"Countdown on the Colorado," Town Hall, Los Angeles, California, December 19, 1967
Reprint of speech in Congressman's Report, January 15, 1968. Vol. VII, No. 1
AS CONGRESS RECONVENES - A NOTE TO MY READERS: After long years of waiting the Central Arizona Project may be approaching a showdown in the House of Representatives. Congress reconvenes today. Later this month the Committee on Interior and Insular Affairs is expected to begin the final stages of deliberation which could bring our bill, at last, to the floor of the House itself.
On December 19 I was privileged to address the Town Hall of California in Los Angeles. My subject was the fight over Colorado River water. Because this speech contains some background you may find helpful I am reproducing it in this issue of my newsletter. As always, your comments and suggestions will be welcome.Countdown on the Colorado
Gentlemen, I'm very happy to be here today, waving the white flag of truce which brought me safely through the outer defenses of the Colorado River Board. I hope I will be as fortunate on my return to the Arizona lines.
I brought with me today a little sample of what it is that's been causing all this fighting between our two states. Here it is. Don't get me wrong; this isn't whiskey. It says on the bottle you're not supposed to refill it. I suppose I violated the law. But if all this contained was whiskey, I don't think we would have much of a problem. We'd just break it open, everyone would have a "snort", and we'd all be friends.
No, this bottle doesn't contain whiskey. It contains much stronger stuff. It's been known to addle men's brains. It arouses uncontrollable passions. It divides father from son and brother from brother and -- what's even worse -- Democrat from Democrat! This is the stuff that has had Arizonans and Californians shooting at each other, man and boy, for half a century. Along with a lot of salt and silt and maybe a few spent bullets this bottle, gentlemen, contains genuine, rare Colorado River water!
Take a good look at it because this is what I'm going to be talking about for the next half hour. But don't get any ideas about this possibly being a peace offering. It isn't. I intend to take this bottle with me when I leave. Judging by the way things have been going up until now this may be the last pint of Colorado River water I'll ever get my hands on!
As I began to draft this speech I thought of the old story about the fundamentalist minister who was delivering his Judgment Day fire-and-brimstone speech, and he was going on very heatedly something like this: "Ladies and gentlemen, on that great Judgment Day, there will be lightning and fire. On that Judgment Day, there will be earthquakes and storms, and the earth will shake. Brothers and sisters, on that great Judgment Day, there will be weeping and wailing, and you will all gnash your teeth." At this point, a lady in the front row said, "But Reverend, I ain't got no teeth." The minister pointed a stern finger at her and replied, "Madam, on that great Judgment Day, teeth will be provided."
I have entitled my address "Countdown on the Colorado" because a Judgment Day of sorts, a day of reckoning, is fast approaching not only for our two states, but for all the reclamation states of the West. When I say that this Day of Judgment will be "sooner than you think," I mean in just a few short weeks. And once that Judgment Day has come, nothing in the West will ever be the same again. Between now and then I believe it is vital that your state and my state and all the reclamation states consider most carefully the decisions they must make. The wrong decisions can have lasting and devastating consequences on the entire West.
I hope it will be said of me and my state that we acted with vision and reason and fair play, and without rancor or prejudice or parochialism. And I hope the same will be said of your participants in these decisions.JUST TWO ESSENTIALS
I have lived in the area of the Colorado River Basin all of my life. One of Arizona's original senators in 1912, the late Henry Fountain Ashurst, was accustomed to tell on himself the story of his maiden speech. After arriving in Washington, with some local reputation as an orator, he began his maiden speech saying something like this: "Oh, Mr. President, this great new baby state that I represent has every potential. Oh, Mr. President, this great baby state could become a veritable paradise. To become a paradise we need only two things, Mr. President. We need water, and we need lots of good people." At this point, according to Ashurst, a gruff old senator from New England interrupted to say, "If the distinguished gentleman will pardon me for saying so, that's all they need in hell."
Well, we've had the good people come into this great Pacific Southwest region by the millions -- into your state and mine -- but we in Arizona still have the same basic source of water we had when Senator Ashurst spoke in 1912 -- but in lesser and diminishing amounts each year.
