Page images
PDF
EPUB

(The comments of the Department of the Interior are as follows:) Section 4 of H. R. 7295 would authorize the Secretary to extend the water service area of the San Luis unit to Santa Clara, San Benito, and Alameda Counties and to construct the Santa Clara-San Benito-Alameda unit of the Central Valley project provided that no construction would be undertaken until a report demonstrating its physical and economic feasibility has been completed, reviewed by the State, and approved by the Secretary and by the Congress. The Bureau of Reclamation has not investigated, except in the most preliminary manner, the feasibility of serving the Santa Clara-San BenitoAlameda area as provided by section 4. As section 4 would not permit construction until a report on feasibility had been completed, reviewed by the State, and approved by the Congress, it would, in effect, require a new authorization by the Congress following adequate investigation. The Department of the Interior, therefore, would not object to amendment of S. 1887 along the lines of section 4 of H. R. 7295. It should be noted, however, that as long as the State is actively investigating the area concerned as an area to receive water service from the Feather River project, the Department of the Interior would not contemplate duplicating either the investigations or water service.

Senator ANDERSON. I am trying to ascertain whether we had a statement from them.

Senator KUCHEL. You are acquainted with this area, I am sure, Senator. I cannot underline too strongly what these gentlemen say. They are on the other side of the mountains. They do have a problem and their population has increased rather tremendously.

Senator ANDERSON. One of the gentlemen said a moment ago that the water table had dropped about 8 feet.

Mr. SULLIVAN. The surface of the ground. The water table itself dropped over 100 feet. The ground level itself settled so that buildings and everything else, including foundations, are 8 feet lower than they were 20 years ago.

Senator ANDERSON. The water table has gone down 100 feet?
Mr. SULLIVAN. Yes.

Senator ANDERSON. How far are you above salt water now?

Mr. SULLIVAN. We are below salt water now, but likely we are pretty well sealed off from the bay, but we are pumping from below. Senator ANDERSON. What level are you pumping from?

Mr. SULLIVAN. We are pumping from as low as 150 feet. It is very, very important that we fill that up.

Senator ANDERSON. Did you have very shallow wells in the beginning?

Mr. SULLIVAN. Yes, we had many artesian wells, flowing artesian wells.

Senator ANDERSON. There are no artesian wells now?

Mr. SULLIVAN. No.

Senator ANDERSON. A lift of 150 feet is not too much. You are worried more about the possibility of salt water than the cost of the lake?

Mr. SULLIVAN. Yes, and the settling in which foundations and sewers are disturbed. The city of San Jose has actually gone down about 8 feet.

Senator ANDERSON. Where is the city of San Jose in this project?
Representative GUBSER. Ten miles north here, sir [pointing to map].
Mr. SULLIVAN. It is in the center part there.

Mr. HANNA. Could I make another comment?
Senator ANDERSON. Yes, indeed.

Mr. HANNA. Unless we are a part of an authorized project, we have no source of water, and if we do not have a source of water, we cannot get it imported regardless of who pays for it.

Our chief interest at this time is to become a part of an authorized project offering us a source of supply for imported water.

Senator KUCHEL. Mr. Hanna, is your problem recognized in the State's water plan?

Mr. HANNA. Yes, it is.

Senator KUCHEL. Has anything been done to further that portion of the State's water plan?

Mr. HANNA. The State has been working on that for the last 2 years on an aqueduct or some source of supply to bring water into our area. They recognize the need and the urgency.

Senator ANDERSON. Of the 10 names that are on this map, are they all within this district; Sunnyvale, for example, where the original base was?

Mr. SULLIVAN. Mountain View and Los Gatos and those others. Senator ANDERSON. You have agricultural land there? You have apricots there?

Mr. SULLIVAN. Yes.

Senator ANDERSON. So that the question of repayment is not as important as being tied into a district.

Mr. SULLIVAN. Yes, the way in which we can buy it from somebody. Representative GUBSER. There is a definite interest locally, Senator, in constructing this project by logical effort, but we still feel that we must have a source, and we feel that authorization incorporating us into the Central Valley project service area would assure us of the

source.

Senator KUCHEL. Your preference, I take it, is that the project be a Federal reclamation project.

