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Report of J. H. Quinton on San Carlos project, 1909, 1910, and 1912.
Report on Reservoir Sites on the Gila River and its Tributaries, by W.
Cooperative Irrigation Investigations in California :
Surveys.-The Gila River watershed, with the exception of the Salt River Basin, was divided into six districts, conforming as nearly as practicable with natural geographical divisions, in order to facilitate the classification of the data collected. These districts are as follows:
District No. 1 (Duncan). This district extends from the Apache Box Canyon, about 10 miles east of Duncan, to the lowest irrigated district at Guthrie, and comprises what is known as the Duncan Valley.
District No. 2 (Solomonville-Safford). This district begins at the Brown ranch, at the head of the Solomonville-Safford Valley, and extends down to the San Carlos Box Canyon. The lands along the Gila and San Carlos Rivers, in the San Carlos Indian Reservation, are also included. This district is commonly called the Gila Valley.
District No. 3 (Florence-Casa Grande). This district includes all the lands in the Florence-Casa Grande Valley, beginning at the Double Buttes, near the lower end of the Gila Canyon, and extending along the river as far west as the east line of the Gila River Indian Reservation, and including the Casa Grande Valley to the south.
District No. 4 (Gila River Indian Reservation). This district embraces all the arable lands of the Gila River Indian Reservation.
District No. 5 (Lower Gila). This district covers generally the basin between the west line of the Gila River Indian Reservation and the confluence of the Gila with the Colorado River at Yuma.
District No. 6 (Upper Gila). This district comprises the headwaters of the Gila and its upper tributaries, the San Pedro, the San Carlos, the San Francisco Rivers, and, to a limited extent, Eagle Creek.
A topographic plane table survey, on a scale of 1,000 feet to the inch, with 5-foot contour intervals, was made of the irrigable land in districts Nos. 1 to 4, inclusive. Reconnaisance surveys were made of the irrigable areas in districts Nos. 5 and 6. constituting the region along the Gila to the west of the Gila River Indian Reservation, and the upper Gila and its tributaries. In both surveys, advantage was taken of existing maps, and when these were found sufficiently accurate, they were incorporated in this work.
The surveys in each district were tied together by means of a triangulation system covering the district. The separate triangulation systems were in turn tied to the triangulation system of the United States Geological Survey covering this portion of the United States. No effort was made to survey the canyon forming the course of the Gila between the several districts, and such data as appear on the general map of these areas have been procured from the maps of the General Land Office, and such railway surveys through the canyon as were accessible during the course of this investigation. Elevations were determined by a system of ordinary levels tied to the United States Geological Survey bench marks.
In this work a total area of approximately 549 square miles was covered by plane table.
The reconnaissance survey covered some 490 miles of traverse along the channels of the upper and lower Gila and its tributaries. In this work closed surveys were made only where it was otherwise impossible to determine the area of the irrigated land.
T'he field work was placed in charge of C. H. Southworth, who directed this portion of the investigation under the supervision of N. W. Irsfeld, engineer, United States Indian Service, and the writer.
The work was carried on for the most part by two field parties, although three parties were maintained in the field during a portion of the time.
The following instrument men at various times were in charge of survey parties: W. W. Lane, C. V. Taylor, A. C. Embshoff, H. G. Guiteras, Ralph A. Hamilton, O. W. Bauer, R. B. Griffith, W. G. Roche, and H. L. Rath, while Wallace Adams and W. A. Hughes, holding positions as rodmen, remained with the work throughout.
The reconnaissance surveys and investigations along the upper Gila and its tributaries were made by W. W. Lane; while similar work along the lower Gila was performed by C. H. Southworth and R. A. Hamilton.
Maps.-Tracings have been made of the planetable sheets of districts Nos. 1 to 4, and the area along the Gila near Winkelman, not included in these districts, which show the arable land in each township, on a scale of 1,000 feet to the inch, with a 5-foot contour interval. These maps show in detail the land at present irrigated, that previously irrigated, and that susceptible of irrigation from the present canal systems. They show also the complete canal systems, including field laterals. The various kinds of crops to which the land was planted during the seasons 1913–14 are designated. All roads, land fenced, and land lines are shown with sufficient accuracy to determine individual ownerships. These township maps have been combined to form maps of each district, on a scale of 2 inches to the mile. A map of the reconnaissance survey was prepared on the same scale of the area extending from the west line of the Gila River Indian Reservation to Gila Bend. These district maps have been combined with that of the United States General Land Office to form a key map of the Gila River watershed.