My very earliest political recollections are of living in this little town in northern Arizona and as a boy of 9 or 10 observing, in the fall of an even-numbered year, various politicians coming through and telling the townspeople how they proposed to save the Colorado River from the greedy citizens of California. Well, Arizona followed that course of blind opposition for nearly two decades, and ended with nothing. I have seen my state pay a heavy price for its inflexibility, its rigidity and its unwillingness in those early years to cooperate with our neighboring states.
But, I must tell you in all frankness that I have seen something of the same sort in California -- and I must remind you that your leaders, in those days, were not noted for their cooperation on Colorado River matters. And I believe the consequences of non-cooperation can be just as serious for California and the entire reclamation West as they were in that earlier era for Arizona.
I have come here today to speak with candor and to say the same things to you that I would say to audiences in Phoenix and Tucson. I want to give you my honest assessment of where our two states stand in relation to that coming Day of Judgment. There is no question that there are hard feelings between our states. Many of our people see each other as Machiavellian schemers and plotters. Some Arizonans view your water leaders as occidental Ho Chi Minhs: If we will but abandon our plans to take water from the Colorado River, they will agree to meet us at the conference table.
Shortly I'm going to review some of the things that have brought about these hard feelings -- but let me say first that I sense a possible easing of tensions between us within the last few weeks. I have begun to hope that we may yet find the way to a new period of cooperation. And surely this is the only course that holds any promise for any of us.
I am speaking to you today as an Arizonan who feels his state has been misunderstood, and I would like you to hear the history of some of these events as we view them in Arizona. I'd like you to play a mental game with me. Pretend that you were born in Arizona, that you had lived there all your life and, perhaps, even that you are a farmer in one of our central valleys, and that some of your land has gone out of production for lack of water -- as thousands of acres already have. As you sit in Arizona and look out across your state and over the river into California, you think back on some of the things that have happened.A HISTORY OF FRUSTRATION
You recall the compact of 1922, when the flow of the Colorado River was divided roughly on a 50-50 basis between the three Lower Basin states and the four Upper Basin states. You recall the short-sightedness of your own Arizona leaders in refusing to sign that compact until 1944.
You recall that during those years other Colorado River Basin states moved ahead with their water projects and their development. But, going its own way, Arizona could do nothing about its greatest need -- finding a way to channel water from the Colorado to the places where it was needed most. And then in the 1940s your state came to life, ratified the Santa Fe Compact and entered into a contract with the United States for its 2.8 million acre feet of Colorado River water. In 1947 it introduced into the Congress a bill to authorize the Central Arizona Project.
You recall the great efforts of your Arizona senators which led to passage of that project in the Senate in 1950 and again in 1951. You recall the tense fight in the House when by a narrow margin the Interior Committee deferred action on the bill, and Arizona was told to settle its legal right to Colorado River water by a suit in the United States Supreme Court.
You remember the words of a great California governor, Earl Warren, who said:
And then you think about the 12 long years of litigation, the millions of dollars spent on it, the trial itself lasting from June 14, 1956, to August 28, 1958, the parade of 340 witnesses and 25,000 pages of testimony.
And you think of that great moment in 1963 when the Court handed down its decision, substantially upholding Arizona's claim to 2.8 million acre feet of river water, agreeing in the main that Arizona had just as much right to that share of the river as California had to its 4.4 million acre feet - and vice versa.
And you remember the elation and excitement of that moment as the people of Arizona looked to Congress to complete action on the water bill set aside in 1951.
You recall the words of another great California governor, Pat Brown, who said as the Court handed down its decision that California, having lost the Supreme Court case, "would not try to accomplish by obstruction what she had failed to accomplish by litigation."
And you recall with some bitterness your first realization that some of the same people who opposed you in 1951 -- and especially the people of Governor Warren's and Governor Brown's California -- still opposed you and still insisted that their water rights and their needs were superior to yours, not-withstanding the decision of the Court.
You then recall the great efforts of Arizona's leaders to bring about regional cooperation, to put an end to this old feud, by drafting legislation that would not only build the Central Arizona Project but would solve most of the other problems of the region as well, legislation that provided for two dams in the vicinity of the Grand Canyon, for studies to implement water imports from the Northwest, and for a guarantee to California of priority for its 4.4 million acre feet over Arizona's 2.8 million - thus giving away much of Arizona's hard-fought legal victory in the Supreme Court.
