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Imperial Valley press. (El Centro, Calif.) 1907-current, May 09, 1908, Image 1

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Imperial Valley Press.
Light, Power, Irrigation and Scouring of Ditches Are All
Substantial Needs and Are Not to Be Interfered With
For Imaginary Protection of Submerged Salt Works-
Contempt Cases Are Dismissed.
' Judge Wellborn, of the United
States Circuit Court, has dismissed
the contempt .proceedings against of
ficers of the California Development
company and ofilcers of the El Cen
tro Chamber of Commerce and de
cided that the . injunction issued
against the C. D. Co. does not oper
ate to prevent the reasonable use of
water for irrigation, power and other
necessary purposes.
Last January the Imperial Stand
ard announced exultingly that the in
junction was to be enforced in such a
manner as to put out of business the
company furnishing the valley towns
with power and light. So eager was
that paper to see such injury inflict
ed that it twice declared prematurely
that the injunction had been served,
and even went so far as to assert
that the contract between the C. D.
Co. and the power company had been
.annulled and that the water power
plant was out of business periiian-
On February 8, the Press denied
those reports and said:
"Judge Wellborn's decree does not
forbid the use of water for purposes
other than irrigation, as has been er
roneously reported. It permits the is
suance of an order restraining the C.
D. Co. from "diverting water in ex
cess of the substantial needs of the
people for domestic and -irrigation
purposes and such other lawful pur
poses as the same may be^ applied
to." The injunction granted is against
allowing waste water to run into Sal
ton Sea in quantity sufficient to main
tain or exalt the level of the sea."
Power Shut Off.
On February 11, the order of in
junction having been served and of
, fleers of the C. D. Co. having bee.i
cited for contempt, water was shut
off from the- power canal, the pow^r
company was put out of business,
and the Standard gloated and exalted
its horn mightily. The Press main
tained that the action of Manager
Cory in shutting off water vyas -not
.in accordance with the terms of thj
injunction and was not • necessary,
and said:
"It is impossible to supply, through
a canal system sixty miles long, just
■enough water to irrigate Imperial
Valley. farms and no more. It is im
possible to run water through the
power canal and the Holton turbines
without discharging any into the
Alamo channel. Generation of pow-
er is a lawful and necessary use of
i water, and electricity is as indispens
t able to Imperial Valley as irrigation.
\ To destroy the industries and the de-
Ivolopment of towns by insisting on
[a technicality which cannot possibly
[be of any practical benefit^ to any
. ithing or anybody, would be a mon-
Mrous perversion of the law.
* "It is not conceivable that Judge
t. Wellborn would demand literal corn-
pllance with the terms of his order
' if he realized what that would mean
to Imperial Valley.
"The C. D. Co. could not obey the
•order literally and continue to supply
water for the Irrigation of farms. The
•order was not directed solely against
the wasteway of the power plant, but
against the wastage of water from all
canals of the irrigation system, and
Irrigation cannot be prosecuted -with*
' out an excess of flow over actual
Inadvertent Contempt.
The Imperial Standard Jeered and
gloated and persisted In declaring
that no damage would be done to any
but the power company. The El Cen«
tro Chamber of Commerce, unaware
that the case was still before the
Official Paper of Imperial County
court In the form of contempt pro
ceedings, passed resolutions protest
ing against the manner in which the
injunction was being misused by a
litigant corporation to force settle
ment of a damage judgment, and ap
pealing to Judge Wellborn to protect
the valley by putting a reasonable in
terpretation on his order. When it
was discovered that the case was be
fore the court it was too late to re
call the resolution, and the officers
of the Chamber of Commerce, who
had no intention of approaching the
court improperly, found themselves
In technical contempt.
On February 22, the order of in
junction was suspended and the head
gates of the irrigation canal were
opened just in the nick of time. Engi
neer Herrmann, of the C. D. Co., had
made affidavit that if the injunction
should be kept in force another ten
days, the headworks and main canals
would be choked with silt and the
whole Imperial Valley would be with
out water.
