Skip to main content
Regional Oral History Office University of California
The Bancroft Library Berkeley, California
Government History Documentation Project
Ronald Reagan Gubernatorial Era
William R. Gianelli
THE CALIFORNIA STATE DEPARTMENT OF WATER RESOURCES, 1967-1973
An Interview Conducted by
Copyright fc} 1986 by the Regents of the University of California
All uses of this manuscript are covered by a legal
agreement between the University of California and
William R. Gianelli dated April 30, 1985. The manuscript
is thereby made available for research purposes. All
literary rights in the manuscript, including the right
to publish, are reserved to The Bancroft Library of the
University of California at Berkeley. No part of the
manuscript may be quoted for publication without the
written permission of the Director of The Bancroft
Library of the University of California at Berkeley.
Requests for permission to quote for publication
should be addressed to the Regional Oral History Office,
486 Library, and should include identification of the
specific passages to be quoted, anticipated use of the
passages, and identification of the user. The legal
agreement with William R. Gianelli requires that he be
notified of the request and allowed thirty days in
which to respond.
It is recommended that this oral history be cited
as follows :
William R. Gianelli, "The California State
Department of Water Resources, 1967-1973,"
an oral history conducted in 1985 by Malca
Chall, Regional Oral History Office, The
Bancroft Library, University of California,
WILLIAM R. GIANELLI
TABLE OF CONTENTS William R. Gianelli
BRIEF BIOGRAPHY v
I ADMINISTRATION OF THE DEPARTMENT OF WATER RESOURCES
Appointment as Director, 1967
The Role of the California Water Commission
Solving the Financial Problems in Order to Complete the
State Water Project
The Tidelands Oil Funds 16
The Electric Power Contracts
Setting Policies for Recreation
Personnel: Building Up and Reducing Staff
Administrative Control: Contrasting the State and
Controlling Costs Z * 1
II POLICY JUDGEMENTS: COMPLETING THE STATE WATER PROJECT 44
The Peripheral Canal
The San Luis Drain
The Central Arizona Project
The Western States Water Council
III PRIVATE CITIZEN: CONTINUING INTEREST IN WATER ISSUES
Leaving the State Department of Water Resources, 1973
Analyzing Current Water Conservation Issues
Reviewing the Early History of the State Water Project 74
APPENDIX - William R. Gianelli Experience Record and
California government and politics from 1966 through 1974 are the focus of
the Reagan Gubernatorial Era Series of the state Government History Documenta
tion Project, conducted by the Regional Oral History Office of The Bancroft
Library with the participation of the oral history programs at the Davis and
Los Angeles campuses of the University of California, Claremont Graduate School,
and California State University at Fullerton. This series of interviews carries
forward studies of significant issues and processes in public administration
begun by the Regional Oral History Office in 1969. In previous series, inter
views with over 220 legislators, elected and appointed officials, and others
active in public life during the governorships of Earl Warren, Goodwin Knight,
and Edmund Brown, Sr., were completed and are now available to scholars.
The first unit in the Government History Documentation Project, the Earl
Warren Series, produced interviews with Warren himself and others centered on
key developments in politics and government administration at the state and
county level, innovations in criminal justice, public health, and social welfare
from 1925-1953. Interviews in the Knight-Brown Era continued the earlier
inquiries into the nature of the governor's office and its relations with
executive departments and the legislature, and explored the rapid social and
economic changes in the years 1953-1966, as well as preserving Brown's own
account of his extensive political career. Among the issues documented were
the rise and fall of the Democratic party; establishment of the California Water
Plan; election law changes, reapportionment and new political techniques;
education and various social programs.
During Ronald Reagan's years as governor, important changes became evident
in California government and politics. His administration marked an end to the
progressive period which had provided the determining outlines of government
organization and political strategy since 1910 and the beginning of a period of
limits in state policy and programs, the extent of which is not yet clear.
Interviews in this series deal with the efforts of the administration to increase
government efficiency and economy and with organizational innovations designed
to expand the management capability of the governor's office, as well as critical
aspects of state health, education, welfare, conservation, and criminal justice
programs. Legislative and executive department narrators provide their perspec
tives on these efforts and their impact on the continuing process of legislative
and elective politics.
