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SAN LUIS UNIT-CENTRAL VALLEY PROJECT,
MONDAY, MARCH 17, 1958
UNITED STATES SENATE,
SUBCOMMITTEE ON IRRIGATION AND RECLAMATION
OF THE COMMITTEE ON INTERIOR AND INSULAR AFFAIRS,
Washington, D. C. The subcommittee met, pursuant to call, at 10 a. m., in room 224, Senate Office Building, Senator Clinton P. Anderson (chairman of the subcommittee) presiding.
Present: Senator Anderson.
Also present: Senators Kuchel and Knowland and Representatives Hagen and Sisk.
Senator ANDERSON. The subcommittee will come to order.
The hearing scheduled for today and tomorrow is on S. 1887, to authorize the construction, operation, and maintenance of the San Luis unit, Central Valley project, California.
I will insert in the record at this point S. 1887, copies of the reports of the Department of the Interior dated June 28, 1957, and of the Bureau of the Budget, dated July 2, 1957.
(The documents are as follows:)
[S. 1887, 85th Cong., 1st sess.]
A BILL To authorize the Secretary of the Interior to construct the San Luis unit of the Central Valley project, California, to enter into an agreement with the State of California with respect to the construction and operation of such unit, and for other purposes
Be it enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives of the United States of America in Congress assembled, That for the principal purpose of furnishing water for the irrigation of approximately five hundred thousand acres of land in Merced, Fresno, and Kings Counties, California, and as incidents thereto of furnishing water for municipal and domestic use and providing recreation and fish and wildlife benefits, the Secretary of the Interior (hereinafter referred to as the Secretary) is authorized to construct, operate, and maintain the San Luis unit as an integral part of the Central Valley project. The principal engineering features of said unit, which may be constructed to permit future expansion, shall be a dam and reservoir at or near the San Luis site, a forebay and afterbay, the San Luis Canal, the Pleasant Valley Canal, and necessary pumping plants and distribution systems, drains, channels, levees, flood works, and related facilities. In constructing, operating, and maintaining the San Luis unit, the Secretary shall be governed by the Federal reclamation laws (Act of June 17, 1902, 32 Stat. 388, and acts amendatory thereof or supplementary thereto) except so far as the provisions thereof are inconsistent with this Act. Construction of the San Luis unit shall not be commenced until the Secretary has secured, or has satisfactory assurances of his ability to secure, all rights to the use of water which are necessary to carry out the purposes of the unit and the terms and conditions of this Act.
SEC. 2. The Secretary is authorized, on behalf of the United States, to negotiate and enter into an agreement with the State of California (hereinafter referred to as the State) providing for coordinated operation and joint use of the
facilities of the San Luis unit, in order that the State may, without cost to the United States, deliver water in service areas outside the San Luis service area as described in the report of the Department of the Interior, entitled "San Luis Unit, Central Valley Project" dated December 17, 1956. The Secretary shall not commence construction of the San Luis unit, except for the preparation of designs and specifications and other preliminary work, until the execution of such an agreement between the United States and the State, but if such an agreement has not been executed by May 1, 1958, and if, after consultation with the Governor of the State, the Secretary determines that the prospects of reaching accord on the terms thereof are not reasonably firm, he may proceed to construct and operate the San Luis unit in accordance with section 1 of this Act. In considering the prospects of reaching accord on the terms of the agreement the Secretary shall give substantial weight to any relevant affirmative action theretofore taken by the State, including the enactment of State legislation authorizing the State to acquire and convey to the United States title to lands to be used for the San Luis unit or assistance given by it in financing Federal design and construction of the unit. The authority conferred upon the Secretary by the first sentence of this section shall not, except as is otherwise provided in this section, be construed as a limitation upon the exercise by him of the authority conferred in section 1 of this Act.