You think about the enormous sums spent by Arizona interests to pass that legislation and about the big push of 1965-66 culminating in a favorable vote in the House Interior Committee.
And with real bitterness you reflect on the secret decision of California's water leaders who helped block that bill in the House Rules Committee, thus preventing it from ever coming to the House floor for a vote. In retrospect, you realize Arizona probably had insufficient time and momentum to get past the Senate in 1966 even if the House had acted, but the memory of California's role still rankles.
And as you think about that turn of events, much as you try to understand California's actions, you find a certain phrase going through your mind -- the words of President Roosevelt in 1940:
You think about the shock wave that went through Arizona at that moment and about your state's efforts to scale down its legislation to strip from it the controversial features that couldn't pass. And you recall its passage in the Senate this year over the heated opposition -- you guessed it -- of California.
And finally, you think about all the intemperate words thrown at your state in the past year, continuing almost to the present moment, accusing -- not California -- but Arizona of abandoning the cause of cooperation and breaking up the team effort toward a regional bill.YOUR UNHAPPY NEIGHBORS
If you have followed me in this little recital, perhaps you can appreciate a little better why it is that you have on the east bank of the Colorado River some neighbors whose mood is one of anger and doubt and concern -- and why it is that they tend to view with suspicion any suggestion, no matter how meritorious, coming from California.
And you may understand why it is that Arizona's leaders have told our congressional delegation: "Boys, this is it. Either you pass the bill in this Congress or Arizona builds its own project, whatever the cost."
As I look back at that great legislative effort of the last Congress -- the one that California helped block in the home stretch -- I recall the old fairy tales of my youth in which the brave but humble young man would seek to marry the king's daughter. The king would tell him, "Oh yes, you may have her hand in marriage if you will but slay the seven-headed dragon in yonder dark cave." The young man would go forth and slay the dragon, something the king thought impossible, and would return expectantly only to be told that he must then slay a three-eyed Cyclops across the water on a dangerous island. And when this was done, there would be still another obstacle. And so on.
Our legislative effort of 1965-66 was not unlike one of those fairy tales. First, we were told that a condition for passing the Central Arizona Project was an agreement, written in blood, that in times of shortage in river flow California's uses would have priority over Arizona's uses. It was hard to do, those of us in the congressional delegation were criticized at home for doing it, but we agreed.
Then we were told, "All right, now you must add to your bill provisions for trans-basin imports to augment the Colorado River. This will be very expensive, and it will lose you the support of powerful Northwest Congressmen who have other plans for that water, but you must do it." So we did.
Originally, we had planned to finance our project with power revenues from a dam 80 miles downstream from Grand Canyon. We expected some opposition from conservationists, who oppose such dams, but we were told this isn't enough. "You must put another dam in your bill," they said," -- this one 12-1/2 miles upstream of the Grand Canyon -- and battle the conservationists all the more." And we did that.
About this time our friends in Colorado and the Upper Basin states said, "Now wait just a minute. Before you divert any water downstream from us you must guarantee that our future water needs are not endangered in any way." So we added protective language which they wanted, and we threw in five new reclamation projects in Colorado costing over $350 million.
Could we then have the daughter's hand? We could not. We next had to do something for New Mexico. So we added Hooker Dam and a reservoir to our bill.
Then Utah said, "We don't have enough money to build our Dixie Project. It won't pay out without a subsidy. How about letting us participate in your basin development fund?" So we did.
Was this enough dragon slaying? It was not. About this time Texas and Kansas heard what was going on, and they said, "Hey, how about letting us get some of that Columbia River water?" So we said, "Well, OK, maybe."
And then what do you suppose happened? Why the good king -- in this case, California -- said, "Sure, you've done all these things I demanded and a few more besides. But I'm still not going to let you marry my daughter because I don't think you've got the strength left to take her to the altar."LITTLE OLD CONDITIONS
If you view things in this light it is little wonder that many Arizonans question the good faith of Californians who tell us, "We want you to get your share of Colorado River water, but first there are these few little old conditions."
Now I know, and most Arizonans know, that compromise is the essence of the legislative process. And we can't expect to pass any legislation as big as this without some give and take. But we'd certainly like to see a little more take with the give, or less give with the take.