Work began on the Reagan Gubernatorial Era Series in 1979. Planning and
research for this phase of the project were augmented by participation of other
oral history programs with experience in public affairs. Additional advisors
were selected to provide relevant background for identifying persons to be
interviewed and understanding of issues to be documented. Project research
files, developed by the Regional Oral History Office staff to provide a
systematic background for questions, were updated to add personal, topical, and
chronological data for the Reagan period to the existing base of information
for 1925 through 1966, and to supplement research by participating programs as
needed. Valuable, continuing assistance in preparing for interviews was
provided by the Hoover Institution at Stanford University, which houses the
Ronald Reagan Papers, and by the State Archives in Sacramento.
An effort was made to select a range of interviewees that would reflect
the increase in government responsibilities and that would represent diverse
points of view. In general, participating programs were contracted to conduct
interviews on topics with which they have particular expertise, with persons
presently located nearby. Each interview is identified as to the originating
institution. Most interviewees have been queried on a limited number of topics
with which they were personally connected; a few narrators with unusual breadth
of experience have been asked to discuss a multiplicity of subjects. When
possible, the interviews have traced the course of specific issues leading up
to and resulting from events during the Reagan administration in order to
develop a sense of the continuity and interrelationships that are a significant
aspect of the government process.
Throughout Reagan's years as governor, there was considerable interest and
speculation concerning his potential for the presidency; by the time interview
ing for this project began in late 1980, he was indeed president. Project
interviewers have attempted, where appropriate, to retrieve recollections of
that contemporary concern as it operated in the governor's office. The intent
of the present interviews, however, is to document the course of California
government from 1967 to 1974, and Reagan's impact on it. While many interview
ees frame their narratives of the Sacramento years in relation to goals and
performance of Reagan's national administration, their comments often clarify
aspects of the gubernatorial period that were not clear at the time. Like
other historical documentation, these oral histories do not in themselves
provide the complete record of the past. It is hoped that they offer firsthand
experience of passions and personalities that have influenced significant events
past and present.
The Reagan Gubernatorial Era Series was begun with funding from the
California legislature via the office of the Secretary of State and
continued through the generosity of various individual donors. Several
memoirs have been funded in part by the California Women in Politics Project
under a grant from the National Endowment for the Humanities, including a
matching grant from the Rockefeller Foundation; by the Sierra Club Project
also under a NEH grant; and by the privately funded Bay Area State and
Regional Planning Project. This joint funding has enabled staff working with
narrators and topics related to several projects to expand the scope and
thoroughness of each individual interview involved by careful coordination of
The Regional Oral History Office was established to tape record autobio- .
graphical interviews with persons significant in the history of California
and the West. The Office is under the administrative direction of James D.
Hart, Director of the Bancroft Library, and Willa Baum, head of the Office.
Copies of all interviews in the series are available for research use in
The Bancroft Library, UCLA Department of Special Collections, and the State
Archives in Sacramento. Selected interviews are also available at other
July 1982 Gabrielle Morris
Regional Oral History Office Project Director
486 The Bancroft Library
University of California at Berkeley
REAGAN GUBERNATORIAL ERA PROJECT
Edmund Constant i
Harold E. Geiogue
Mary Ellen Leary
Eugene C. Lee
James W. Leiby
Edwin Meese III
Sheldon L. Messinger
James R. Mills
William K. Muir
A. Alan Post
Albert S. Rodda
Michael E. Smith
A. Ruric Todd
Molly Sturges Tuthill
Raymond Wo 1 finger
A. I. Dickman*
*Deceased during the term of the project
On behalf of future scholars, the Regional Oral History Office wishes
to thank those who have responded to the Office's request for funds to
continue documentation of Ronald Reagan's years as governor of California.
Donors to the project are listed below.
Edward W. Carter
Aylett B. Cotton
William C. Edwards
James M. Hall
William Randolph Hearst
L. W. Lane, Jr.
Gordon C. Luce
Norman B. Livermore, Jr.
Joseph A. and Gladys G. Moore
Robert 0. Reynolds
Henry and Grace Salvatori
Dean A. Watkins
In January 1967, Governor Ronald Reagan appointed William R. Gianelli
to head the California State Department of Water Resources. Gianelli had
exactly the background the governor needed for his director of the DWR: an
engineer with strong water-related experience, almost all of it in California;
familiarity with the state's water allocation problems and many public and
private individuals and organizations concerned with complex water issues;
knowledge of the State Water Project, at that time, despite some upcoming
difficulties, on its way toward completion.