SEC. 3. The agreement between the United States and the State referred to in section 2 of this Act shall provide, among other things, that—
(a) the project works and features to be constructed by the Secretary shall be so designed and constructed as to permit either (i) immediate integration and coordinated operation with the State's water projects or (ii) such subsequent enlargement or other modification as may be required for integration and coordinated operation therewith;
(b) the State shall make available to the Secretary during the construction period sufficient funds to pay an appropriate share of the construction costs of any facilities designed and constructed as provided in paragraph (a) above. The State contribution shall be made in annual installments, each of which bears approximately the same ratio to total expenditures during that year as the total of the State's share bears to the total cost of the facilities;
(c) the State may at any time after approval of its plans by the Secretary and at its own expense enlarge or modify San Luis Dam and Reservoir and other facilities to be used jointly by the State and the United States, but the performance of such work shall be so carried on as not to interfere with the operation of the San Luis unit for the purposes set forth in section 1 of this Act:
(d) the State shall pay annually an appropriate service charge in connection with, and/or an appropriate share of the operation, maintenance and replacement costs of, those features of the San Luis unit which are used or designed to be used jointly by the United States and the State and any other features of the Central Valley project which are of service to the State; (e) upon completion of repayment of those portions of the reimbursable Federal costs of constructing the Central Valley project which are assignable to the San Luis unit, title to the facilities of the San Luis unit shall, upon request of the State, be conveyed to the State. Upon such conveyance, the State shall assume the obligation and responsibility of providing water service to the users of San Luis unit service area;
(f) promptly after execution of this agreement between the Secretary and the State, the State shall convey to the United States title to any lands, easements, and rights-of-way which it then owns and which are required for facilities of the San Luis unit to be used jointly by the United States and the State. The State shall be given credit for the costs of these lands, easements, and rights-of-way toward its share of the construction cost of the San Louis unit. The State shall likewise be given credit for any funds advanced by it to the Secretary for preparation of designs and specifications or for any other work in connection with the San Luis unit;
(g) the United States shall have unrestricted use of such capacities in the works of the San Luis unit which are used jointly by the United States and the State as shall be required to carry out the purposes of section 1 of this Act. Such unrestricted use shall extend throughout the repayment period and so long thereafter as title to the works remains in the United States;
(h) the State shall have unrestricted use of the remainder of the capacity of San Luis Reservoir and of other jointly used facilities for water service outside the San Luis unit service area solely under the jurisdiction of the State;
(i) the Secretary may turn over to the State the care, operation, and maintenance of any works of the San Luis unit which are used jointly by the United States and the State at such time and under such conditions as shall be agreed upon by the Secretary and the State;
(j) notwithstanding transfer of title or of the care, operation, and maintenance of any works to the State, as hereinbefore provided, any organization which has theretofore entered into a contract with the United States under the Reclamation Project Act of 1939 for a water supply through the works of the San Luis unit shall continue to have and to enjoy the same rights which it would have had under its contract with the United States and the provisions of paragraph (4) of section 1 of the Act of July 2, 1956 (70 Stat. 483, 43 U. S. C. 485h-1) in the absence of such transfer, and its enjoyment of such rights shall be without added cost or other detriment arising from such transfer;
(k) if a nonreimbursable allocation to the preservation and propagation of fish and wildlife has been made as provided in section 2 of the Act of August 14, 1946 (60 Stat. 1080, 16 U. S. C. 662), the features of the unit to which such allocation is attributable shall, notwithstanding transfer of title or of the care, operation, and maintenance to the State, be operated and maintained in such wise as to retain the bases upon which such allocation is premised and, upon failure so to operate and maintain those features, the amount allocated thereto shall become a reimbursable cost to be paid by the State.
SEC. 4. In constructing, operating, and maintaining a drainage system for the San Luis unit, the Secretary is authorized to permit the use thereof by other parties under contracts conforming generally to the provisions of the Federal reclamation laws with respect to irrigation repayment or service contracts and is further authorized to enter into agreements and participate in construction and operation of drainage facilities designed to serve the general area of which the lands to be served by the San Luis unit are a part, to the extent the works authorized in section 1 of this Act contribute to drainage requirements of said area. The Secretary is also authorized to permit the use of the irrigation facilities of the San Luis unit, including its facilities for supplying pumping energy, under contracts entered into pursuant to section 1 of the Act of February 21, 1911 (36 Stat. 925, 43 U. S. C. 523).