Disappointed Knocker.
The Standard, on March. 9, jubilant
ly announced that the injunction
would be enforced again within a day
or two, and said there was "absolute
ly no justification ,»for the absurd
statement," made by the Press that
there had been grave danger of total
stoppage of the valley's water supply.
The injunction was not again applied
as at first, and to the obvious chagrin
of the Standard the po,wer plant was
permitted to operate-pending final de
cision, i
Now the court itself says, in almost
the identical words used by the Press,
that continuation of the injunction, as
construed by the Salt company and
applied for eleven days, "would have
put an end to' operation of the canal
system, and Imperial Valley, thus de
prived of water, would at once have
become a barren desert, its fifteen
thousand or more residents forced to
abandon ruined homes, with losses ag
gregating many million dollars."
Judge Wellborn's decision, which
follows in full, completely justifies
all that the Press has said about the
misuse of his order by the Salt com
pany, its misinterpretation by officers
of the C. D. Co. and the superiority of
public rights over doubtful private in
terests. The interpretation put upon
the injunction by the Press, when the
matter was first discussed, was liter
ally correct.
Injunction Interpreted.
I am satisfied, from the evidence be
fore me, that there has been no inten
tion on the part of the respondents, or
either of them, to violate the decree of
the court, but, that they have tried to
conform to its requirements as they un
derstand them. The present contempt
proceedings, however, are brought "more
for remedial than punitive ends, and, if
there has been, in fact, a violation of
the decree, suitable penalt'es should be
Imposed, in order to compel and secure
Its observance and execution In the fu
ture. Of course, if there has been no
violation of the decree, the rule against
the respondents must bp discharged.
The acts of the respondents, which
are complained of, are the turning of
water Into the Alamo River through the
wastegate at Sharp's heading and the
laterals of the Mutual Water Com
panies, and at *the tail race of the Hol
ton power plant, and diversions of wa
ter from the Colorado River as scouring
power to remove silt from defendant's
The amount of water thus turned in
to the Alamo River and reaching Sal
ton Lake amounts, as adm'ted by re
spondents to approximately 150 second
feet, but, as claimed by complainant
to 250 second feet.
The use of water for scouring pur
poses is only occasional two or three
times a year, during the season when
there is but little, if any, Irrigation, and
the only diversion on that account since
the final decree herein was 617 second
feet turned out at Sharpo's heading
Feb. 9th, 1008.
Tho questions to be/ determined on
this hearing are whether or not Bald
diversions of water are forbidden by the
decree, nnd, in order to piopcrly con*
Btruo It, all the conditions and circum
stances existing at the time of Its entry
must be considered.
Injury Already Remedied.
Prominent among these Is tho fact,
Mint^ tho court awarded complainant
full' Compensation for tho destruction
of Its nalt beds and works, houses and
all other improvements which had been
upon its land, nnd of Which sufficient
proof wfis adduced, the various items
aggregating ?45<;,74G.2:J. Tlio only irf
jury not remedied by said award was
that to the freehold, or the tenure by
Which the land is held. With tho salt
beds and works destroyed ami the land
itself submerged to a depth of 75 or 80
feet, and no probability of a subsidence
of the lake under fifteen years, it is
evident, that the title to or ownership
of""the land could not have been worth
very much. This title or ownership,
however, as I have already said, was
complainant's property, and entitled to
protection, by injunctive 'relief, so far
as the same could be g'ven without pre
judice to tho settlers In Imperial Valley,
who are not parties to the suit, and
whoso holding's were acquired before
the break occurred In defendant's canal
which resulted in the flooding and de
struction of the salt works. These set
tlers, at least some of them, 4 suffered
damages of the same kind, only in less
degree, as complainant, and were like
wise menaced by the danger which de
fendant finally averted, the ..perpetual
flow of the Colorado River into Salton
sink. Unless they are saved from its
operation, it is difficult to see how the
injunction can be maintained at all,
since otherwise it would deprive them,
although not parties to the suit, of prop
erty interests they then held and enjoy
Furthermore, as I now remember,
never In the history of this litigation,
until . the pending contempt proceedings,
has it been contended or suggested, that
the court would or ought to restrain the
diversion of water from the Colorado
River for the purpose of supplying Im
perial Valley with water for the uses
for which it was designed and to which
it would be applied.
