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tion which is a major factor if you start computing it over a period of time.
I mention these factors to impress on you the relationship of Falcon and Amistad—and how they will implement each other in so many respects. We need them both.
But, above everything, I want to urge the committee to keep in mind that this is essentially a flood-control project, born of absolute necessity—a necessity that can no longer be postponed or neglected.
In conclusion, let me remind you that this is an international project—a joint undertaking between two friendly nations. Its approval and construction will demonstrate the capacity of these two great countries to solve a mammoth problem through joint efforts. And we will be keeping faith with our treaty obligations. I am informed that the Mexican Government at this time is moving speedily with its part in getting ready for actual construction. Only recently an official from the office of the President of Mexico was at Ciudad Acuna and Del Rio to make an inspection of the Amistad site in connection with the Mexican Government's processing of their part of the joint task.
It will be recalled that on February 20, 1959, the Amistad project, then referred to as Diablo, was on top of the agenda when President Eisenhower and President Lopez Mateos conferred at Acapulco, following which they called for construction arrangements to be concluded as rapidly as possible.
And in his budget message to Congress last month, the President stated:
To carry forward the joint development of waters on the Rio Grande, construction should be started on the Amistad (Diablo) Dam, in accordance with the treaty of February 3, 1944, between the United States and Mexico. I urge the Congress to enact promptly the legislation now needed to authorize negotiations of an agreement for this construction. Funds will be requested for the U.S. share of the first-year cost of this project following enactment of the legislation.
Mr. Chairman, again I want to thank this committee for the privilege of appearing before you in behalf of this legislation. We are now approaching the climax of a long and arduous effort. We feel that time is of the essence, and we know this committee will give this legislation the consideration that it deserves.
Mr. Selden. Let me thank you, Mr. Fisher, for your very fine statement and say to your friends from Texas that I have been working with you for some little time in connection with this project, and certainly no one in the Congress has demonstrated greater interest and greater concern. Certainly when and if this project is completed, you deserve a lion's share of the credit for it.
Mr. Fisher. Thank you.
Incidentally, Mr. Chairman, if there are any questions I will be glad to comment on them. In the meantime, I will ask Mr. Pettit to take these pictures up. They are photographs of the 1954 and 1958 floods. You might like to see them.
Mr. Seldest. Thank you.
I have some technical questions I want to ask, but I will ask them after Colonel Hewitt has had a chance to testify.
Perhaps other members of the subcommittee would like to question you. Mr. Fascell?
Mr. Fascell. Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
Mr. Fisher, you are certainly a very persuasive and persistent person. I might say if anything is going to be accomplished you will get it done.
Let me ask you some practical questions. Who is opposed to this project, if anyone %
Mr. Fisher. I don't know of anyone. I certainly hope not. I have heard of no opposition, although there are some amendments to be considered.
Mr. Fascell. The study that was made recommended its construction, did it?
Mr. Fisher. Oh, yes. With a very strong and high benefit-cost ratio that I referred to.
Mr. Fascell. That is all I have, Mr. Chairman.
Mr. Selden. Mr. Jackson?
Mr. Jackson. Mr. Chairman, I have no questions at the moment. I probably will have some as we move along. At this time, I will pass.
Mr. Selden. Mr. Burleson?
Mr. Burleson. Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
We are grateful for the chairman's opening remarks relative to Texas and Texans and our interest. No one has been more diligent over the years in promoting the idea of the construction of this very great project than Mr. Fisher. The same is certainly true of our colleague, Mr. Kilgore, in connection with the Falcon Dam. They have been tremendously interested and have rendered not only that part of the country and their own constituents a great service but it has been a great service to the entire Nation.
Mr. Fisher, in connection with cost ratio: I just don't know of a project which has been before the Congress—and I have been familiar with those bills produced by the Public Works Committee of the House of Representatives—which has, in recent times at least, had a greater ratio of benefit to cost than this project. Do you agree?
Mr. Fisher. I think the gentleman is correct. We have dealt with a lot of them in recent years, and I don't know of any with a higher justification ratio than we have in this case.
Mr. Burleson. Of course, in these times when everybody talks economy, sometimes we wonder if we are as strong for economy as sometimes we talk. Sometimes our constituents also appear to be for economy unless it is something right in their own area.