SEC. 5. The Secretary is authorized, in connection with the San Luis unit, to construct minimum basic public recreational facilities and to arrange for the operation and maintenance of the same by the State or an appropriate local agency or organization. The cost of such facilities shall be nonreturnable and nonreimbursable under the Federal reclamation laws.
SEC. 6. There is hereby authorized to be appropriated for construction of the works of the San Luis unit authorized by this Act, other than distribution systems and drains, the sum of -, plus such additional amount, if any as may be required by reason of changes in costs of construction of the types involved in the San Luis unit as shown by engineering indices. There are also authorized to be appropriated, in addition thereto, such amounts as are required (a) for construction of such distribution systems and drains as are not constructed by local interests, and (b) for operation and maintenance of the unit.
DEPARTMENT OF THE INTERIOR,
Hon. JAMES E. MURRAY,
OFFICE OF THE SECRETARY, Washington, D. C., June 28, 1957.
Chairman, Committee on Interior and Insular Affairs,
United States Senate, Washington, D. C.
DEAR SENATOR MURRAY: A report has been requested from this Department on S. 1887, a bill to authorize the Secretary of the Interior to construct the San Luis unit of the Central Valley project, California, to enter into an agreement with the State of California with respect to the construction and operation of such unit, and for other purposes.
We recommend that S. 1887 be enacted.
This bill, if enacted, will permit the carrying out of the proposals made in this Department's project-planning report on the San Luis unit, Central Valley project, dated August 1, 1956. After clearance through the Bureau of the Budget, copies of this report were transmitted to the President of the Senate on December 17, 1956, and were referred to your committee.
Section 1 of S. 1887 provides for Federal construction of the San Luis unit works. This unit is on the west side of the San Joaquin River Basin along the eastern flank of the Coast Range. The lands to be served are in western Merced, Fresno, and Kings Counties in a strip about 65 miles long and 13 miles wide, with the central portion about 30 miles southwest of Fresno.
The primary purpose of the unit, which would be integrated both physically and financially with the overall Central Valley project, is the preservation and expansion of irrigation in the unit area through the importation of water from the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta. Some domestic and municipal water also would be supplied. The San Luis Reservoir would meet an important local recreation need. Preservation and propagation of fish and wildlife resources also would be a project purpose.
Currently there are more than 400,000 acres within the unit area developed for irrigation. These acres are served by pumping from ground water which is seriously being overdrawn and lowered so that in any one year only a portion of the developed acreage actually received water. The artesian water table has for years been dropping at an alarming rate, and it is estimated that under present conditions only 148,000 acres ultimately could be sustained in irrigation. An imported water supply is necessary to maintain even the present agricultural economy. Great improvement to the economy would be experienced by importation of this larger water supply. Domestic and municipal water supplies are also deficient. Existing supplies for these purposes are of poor quality, and, in the case of the municipality of Coalinga, potable water must be imported by railroad tank cars. The plan proposed would alleviate the domestic and municipal water problems.
The general plan provides for the utilization of surplus flows from the delta area which, when supplemented by ground water, would provide a full irrigation water supply for 440,000 acres out of a gross service area of about 500,000 acres. It is estimated that 1,126,000 acre-feet of water from the main San Luis Canal plus 540,000 acre-feet from ground-water pumping would be required for unit purposes. All would be utilized for irrigation except 22,600 acre-feet and 17,400 acre-feet which would be used for, respectively, municipal and domestic farm
The proposed plan would utilize off-season capacity of the existing Tracy pumping plant and Delta-Mendota Canal to deliver surplus delta water to the proposed San Luis pumping plant forebay. From there the water would be pumped for storage into the proposed 1-million-acre-foot capacity San Luis Reservoir and for late delivery to the lands to be served. (It may be noted, in addition, that our plans call for the release of water from San Luis Reservoir to meet part of the demands in the Delta-Mendota Canal area in critical dry years when shortages would be shared by all Central Valley project water users.) When possible during the irrigation season, water would be pumped directly into the proposed 104-mile-long San Luis Canal for delivery to the unit distribution system. At mile 76 on the San Luis Canal, the proposed Pleasant Valley pumping plant would lift water into the proposed Pleasant Valley Canal to serve some of the higher elevation lands at the southern end of the unit area. An electrical distribution system to serve unit pumps; channels, levees, and flood works to protect project features; and relift pumps on the high sides of the main canals would also be required unit works.
