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manner it upsets the whole procedure and there would be little use of anyone filing for the use of water, in the State enginer's office, because if the Navy's use were not adjudicated no one would know the amount of water available.
Mr. GATCHELL. Senator Malone, I know you will know I am not trying to be discourteous, but I believe in sticking to my knitting. I am general counsel of the Power Commission, and we do not deal with those installations. I do not want to avoid your question, but I do not want to get into a scrap with the Navy Department, either.
Senator OʻMAHONEY. They carry too many guns?
Senator MALONE. You are presenting your position only in regard to your own department. I respect that.
Mr. GATCHELL. Yes.
Senator MALONE. I merely say to you and for the purpose of the record that if you or any other department failed to file an application for a consumptive use of water, which is what the other departments are purporting to refuse to do, from then on there would be little use of anyone filing because there would be no method of adjudication of the water to determine the amount available, unless the Federal Government should set up the necessary machinery and then accept vested rights proof from the water-user States, thousands upon thousands of vested rights in each State, and make these water users come in then and prove their vested rights just as the State has already done over a long period of years. Then new applications would have to be filed in Washington. In 1913 we passed the first water law which required adjudication of water rights in the State of Nevada. It has been amended several times since, but the fundamental law remains the same, and I think it is fundamentally the same in all the arid and semiarid States.
It authorizes the State engineer, or however the agency proper in each State is designated, through specified advertising and bearings on water rights, applications, and vested rights, to adjudicate the right to the use of water, and after the law is complied with as laid down by the State legislature, then you are forever barred in coming in and claiming a further vested or other right to the use of the water.
I was a State engineer for 812 years, and we did adjudicate water rights which had been acquired prior to the water law vested rights. After we adjudicated them in accordance with the State water law, then they are forever barred from further claims.
Under the Government's theory—as I say, it has been raised three times in my relatively short experience—there would never be an end to the adjudication procedure. If the Government does own all of the unappropriated water and they have intervening use, then the subsequent filings in the State engineer's office or the proper place in each of the arid States would be of no effect because the State engineer could never tell them that “You have a definite water right as of a certain priority date for a certain amount of water as against all other users.
That is what you would have to give them before they can spend their money or sell bonds to develop land storage projects or in the development of even a 160-acre homestead.
Mr. GATCHELL. Senator, you may be entirely right. I just don't want to get mixed up with the Army and the Navy.
Senator MALONE. That is all, Mr. Chairman.
Senator O’MAHONEY. We are very much indebted to you, Mr. Gatchell, for what I think is one of the clearest statements which has been made during the hearings.
Mr. GATCHELL. Thank you, sir.
Senator O’MAHONEY. It has been very nice, as it always is, to listen to you testify.
The committee, when it adjourns, will adjourn until in the morning at 10 a. m., at which time the witnesses will be Hon. William F. Knowland, Senator from California; Harvey O. Banks, attorney of the Division of Water Resources; and Northcutt Ely, special counsel.
A third witness in the morning session, if time permits, will be Mr. Abbott Goldberg, deputy attorney general of California, who will make a separate appearance.
Senator BARRETT. I think we have set Mr. Rankin down for the afternoon. I think George Guy would like to be on tomorrow afternoon also.
(Whereupon, at 4:45 p. m., the committee was recessed, to reconvene at 10 a. m. Thursday, March 22, 1956.)
WATER RIGHTS SETTLEMENT ACT
THURSDAY, MARCH 22, 1956
UNITED STATES SENATE, SUBCOMMITTEE ON IRRIGATION AND RECLAMATION, OF THE COMMITTEE ON INTERIOR AND INSULAR AFFAIRS,
Washington, D.C. The subcommittee met at 10 a. m., pursuant to recess, in room 224, Senate Office Building, Hon. Clinton P. Anderson (chairman of the subcommittee) presiding.
Present: Senators Clinton P. Anderson, New Mexico; Joseph C. O'Mahoney, Wyoming; Eugene D. Millikin, Colorado; Arthur V. Watkins, Utah.
Present also: Senators George W. Malone, Nevada ; Henry Dworshak, Idaho; Thomas H. Kuchel, California; Frank A. Barrett, Wyoming; and Barry Goldwater, Arizona.
