Page images

Mr. HEWITT. It is not the policy of the Bureau of Reclamation. However, this is an international project and I believe as I stated yesterday that had the project been constructed entirely within the United States that the dam that would be proposed would have been a flood control dam. Senator AIKEN. A retention dam only; no storage. Mr. HEWITT. Yes, sir. However in view of the fact that this is an international dam and that the treaty requires that the international dam include all purposes it now is proposed partly as a conservation Structure. The CHAIRMAN. Do you mean a dam without the power would be in contravention of the treaty? Was H.R. 8080 not in accord with the treaty? Mr. HEWITT. What the treaty says is this; and that is that the two Governments agree to construct jointly through their respective sections of the Commission, first the dams required for the conservation, storage, and regulation of the greatest quantity of 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 allotment specified. We interpret that and so does the Mexican Commissioner to mean that if it is possible to provide conservation and flood control that they must be provided. Power comes under a separate section of the treaty The CHAIRMAN. Is H.R. 8080 in accord with the treaty? Mr. HEWITT. Yes, it is. The CHAIRMAN. That is what I wanted to know.


Senator AIKEN. How much power is developed at Falcon Dam? Or, rather, how much capacity is installed? Mr. HEWITT. 31,500 kilowatts. Three generators. Senator AIKEN. And that is dump power sold at dump prices. Mr. HEWITT. No, sir, it is not. Part of it is sold as dump power and part of it is sold on a $15 per kilowatt installed capacity. Senator AIKEN. The water is sold to a utility company at the site? Mr. HEWITT. No, sir; the power is sold. Senator AIKEN. The power is sold. Mr. HEWITT. By the Department of Interior to the Central Power & Light Co. which is a commercial utility. Senator HICKENLoop ER. Why not give the power away? Why not just give it to the public? Mr. HEwiTT. We are getting a return to the Federal Treasury. Senator HICKENLoop ER. Wouldn't you get a return to the Federal Treasury out of the water if you sold it? Mr. HEwiTT. Yes, sir. Senator HICKENLoop ER. I don’t see any difference in principle. The CHAIRMAN. Well, gentlemen, we have about covered this. We have other business. Are there other questions of this witness? Senator HICKENLoop ER. I just want to know, Mr. Hewitt, if I understood you to say that the water from the Falcon Dam is not charged for? Mr. HEWITT. It is not; no, sir.

Senator HICKENLoop ER. Do you know of any other dams in the United States or any other structures where water is furnished to the public and there is no charge for it? Mr. HEWITT. I believe there is a condition very similar to that at Hoover Dam. Senator HICKEN LOOPER. I don’t know. It seems to me California pays a lot of money for water out of Hoover Dam and others. I just don’t know the circumstances. Mr. HEWITT. I am not fully familiar with it, but I believe Senator HICKENLoop ER. Hoover Dam is self-liquidating. i. HEWITT. Yes, sir; but I think the power pays for the whole plant. Senator HICKENLoop ER. They also pay for the water, don't they? Mr. HEWITT. No, they do not, there is no repayment on the water. Senator HICKENLOOPER. How long will it take this dam to silt up? Mr. HEWITT. We know it will not silt up within the pay-out period, a 50-year period. Senator HICKENLoop ER. How long has Falcon Dam been constructed? Mr. HEWITT. It went into operation in 1953. Senator AIKEN. When it silts up what do you do then? Mr. HEWITT. That is a question at that time, whether you would raise the dam or what you do. The CHAIRMAN. Gentlemen, I hope we can conclude this unless you have any more questions.


Mr. HEWITT. I have an approximate answer to Senator Mansfield's question, if we take his assumptions as to average firm capacity of 50,000 kilowatts over the period of the 50 years and pay for it at $15 per kilowatt, 50,000 times $15 or $750,000 for capacity and multiplied by 50 years that would produce a revenue of around $37,500,000.

The CHAIRMAN. Thank you very much, Mr. Hewitt and Mr. Osborne.

Mr. HEWITT. It has been a pleasure to appear here.

The CHAIRMAN. We will go into executive session.

(Whereupon, at 11:20 a.m. the committee went into executive session.)

(The following statement was submitted for the record by Senator

Ralph Yarborough:) J 6 UNE 21, 1960.


Mr. Chairman and members of the committee, I wish to support the passage Of the bill H.R. 12263 for final authorization of the construction of the Amistad Dam and Reservoir on the international boundary between the United States and Mexico which is before the Senate Foreign Relations Committee today. This bill is a culmination of the principles formulated in the United States–Mexico Water Treaty of 1945.

Today we plan to build, by joint effort, a new edifice between our two nations of the Western Hemisphere; it is in the form of a giant reservoir which will contain energy supplies in the form of water for hydroelectric power; it is also in the form of a giant water supply for irrigation in Mexico and in the United States; furthermore, by controlling the water supply, major floods below these dams should be eliminated in the United States and Mexico.

