|FOR RELEASE June 21, 1962
By Morris K. Udall
"Out of the Fryingpan--Hope and a Lesson for Arizona"
The growth of our West is to a great degree the story of reclamation. Roosevelt, Hoover, Grand Coulee, and the other projects have nearly exhausted the choice, low-cost dam sites. Future projects pose more difficult engineering problems. Water must be carried longer distances; new engineering ideas are needed to help put the water where the people are.
On June 13, the House voted to bring into being a sound engineering dream--the Fryingpan-Arkansas project. If the Senate goes along this project will bring water and power to semi-arid southeastern Colorado. Water will be collected high in the Rocky Mountains on the west side of the Continental Divide. It will be sent churning eastward through a six-mile-long tunnel drilled through the Rockies at an altitude of 10,000 feet. Then the water will tumble down the eastern slope through a series of canals, reservoirs and power generating plants and into the Arkansas River.
Farmers who today don't know if they'll be able to harvest the crops they now plant will be assured of water to stabilize production. Colorado Springs, Pueblo and other thirsty municipalities will have more and better water to supply increasing populations. Badly-needed energy for farms, homes and industries will be created. Disastrous floods will be curtailed. The minimum flow of water needed for fishing and other recreation activities will be assured.
In the 10-12 years needed to complete the project, the federal government will invest $170 million. Over a 50-year span, $153 million of this will be repaid. (Only monies invested in fish and wildlife, recreation and flood control are not reimbursable).
The Fryingpan-Arkansas project has been under study for three decades. It has been officially before Congress since 1953. President Eisenhower strongly supported it. President Kennedy wholeheartedly endorses it. Yet the project drew heavy fire in the House--from those who ridiculed the idea of a trans-mountain tunnel as a "Rube Goldberg Project" and those who asserted the $170 million will simply be money thrown away. Members of Congress are always looking for "economy votes" and reclamation is often a likely target--especially from the big city Eastern members. One of the principal critics of the tunnel idea was a Long Beach Congressman whose people turn on their taps to draw water which has come 200 miles across the desert from the Colorado River through many mountain tunnels.
In the House debate on this bill, I made these
The Fryingpan-Arkansas project diversion idea
is in many respects a scientific and technological breakthrough. Passage
by the House is an immensely important political breakthrough--one that
bodes well for the $1 billion Central Arizona Project which will come before
Congress if the Supreme Court acts favorably in the California-Arizona
water suit. The lesson for Arizonans is contained in the Interior Committee
report on the bill:
In Arizona we have achieved substantial unity over the Central Arizona Project. The more we strengthen that unity , the better our chances for getting the financing which will bring in the water we must have to expand our state's economy.
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