Prints of the various maps appear in part 3 of this report. The drafting required in the preparation of these maps was performed principally by H. L. Rath during the course of the survey, while H. P. Shaw, who held the position of draftsman in the office of the Indian Service, Los Angeles, also assisted in this work.
History of irrigation.—The history of the use of the waters of the Gila River for irrigation in the various districts was gathered from various sources.
This work includes a detailed history of both present and past cultivation, covering all of the irrigated areas of the Gila Basin, exclusive of the Salt River and Santa Cruz watersheds.
Claims of appropriation blanks, similar to the forms used by the State engineers of Nevada, New Mexico, Oregon, and other States, were distributed to the various land owners. These forms consist simply of a series of questions covering the history of irrigation of the cultivated lands to be answered by the present owners.
Abstracts were prepared of the records on file in the different counties through which the Gila flows, and an examination made of several adjudication decrees, and various court manuscripts relating to the use and ownership of water. The ownership of the land under irrigation and the individual holdings under the various canals, were also ascertained.
In the case of the Gila River Indian Reservation early histories have been consulted, with a view of ascertaining the early use of the Gila River waters by the Prima Indians, and a careful search was made of the records at Sacaton and in Washington to determine the extent and continuity of such use.
From a careful examination of all data obtained as the result of the surveys and the various researches, an analysis of the history of irrigation under each ditch has been made for the several districts, and these analyses have been combined to show the history of the use of water for irrigation in that portion of the Gila River Basin under consideration.
In connection with this work an estimate has also been made of the probable future uses of the Gila water above the San Carlos reservoir site, based on the rights that are claimed to have already been initiated and which may develop into actual use, and also on the areas susceptible of economical irrigation.
The assembling of the historical data was carried on simultaneously with the surveys, Wallace Adams and W. A. Hughes being engaged on this division of the work, while John S. Layne was employed for several months in searching and abstracting court records, and in the examination of correspondence on file at the United States Indian superintendency at Sacaton.
Throughout the rather large expanse of territory over which the work has been carried, the residents of the various districts, with perhaps one exception, have been uniformly courteous, obliging, and of much assistance to the work. In the Solomonville Valley, some feeling antagonistic to the work was encountered; but this, it is believed, resulted from a wrong conception of the object of the investigation. As the work progressed, however, this unfriendly spirit gave way to more helpful and cooperative interest.
Water physically available.-The determination of the amount of water physically available for the proposed San Carlos Reservoir, independent of such legal rights as may be established, necessitated additional data respecting the amount actually flowing in the Gila and its several tributaries. The preparation and assembling of these data was performed under the supervision of the Water Resources Branch of the United States Geological Survey, that organization being better equipped and prepared for the work than this service. By a transfer of funds from this bureau to the Geological Survey, Mr. C. C. Jacob, district engineer of the Geological Survey, has been enabled to direct this portion of the investigation.
Seven gauging stations were installed under the direction of Mr. Jacob along the Gila and its tributaries at points suitable to the determination of a proper hydrograph of the entire stream system. The sites selected for this purpose were as follows:
1. Ten miles east of the New Mexico-Arizona State line, at the head of the Duncan Valley, mouth of Apache box.
2. On the Gila near Guthrie.
3. On the San Francisco at Clifton (installed previously). 4. On the Gila at Brown ranch, at head of Solomonville district. 5. On the Gila at San Carlos Dam site. 6. San Carlos at San Carlos. 7. Gila at Kelvin. 8. Gila at east line of Gila River Reservation.
Automatic gauges were installed at the above points and sufficient measurements made to interpret the gauge readings.
Unfortunately the gauge at station No. 5, at the San Carlos Dam site, was destroyed by the large flood occurring in December, 1914, and that at station No. 8, at the east end of the Gila River Reservation, was destroyed by flood in July, 1914. The flow during the intervals when the gauges were out has, however, been calculated from other data, so the record at each point is virtually continuous.
Frequent measurements were also made of the flow of the Gila at Florence and at the east line of the Gila Indian Reservation.