Threatened Ruin.
I Another circumstance to be consider
ed in construing the decree is that the
irrigation system in controversy is now
and was, when the decree was entered,
a very large one, irrigating then two
hundred thousand acres of y land, with
not less than half a million more to be
similarly provided for in the near fu
ture, and supplying the settlers of Im
perial Valley with water for electric
plants, ice manufactories and other
uses, and hav'ng in addition to many
laterals, a main canal sixty-one miles
in length, which, from various physical
conditions and causes, was more sus
ceptible to silting than the correspond
ing conduits of other systems, and re
quiring thirty or forty hours for the
water to run through the main canal
'from points of diversion to Sharp's head
ing, and to nineteen more to
reach ffie places, where used. From
these conditions, it was obvious to the
Court, that instantaneous and complete
control of the water was impossible,
and, that the irrigation of said lands
could not be accomplished without some
water being diverted in excess of ac
tual consumption. To enjoin such ex
cess would have to put an end to the
operations of defendant's canal system,
and Imperial Valley, thus deprived of
water, would at once have . become a
barren desert, its fifteen thousand or
more residents forced to abandon ruin
ed homes, with losses aggregating many
millions of dollars; and thus the court
was confronted with tho question wheth
er or not such wide-spread and dls-»
astrous consequences ought to be en
tailed upon persons, who were not be
fore tho court in any capacity entit
ling them to be heard, mofely to pro
tect complainant's freehold.
What the Decree Said.
IjQ us now in the light o( the fore
going conditions and circum? lances, ex
amine the phraseology of the injunct
ion, which is as follows:
"Second: That defendant bo perpet
ually enjoined and resralnod fioni di
verting from the Colorado Uivor any of
tho waters thereof in excess (if iho Fub
stantlal needs of the peopl) dnpor > ..la»t
upon the canal described "a complal-i
ant's bill of complaint for water Blip) ly
for domestic and irrigation uio* nr.d
purposes and such other lawful par
poses as the same may t>9 ippll'Kl to;
and that the said water so illvertou,
whatever may be the amount, n>iall he
so controlled and used that (ho Hume
shall not flow upon the lands of ihe
complainant, described in the bill of
complaint, to-wit:
"That the defendant be required to
regulate the tiow of any water that
may be diverted by U so that there
shall be no waste water flowing there
from, as the result of such diversion
upon or over the lands of complainant,
above described; and that/ said dofend
(Continued ou last page,)
Liberal Subscriptions for Project
Readily Secured' and Contract Let
for Work — Hope to Strike Saturated
Plane, and Will Keep Going Down
for It.
El Centro is "to take the lead in
the Imperial Valley in an attempt to
secure artesian water. Within the en
suing week a drill will be in operation,
almost in the heart of the business dis
trict, and it is to be kept going until
water is struck or a thorough demon
stration is made that this" cannot be
Plans for this drilling include bor
ing to the depth of 3000 feet, if neces
sary. It is believed, however, that a
test hole sunk to the depth of 1500
feet will be sufficient to secure the
desired water supply.
A group of men interested in the de
velopment of the city has undertaken
this work, and liberal donations for
this purpose have been made by W. F*
Holt, W. T. Bill, A. B. Helms and- V.
E. Stockwell. They will devote $1500
to this test, and may double that sum
if It seems desirable.
A contract has been made with the
Coachella Valley Development i Com
pany, a firm which has carried on ex
tensive well-drilling operations in the
Coachella Valley, and which also was
successful in striking a fine 'supply of
water at Bataques, on the line of the
Inter-California Railroad in Lower Cal
ifornia. This firm will move its drill
ing machinery to El Centro today, and
will be in readiness to begin work on
the new test hole 'by Tuesday.