William Gianelli had amassed his water-related expertise through a logical
progression of work-related experiences. He was graduated from the University
of California at Berkeley in 1941 as a civil engineer with an irrigation
option. After four years of service with the Army Corps of Engineers in the
Pacific war theater he returned to California and signed on as a junior
engineer in the Division of Water Resources, the predecessor agency of the
Department of Water Resources. Gradually he moved up to the post of staff
engineer and special assistant to the director of the department, where he
remained until 1960.
During these fourteen years while he became acquainted with the state's
physical water distribution problems, he had an opportunity to grasp the
serious underlying political controversies which for years had stalled any
constructive resolution of the issues. Many and varied engineering plans lay
in the department's files while state and federal legislators, professional,
and citizen's groups debated the wisdom and fairness of the plans and policies.
During the administration of Governor Goodwin G. Knight, Gianelli served on a
Water Lawyers Committee seeking to write a satisfactory constitutional
amendment which would guarantee equal treatment to both northern and southern
California in the allocation of northern water resources. At other times he
represented the director of the department before legislative and congressional
committees presenting testimony in favor of the long-envisioned and long-
stalled California Water Project.
When in 1960, Pat Brown was elected governor he succeeded in persuading
the legislature, through the Burns-Porter Act, and the voters of California,
through Proposition 1 the $1.75 billion water bond measure to construct the
State Water Project. Gianelli played a key departmental role helping Director
Harvey Banks and Deputy Director Ralph Brody move the Burns-Porter Act through
the legislature. That accomplished, he left government service and established
his consulting engineering firm in Sacramento where he remained until 1967.
Then he accepted Governor Reagan's bid to direct the Department of Water
Resources and complete the State Water Project. He now confronted one of the
major challenges of his career. How he successfully overcame the financial
and political hurdles which lay in the way and completed what is sometimes
labelled Phase I of the project, is the basis for this oral history.
California water history buffs will read again about north-south disputes,
the Sacramento Delta, revenue and general obligation bonds and tidelands
oil funds, the Peripheral Canal and the San Luis Drain, electric power
contracts, and the Central Arizona Project,
In 1973, after water flowed in to Ferris Reservoir ending its 444-mile
journey through the California Aqueduct, Gianelli returned to the private
sector as a consultant. His government career began again in 1981 when
President Reagan appointed him Assistant Secretary of the Army for Civil
Works, responsible for overseeing the civil works programs for water resources
of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers. In this interview he cogently contrasts
his successful state and frustrating federal government experiences in
formulating and carrying out water policy objectives.
Since May 1984 he has been living in Pebble Beach, California, as a
private citizen semi-retired. He still carries on some private consultation
in water resources, is president of the Water Education Foundation, and, as a
Reagan appointee, serves as chairman of the Panama Canal Commission. When
there is time he plays golf .
His spacious book-lined office in the Gianelli 's comfortable home was the
setting for the three-hour interview on January 29, 1985. Referring to the
topic outline sent ahead Mr. Gianelli talked easily of his years as director
of the DWR, his relationship with Ronald Reagan and others in the administration
and the legislature, and discussed briefly his former years with the Goodwin
Knight and Pat Brown administrations . On the walls of his office and along
the halls, are pictures of the many well known people in and out of state and
federal government with whom Gianelli worked on development of water policy
throughout his career. He plans to deposit his books and papers in UC
Berkeley's Water Resources Center Archives.
Following the interview session Mrs. Gianelli graciously served lunch,
during which the Gianellis talked of days past and the people they had known.
But, since on that day Edwin Meese, former colleague in the Reagan gubernatorial
and presidential administrations, was once again in the news as a candidate
for attorney general, the present could not long be ignored.
Mr. Gianelli returned his lightly edited transcript with few changes.
The Water Resources Center at the University of California at Davis provided
funds to assist the production of this oral history, partially funded by
this Office's ongoing Government History Documentation Project, now completing
the Ronald Reagan Era Oral History Project.