What we are really complaining about in Arizona is a curious double standard for water development projects -- one standard for the west bank of the river and quite another for the east. In my nearly seven years in Congress I've seen the enactment of at least ten projects in the states that make up the Colorado River Basin -- projects like the $425 million Auburn-Folsom Project, which I voted for, and the $100 million San Felipe Project, both here in California. When projects like these come up -- and I certainly want to mention the $72 million federal participation in your Bolsa Island desalting plant -- the only questions raised are: Is it sound? Is it feasible? Will it repay its costs? If the answers are affirmative, the bill passes, and that's that. When Auburn-Folsom came up, no one suggested that hearings had to be postponed until your state had guaranteed Arizona's water requirements for the next fifty years; no one demanded that controversial dams be built, that the Mississippi River be diverted, or that Arizona's 2.8 million acre feet take precedence over your state's share of the Colorado River. When the $81 million Southern Nevada Project came up, no one suggested that the vote had to be delayed until all problems in the Colorado River Basin had been solved. No one demanded these things when the $43 million Dixie Project in Utah and the $170 million Fryingpan-Arkansas Project in Colorado came along, even though the waters were to come from the same river we are now told is too short.
Authorizations for your Central Valley Project here in California now exceed over one-and-three-quarter billion dollars, and on no occasion have you people in California had to stand on your little fingers, perform backward cartwheels, or demonstrate unusual heroics or feats of legerdemain in order to enact this legislation.
But on the east bank of the Colorado, once it passes Lees Ferry, it is quite another story. In the state which has the most serious shortages of all, which has the second most rapid population growth in the country and the most rapidly falling water tables, which has been stymied for 40 years while the other states of the basin have raced ahead -- almost always with Arizona's support -- in this one state only a different standard applies. It isn't enough that we show feasibility, need, cost-repayment criteria, and all the rest. According to California, we can't even bring our bill to a vote in the House of Representatives until we have given guarantees, single-handedly run over the Northwest, built the most controversial dams in the nation's history, and with our three-man delegation foreclosed any possibility that our 432 colleagues might change a single word, or even a comma, before final passage.WHAT HAPPENS NOW?
So much for dwelling upon the past, which, after all, is only prologue for what happens in the future. As we approach 1968 1 think it's vital for your state and mine to assess where we are, what is possible and what is not, what is fair and what is right.
Where are we? Well, from the standpoint of reclamation, we're at essentially the same point we were at when the 89th Congress began. Nothing of consequence has moved forward. This big issue is holding up a backlog of reclamation issues - a lot of them in California - waiting to be considered. As long as this issue remains unresolved, the whole reclamation cause is hung up on a reef, going nowhere.
What is possible and what is not? Let me begin with a couple of major "impossibles" and get them out on the table for all to see.
For one thing, it is no longer possible to pass the big package of proposals we were all united on in 1966. Your leaders made the decision to help block final action in the 89th Congress, and the critical moment passed. In spite of all the charges of the Sierra Club and other organizations that we were going to flood the Grand Canyon -- which wasn't true -- and in spite of opposition from the Northwest that we were going to rob them of their water -- a really absurd idea -- we had succeeded in convincing a majority of the members of that Congress that our cause was just and that this bill should be passed. After 18 months of hard work, meetings, speeches, mailing campaigns and lapel tugging we were at the psychological moment for a floor vote. But it never came. The moment passed and it will never return.
I must tell you bluntly that no bill providing for a so-called "Grand Canyon dam" can pass the Congress today. I fought them -- we fought them together -- but the protectionists have won -- at least for now.
I must also tell you that no bill providing for augmentation of the Colorado River by importing water from the Columbia River system -- or even feasibility studies directed at the Columbia -- can pass the Congress today. Senator Jackson, chairman of the Senate Interior Committee, will see to that.
There isn't a California water leader or Member of Congress with any knowledge of the situation who can say with a straight face that either of those two things can happen today any more than he can say that the sun can be made to rise in the west. Yet the official position of the California water agencies as I stand here at this moment is that the Central Arizona Project must be opposed vigorously unless these two impossible conditions are included.
Let's start with a good, strong dose of candor right here. If this is California's position, you are simply out to obstruct any Arizona bill from ever passing. You don't fool us, and you shouldn't try to fool yourselves.
