« PreviousContinue »
AUTHORIZING SACRAMENTO VALLEY IRRIGATION CANALS, CENTRAL VALLEY PROJECT, CALIFORNIA
JUNE 8, 1949.-Committed to the Committee of the Whole House on the State of the Union and ordered to be printed
Mr. ENGLE of California, from the Committee on Public Lands, submitted t
10 accompany H. R. 163]
The Committee on Public Lands, to whom was referred the bili (H. R. 163) to authorize Sacramento Valley irrigation canals, Central Valley project, California, having considered the same, report favorably thereon without amendment and recommend that the bill do pass.
PURPOSE OF BILL
The purpose of this bill is to authorize the construction of irrigation canals in the Sacramento Valley as an integrated part of the Central Valley project of California. The canals would be coordinated both in operation and repayment of project costs with the existing features of the Central Valley project. All expenditures by the Federal Government will be repaid from project revenues.
Approximately 250,000 acres will be served by these irrigation canals. Sufficient water is now available from Shasta Reservoir to meet the initial requirements of the canals.
Ever since the first Legislature of California met in 1851, plans have been made to provide Government assistance for irrigation of the Sacramento Valley. There have been several Federal and State surveys of various plans to bring this fertile area under irrigation. The Bureau of Reclamation began studies in this area in connection with the Orland reclamation project shortly after the creation of the Bureau of Reclamation in 1902. In 1925, after a study by the Bureau of Reclamation, a plan for a canal similar to the one proposed in this legislation was published in Bulletin 13 of the State Division of Water Resources in California.
In 1931 the State engineer published a plan for full development of California's water resources, which was designated "The State Water Plan." That plan contemplated future irrigation of Sacramento Valley lands. In 1941 the State legislature by legislation specifically added these canals to the State Central Valley project. Prior to that legislation, the State legislature passed the County of Origin Act, which reserves to the watershed of origin sufficient water to meet its beneficial uses, both present and future, in any plan which requires export of water to other areas.
The authorization and construction of these irrigation canals is a desirable step to implement the intent of the legislation of the State of California which preserves the water supply that will be required to meet present and future beneficial uses in the various watersheds of origin.
Carrying out the intent of the State legislation relating to preserving sufficient water for watersheds of origin, the Bureau of Reclamation in 1944 again studies the irrigation possibilities of the Sacramento Valley and proposed a system of canals similar to those described in this legislation. In the Bureau of Reclamation's comprehensive report on water resources in the Central Valley Basin, the main canal for this area is designated as the "Red Bluff-Dunnigan Canal." 1947 further studies of irrigation canals were made by the Bureau, particularly in those irrigable areas that lie in Tehama County.
ANALYSIS BY SECTION
Section 1 reauthorizes the entire Central Valley project heretofore authorized under the act of October 26, 1937 (50 Stat. 844-850), and the act of October 17, 1940 (54 Stat. 1198-1199), and describes the purposes of the project.
Section 2 describes the features of the project herein authorized, which are the Tehama-Colusa conduit, which would be located on the west side of the Sacramento Valley to irrigate lands in Tehama, Glenn, and Colusa Counties, a canal known as the Chico canal to irrigate lands on the east side of the Sacramento Valley in Tehama and Butte Counties, or such alternate canals and pumping plants as may be necessary to provide an adequate water supply to meet the irrigation, industrial, domestic, and other beneficial requirements of water for these lands.
Section 3 requires that the Secretary of the Interior and the Commissioner of Reclamation in locating and constructing these works shall give due consideration to the official publications of the Division of Water Resources of the State of California, and shall also give consideration to the viewpoints of local interests.
Section 4 instructs the Secretary of the Interior to integrate the operation of these works and the repayment thereof with the operation of and repayment schedule for the existing features of the Central Valley project of California.
NEED FOR LEGISLATION
The demand for these irrigation canals has come largely as the result of the unprecedented influx of people to the State of California and the need for additional agricultural development to provide an
increased number of agricultural, commercial, and industrial opportunities for the new residents of that State. The area to be served is now devoted primarily to the dry-farm production of barley, wheat, and other grain crops. The application of irrigation water to these fertile lands will create a much more intensified and diversified farming economy in these four counties. It was emphasized in the committee hearings by a farmer of considerable experience that 1 acre of irrigated land is of equal value and productivity with 5 acres of dry land. The heretofore unused water resources of this area must be utilized on these lands to provide job opportunities for the many people that have moved there from other sections of the country. In several parts of this area there have been population increases of 50 percent in the last 9 years.
As indicated hereinabove, these canals have always been considered an integral part of the Central Valley project; in fact, the studies on these canals were commenced long prior to the study of the initial features of the Central Valley project. They were not included in the project as initially authorized in 1935 because it was believed at that time that as much as 25 years would go by before they would be necessary. However, the unanticipated increase in agricultural development in California during the war years, plus the unprecedented population increases have brought the demand for these canals into existence at least 10 years ahead of the anticipated quarter of a century.
