Page images

staggering $1,864,000 in flood damage estimated to now occur to U.S. properties annually will be eliminated. In addition to this urgently needed flood control feature, the House-passed bill calls for the inclusion of 3 million acre-feet of water conservation storage and facilities for the production of hydroelectric power. Although the need for flood control provides the most compelling reason for the immediate construction of this dam, there is also a great need within the affected area, both in the United States and Mexico, for the water conservation storage and hydroelectric power provided in the House-passed bill. It would be unfortunate indeed if this excellent site were not developed to its maximum potential for water conservation and hydro power. I will not go into the details of the project further. These are set out in great detail in the hearings of the House Foreign Affairs Committee, and its excellent report on the bill. These will be amplified for the committee by Col. L. H. Hewitt, Commissioner, U.S. Section, International Boundary and Water Commission. These should be more than sufficient to answer any questions the committee may have. My principal purpose in testifying today is to emphasize to the committee the need for immediate action on the bill. And I believe this has been forcefully brought home to us by the President. In their meetings here and in Mexico last year, President Eisenhower and President Lopez Mateos of Mexico recognized this project to be an extremely important link in United States–Mexican friendship. As a matter of fact, it was at their meeting in October of last year that the name of the dam was changed from Diablo to its more meaningful, symbolic present name of Amistad, or “friendship.” When I met with President Lopez Mateos in Acapulco, Mexico, in 1958, and again when he visited my ranch in Texas last year, we discussed the Amistad project at length. We were in wholehearted agreement on its importance to both of our countries and agreed to work for its implementation as soon as possible. I was gratified that our President took particular note of the importance of this project in his budget message earlier this year. In this message, he stated as follows: “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.” I certainly agree with this statement of the President, and I hope the Senate will act on this authorizing legislation soon and in time for action by the Appropriations Committees of the House and Senate during this session. In summary, the project authorized by H.R. 12263 is urgently needed to protect lives and safeguard property in the United States and Mexico. In addition to ending the menace of floods, it will provide badly needed water conservation storage and hydroelectric power to the surrounding area. We are obligated under our 1944 treaty with Mexico to join in the construction of this project, and Mexico is ready and anxious to perform its part of the bargain. I hope that the United States does not further delay getting it underway. At best we would be remiss in our solemn treaty obligations to one of the best friends we have. At worst we would be responsible for additional tremendous losses in life and property, both in the United States and Mexico. I again thank the committee for its courtesy, and I urge that H.R. 12263 be favorably reported as soon as it is convenient for the committee to do so.


The CHAIRMAN. Mr. Hewitt, I have a letter from the Budget Bureau, and they say this:

Under the terms of H.R. 12263, authorization of the project would not be subject to a requirement for repayment of water supply and irrigation costs. In its report to the House Foreign Affairs Committee on H.R. 8080, the predecessor bill to H.R. 12263, the Bureau of the Budget recommended that, as in the case of the Anzalduas diversion dam now under construction, local interests should be

required to repay appropriate costs allocable to irrigation and water supply purposes in the United States if Amistad Dam and Reservoir is operated for such purposes. Subject to your consideration of our view on the above repayment requirement, the Bureau of the Budget recommends that H.R. 12263 be enacted. What about that repayment requirement? Mr. HEWITT. Insofar as the Commission is concerned, Mr. Chairman, I think that is a matter for determination by the Congress. I have no argument one way or the other. The CHAIRMAN. Well, in connection with the Anzalduas diversion dam, that was required? Mr. HEWITT. That was required in the construction of Anzalduas, the people were required to repay a portion of the cost which would be allocated to conservation, providing the facility was ever used for that purpose. As a matter of fact, it has never been used for that purpose nor o as I know at the present time is it contemplated that it ever WI11 Oe. The CHAIRMAN. You said you anticipated in connection with this dam that the conservation benefits, you say would be just under $2 million, $1,892,000 I believe, which would be a major benefit. Mr. HEWITT. That is correct. The CHAIRMAN. Why shouldn't repayment be required in this case? Mr. HEWITT. Well, there is one reason which should be considered by the committee and that under normal circumstances this facility would probably have been constructed for flood control alone. However, in view of the fact that section I of article 5 of the treaty which reads: 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 ensure the continuance of existing uses and the development of the greatest number of feasible projects, within the limits imposed by the water allotments specified. That rather put the bee on us because if we had been building this as a dam entirely within the United States it probably would be built as a flood-control dam only, but being an international dam, and being constructed by the United States and Mexico combined, Mexico desiring to have conservation storage included in the dam, we could not very well stand out and say we don’t want it.