All right, these things are impossible. What is possible? Obviously, this is where we ought to concentrate our efforts if we sincerely want to see reclamation move ahead, if we want to enable Arizona to utilize its share of the Colorado River, if we truly want to end this feuding that has gone on so long. And I will tell you that I see many avenues that are open to us, many ways in which our two states can proceed side by side to solve our common problems.
One of the greatest satisfactions for me in public life is reaching that point where divisions are bridged, feuds settled, where people who have been fighting can lay down their guns and begin to build instead of fight. Lyndon Johnson often quotes his father as saying that any jackass can kick a barn down, but it takes a pretty skilled carpenter to build one. I look back with real satisfaction on several such occasions in my congressional career.THE 1966 AGREEMENT
Last year I thought we had reached such a meeting of minds in the Colorado River Basin states. I am hopeful that we may yet, in the six weeks remaining in our countdown, re-capture the essence of that 1966 agreement, for it contains a whole bundle of things that are possible and can be enacted. Stripped of a lot of detail and many items of considerable but secondary importance you could write the essentials of that agreement on the back of an envelope. There were four main points:
We have been promised that early in 1968 there will be a vote in the House Interior Committee on this legislation. We intend to try to win it -- either with your help or over your dead bodies. But before that vote occurs there is time to get back on that four-point program -- not in its precise form of 1966 as your leaders demand -- but in its essence.
I suspect I'm going overboard on metaphors today, to make a metaphor. But another one comes to mind. I see that 1966 bill as a kind of jerry-built airplane designed to get a lot of people off a desert island. Because there were so many people to accommodate and so much excess baggage we put on about seven engines and five wings and three-and-a-half fuselages and six-and-a-half landing gears. It was a real dandy; it just had one defect: It wouldn't fly. In fact, California's designers and test pilots even refused to get on board. Out of that experience I hope we've learned a lesson. This time let's build a smaller, sounder and less complicated airplane -- but one that will fly. And if it won't accommodate all of our would-be passengers on one single glorious flight, we'll just take those with the most urgent business the first time and make several other trips for those who have no need to go right now.NEW AGREEMENT POSSIBLE
In the context of our four-point agreement of last year I see the possibility for a new meeting of minds and a new joint effort of our two states and the other basin states. This is clearly evident when you realize how little change is necessary to bring that agreement into line with the realities of 1968.
On the building of the Arizona aqueduct there obviously can be no compromise, and no one has suggested one. This is the center of the controversy.
On the need for immediate, meaningful steps toward augmentation there certainly can be and ought to be complete agreement. Augmentation is more important than ever, for all of the basin states, and already we have lost over a year of irreplaceable time. It is not in the need for augmentation, but in the method of achieving it, that we have encountered difficulties. And I see no reason for these differences to continue.
When the Sante Fe Compact was signed in 1922, everyone assumed that the river would continue to flow at the same rate as it had in former years. But it hasn't, and we now know that there will be years when the river provides less water than the total of all our legally-constituted shares. This is the reason that your state has attempted to use its 38 votes in the House to exact from Arizona with its three votes the guarantee that I have discussed. Well, I happen to think it's a lot more important to augment the water supply than argue about dividing up shortages. And while the exact form of augmentation contained in our 1966 bill is no longer possible -- at least not in the foreseeable future -- there are three other methods of augmentation that are available to us. In other words, of the four, three are available to us. Let me list them.
First, there is desalting.
Second, there is weather modification. This is really exciting and may answer our problems all by itself.
And finally, there is salvage and conservation of existing water in the Lower Basin.
This leaves only so-called trans-basin transfers -- in other words, importing water from the Columbia Basin -- as unavailable to us at this time.
Let me tell you a little bit about this one method we're having to abandon for now. It would involve constructing a large, long, costly aqueduct, pumping system and other works -- and doing it now in dimensions capable of meeting our needs 30, 40 and 50 years from now. To build a little aqueduct to meet our present demands would be an awful mistake, as it would simply have to be enlarged later. But to build a huge aqueduct now, many years in advance of actual need, would mean carrying an enormous investment that was yielding no return for up to half a century. At this moment no one, including those Californians most sanguine about this proposal, has any real idea what it would cost. However, the best engineering estimates based on today's technology price the water from that system at anywhere from $80 to $200 an acre foot.