Representative GUBSER. That certainly is my preference. I feel that in light of the snarled situation in California water politics, if you want to call it that, that the earliest opportunity for service to this area of great need is through Federal construction and operation.

Senator ANDERSON. That is just the opposite of some testimony we had this morning.

Representative GUBSER. We have differences of opinion in Cali

fornia.

Senator ANDERSON. I understand that. Unquestionably this is a very fine agricultural area. There is no other way to get water. Representative GUBSER. No, sir. We have absolutely captured every economicaly feasible drop of water that we can think of. Would you agree to that, Dean Sullivan?

Mr. SULLIVAN. There is no question about it.

Representative GUBSER. We have paid to the point that my own personal taxes for water conservation purposes are more than $4 per hundred. I do not think any district in the United States has a rate like that. That is how far we have gone by ourselves.

Mr. SULLIVAN. There might be a misunderstanding when he sees there is no other way. There is the South Bay aqueduct which would tap up North Alameda and come down. That is shown on the face of this map.

We simply are proposing that we tap this Feather River aqueduct or Delta-Mendota Canal and come over in here instead of coming

around here. We are not objecting to anything else, but we would like to have this possibility of coming right across in here.

Senator ANDERSON. In case other sections of the country wonder about this, would it be safe to say that this is purely supplemental water, that it does not involve the development of any new lands. Representative GUBSER. That is right.

Senator ANDERSON. Therefore, it does not change any agricultural surplus problem?

Representative GUBSER. That is right.

Mr. SULLIVAN. It is just that we do not have to pump so much water out of the ground.

Senator ANDERSON. How did you feed this water out of the ground! Mr. SULLIVAN. We have about 500 acres of percolation area right around the edge of the valley here, and we put that in there in gravel beds and it goes down. We can percolate 250,000 acre-feet per year into the ground. We take it from here.

That is where we expect to have it delivered at Anderson Reservoir, and that is the entrance to our percolation area.

Representative GUBSER. Senator, a moment ago when I said there was no other alternative, I meant there was no other alternative except to import water. However, that statement would be true for San Benito County, this particular area here, because the State, I understand, has determined that it would be infeasible to serve San Benito County from a northward source, and that this is the most feasible means for serving San Benito County, so that my statement would be true for San Benito County.

Senator ANDERSON. You feel this is the best solution that could be obtained?

Representative GUBSER. Yes, sir.

Mr. SULLIVAN. The State department of water resources has the South Bay aqueduct, but have also worked in cooperation with us in this investigation here. We are not objecting in any way to the northern entrance there for Alameda County certainly.

Senator ANDERSON. Are there other questions?

Senator KUCHEL. No, sir.

Senator ANDERSON. Thank you very much.

Representative GUBSER. Thank you very much, Senator.

Senator ANDERSON. Who is the next witness?

Mr. LINEWEAVER. J. E. O'Neill.

Senator ANDERSON. Mr. O'Neill, will you state your name for the record and what you are doing here?

Mr. O'NEILL. My name is J. E. O'Neill. I am president of the Westlands Water District.

I have a short statement that I would like to read.

STATEMENT OF J. E. O'NEILL, PRESIDENT, WESTLANDS WATER

DISTRICT

Mr. O'NEILL. The area embraced by the San Luis project includes approximately 500,000 acres of some of the most highly productive lands in the United States, located in western Merced, Fresno, and Kings Counties, Calif., with a gross annual production valued in excess of $75 million. It provided employment for hundreds of workers at farm wage rates far above that of the national average and

above that commonly paid in California and contributes materially to the welfare and prosperity of the many communities within the

area.

In May 1956, I had the privilege of appearing before this committee in behalf of the San Luis project. At that time, I pointed out

that:

The chief obstacle to the survival and prosperity of agriculture within this area is the rapid depletion of its underground water supply. The average well will range from 1,500 to 2,000 feet in depth, with a water table of nearly 475 feet in depth today, as opposed to some 250 feet 15 years ago.

The deep well turbine pumping installations in these wells require from 150 to 250 horsepower motors to lift water from this great depth. The total cost of well and pump installations range from $50,000 to $75,000 per unit. These wells will individually irrigate approximately 175 acres of summer crops and some 300 acres of winter crops.

