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Kingman, recommended that it be carried to the top of the bank, 25 feet. The Board of Engineers, however, did not accept that recommendation, but did adopt a plan to carry it to 25 feet farther down the stream, but not any higher up.
The CHAIRMAN. How high does that place the top of the levee above low water in the river ?
Mr. WINGFIELD. It varies from 40 to 43 feet along the city front above low water. By low water I mean the average low water-I mean the low water that enables the boats to run and not zero on the city gauge.
The CHAIRMAN. Is it your desire that the revetment should be carried nearer the top or that it should be extended up and down the river ?
Mr. WINGFIELD. It should be extended up the river. As called for in the Government's report, it should be extended in height along the whole front up to the top of the bank.
The CHAIRMAN. Why should it be extended in height?
Mr. WINGFIELD. For the reason that the bank above the top of the pavements, which is 25 feet, will be cut in.
The CHAIRMAN. Has it been cut in yet?
The CHAIRMAN. Why did not the engineers think it necessary to carry it up higher ?
Mr. WINGFIELD. Because we did not have the levee at that time. The building of the levee has made an entirely different proposition out of it. It has changed the current, the direction of the current, and the intensity of the current in the river. Instead of the water going over the bank quietly and flowing through the town, as it used to do before the levee was constructed, it is now confined inside of the levee and the current is much swifter and the erosion is greater. What we want this committee to do is to recommend the extension of the pavement. We want that extended from 25 to 35 feet.
Mr. EDWARDS. The city pays for the levee ?
Mr. WINGFIELD. Yes, sir; the city pays for the levee out of its own pocket.
Mr. BooHER. What is the estimated cost of doing the work?
Mr. KENNEDY. Have the Government engineers made that estimate?
Mr. WINGFIELD. Yes, sir; that is their estimate. Now, we are not asking this for this reason as much as for another. After that disastrous flood of 1908 the city started in to help itself as best it could. · It made, from time to time, tax levies direct taxation. We raised in that way $308,000. We then came to this board for Government aid. That we did not get. “Then we started to get the Constitution of the State of Georgia changed, in order to allow us to issue bonds to build that levee. We are already up to the bonded limit, the constitutional limit. As I say, we got permission to change the Constitution of the State, in order that we might issue bonds to the amount of $1,750,000, which was the estimated cost of building the levee outside of the protection work. Well, we have done that. We have built the levee. It is practically completed. We have now gone the limit. The total amount spent by the city of Augusta for
levee and pavement of the river bank amounts to $2,058,692, and the Government has spent only $185,000 to protect the bank. We ask only that you protect the bank. That is in aid of navigation. If 25 feet is for navigation, 35 feet is also for navigation, it seems to me.
The CHAIRMAN. What do you say about this $321,000 ?
The CHAIRMAN. The report has just come in, and I have not had time to read it carefully.
Mr. WINGFIELD. It also includes Canoe Cut, where the river is dangerously close to the levee.
The CHAIRMAN. You are now going outside of the estimate? •Mr. WinGFIELD. No, sir; they recommend that the Government spend $16,000 at Canoe Cut, below the town.
The CHAIRMAN. I do not believe they recommend that.
The CHAIRMAN. He may, but I do not think the board does. The board states that the further improvement now desired is in all essentials a local protection of the city of Augusta from the floods of the Savannah River. It has no direct or measurable bearing upon channel improvement, as the work already done affords adequate protection to such navigation interests. The extension of the revetment is required only as an additional measure of security for the levee and the city which it protects. The indirect public benefits arising from such work of protection have too remote a bearing upon navigation facilities furnished by the Government to warrant its prosecution with river and harbor funds. The board therefore reports that in its opinion it is not advisable for the United States to undertake any extension of the flood-protection works on the Savannah River at Augusta, Ga., in the interests of general commerce and navigation. That follows what I read a while ago.
Mr. WINGFIELD. That Canoe Cut proposition is not any flood protection of the city of Augusta, at all. They recognize the fact that the river bank is caving there, just as it has done at a number of other places. They say that the pavement and protection should be brought to a proper height. I do not want to be prolix about this, but I feel so earnestly about this proposition that I want to get before each member of the committee à mental view of the thing. That levee is from 25 to 30 feet high, on top of the river bank. The water goes over that height. We have provided against a flood greater than any we have had. This sindicating] is on a bank, 10 feet of which, down below here indicating) is entirely unprotected.
The CHAIRMAN. How high is the highest flood you have ever had ?
Mr. WINGFIELD. Right on it. We have done this: Instead of building for water which came down in 1908, at the rate of 300,000 cubic feet per second, we built for it at the rate of 400,000 feet, or one-third more volume. We did this for the reason that in all the records that we have, for years and years back, it has been shown that at no time
during any flood period has a heavy rainfall extended all over the entire watershed. Recognizing, however, that it might be possible, just as it was in the Mississippi and Ohio Rivers, where the water reached a height that it had never reached before, we built this to meet the volume of water that I mentioned. That is the reason the levee seems to be so high. There is another reason: The water being confined, it is going to raise it at Augusta, and instead of being 39 feet, the same volume or body of water will raise it to 42 feet.
Mr. EDWARDS. To what extent, if any, has the power dam above Augusta aided with reference to the holding of water?
Mr. WINGFIELD. None. The power dam, to be of any benefit, must be kept full. So, when flood time comes the dam is full. If you keep it as a reservoir, to hold back, it must be kept empty.
Mr. EDWARDS. I see. Some one advanced the idea that it would aid the situation. Judging from what you say, it would not aid, but would jeopardize it.
Mr. WINGFIELD. Well, if you use it one way, you have to have it empty; and if you have it empty, you have no power.