Senator ANDERSON. The subcommittee will be in order. Mr. Banks?
STATEMENT OF HARVEY O. BANKS, STATE ENGINEER, STATE OF
CALIFORNIA, ACCOMPANIED BY PORTER A. TOWNER, ATTORNEY DIVISION OF WATER RESOURCES, AND NORTHCUTT ELY, SPECIAL COUNSEL
Mr. Banks. I am Harvey O. Banks, State engineer of the State of California. I am privileged to appear here today to discuss the interest of the State of California in some of the bills before the present session of the Congress dealing with basic Federal and State relationships in the field of water use and development.
I would also like to introduce to the committee Mr. Porter A. Towner, attorney for the division of water resources, on my staff, and you are quite familiar with Mr. Ely.
Senator Watkins. Would you give us your educational experience? Mr. BANKS. I graduated from Syracuse University with the degree of bachelor of science in civil engineering in 1930. I hold the degree of master of science in hydraulic and sanitary engineering at Stanford University. I taught at Stanford University on civil engineering for 3 years in the early thirties. I worked as hydraulic engineer for the Soil Conservation Service. I have about 12 years' actual experience with the State division of water resources.
Senator WATKINS. In California?
Mr. Banks. Yes, sir. I have had 4 years' experience as consulting hydraulic engineer in Los Angeles. I have been State engineer since November of last year. I was assistant State engineer in charge of water-rights administration for 24/2 years previously to that.
Senator WATKINS. With that long record, I am naturally curious how old you are.
Mr. BANKs. Forty-five.
Mr. Banks. Under date of February 21, 1956, Governor Knight wrote to each member of the California congressional delegation with respect to California views in this matter. Under date of March 19, 1956, he addressed a letter to the Chairman of the Senate Interior and Insular Affairs Committee, the Hon. James E. Murray, again with reference to the State's position in this matter and with respect to my appearance here. Senator ANDERSON. Should those letters be in the record ?
Mr. BANKS. With your permission, I would like to have them in the record, if I may.
Senator ANDERSON. The two letters will be made a part of the record at this point. (The letters referred to are as follows:)
FEBRUARY 21, 1956. Hon. THOMAS H. KUCHEL, United States Senator,
Senate Office Building, Washington, D. C. DEAR SENATOR KUCHEL: We are becoming increasingly concerned over the relationship between the Federal and State Governments in the matter of water rights. As I am sure you are fully aware, our own State has assumed the leadership in the formulation of future plans for the comprehensive derelopment and utilization of its water resources. We are, I hope, about to begin the implementation of these plans by construction of the Feather River project. Recent developments appear to indicate that the future of such plans may be uncertain particularly because of the decision of the Supreme Court of the United States in Federal Power Commission v. Oregon (349 V'. S. 435 (1955)). In fact, it may be said that the principles approved by the Court in this and other cases, as I understand them, vest in the Federal Power Commission a possible effective veto power over any such plans by any State. Recent actions by the United States Navy Department in refusing to abide by the water laws of Nevada appear to have further jeopardized the integrity of State water laws.
I believe that in view of the increasing activities of the various Federal agencies in this general field, the representatives of the concerned States should press for the immediate adoption of effective measures for the protection and preservation of power and prerogatives of the States to develop and control their own water resources in accordance with the public interest of the respective States. I urge you and the other California representatives in the Congress, acting in concert with like-minded representatives of other States, to support appropriate measures in Congress to remedy this situation, and to vigorously advocate and guide them to enactment. I am sure you will agree that California's representatives should assume the leadership in so doing to the same extent California has and is now leading in formulating its own plans for the development of its own water resources. It would appear that, because of their current active interest in water-right matters, the support of the Eastern and Southern States can be obtained.
In connection with the foregoing. I wish to call your attention to views of the State of California presented to Special Subcommittee on Water Resources and Power, House Committee on Government Operations (together with letter of transmittal), which were submitted at hearings held in Los Angeles on December 7 and 8, 1955, before Hon. Robert E. Jones, chairman, with respect to a report of the Hoover Commission, a copy of which is transmitted herewith. In it you will find statements which are relevant to the present subject. I am also sending herewith comments on the Barrett bill (S. 863) prepared by Henry Holsinger, principal attorney of the State division of water resources.