The CHAIRMAN. Are these 66,000 acres of irrigated land that this is supposed to protect all in the United States or in both Mexico and the United States? Mr. HEWITT. I think that the acreage is about the same in both countries, and in each country they have about that amount. The CHAIRMAN. Then the 66,000 acres are the United States. Mr. HEWITT. Yes, sir. The CHAIRMAN. The cost of this dam would run nearly a thousand dollars an acre if you were looking only at the protection of the irrigated land above Falcon. Mr. HEWITT. Well, as a matter of fact, the protection given runs all the way down to Matamoros and the gulf. There are 750,000 acres down there which also are protected by this dam, and the 66,000 acres up between Laredo and Del Rio, are in addition to that down below.

And, of course, you have the tremendous losses which occur in Del Rio, Eagle Pass, Piedras Negras, Laredo, Nuevo Laredo, and Ciudad Acuña, too, involving a population of 120,000 on the U.S. side alone.


The CHAIRMAN. What I was wondering is this: Since the largest part of your benefits is allocated to conservation benefits, that you said are greater than the estimated flood damages, why wouldn’t this provision that the Budget Bureau refers to be an appropriate provision in this authorization—that they do repay these costs? In other words, why shouldn't the irrigation waters that are used be repaid on somewhat the same formula that a reclamation project in the West is paid for in this country? Wouldn't you have a situation here that these people along the Rio Grande would be getting free water whereas in another dam in Texas or Arizona, the American citizens would be paying for their water? Is there any justification for that? Mr. HEWITT. I think that is correct, Mr. Chairman, but I think that the situation is considerably different in that this is an international dam and that the additional amount of water which is produced in relation with the amount which is already produced by Falcon, is not a tremendous amount. Falcon did not require any contribution or local participation. The CHAIRMAN. It did not? Mr. HEWITT. It did not. The CHAIRMAN. Where is this Anzalduas Dam we are talking about? Mr. HEWITT. It is in the general vicinity of McAllen. I should say, actually very close to Mission. The CHAIRMAN. Was it a joint project with Mexico? Mr. HEWITT. It was, yes, sir, 50 percent of the cost by Mexico and 50 percent by the United States. The CHAIRMAN. It was similar in that respect to this dam. It was a joint project? Mr. HEWITT. Yes, sir. The CHAIRMAN. And you do require contribution there? Mr. HEWITT. Yes, sir; if it is to be used for irrigation. The CHAIRMAN. I am just trying to understand why it is you don’t require it in one case and you do in the other? Mr. HEWITT. Actually, sir, there is no contribution to be expected from the residents of the United States from Anzalduas Dam because it has not and will not be used for conservation purposes in the United States. The CHAIRMAN. Did the Mexican Government initiate this project; were they interested in it? Mr. HEWITT. The Amistad Dam, yes, sir, very much interested.


The CHAIRMAN. Is this allocation of costs based upon the allocation of benefits? We pay what—about two-thirds of this, don’t we?

Mr. HEWITT. We are to pay 56 percent of the cost of the dam. We are to pay 50 percent of the cost of the powerplant, and we are to pay all of the ancillary costs of the relocation of utilities and so forth within the United States. The CHAIRMAN. Well, it is to cost this country $71 million out of the $109 million total cost, and the difference between 50 percent of $109 million and $71 million are attributable to the relocation of plants and roads and so on within the United States. Mr. HEWITT. Yes, sir; that is approximately correct. The CHAIRMAN. Is that right?