21 January 1986
Regional Oral History Office
486 The Bancroft Library
University of California at Berkeley
Regional Oral History Office University of California
Room 486 The Bancroft Library - Berkeley,' California 94720
(Please print or write clearly)
Your full name William Reynolds Gianelli
Date of birth February 19. 191lace of birth Stockton, California
Father's full name John Antone Gianelli
Birthplace ' Genoa, Italy
Mother's full name Frances Isabelle Reynolds
Birthplace Newark, New Jersey
Where did you grow up ? Stockton, California
Present community Monterey Peninsula, California
Education Stockton High School
B.S. Degree, University of California, Berkeley
Occupation^ ) Civil Engineer
Special interests or activities golf, gardening
I ADMINISTRATION OF THE DEPARTMENT OF WATER RESOURCES
[Interview 1: January 29, 1985 ]##
Appointment as Director, 1967
Chall: How did you come to be appointed by Ronald Reagan to be director
of the Department of Water Resources?
Gianelli: It was very interesting. After the governor was elected, he
appointed a number of committees throughout the state to interview
people for some of his key appointments. At that time, as I
recall, one of his key appointments was the director of the Depart
ment of Water Resources. He indicated quite clearly that if he
were elected, he would designate, I think he said, a water engineer
from northern California.
This was as opposed to Mr. [William] Warne who was not an engineer,
and who, I think, during the campaign, had made quite a number of
statements which pretty well positioned him with respect to
Governor Reagan. So it was pretty well clear that Mr. Warne
would be leaving if Governor Reagan became elected.
At any rate, these interview panels were set up throughout the
state to interview people outside of government for some of the
key jobs. I was very active in the water community, and of course
had been, so I was interviewed by I think at least two or three
of these panels as to whether or not I would be interested in
being director of water resources, as to my qualifications, and
rfThls symbol indicates that a tape or a segment of a tape has
begun or ended. For a guide to the tapes see page 78.
Gianelli: So I knew that my name was in the hopper, along with a number of
others, under that process. I did not know Reagan at that time;
I had never met him. As a matter of fact, at that time, I was a
registered Democrat, and would have had no reason to have our
paths cross. So the first real indication I had was a telephone
call that I got from the governor-elect I think it was about the
middle of December asking me if I would take on the position of
director of Water Resources. Particularly he was concerned about
the status of the State Water Project. It was in its early stages,
and obviously, from what briefly he had read, was in trouble
So we talked a few minutes. I wanted to be sure that we were on
the same wave length philosophically in terms of things like
public power, and finishing the water project, and all that sort
of thing. As so, at the end of the conversation, which I suspect
lasted about a half-an-hour, I indicated that I would be willing
to take on the directorship.
And so that was it. And he said, "I'll have my press secretary
call you and arrange a press conference," and so he arranged a
press conference down, as I recall, in Los Angeles, in one of
the hotels. I went down, and he introduced me in a press confer
ence, and indicated I would be the director of Water Resources,
and that was it.
Chall: Do you think you had any opposition, in any way, among
Gianelli: I suspect that a Republican governor, being elected after a
Democrat had been in for eight years there were a number of people
who probably felt that there were some qualified Republicans
around that should have been appointed to the job. But, as I say,
Reagan, early in his campaign, had indicated that if he were
elected, he would appoint a water engineer from northern California,
and I filled that bill, I guess. And so, as a result, he called
That's really all there was to it. I didn't know him before. He
made it quite clear that he knew very little about the water
issues in California, and that I would be his water man, if I took
the job. I indicated that under those conditions, I would take
the position. And I also indicated that I'd like to have an oppor
tunity to choose some of my deputies, and he indicated a receptive-
ness to that.
So, with that in mind, I accepted the job, and made arrangements
to terminate my partnership in my engineering firm in Sacramento,
and made arrangements to report then, as I recall, right after
Gianelli: the first of the year, which was I think the third of January, or
something like that, right after his inauguration.
Chall: Actually, you'd been out in private practice, it was only about
eight years, during the Brown administration?
Gianelli: Less than that, less than that. I started out as a career state
employee, and advanced through the various civil service ranks
until I got to about the top of the civil service structure. When
I left, I was an assistant. I think my title was Assistant to
the Staff Director, or something like that, to Director Harvey
I stayed throughout the first year of the Pat Brown administration,
and into his second year. And one of the reasons I stayed was that
I was one of the primary witnesses that appeared before the legis
lature in furtherance of the Burns-Porter Act and the legislation
which was sponsored by Governor Edmund G. Brown.
So, actually I left state government, as I recall, in March, that
would have been of 1960. So, I was in private practice from March
of 1960 until January of 1967. So, it was not quite seven years.