Just to put that in perspective, we have a couple of friendly economists in Arizona who say that our farmers can't afford to pay $10 an acre foot. Domestic users, of course, can pay much more, even $200 an acre foot, but they certainly don't want to pay such prices if water is available more cheaply some other way.OPTIONS FOR AUGMENTATION
Which brings me to the first of the possible means of augmentation available to us. This is desalting.
There are two very favorable factors working for us in this regard. The first is that today's technology will produce desalted water for us more cheaply than imported Columbia River water. The second is that desalting units can be built in stages as they are needed, rather than all at once; saving the "idle plant" cost inherent in importation.
I have said we must assume there will be shortages in the Colorado River. But they don't exist today because the four Upper Basin and three Lower Basin states aren't yet at that level of population and development to utilize all their allocations. Let's see what this means in relation to the construction of desalting plants to make up for these deficiencies.
I am told that the first of these staged desalting plants would not have to be put into service until the year 1992, the second in 2001, a third in the year 2013 and a fourth in 2025. And you can be sure that advancing technology will reduce the unit cost of water produced by each successive plant in this series.
Thus, instead of carrying idle plants for decades, adding immeasurably to the cost of our water, we will invest money only when it is needed and on a descending scale of unit cost. I happen to think this is more than an adequate substitute for the abandoned alternative of importation.
Incidentally, I understand that your big new desalting plant off the coast will produce fresh water for about $70 per acre foot. That's considerably less than the $80 to $200 price for Columbia River water.
The second method of augmentation I mentioned was weather modification. I find this so exciting that I think a few years from now we will wonder why we spent so much time arguing about whose share of the river had priority over other shares; there will be enough to meet all uses, including what we call the Mexican Treaty Burden. I won't weight you down with that matter except to say that we have to guarantee 1.5 million acre feet to Mexico, and in a water-short year we worry about which states are go ing to have to relinquish the most water. Well, weather modification - not here in Southern California or in Arizona either, for that matter, but rather in the headwaters of river basins such as the upper slopes of the Rocky Mountains in Colorado - may e nd those arguments. Through cloud seeding additional snowfall can be produced in these watersheds, increasing the spring thaw and ultimate river flow. This technology is progressing so rapidly that the Department of Interior suggests full-scale programs will be in operation in the next decade.
While any cost figure on such a program must be pretty rough right now, it has been estimated that additional stream-flow can be generated at a cost of around $1 to $4 an acre foot. Compare that with the $80 to $200 for Columbia River water and the $70 for desalted water.
You can see from these figures that it would be a mistake to tie ourselves here and now either to a vast system of import works or to a precise schedule of construction on de-salting plants when a much cheaper option may become available in 10 years or less.
This brings me to the third alternative available to us, and that is the salvage and conservation of existing water in the Lower Basin. If someone said he knew of a secret underground river which would add, right now, 1.5 million acre feet of water annually to the Colorado River -- enough, for example, to satisfy that Mexican Treaty Burden -- I'm sure you would say, "Let's go after it." Well, there is no underground river, but there is something almost as good. Every year the irrigation districts of the Imperial and Coachella valleys run off as drainage and waste, some of it never having touched an irrigable acre, over a million acre feet of usable water. While I realize this is a subject concerning which my friends in the Imperial Valley are understandably sensitive, I think this waste needs to be looked at. It includes drainage water, tail water and so-called "regulatory waste."
There are other ways in which we could get more use out of the water already existing in the Lower Basin. Every year more than three-quarters of a million acre feet of reclaimable sewage effluent is wasted in Arizona and Southern California -- water which could be reused for agriculture with the resulting savings of an equal amount of potable water for domestic and municipal use.
Then there are still large amounts of mainstream water lost each year between Hoover Dam and Mexico through its absorption by salt cedars and other water-loving plants which are still permitted to grow along and in the river bed.
These are some of the avenues that are available to us and which ought to be getting our attention. They offer us more than adequate means to "make whole", as they say, the Colorado River Basin, to augment its water supply to the point that all shares can be utilized and new increments added with the passing of years.
Now to review briefly. I have already covered the first two of those four essentials I said could be written on the back of an envelope. They were the Arizona aqueduct and augmentation. Now we come to the third, which was how we raise the money. Last year our plan was to build two big power dams to provide a basin fund. Since these dams are now out of the question, where can we get the money to do these things we have to do? Well, let's see.