LOCAL, STATE, AND FEDERAL APPROVAL
This legislation has the unanimous endorsement and approval of numerous agencies, civic, political, labor, and farm organizations. It is also supported by all Members of Congress representing the districts that are affected. More specifically, the legislation is favored by the Department of the Interior, the California State Water Project Authority, the Governor of California, the Legislature of the State of California, the California State Chamber of Commerce, the American Federation of Labor, California, and numerous Farm Bureau, Grange, and political organizations. Resolutions requesting favorable action on this legislation by the Legislature of the State of California and the California Water Project Authority are included in the appendix of the hearings, as well as a letter from the Governor of California approving this legislation.
The measure was passed unanimously by the Public Lands Committee of the House of Representatives. The committee firmly believes that the irrigation of the lands affected by this bill will provide tremendous benefits and that they will far exceed the cost of constructing these works as an integrated part of the Central Valley project of California. Pertinent comments from the favorable report of the Department of the Interior are set forth below and made a part of this report.
The proposed legislation would reauthorize the Central Valley project so as to include canals for the irrigation of presently dry areas on the west and east sides of the Sacramento River. As additions to the Central Valley project, the canals would be integrated physically and financially with the project's systems of water and power facilities, the whole to be operated in coordination by the Bureau of Reclamation, in accordance with reclamation law, to effectuate the fullest and
most economic utilization of the land and water resources of the Central Valley for the widest possible public benefit.
I recommend that H. R. 163 be enacted. My recommendation, however, is based on the assumption that the Sacramento Valley canals would be integrated not only with the Central Valley project as now constituted but also with additional water storage and power facilities heretofore proposed by this Department as additions to the Central Valley project. Only in that way would it be possible to obtain the necessary water supply and financial assistance for the enlarged service area.
Recently the Legislature of the State of California, by Assembly Joint Resolution No. 2, recommended to the Congress the enactment of H. R. 163. The canals, known as the Tehama-Colusa conduit and the Chico canal, proposed by H. R. 163 would be in general accord with plans previously formulated by the State engineer of California, outlined in State Bulletins Nos. 13 and 26, and made a part of the State Central Valley project by sections 11240, 11241, 11250, and 11251, California Water Code. Also, these canals would serve the same general purposes as the so-called Red Bluff-Dunnigan canal and the Chico canal on the west and east sides of the Sacramento River, respectively, which were included in my report on a comprehensive plan for the development of the water resources of the Central Valley Basin, Calif., transmitted to the President on July 29, 1948, together with comments thereon of the State of California and the Secretary of War, in accordance with procedures set forth in the Reclamation Project Act of 1939 (53 Stat. 1187), as amended by the Flood Control Act of 1944 (58 Stat. 887). expect to refer to our comprehensive Central Valley plan again in this report because, as previously indicated, my recommendation that Sacramento Valley canals be added to the Central Valley project is based upon the assumption that the project, which comprises the initial features of this comprehensive plan, will be expended and handled generally in the manner contemplated in the plan.
Under H. R. 163, water for irrigation, industrial, domestic, and other beneficial uses in Tehama, Glenn, and Colusa Counties on the west side of the Sacramento River would be supplied through the Tehama-Colusa conduit, or an alternate. The Tehama-Colusa conduit, diverting water by gravity flow, would be approximately 125 miles in length and would serve from 200,000 to 250,000 acres of land having a water requirement of from 600,000 to 750,000 acre-feet annually.
The Chico canal, or an alternate, would be constructed to provide water for some 35,000 to 40,000 acres of land on the east side of the Sacramento River in Tehama and Butte Counties with an average annual water requirement of 100,000 to 125,000 acre-feet. The canal would be approximately 25 miles long and would require a pumping plant to lift water from the river.
H. R. 163 would allow the Commissioner of Reclamation and the Secretary of the Interior to substitute for the Tehama-Colusa conduit and the Chico canal
alternate canals that would accomplish the same purposes. This is a highly desirable provision to assure selection of the soundest plan.
In the case of the Tehama-Colusa conduit, the Bureau of Reclamation has already made preliminary studies of an alternate plan which would provide three shorter canals, each served by a pumping diversion from the Sacramento River. These canals would serve essentially the same area as that served by the long gravity canal, with the exception of certain scattered lands in northern Colusa County which could be irrigated ultimately through extensions of existing private irrigation developments. Consideration should be given to the desirability of extending the finally adopted canals into northern Yolo County for irrigation there. Your committee may wish to add to the language of section 2 of H. R. 163 so as to permit the construction of an extension into Yolo County should it be found feasible.
The cost of the main conveyance canals referred to above is estimated to be from $40,000,000 to $65,000,000, depending on the plan selected and the extent of the area irrigated. In addition, distribution systems would be required, costing from $35,000,000 to $45,000,000, depending on the area served. These systems could be constructed by the local interests or by the United States.
The area to be served by the proposed irrigation canals is now devoted generally to dry farm production of barley and wheat. Introduction of irrigation water to these areas would promote conversion to much more intensive and diversified types of farming. Based upon land classification surveys made by the Bureau of Reclamation and known crop trends in the Sacramento Valley, it is expected that the areas under these canals would be devoted to the production of ladino clover, alfalfa, and other forage crops, sugar beets, beans, and many fruits and nuts. All of these crops are needed. The forage crops are particularly important for dairying and the raising of sheep and beef cattle. California, even prior to its