Chall: Did you leave the Department of Water Resources because did you
feel that you would have differences of philosophy, or working
arrangements, or something, with William Warne? There was no
place for you?
Gianelli: No. William Warne was not the director at that time. Harvey Banks
carried over as director for about two years. In fact, I think he
stayed until after the election, which was November of 1960, before
he left. I think he left in perhaps January of 1961, or the end
of 1960. So, I never served under William Warne, and the time I
left, it wasn' t known that he would be the director, so I served ..
under Harvey Banks and left during his tenure as director of Water
Chall: Any special reason?
Gianelli: No, I was contemplating a move to southern California at that time.
I'd been appointed district engineer of the southern California
district of the department. This was, as I recall, a few months
before I actually left the department. And so my wife and I
contemplated whether we wanted to move to southern California, or
I'd been on the verge of sort of wanting to try private practice,
anyway, so I would say it was a combination of the potential move
Gianelli : to southern California, plus my own desire to move in the private
sector, because I felt that I'd reached about as far as I could
go in the civil service structure of the department.
Chall: Did you actually start with the, what was it, the Division of
Water Resources at the time, right after your graduation as an
Gianelli: Let me reflect on that a moment. I graduated from the University
of California in 1941, and I was a reserve officer; I'd taken ROTC
at the university. So, I went into the service in July of 1941,
and stayed there until the fall of 1945, I guess it was.
And so when I was discharged from the army, I went to work for the
state engineer's office in Sacramento, and that was the old
Division of Water Resources. In fact, I think I was one of the
first engineers to be employed by the division at that time,
following World War II. So, it was interesting to watch all these
things develop during my tenure .
Chall: You spanned the history of it, actually then through Governor
Gianelli: Yes, Governor Warren was governor at the time that I joined the
state service, and then Goodwin Knight following that. And I
had not quite a year and a half with Governor Edmund G. Pat Brown,
or Pat Brown, Sr. So, I served under those three governors. In
fact, I guess the only governor that I haven't served under was
Jerry Brown, in the water resources area.
Chall: And there were many changes that came about during that period.
Gianelli: Yes. The old Division of Water Resources was a rather small
organization. It was a part of the Department of Public Works in
the state of California. The big change came in 1955, when the
legislature created a separate Department of Water Resources, and
that change was effective, as I recall, in July of 1956.
At that time, Mr. Harvey Banks, who was state engineer, was then
moved into the position of director of Water Resources, and that
is the big change, and that is the time directly preceding the
initiation of the State Water Project, which involved very great
changes in the department.
Chall: There was a lot of controversy. It seemed to me it took a couple
of years before you could get the act passed so that you could go
from a division to a department.
Gianelli: Yes, it was highly controversial, and as I recall, interestingly
enough, I think Caspar Weinberger, who was then a state assembly
man from San Francisco was one of the authors, or one of the prime
movers, in terms of creating the Department of Water Resources.
And that's where I first became acquainted with Mr. Weinberger.
And there was a lot of controversy as to how it should be created.
There was a lot of argument as to the role of the department
versus the California Water Commission. There were some that felt
that the California Water Commission should be the strong agency
in the government, and the department should be sort of a technical
The way the compromise was finally worked was, the department was
the strong agency, with the commission sort of in an advisory
capacity with certain independent functions, but by and large, it
served as an advisory group to the director of Water Resources.
Chall: In your opinion, did that work out well, considering that you were
then in the building phase over those years building the water
Gianelli: I think so. I think the old Division of Water Resources would not
have been an adequate organization, under public works, to carry
on the construction of the State Water Project. So, I think it
was appropriate to create a new department, a Department of Water
Resources, give it a cabinet status, and give it the kind of posture
that was needed in order to carry out the water program that was
Chall: You asked Governor Reagan to have a choice of your deputies, and
as I recall, you appointed two men who had been with the depart
ment for quite a while, in top positions. Golze and Teerink. You
had known them, I guess.
Gianelli: Yes. I had a fundamental change in the organization when I rejoined
the department. When I came in, the organization itself was run
by a chief engineer, who at that time was Mr. Alfred Golze, and
the deputies that the department had, the two deputies I guess at
that time, or perhps three, were used not in a line relationship.
