a geological or other type, because you have experts on that. Since I lived at El Paso 3V2 years and started the practice of law there, I have been in this area many times. If the committee will pardon a personal reference from the only Senator from Texas who has actually lived in far west Texas, I believe that I have some personal knowledge of the desires, hopes, and plans of the people of that area. I believe that the prospects for the economic development of that area are good.
I have been in all nine western counties in the past 3 years, and I was told that I was the only Senator to have ever visited these counties.
There has been some discussion about the water rights between the lower Rio Grande Valley, the Laredo area, Eagle Pass, and the upstream water rights.
Some of those things are not yet settled. It may take a long time to settle them. In my judgment, the beneficent effects of the con
struction of this dam should not be held up until the water rights are settled. I think that can go forward concomitantly with the construction of the dam.
The flood of 1954 alone brought such great devastation downstream, particularly in Nuevo Laredo, to show the feasibility of this dam.
There has been discussion of feasibility. If we suddenly discovered such a cheap matter of extraction of fresh water from the sea as to make all dams for irrigation purposes unfeasible, this dam would be feasible for flood control alone if that were the only purpose of it, because of the great damage wrought at these cities and the great damage to the cities up and down the river. The great threat that is posed to the entire Rio Grande Valley was shown by the 1954 flood. A little more and the whole valley would have been flooded and Brownsville partially destroyed.
In brief, this dam is needed for protection alone. It would be feasible on that one score.
I want to point out, Mr. Chairman and members of the committee, that the two counties in the Lower Rio Grande area, each of these two counties are within the 10 most populous counties in Texas.
I want to point out further that each of those counties at times has been among the top 10 counties in the United States in value of agricultural production, under the Secretary of Agriculture's annual listing of the 10 most valuable agricultural production counties in the United States of America.
In addition, Mr. Chairman, aside from flood control which itself would prove the feasibility, there will be a need for this water for irrigation projects.
Now, there is a contest over the water for irrigation. There are other needs. I speak now of the coming population surge to this area of the country. When you have been through southern California you realize how fast that is filling up with population and how valuable the land has become.
Last year when I was visiting in Orange County, Calif., I was advised that land had become so valuable for residential purposes that it was no longer feasible to tend the original groves. They are spreading these suburbs out to where there are more than 6 million people in Los Angeles County alone.
Not only is the west coast gaining rapidly in population. The little man is finding Florida land going up in price and this overflow of population is coming to the southwestern States.
In another part of the Southwest which I visited at Albuquerque, N. Mex., last Saturday, they told me their population had recently reached 1 million persons for the State of New Mexico.
The gulf and Pacific southwestern areas are the coming areas for the population boom. A study by the Chase National Bank also confirms this projection. It is the estimate of the bank that by 1975, that a third of the population of the United States will be west of the crest of the Rocky Mountains.
A Chicago syndicate recently announced plans to build just east of El Paso, Tex., what they call a model city for a million and a half people. That is merely indicative of this population shift to the Southwest. By contrast, now, El Paso County has a city of 280,000 people, and a county population of something over 300,000.