In addition to these major works, which are recommended for Federal construction, a distribution system, an adequate drainage system, and deep wells for ground-water pumping would be required. The last of these three items is proposed for non-Federal construction. The first two are recommended for either non-Federal or Federal construction. Suitable arrangement for their accomplishment prior to initiation of construction will be necessary to assure the success of the overall unit.
Section 1 of S. 1887 also provides that "construction of the San Luis unit shall not be commenced until the Secretary has secured, or has satisfactory assurances of his ability to secure, all rights to the use of water which are necessary to carry out the purposes of the unit and the terms and conditions of this act."
In view of the uncertainties created by certain recent decisions of the California Supreme Court which are now before the United States Supreme Court for review, this is an eminently wise provision.
Sections 2 and 3 of S. 1887 deal with the making of an agreement between the State of California and the United States under which the San Luis unit works would be designed, constructed (either initially or later), and operated to permit their use by the State for delivering water to areas beyond the San Luis unit service area. Under the agreement contemplated by the bill, the State, among other things, would also make available to the United States a proper share of the funds needed for construction of the enlarged works; would transfer to the Government such lands and interests as it owns and as are required for joint facilities; would pay either an appropriate share of the operation and maintenance costs of San Luis unit works constructed or designed to be constructed for joint use and of other Central Valley project works which are of service to it or would pay a service charge in connection therewith; would be entitled to have transferred to it title to the San Luis unit works after repayment of the Central Valley costs assigned to the unit is completed; and would, if it takes title to the unit works or if their care, operation, and maintenance are transferred to it, also take over, in effect, the obligations of the United States with respect to water service.
Provision for such an agreement, the terms of which will necessarily have to be negotiated in detail, is satisfactory to this Department and will, it is believed, go a long way toward resolving potential conflicts of interest which earlier review of the planning report by the State revealed.
Section 4 of S. 1887 deals principally with the construction of a drainage system for the San Luis unit and provides for the use of the system by others. While the provisions of the first sentence of this section (p. 7, line 23, through p. 8, line 8) are adequate to serve the San Luis unit and would not be objected to by this Department, it should be pointed out that the State of California is contemplating a master drainage plan for the entire west side of the San Joaquin Valley. In order to permit better coordination of the San Luis project drainage needs with this plan, we recommend that consideration be given to broadening the scope of this sentence by substituting for that portion of it which begins with "to enter" at the end of line 3, page 8, and closes with line 8 of the same page, language along the following lines: "to construct, operate, and maintain and to participate with others in the construction, operation, and maintenance of drainage facilities to serve the general area of which the lands to be served by the San Luis unit are a part. No such construction or participation in construction which involves the expenditure of Federal funds shall be undertaken by the Secretary, however, until a contract or contracts conforming generally to the provisions of the Federal reclamation laws and providing, among other things, for the advance or repayment to the United States of its expenditures therefor shall have been entered into."
As is indicated in the planning report, to which reference has been made above, our studies show that the unit is economically feasible and has a very favorable benefit-cost ratio. The present indicated cost of the major works is about $305 million, and we suggest that the blank in line 24, page 8, of the bill be filled in with the expression "$305 million (January 1957 prices)." Virtually all of these costs are reimbursable. All those that are would be returned within 50 years from the time the San Luis unit goes into operation. Any additional costs incurred for distribution systems would be covered by the usual 40-year repayment-type contract.
The data called for by Public Law 801, 84th Congress, are attached for your information.
The Bureau of the Budget has advised that there would be no objection to the submission of this report to your committee.
ROGER C. ERNST,
Assistant Secretary of the Interior.