So, as part of our economy move, it occurred to me that if I could
get the appropriate people, that I could use the deputies in a line
capacity, and I could do away with the chief engineer. And so
that's what I did. I created what we call the directorate, with
the three deputy directors. And Mr. Golze, who was in the chief
Gianelli: engineer spot, filled one of them. Mr. Teerink, who was then in
the department still as a civil servant, filled another one. Then
I brought in Mr. Robert Eiland on the outside, who I know
personally, and who had worked for the department many years before,
But at the time I asked him to come back into service, he was in
the private sector.
So, basically what I did was to bring in three engineers two of
them I was well acquainted with and I reorganized the department,
and gave each one of them an area of responsibility, a line area
of responsibility, and they reported directly to me. And so that
was a major change that I made in the organization when I came
in as director.
Chall: Do you think you were able to do that because you were an engineer?
Gianelli: Yes, I think so. I think that the responsibilities that I gave
the deputies, a lot of them were engineering matters, and because
I was an engineer, I thought that we would be able to make this
change. Although I think that subsequent appointments have demon
strated that you can still have a director who is not an engineer,
so long as you have some qualified people underneath him, some
of whom needed to be engineers.
Chall: Right. There was a great deal of work that you would have to do
besides engineering, just solely administrative. How did you
carry out those tasks?
Gianelli: I used the three deputies to carry out the line responsibilitites .
The way we operated was sort of as a team arrangement. I did
most of the legislative work; I did most of the work with outside
agencies, with the federal government, and tasks of that sort.
So, I used my role as sort of an overseer role, and to carry out
some of the things wich I felt were extra sensitive, which needed
my personal attention.
I felt that it worked out very well. I used Mr. Eiland, who,
while he was an engineer, had also had a lot of experience in
administrative and financial matters. So, I used him as my deputy
to work in those areas, and Mr. Golze and Mr. Teerink were largely
confined to the engineering areas.
Mr. Golze, I gave him the basic responsibility for all matters
relating to the construction and design of the State Water Project,
and Mr. Teerink, I gave him all the responsibilities with respect
to the planning, supervision of dam safety, and other functions
which were not specifically related to the construction of the
State Water Project. Mr. Eiland had the administrative matters,
plus the financial consultant, and activities of that sort.
Chall: It was really a juggling act from the very start. It seems to me
that there were so many problems to handle at any time, especially
when it was just starting, and later as you were continuing the
construction. The finances, the liaison work with the federal
government, getting out the budgets, and all that, seem to have
required three balls in the air, maybe four.
Gianelli: One of the things that I knew, by virtue of my exposure in the
private sector, and by virtue of my past experience in the depart
ment, was that the water project was under funded, and that the
Pat Brown administration had not solved that problem, had not
really addressed it, because they were interested in getting the
project going, which they did.
So, one of the things that I felt we needed right off the bat,
soon as I came in, would be an unbiased look at where the project
stood from the financing standpoint. And for someone to take
a look at that, and make some recommendations to our administra
That followed. One of the first things that I did was to get the
governor to appoint a special task force of knowledgeable people
to look at the water project, and to give him a report. I'm
sure you'll be asking questions with respect to that. [The Task
Force on Water Resources]
Chall: In dealing administratively, you had over you which was not so
when you left state office a Resources secretary head of the
Gianelli: Yes, Mr. [Norman] Livermore.
Chall: Did you have, generally, access to the governor, or did you have
to go through Mr. Livermore when you wanted to deal with the
finances, or any other problems that were constantly coming up?
Gianelli: I had the ability to deal directly with the governor, and to deal
with the other state agencies, like the Department of Finance,
directly, which I did. When we came in, the job of Resources
secretary was largely a coordination effort, and a communication
link with the governor's office. It did not have a large staff.
In subsequent years, that staff and the Resources Agency was
built up, and they assumed more responsibilities, but by and large,
Mr. Livermore was there to coordinate the activity of the various
departments under him. He is the one that attended most of the
cabinet meetings, but I did have access to the governor, and that
was one of the things that was understood when I took the position,
that is, that I would have access to the governor, and I did.
Chall: And when you wanted to see him, did you have to go through some
of his staff people first, or could you just walk into his office?
Gianelli: I generally worked through the executive secretary and the cabinet
secretary at that time. We had access to them, and that's normally
the way it would take place. The cabinet secretary would be the
one that would arrange meetings for the various department direc
tors to meet with the governor. So, he was the primary person
that I would deal with in terms of my contacts with the governor.