The CHAIRMAN. How much water power is there?
Mr. WINGFIELD. The Augusta power dam furnishes 12,056 horsepower.
The CHAIRMAN. What is the possibility of the entire head?
Mr. Wingfield. Not at Augusta. Just above Augusta, at this Georgia-Carolina power dam, it is 28 feet high. Between that point and Augusta proper there is a fall of 50. If the dam were built at Augusta, just as at Lake Olmstead, to take advantage of that 50-foot fall, you would have that additional 50 feet.
There is one more thing I want to emphasize, and that is the erosion of the bank. This erosion does not occur at the bottom, and the protection of 25 feet will not prevent erosion above that point. I have here picture after picture taken of the holes that have been dug in the river bank by the water from the freshets above that 25foot line, and the bottom was never touched.
The CHAIRMAN. Above the revetment work?
There is one other point that I desire to mention, and that is that the Government has forced the city to put in the river bridges and draws, so that boats can go up and down along the city front. That was done on the ground, and the sole ground, that the city front should be used for wharves. Now, they call this a navigable.stream, and they recognize the fact that it should be utilized. But we do not dare to do any extensive work or build any big warehouses along that front there unless the bank is held so that it will not cave in. It absolutely destroys any possibility of using that front for commercial or transportation purposes unless that bank is held in such a way that it will not cave in.
Mr. EDWARDS. If I get your position, it is this: The grave danger now is that the water will run over this 25-foot table and eat into the bank and undermine the levee that you have built up there.
Mr. WINGFIELD. Yes, sir.
Mr. WINGFIELD. Exactly. We want to extend what has already been done, and do nothing in addition at all. I say that the 25 feet would not stop the caving of the bank.
Mr. EDWARDS. The pavement was not put there, in the first place, to protect the bank at low water; it was put there to protect it in high water?
Mr. WINGFIELD. That is right.
It is not yet completed. There are three or four boats operating there. The city has put $50,000 into an addition extension, and the citizens have put up $100,000 for two boats. These photographs show the old wharf and the present boat.
Mr. EDWARDS. You have a barge line between Savannah and Augusta?
Mr. WINGFIELD. Yes, sir.
I have a number of photographs here that show how the bank has been eaten in at the top. Here is one that shows a building that at one time had 30 feet of ground between it and the river.
The CHAIRMAN. Have you any further remarks?
Mr. WINGFIELD. No, sir. I was just going to say, however, that the pictures show the wash. These pictures show you the reason why you can not build on the river bank. There is a house there [indicating on photograph] that fell down because it was undermined. They have got to hold that bank or they can not build those terminals along that front. I have a number of pictures here showing this strip that I am talking about, between the pavement and this part here [indicating
The CHAIRMAN. That represents the damage done by the flood ? Mr. WINGFIELD. Yes, sir; by the last big flood, in 1912.
The point I am trying to make is that below the 25-foot mark there was no erosion at all; it was above that. It went to the top. This picture [indicating] shows a building that was undermined and collapsed. This picture [indicating] shows the levy on top, and then the strip.
This sindicating) is a picture of a modern, up-to-date barge that we have. We are putting up new terminals. We think that that bank ought to be held.
Mr. Vinson. I desire to present to the committee Mayor Littleton, of the city of Augusta. He will address the committee very briefly.
STATEMENT OF MR. JAMES R. LITTLETON.
Mr. LITTLETON. Mr. Chairman and gentlemen of the committee, I am going to make a very short statement and take up very little of your time. I want to say that we have reached, so far as our finances are concerned, the very limit. We can not go any further; we have exhausted our resources through taxation and through the raising of funds by bonds. We are now in a dilema, and we can not go any further. That is about all I care to say.
The CHAIRMAN. How much property is unprotected and how much do you ask the Government to furnish protection for?
Mr. LITTLETON. The city of Augusta has about $35,000,000 of taxable property.
The CHAIRMAN. What is the population ?
Mr. LITTLETON. Fifty-five thousand.
Mr. LITTLETOX. Yes, sir. We have now exhausted the constitutional limit. We can not go any further.
The CHAIRMAN. What is the valuation?
The CHAIRMAN. What is the percentage of assessment compared to the actual value of the property?
Mr. LITTLETON. It is assessed at two-thirds.
The CHAIRMAN. For how much area would this work afford protection? Would it be the larger portion of the city?
Mr. LITTLETON. The whole business interest is in this particular dilemma.
The CHAIRMAN. Up to date, the assessment on the property has been general ?
Mr. LITTLETON. Yes, sir; absolutely.
The CHAIRMAN. You have not levied a special assessment on the property which is being protected?
Mr. LITTLETON. No, sir; we have assessed everything we have. We have exhausted our resources, both bonded indebtedness and taxation.
The CHAIRMAN. You have gone the limit?
Mr. LITTLETON. We have spent over $2,000,000. I think it is $2,058,000.
The CHAIRMAN. But what is the actual bonding limit placed by its legislature? Mr. LITTLETON. We have reached that.
Mr. COHEN. We have reached our limit. We had the constitution changed, and the most that we could raise was $1,750,000. We have issued bonds and sold them to that amount.
The CHAIRMAN. What percentage of the assessed value of the property is that?
Mr. ČOHEN. Seven per cent, I think. Oh, I believe it was 5 per cent. We have issued the 7 per cent, which was the legal limit.
The CHAIRMAN. I know of some towns that are permitted 15 per cent.
Mr. COHEN. Under our constitution, we were limited to 7.
Mr. LITTLETON. As I said, we have simply reached our limit. We have exhausted everything.
Mr. Vinson. Mr. Chairman, I desire to present Mr. Thomas Barrett, jr., chairman of the River and Canal Commission of the City of Augusta.