But here is a project as I see it, as the gentleman has testified, that will in time actually return money to the Federal Treasury.
Mr. Fisher. Indeed it will, Mr. Chairman. As I pointed out, the overall loss in damages and loss in water in the 1958 flood alone would have amounted to almost the American contribution, the American share that is allocated for the construction of this project.
Mr. Burleson. Mr. Chairman, Mr. Fisher testified that the feature of irrigation would not be in prominence at this time on the U.S. side of the river. What is that situation on the Mexican side?
Mr. Fisher. I am not familiar with it, Mr. Burleson. Probably Colonel Hewitt could enlighten you more in that respect.
Mr. Burleson. There may arise the question as to what would be increased agricultural competition if a great many acres were put into cultivation on the Mexican side.
I am not too familiar with the area contiguous to the project, but my general impression is that in the immediate area, it is not conducive to tillable soil anyway. It is rather rough country, is it not?
Mr. Fisher. Until you get down in the lower areas toward the Gulf.
Mr. Kilgore could probably elaborate on that, but I think it should be pointed out in response to your question that the Mexican Government insists upon conservation storage being in this project, and after all, the international agreement calls for that. That is the chief reason why conservation storage is included.
So, certainly if for no other reason, it is essential that we have it in collaboration with the Mexican Government and in accordance with the treaty agreement.
Mr. Burleson. Mr. Chairman, I compliment my colleague on a very forceful and influencing statement.
Mr. Fisher. Thank you.
Mr. Seldest. As the gentleman from Texas, Mr. Burleson, pointed out, we have a third extremely able member of the Texas delegation here today who is doing a very fine job for his constituency and State, Mr. Kilgore. Congressman Kilgore has indicated to me that he would like to be recognized later.
We will be glad to hear from you now, however, if you have any questions you would like to ask at this time.
Mr. Kilgore. Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
In the interests of conserving the committee's time, I think it would be better for me ^o wait until later when my constituents testify.
Mr. Selden. Thank you. We will respect your wishes.
We have as our next witness, Col. L. H. Hewitt, Commissioner of the U.S. Section of the International Boundary and Water Commission.
If you will come up and have a seat, Colonel Hewitt, we will be glad to hear you.
STATEMENT OF COL. LELAND H. HEWITT, COMMISSIONER, U.S. SECTION, INTERNATIONAL BOUNDARY AND WATER COMMISSION, UNITED STATES AND MEXICO
Colonel Hewitt. I would like to present to the committee, Mr. Chairman, my able assistant, Mr. Joseph F. Friedken, who is the supervising principal engineer of the U.S. Boundary and Water Commission, who will assist me in pointing out on the map some of the things which we can do with this project.
A statement which I have prepared and which is already in the hands of the chairman and the members of the committee, I would like to read to emphasize some of the points which have been referred to by Mr. Fisher and undoubtedly will be referred to by others.
Authorization for this dam is contained in article 5 of the 1944 Water Treaty between the United States and Mexico, relating to the utilization of waters of the Colorado and Tijuana .Rivers and of the Rio Grande, and provides in part:
The two Governments agree to construct jointly, through their respective Sections of the Commission, the following works in the main channel of the Rio Grande (Rio Bravo):
(I) The dams required for the conservation, storage, and regulation of the greatest quantity of the annual flow of the river in a way to insure the continuance of existing uses and the development of the greatest number of feasible projects, within the limits imposed by the water allotments specified.
(II) * * * One of the storage dams shall be constructed in the section between Santa Helena Canyon and the mouth of the Pecos River; one in the section between Eagle Pass and Laredo, Texas (Piedras Negras and Nuevo Laredo in Mexico) ; and a third in the section between Laredo and Roma, Texas (Nuevo Laredo and San Pedro de Roma in Mexico). One or more of the stipulated dams may be omitted, and others than those enumerated may be built, in either case as may be determined by the Commission, subject to the approval of the two Governments.
* » * The works shall begin with the construction of the lowest major international storage dam * * *. The lowest major international storage dam shall be completed within a period of eight years from the date of the entry into force of this Treaty.
The lowest storage dam—Falcon Dam, located 75 miles downstream from Laredo, Tex.—was completed in 1953.