The Central Arizona Project bill, as it passed the Senate, takes a big step in this direction. It sets up the same basin fund we proposed last year, but without the revenues from the Grand Canyon dams. Going into that fund will be all surplus revenues from the Hoover and Parker-Davis projects when they are paid out, and from the Pacific Northwest-Pacific Southwest power intertie located in the states of Arizona and Nevada. The basin fund in last year's bill would have built up to around $3 billion by the year 2050. This fund, without those two controversial dams, will still generate about $1.3 billion. And I think we're going to develop other revenue- producing projects in the next few years to add to that.
There is something else we can do, I believe, that will more than make up for the loss of those dams. In our bill last year we had a little feature that went almost completely unnoticed, and there was little controversy about it. That feature provided that the federal government would assume the Mexican Treaty Burden, picking up the tab for the first 2.5 million acre feet of augmentation of the river. That little item, all by itself, could mean perhaps about $2.5 billion to the states of the Colorado River Basin, the equivalent of about two Hualapai Dams. I think such a transfer of that burden is still possible and ought to be getting our maximum attention and effort. I think what we can do for ourselves in this area is a lot more important than grousing about the loss of those two dams.
Finally, we come to item four on the back of that envelope -what happens if the river is still short in the 1990s and thereafter - the 4.4 guarantee issue. Let's all stop a moment and take a good, hard, cold unemotional look at this. Of the four essential parts of the 1966 agreement this was really the least important. The other three dealt with water, with progress, with people's needs. But this one dealt only with words on a piece of paper -- with emotions, with face, pride, fear and all the rest. On both sides of the river we found ourselves mesmerized with a paper controversy that actually didn't involve the life or death stakes Arizonans and Californians attributed to it. It had a lot of importance psychologically, or as a test of good faith, but in terms of bedrock problems it just didn't mean much.
The fundamental fact for all of us is that the Colorado River will be short in the 1990s -- not now, but 25 years from now. If you manage to defeat and obstruct the Central Arizona Project, the river will still be short, and your long-term needs won't be met by the 4.4 you are entitled to -- or even the 5.1 million acre feet you are using temporarily now.
If we beat you and pass the project without a guarantee, the river will still be short in the 1990s -- short for you and for us as well. And if Arizona "goes it alone," the river will be short also.
Indeed, even if we capitulate and give you last year's guarantee, the river will still be short in the 1990s -- in that case, short for you and even shorter for us.
The fact is, my friends, we will all be in trouble - guarantee or no guarantee -- win, lose or draw -- unless and until we take steps to make augmentation a reality. When that is done, there will be enough water in the river and the question of paper guarantees will be entirely academic - which, in the final analysis, is about what it now is.TWO THINGS WRONG
For thirty long years now you have had your aqueducts. You've used your share of water and some of ours too. In the Senate bill passed this year Arizona consents to your continued priority over our uses for another 27 years. But your state says there can be no compromise; the guarantee must run until the river is fully augmented or Gabriel blows his horn. I see two things wrong with this California position:
1 - The first of these is your leader's insistence that, even if given a guarantee of 4.4, there can be no credit for water added to the basin through such programs as I have outlined unless that water is dumped physically into the Colorado River itself. Let me illustrate why this position makes no sense.
I have indicated that four large desalting plants, built in stages, could give our water-short region enough new water to make up for anticipated deficiencies in the basin. Suppose now that we give you a guarantee lasting until new water is found to relieve the basin of the Mexican Treaty Burden of 1.5 million acre feet. And suppose that our engineers tell us the best place to build the first of these plants is the Los Angeles area along the seacoast.
All right. Now, let's assume that Congress authorizes the project, and we pay for it with federal funds, perhaps out of the basin account. The plant is built and begins to pump brand new $70 water into the basin, cutting down the regional shortage for all of us. A reasonable person might expect that this new water would apply as a credit on Arizona's guarantee. However, that's not the way your water leaders see it. Unless the water is dumped physically into the mainstream of the river, they say, it just doesn't count.
