Scientific American | August 2nd, 1913
A glance at a map of California similar to that accompanying this article, on which is portrayed the veritable network of long-distance transmission lines that mark th
A glance at a map of California similar to that accompanying this article, on which is portrayed the veritable network of long-distance transmission lines that mark the course of hydro-electric development from end to end of the State, might convey to one not acquainted with actual conditions, the impression that there is but little left undeveloped of the sources of water-power with which this wonderland of the West abounded when first adventurous man started out in his now far-reaching enterprise among the head-waters of our mountain streams.
This impression has, indeed, been circulated widely by those who in pursuit of a. policy of so-called conservation would hinder the development of California/s natural resources, and so, her progress and advancement. What foundation it has in fact may be gathered from certain statistics to hand. Mr. M.O. Leighton, Chief Hydrographer of the United States Geological Survey at Washington, in an article on “Water-power in the United States," published in the May number, 1909, of the Annals of the American Academy of Political and Social Science, writes: “The “water power plants in the United States make productive use of only 5,500,000 horse-power, less than one fortieth of that ultimately available.” The report of the United States Geological Survey upon California, published March, 1912, gives the following figures for our State: Potential horse-power development on a basis of 90 per cent efiiciency; minimum 4,109,000, estimated maximum 9,382,000; on a basis of 75 per cent efficiency, minimum 3,424,000, estimated maximum 7,818,000.