Mr. HEWITT. Yes, sir; the land relocation and damages are $23,296,000, access roads, government camp, $1.301 million. The CHAIRMAN. I notice you cover up more acres than you protect. You immediately protect 66,000 acres, and you say 87,000 acres are covered. I assume that there must be a great difference in the character of that land, is that right? Mr. HEWITT. The land in the United States which is covered is not very good agricultural land. The number of acres which are irrigated amount to some 66,000 between Del Rio and Laredo will be protected, as well as the other localities mentioned previously and also the 750,000 which are below Falcon will be protected. The CHAIRMAN. Will there be additional land brought into cultivation on account of availability of water here? Mr. HEWITT. I do not think so; no, sir. The CHAIRMAN. How will it improve the land? Will there just be more water for the same land? Mr. HEWITT. The water of the Rio Grande is already overappropriated. Senator WILLIAMs. If that is so, how are you going to benefit? Mr. HEWITT. It will benefit them in this manner: During the many years we do not have enough water to irrigate the areas which are now under irrigation. The fact that we are able to store the water that now escapes to the gulf will reduce the number of years in which there are shortages. Senator WILLIAMs. It will increase the productivity? Mr. HEWITT. It will increase the productivity but it will not bring more acres under cultivation. Senator WILLIAMs. It will increase the productivity substantially. Mr. HEWITT. Oh, yes; it will. Senator WILLIAMs. What rate of damages is it expected will have to be paid for the land which is flooded? Mr. HEWITT. We will have to acquire this land in fee simple. We will buy it and naturally when we acquire the property, we will have to pay whatever the assessed valuation is. Senator WILLIAMs. Do you have any idea what the assessed valuation of the land is? Mr. HEwiTT. I don’t think it is very high. I can’t say exactly, but I would say a good deal of that land would be worth $35 an acre.


Senator CARLSON. You mentioned a power-generating plant. \{r. HEWITT. There are three plants which will be inundated. Senator CARLSON. What about the benefits, the profits from the generation of power? Will they go to offset some of the costs of the project? Mr. HEWITT. The sale of power, whatever we derive from the sale of power will, of course, go into the U.S. Treasury. We expect to receive a minimum of $244,000 per year of revenue. Senator CARLSON. The Government will operate this power-generating plant. Mr. HEWITT. That is contemplated. Senator CARLSON. What about Mexico–will they share in this? Mr. HEWITT. Mexico will operate the powerplant on their side of the river which will probably be similar or identical to ours, and their power will go into Mexico. Senator WILLIAMs. Is there a use for that power in the near vicinity Of the dam? Mr. HEWITT. The Federal Power Commission says there will be no trouble in finding a requirement for the power in the vicinity of the dam. The area can more than absorb the power that will be available. ESTIMATED COSTS OF THE PROJECT

Senator CARLSON. As I understand it, this project is not going to cost more than $3 million? Mr. HEW ITT. The annual cost of the project is $3 million Senator CARLSON. On a 50-year basis or how many years? Mr. HEWITT. On a 50-year basis. Senator WILLIAMs. The annual costs, to be realistic, will be about $6 million? Mr. HEWITT. Sir? Senator WILLIAMs. Those figures should be about $6 million a year, should they not, to be realistic? Mr. HEWITT. We are assuming that this will be on the basis of 2% percent. Senator WILLIAMs. Do you think you are going to finance it at 2% percent? Mr. HEWITT. That I can't say, sir. Senator WILLIAMs. Well, now, I am asking you the question. Senator LONG. It all depends on the coming election, does it not? Senator WILLIAMs. Do you think you will? Mr. HEWITT. I think the probability is Senator WILLIAMs. You will pay 5 percent? Mr. HEWITT. On the other hand I think the majority of the Government agencies are using 2% percent figure. Senator WILLIAMs. That may be true, but you know you are not getting 2% percent money. Mr. H E WITT. Yes. Senator WILLIAMs. And to that extent you are underestimating your projected costs by about 50 percent.

[ocr errors]
« PreviousContinue »