Such water is fast becoming prohibitive in cost. In addition, as the water supply is depleted, the quality of this water deteriorates and, today, the high mineral contents of this deep well water is rapidly becoming a serious threat to the fertility of the land.

The near tragic situation I outlined before you 22 months ago has steadily worsened. Our water table has receded further and the use of deep well water of high mineral content is continuing to cause deterioration of our agricultural lands.

It was evident from the earliest days of cultivation of west-side lands that a supplemental water supply would ultimately be required. At the time of construction of the initial features of the Central Valley project our West Side Land Owners' Association gave $40,000 to the Bureau of Reclamation for initial planning work on the San Luis division. Ever since we have worked continuously with the Bureau on the problem. As a result of these efforts, the initial features of the Central Valley project, the Delta Cross Channel, the Tracy pumping plant, and the Delta-Mendota Canal, were so designed and constructed so as to have sufficient capacity to serve San Luis. The early project reports coupled with the actual inclusion of capacity in the Central Valley canal system clearly indicates the intent of the United States to develop a supplemental water supply for our lands as features of the Central Valley project.

You will recall that at the time of my last appearance before you, the administration had not yet reported to the Congress its position regarding the then pending San Luis bill. In addition there was vocal opposition from various interests, mainly from the southern portion of our State. We left that hearing with a determination to do all in our power to clear up the roadblocks to legislative action before again seeking your endorsement.

Following the 1956 hearings, there followed a series of meetings in California in an effort to work out a bill that would meet with the approval of as many interests statewide as possible. These meetings were culminated in a weeklong meeting here in Washington last spring which was attended by the director of the California State Department of Water Resources, officials of the United States Bureau of Reclamation, representatives of local interests, and congressional staff experts in an effort to reconcile conflicting interests and achieve a bill that would satisfy all concerned. This meeting resulted in a draft of a bill which received the prompt endorsement of the Governor of our State and its director of water resources. Senators Knowland

and Kuchel jointly introduced it in the Senate and it is now before you as S. 1887. On the House side, Mr. Sisk introduced an identical companion bill, H. R. 6035, which was the subject of committee hearing in that body in January of this year.

S. 1887 authorizes construction, operation, and maintenance of the San Luis unit of the Central Valley project. Section 2 would authorize the Secretary of the Interior, in behalf of the United States, to negotiate and enter into an agreement with the State of California

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 **

There is a deadline, which is not absolute, of May 1, 1958, set forth in the bill for the execution of the agreement with the State. The director of the State water resources has suggested that this deadline be extended to July 1, 1960. I told the House committee, and I repeat now, that although this would mean an additional 2-year delay, which we can ill afford, that in the interest of harmony we are willing to make this added concession.

Section 3 of the bill sets forth the minimum conditions to be included in the State-Federal agreement. They include, among others, provisions that the project features must be so designed and constructed so as to permit either immediate or subsequent integration and coordination with the State water projects; that the dam and reservoir, or other joint use facilities, may be modified at any time by the State at its own expense; and that upon completion of the repayment of the reimbursable Federal costs of the project, title to the facilities of the San Luis unit shall be conveyed to the State upon request by the latter.

Senator ANDERSON. You say that upon completion of repayment of reimbursable Federal costs of the project, title to the facilities to the San Luis unit shall be conveyed to the State upon request of the latter.

I am not objecting to it, but I must say that you are going to take away from the Congress more things in this legislation than I ever heard of. You are not going to let the Congress put out its money where it wants to.

And now you are not going to let the Congress make disposition of facilities after it is paid off.

Are there other projects aren't all of them fixed so that the Congress makes disposition of it?

I would like very much to see this project go through. I think it is a fine piece of country and needed piece of work. But don't ask us to swallow too many things all at one time.

Mr. O'NEILL. Well, Mr. Chairman, I think we are doing everything we can to satisfy those who are opposing the Federal construction of this project. And, of course, the last resort, the last say, is with the Congress.

Senator ANDERSON. But titles to the facilities in the San Luis unit shall be conveyed to the State upon request of the latter? Do you know of any place that that has been done?

Mr. O'NEILL. I am not familiar with it; no.

Senator ANDERSON. It has never been thus far in the history of the country.

« PreviousContinue »