The proposed Amistad Dam and Reservoir, at a site 300 miles upstream from Falcon Dam and 1 river mile below the mouth of the Devils River, would be the second of the major international storage dams provided for by the treaty.
I might say in view of the fact that the actual site finally chosen for the Amistad Dam did not come within the three stretches of the river mentioned in the treaty, it was desirable that the committee approve the site of the Diablo, or the Amistad Dam, in its new location.
LOWER RIO GRANDE
The lower Rio Grande is a river which has, as Mr. Fisher said, a very long course. It rises in southern Colorado and flows in a southerly direction through the U.S. territory until it reaches El Paso, Tex., where it becomes the boundary between the United States and Mexico for about 1,250 miles to the mouth of the river.
About 80 miles downstream from El Paso, near Fort Quitman, Tex., the river enters into a canyon section, which marks the division point between the upper and lower Rio Grande.
The portions of the 1944 water treaty concerning the allocation of waters, control and regulation of the Rio Grande relate to the 1,170 miles of river below Fort Quitman.
From Fort Quitman to the site of the proposed Amistad Dam and Reservoir, a distance of about 600 river miles, the Rio Grande flows through the mountainous Big Bend section following a tortuous course through a series of deeply incised picturesque gorges and canyons separated by narrow intermontane valleys. The climate is arid. Developments along this section of the river are relatively small, consisting of a few communities and ranches with total population of about 12,000, and scattered irrigated lands totaling about 14,000 acres along the U.S. bank and about the same along the Mexican bank. Cotton and feed crops are predominant.
From the Amistad dam site to Falcon Dam, a distance of some 300 miles, the river flows in a flood plain, generally one-half to a mile wide, bordered by hills and benchlands. The climate is semiarid. In this section are the border cities and trade centers of Del RioCiudad Acuna, Eagle Pass-Piedras Negras, and Laredo-Nuevo Laredo. Those on the U.S. side, together with smaller communities, have an aggregate population of about 120,000; those on the Mexican side about 100,000. Approximately 66,000 acres of land are under irrigation on the U.S. side, principally on the low benchlands in the vicinity of Eagle Pass. A similar acreage is under irrigation on the Mexican side. Cotton and feed are the major crops, and some vegetables are produced.
Below Falcon Dam, the river follows a meandering course, about 270 miles in length, through its delta section to the Gulf of Mexico. In this section, the lower Rio Grande Valley, the broad fertile lands on each side of the river have been developed, with the semitropical climate and with water from the Rio Grande for irrigation, into one of the most highly productive agricultural regions on the North American continent. On the U.S. side there are about 750,000 acres under irrigation, which support directly or indirectly some 360,000 people located in the cities of Brownsville, Harlingen, McAllen, San Benito, Edinburg, Mission, and Mercedes, and in other smaller communities, settlements, and rural areas. There are similar developments on the Mexican side.
The flow of the Rio Grande above Fort Quitman is largely controlled by storage reservoirs in the United States and releases are diverted for irrigation use. For the most part only drainage and irrigation waste waters pass Fort Quitman. Downstream from Fort Quitman tributary inflows, the major portion uncontrolled, from some 150,000 square miles of drainage area in the two countries, make up the riverflows. By the terms of the 1944 water treaty each country is generally allotted the inflows of its principal tributaries except that one-third of the inflows from the principal Mexican tributaries above Falcon Dam are allotted to the United States; and one-half of all other flows reaching the main channel are generally allotted to each country.
Three of the principal and greatest flood-producing tributaries enThe report submitted by the U.S. Section of the Commission had a out of Mexico near the town of Presidio, Tex., and the Pecos and Devils Rivers from the United States, just above the dam site and above Del Rio, Tex. At the damsite, average annual riverflows are expected to amount to 2,290,000 acre-feet, including 1,490,000 acrefeet of waters allocated by the treaty to the United States, which comprise about 80 percent of the total waters of the river allocated to this country.
Downstream from the Amistad site to Falcon Dam, a number of smaller tributaries pour into the river from each side, the largest of which, the Rio Salado from Mexico, discharges into Falcon Reservoir. Average annual flows expected to reach Falcon Dam under existing conditions of development amount to 2,890,000 acre-feet. Down