Major towns and cities that will gain either directly or indirectly by the construction of the Amistad Dam and a general system of water control on the United States-Mexico boundary are listed in the following table:

United States Of population Mexico Of population El Paso and county------------- 310,000 || Juarez and county - - - - 291,000 Laredo---- - 65,000 || Nuevo Laredo 38,000 Brownsvill 43,010–50,000 || Matamoros.-- 72, 475 Del Rio--- 18,000–25,000 || Ciudad Acuña 14,500

It is estimated that about 1.6 million people live within a 200-mile radius and 3.8 million live within a 300-mile radius of the Amistad Reservoir. The city of Del Rio has an estimated population of about 15,000. In addition, the Laughlin à. Force Base is located near Del Rio, Tex., which is about 20 miles from the 8. IIl. Before discussing some of the needs and resources that justify the immediate construction of the Amistad Reservoir, I wish to turn for a moment to the cultural and historical stage which has inspired some fine literature and music along the stretches of the Rio Grande Basin. The history of North America is filled with legends of adventure stories centering on this international boundary and the Rio Grande Basin. The basin extends about 2,200 miles from the snow-peaked mountains of the Continental Divide in San Juan County of Colorado to the sunshine-filled valleys of orange blossoms, fruits, and vegetables and flowers, where this mighty river empties in the Gulf of Mexico at Brownsville, Tex., and Matamoros, Mexico. In the story of “Coronado's Children,” the exciting story of early Spanish explorers is traced along the Rio Grande Basin, and in the story of “Apache Gold and Yaqui Silver” there are described many nerve tingling accounts of the everpresent search for gold and silver which go beyond the fondest dreams of Ali Baba. These fine stories are now preserved for all time by the picturesque writing of J. Frank Dobie in his stories of the American Southwest. Also, I should like to mention the work of the distinguished writer and historian, Dr. Walter Prescott Webb. He is the author of numerous publications. In particular in connection with this area of the United States, I wish to mention his books entitled “The Great Plains,” the “Great Frontier,” and “The Story of the Texas Rangers.” In these stories by Dr. Webb, which have now been dramatized for American audiences, the magnificent legacies of this Rio Grande River country have been brought to life in our current television programs. These picturesque scenes and colorful stories help us to realize the great future potential that this part of the continent holds for all Americans. As the Pan American Highway reaches completion, we hope all of our Latin American and South American friends will be able to enjoy the proposed recreational facilities in the area of the Rio Grande River Basin. For there we find 708,000 acres in the Big Bend National Park of the Rio Grande River and a proposed Padre Island National Seashore Area extending in a proposed seashore highway for 88 miles on an island which connects at the mouth of the Rio Grande River at Brownsville, Tex., to Padre Island, which is located between Brownsville and Corpus Christi for a distance of about 117 miles. Rio Grande Basin roads may eventually be linked into a 2,200 mile scenic highway of American States and this could connect with the Pan American Highway system at the U.S. border. Turning back to the immediate needs and resources which justify the authorization for construction of Amistad Reservoir on the international boundary near Del Rio, Tex., and Ciudad Acuña, Mexico, the most important aspect of the bill before the committee is the protection against the devastating floods which are so costly to our people and our Government as well as to our good neighbor in Mexico. For example, a great flood threatened the entire Rio Grande Valley in 1954 and 1958. A few more feet of flood would have caused severe damage to the entire area and partially destroyed the city of Brownsville. On the U.S. side flood damages and losses on the Rio Grande waters in 1958 were estimated at $42,500,000. This amount of loss on one flood alone corresponds to almost 90 percent of an estimated $49 million of the total cost of the project. These heavy losses of irrigation waters and the severe flood damages on the U.S. side of the river as well as on the Mexico side in 1958 were due to the lack of additional conservation and flood control upstream from the Falcon Dam.


Although flood control is a critical need of the area, it is not the only benefit to be gained from such a project. The next most important need is a stabilized supply of water for agricultural, industrial, and domestic uses. Illustrating the water supply need in the western part of the State, the heaviest rainfall in Texas occurs on the Sabine River at the Louisiana border where 60 inches of rainfall per year is noted. In contrast, in El Paso County in the Rio Grande River Basin less than 10 inches per year is recorded. It is the only county in the State with less than 10 inches of rainfall a year. Thus, the rainfall declines 1 inch for each 15 miles you travel in Texas from the eastern border, from 60 inches to 10 inches in El Paso, Tex. In view of the great population increase that is expected in the western counties of the State, water will be needed for irrigation, industrial, and domestic purposes in ever-increasing quantity in all of the seasons of the year. A most persuasive provision of this bill is the good benefit-to-cost ratio of 1.55 to 1. It is easy to see, from the data presented in that report that the project is more than justified for the U.S. Government in terms of direct benefits alone. In addition, the self-liquidation features of this project will have a strong appeal for the taxpayer. The development of power will pay so well that you will get a considerable amount of revenue from this source. Hence, from these various sources you will have a means of paying out the entire Federal investment in this project. Although this is a multiple-purpose dam which is useful for irrigation, power, and flood control purposes, the flood powers alone make the plan feasible. As I have outlined in the foregoing paragraphs, the cost of the permanent dam is about equal to loss on one big annual flood. Other benefits include the possibilities of developing recreational facilities, which would benefit citizens in both countries. Plans have been made for stocking the lakes and for the breeding of various forms of game. Boating and fishing facilities are also planned. Various requests have been received relating to the need for public access to this project for recreational purposes. The proposed plan of the Diablo Reservoir with its irregular shoreline will be suitable for many recreational uses not presently available in the area. In this connection, it is my recommendation that all shorelines acquired in fee and all lands upon which the flowage easement is acquired should remain available for public access and recreational use within limitations of project operation and administrative requirements. I am advised by the survey teams that five large areas have been recommended for public access. These areas would be generally accessible from U.S. Highways 90 and 277. Generally speaking, the Diablo Reservoir would likely draw visitors from local, regional, and national areas. The prevailing climate would be a factor in drawing visitors from various areas of the |United States. In conclusion, this dam is believed to be both necessary and beneficial by the governments of the United States and Mexico. It is necessary in terms of flood control, irrigation, power, and industrial and domestic uses. It is self-liquidating financially. It is expected to have a benefit-to-cost ratio of 1.55. Power development is another source of income. I would again like to thank the committee for the opportunity of appearing here today in behalf of this bill.

« PreviousContinue »