Two lots at the corner of Fifth
street and Commercial street have
been selected as the site for this ex
periment. If water is struck, a twelve
inch well will be put down.
The men directly interested in this
enterprise are greatly encouraged by
the finding of a fine flow of pure soft
water at Bataques. While a greater
depth would have to be reached at El
Centro, they feel reasonably certain
that this same body of water may be
struck, and they also hope to pene
trate to a saturated plane similar to
that which forms the artesian supply
at the northern end of the Salton Sea.
Should the hopes of sweet water be
dispelled by the striking of a subter
ranean stream of salt water, then the
well will be sunk and a large natator :
ium will be erected to make use of
these waters.
Plans for Advertising the Valley Dis
cussed by County Chamber of
The Imperial Valley Chamber of
Commerce met in El Centro Wednes
day forenoon, with all of the valley
towns represented. One of the first
moves to be undertaken is the issuing
of a county business directory. This
will not only give the county a much
needed publication, but will provide
the necessary funds for promotion
work. A fine display of valley pro
ducts is to be placed in the Los An
geles Chamber of Commerce, and a
portion of these may be sent to the
State Fair at Sacramento in August,
and later to the exposition at Seattle.
By unanimous vote it was decided
to request the county Board of Su
pervisors make an appropriation, if
possible, to help forward this work,
and to include in the coming tax levy
a levy for immigration and exposition
County Treasurer Paul Roman yes
terday received from ofllcials of San
Diego county a draft for the sum of
$1,960, due Imperial county from road
W. A. Van Horn • has ripe canto*
loupes on his place near El Ccntro
and will begin bricking' for the market
next week. He has 35 acrea In melons.
Ready for Test Run Next Monday-
Ice and Distilling Plants in
The steam auxiliary plant of the
Hoi ton Power Company at El Centro
is ready for operation, and a test run
will be made next Monday. Oil is the
fuel used to make Htoam, and the sup
ply is stored in a 3000-barrel tank,
which is being filled at the rate of
four car-loads a week. It will take 22
car-loads to fill the tank. Two ice
machines aggregating 50 tons dally
capacity are in operation, and one of
them is now run by steam power. The
distilling plant also is in operation,
and Is capable of supplying the whole
valley with distilled water.
Preston and Gibson will open their
new billiard and pool room in the
Blackinton building Saturday of this
week. A two-chair barber "shop occu
pies a space in the front of the estab
lishment. Frank Preston will have
charge of this shop.
Messrs. Preston and Gibson an
nounce that the place will be run on
the strictest lines with no objection
able features.
W. A. Willingham of Rhyolite, Neva
da, was in El Centro this week to
make preliminary arrangements for
establishing a planing mill. He se
cured some land near the S. P. station
and will have his machinery and other
equipment shipped in at once. He ex
pects to get the mill started in two or
three weeks.
Articles of incorporation have been
filed with the County Clerk of Imper
ial county for the Imperial Water
Company No. 10. Its purpose is de
clared to be the acquirement, by pur
chase or otherwise, of water for use >
on lands in its district at cost to its
Business men of El Centro have
subscribed to a fund to provide for a
patrol of the business district, as a
safeguard against both burglary and
fires. Mr. Sherburne has been engag
ed as patrolman, and began his duties
on Wednesday night. He has been ap
pointed a' deputy by Marshal Bradford.
Each day's work on the three-story
brick hotel block at Fifth and Broad
way makes a notable showing, and
this week workmen have reached the
point of placing the third floor joists
and partitions. A force of* thirty men
has been employed on the building
the past week.
It has been very evident during the
last few days that some of the other
newspapers in the valley have shown
unusual animosity toward the Stand
ard. This is deeply regretted, for
this newspaper wishes to maintain
friendly relationships with its con- I
temporaries. — Imperial Standard.
Directors of Water Company No. 1
have levied an assessment of $1 ysr
share against all the stock of that
corporation, t9 meet the payment of
S3/.500, borrowed to carry on improve*
ments in the canal system and to pay
for the telephone line now under con
NO. 5

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