But, they say, if we build the same plant under the same arrangements with the same federal financing, and if we build a tremendous new aqueduct to Las Vegas and pump this new water to Lake Mead and dump it there, it does count on the guarantee. By the time we pump it to Lake Mead and then pump it back to Los Angeles, to meet this ridiculous requirement, that $70 water will cost perhaps $200 - but it will count on the guarantee.
Similarly, they say Arizona can get no credit for the kind of "new water" made available by expensive basin fund expenditures for salvage, canal lining, phreatophyte control and the like.
This logic is a little hard for us to follow and impossible to accept. When you propose this kind of guarantee, you are really saying that Columbia River water counts, and nothing else does. I believe I have shown that this road, justly or not, is not now open to us.
2 - The second thing wrong with your state's position on the guarantee is that it saddles Arizona, and Arizona alone, with the main burden of augmenting the river. It gives us every incentive to augment and you every incentive to block augmentation. I think this is unrealistic and unfair. It's unrealistic because your state is going to need much more water than this, and it's unfair because the burden is just as much yours as ours.
After all, by the time that 27-year guarantee runs out, California will have had preferential use of the Colorado River for a total of 60 years. I think we'll all be better off if the incentive to augment it after that date falls equally on both our states.
Thus, of the four items on that envelope, we have three on which I think we could reach agreement without too much difficulty, and one which remains a subject of controversy. I don't think my state will go beyond the 27-year guarantee of the Senate bill, but theoretically we could give a perpetual guarantee. While I don't think this whole argument makes much sense or makes much real difference, I suppose we can continue to haggle about it. If we do, I hope our haggling doesn't divert too much of our attention away from the far more important things we have to discuss.TWO PHILOSOPHIES TO CHOOSE FROM
I entitled this speech "Countdown on the Colorado." That countdown, which began some time ago, will end in late January or early February when we've been promised a committee vote on our Central Arizona Project-Colorado River Basin bill. As that day approaches it seems to me all of us -- but especially California -- have two basic philosophies to choose from:
The first is a philosophy of pessimism, localism and defeatism - the philosophy Arizona observed in the 1920s and 1930s and which is now urged on you by some of your people. This philosophy says that not one single step can be made toward meeting Arizona's needs of the 1970s and 1980s until we know precisely -- in the minutest detail -- what will be done about California's needs in the 1990s. If your state follows this philosophy then, whatever happens in Congress you will lose and we will probably lose with you -- the river will remain short and no one will have enough. This is a fact that everyone has to face. If Arizona should go it alone and take its water out of the river under some kind of state plan, we will have to face the shortage of the 1990s, just as you will. This is the ultimate hard rock that everyone has to face. Furthermore, if Arizona is forced to build its own project, you can bet that we're going to oppose any and all federal projects sought by your state, perhaps your lawyers or ours will dream up some more lawsuits, and conceivably we'll even raise some questions about all that good water going to non-reclamation, non-municipal, non-economic use in the Salton Sea. I think your decision to follow this philosophy can be disastrous for our states and for the cause of reclamation.
The other choice is to continue the proven path of progress and cooperation, to adopt a philosophy of optimism and faith and hard work and a willingness to join together in solving -- one step at a time -- the problems as they arise. Except in water matters this has been the history of our two states. This philosophy acknowledges that we can't do everything we'd like to do right now. We can't fully and finally, in one bill, augment the river to meet the needs of all time. But we can make a substantial start on an augmentation program and we can create a basin fund to help pay for it. We can and we will meet Arizona's needs for an aqueduct now. And while it is being built we will spend money on investigations, feasibility studies, long-range plans. We will begin the great and important program to make sure that long before the 1990s we have the additional water our states need for their growing populations.
I'm sure you know which of these philosophies I believe is in the best interests of your state as well as mine.
Your state's position today seems to be based on the notion that, unless ironclad arrangements are made now, the United States is going to let California and Arizona dry up and blow away. I have too much faith in the country, in the Congress, and in Arizona's and California's leaders to take this defeatist view.
The world was not built in a day; your Central Valley Project and your magnificent Imperial and Coachella Valley projects didn't spring full blown from the drawing boards to be rushed through in one gigantic omnibus bill. The fantastic Columbia River system wasn't authorized in one bill. All these successful efforts were authorized and built one sound step at a time.
This is the proven, progressive path by which all the Western states have been built. Today, Arizona is asking you back on that path with us. For your sake and for ours there is no time to lose.