In connection with this work frequent direct measurements were made of all the canals diverting water from the Gila. In cases where no water was found in the canals, their capacity was computed by the method of cross sections and grades. All previous data respecting the flow of the Gila and its principal tributaries have been assembled and placed in convenient form for consideration.
An effort was made to determine the effect of diversion of the waters of the Gila by the upper canals on its flow near Florence, but unfortunately the period during which observations were conducted was one of unusual rainfall and the river was practically in constant flood, no trustworthy observations being possible. This information has been deduced by a different method, based on various logical assumptions that will be set forth in the body of this report.
Water legally available.—In the spring of 1913, and before this report was authorized, Mr. John F. Truesdell, special assistant to the Attorney General, had recommended that, in order to determine what steps, if any, should be taken to protect the water rights connected with the Gila River Indian Reservation, certain surveys and investigations of stream flow on the Gila River should be made. These investigations were promptly undertaken, and were later merged in the more extensive one demanded in connection with the San Carlos project.
Mr. Truesdell's original suggestions as to what facts should be obtained have been used in the larger work and he has been consulted from time to time about various phases of the investigation as it has been carried on.
He has pointed out that a determination of the amount of water legally available could be accurately made now by litigation, so far as the vested water rights are concerned, but that a suit would not be effective in determining the inchoate rights, or those that have been initiated but are not yet vested.
Accordingly, in this report no attempt is made to give an opinion upon the question of what water is, as a matter of law, available for the project, but the investigation was shaped under the guidance mentioned with a view to the gathering of information necessary for such an opinion. It is thought, therefore, that the facts obtained will be sufficient to permit of the forming of a dependable opinion as to the
extent of the vested rights, and sufficient also to show fairly well what inchoate rights exist, their possible extent within wide limits, and what particular rights of this character it may be thought necessary to limit definitely before the project is undertaken.
For the reason that, as above stated, an adjudication suit does not seem to be a necessary prerequisite to a decision upon the building of the project and also because of the difficulty of estimating in advance the cost of a complicated lawsuit no attempt has been made to estimate the cost of such adjudication.
It is respectfully recommended, however, that a copy of this report be furnished to the Department of Justice so that any opinion that is desired may be obtained or any legal proceedings that may be deemed advisable can be instituted.
Estimated maximum and minimum cost, San Carlos project. The preparation of the maximum and minimum estimates of the cost of the San Carlos project required the redesigning of the proposed storage dam, diversion dam, and distributing system, in the light of the additional data made available by the surveys and other data assembled in the preparation of this report.
Mr. H. V. Clotts, assistant engineer of this service, under the supervision of the writer, has prepared estimates of the maximum and minimum cost for a straight monolithic dam of the gravity type, having a maximum height of 200 feet, for the San Carlos project. This estimate includes the entire cost of spillways, outlets, and other work necessary for the proper operation of the reservoir. The dam provides for a spillway height of 180 feet above the bed of the Gila River, while the maximum flow line of the reservoir is at the 2,499.5foot contour above sea level, or 11.5 feet above the spillways. The maximum capacity of the reservoir resulting from this arrangement would be 714,450 acre-feet, which is sufficient to permit a yearly draft of 300,000 acre-feet on a normal supply basis.
The maximum and minimum cost of the distribution system of the San Carlos project was prepared by Mr. C. H. Southworth, assisted by Mr. H. V. Člotts, under the writer's supervision.
This estimate also includes two diversion dams, located at Florence and Sacaton, respectively, necessary to divert the stored and flood waters in the Gila into the distribution canals.
This system provides for the irrigation of 45,000 acres of land in the region contiguous to Florence and 35,000 acres on the Gila River Indian Reservation, a total of 80,000 acres, under an assumed duty of water of 3-acre feet per acre per annum, an annual draft of 300,000acre feet and adopting the silt determination figures as presented in the report of the United States Army Board.
DESCRIPTION OF GILA RIVER WATERSHED,
A description of the physiographic, geologic, climatic, and other physical conditions closely related to the use of water, is necessary to the proper understanding of the conditions governing irrigation in southern Arizona, and this information is briefly given herewith.
With the exception of the Colorado, the Gila is the most important river in Arizona, its watershed embracing practically the entire re