Chall: Is that Mr. [Win] Adams most of the time?
Gianelli: It varied. First, let's see, it was Mr. [Phillip] Battaglia,
who came in and lasted about a year. Then it was Mr. [William]
Clark, and then it was Mr. [Edwin] Meese. They were executive
secretaries. During a portion of that period there was a cabinet
secretary, too, and Mr. Adams came in, as I recall, under
Mr. Meese in the last two or three years of the administration,
and acted as the cabinet secretary.
I think the people that I indicated to you first were executive
secretaries, and then there were cabinet secretaries. As a matter
of fact, I think Mr. Clark was cabinet secretary when Mr. Battaglia
was executive secretary, and I think there was some shifting of
the people. But by and large, it was either the executive secre
tary, or the cabinet secretary, depending who it was.*
Chall: So, you didn't feel it necessary to contact Mr. Livermore first?
Gianelli: I always kept him informed, and once in a while he would go over
with me in those conversations, other times I would go separately.
So, there was a relationship, and he was pretty well informed on
those things whenever we were going over there.
The Role of the California Water Commission
Chall: I read quite a bit of your [department] material in the Water
Resources Archives at UC Berkeley and it seemed to me that you
*The reader may want to check the list at the back of the volume
to learn of interviews done with these and other members of Governor
kept your water commission quite well informed of what you were
doing at all times.
My view was to use the water commission very largely as the agency
which would have contact with the public. In other words, on
controversial subjects, they would hold hearings, and would provide
recommendations to me. But they would be the forum by which the
public could come in and make presentatations on particular subjects.
And so I used them very extensively that way.
Also, at the time I was director, I felt that there was a conflict
between the director, as the builder of the State Water Project,
and the director, as representing all of the agencies in the state,
say for federal flood control projects. Because it seemed to me,
where I was a competitor in part, as the constructor of the water
project, I was also a competitor with other public agencies in
California for federal funds.
So I didn't want to be accused of trying to influence the appropria
tions, of the State Water Project, when there were many other
projects in California that needed work. So, one of the first
things I did was to assign administratively, the responsibility
for appearances before Congress on appropriations for flood control
projects to the water commission.
Then later on, that was firmed up by way of legislation. So that
was one of the functions which they performed very well, and which
I felt was appropriate, because I was getting funds for Oroville
Dam from the government at that time, for the State Water Project,
and I felt that would put me in a conflicting position asking
for funds for Oroville Dam for flood control, while at the same
time I was supposed to represent other agencies who had flood
control projects in California.
The California Water Commission also had the responsibility to
approve land aquisition by the department and later on was given
the responsibility of naming water project features.
So it worked out very well. I was very pleased with that. In fact,
I was very pleased with the water commission. One other item might
be of interest to you. While I didn't initiate the appointments
to the water commission, the governor's office gave me an oppor
tunity to comment on his prospective appointments. On one or two
occasions he indicated to me that he intended to appoint someone
that I felt was not satisfactory. I felt there were biases by
virtue of some past exposure that I had. As a result he very
graciously did not recommend them for appointment, and so finally
we ended with a commission, that I felt was very objective, and
very good, and very unbiased. And that was one of my great concerns,
Chall: Who wrote all those fine, detailed reports to the water commission?
Did you have somebody who was helping you do that?
Gianelli: Yes, that was done largely through my public information office.
But one of the things that I insisted on was, of course, reviewing
them prior to the time that they were finalized. Very often, I
would give them the subject matter that I wanted them to include.
If there was some matter which I felt that I wanted the commission
to be informed of, that maybe the staff wasn't aware of, I made
certain that the staff included it, and that they got whatever
information they needed in the way of back up in order to make a
presentation to the commission.
So that I spent a lot of time on those, because I viewed my rela
tionship with the commission as a very important one. And I viewed
my reports to the commission as sort of a progress report on what
was happening as far as the department was concerned. I think it
worked out quite well that way.
Chall: Were you close to any of the members of the commission whom you
would see between meetings to go over problems with, an agenda, or
Gianelli: One of the members of the commission was Clair Hill, who was an
engineer from Redding, who I knew a long time before. In fact,
Clair Hill, as I recall, was on the old State Water Board back in
Chall: He did go back a long way, didn't he?
Gianelli: He went back a long way, so I knew him professionally, and would
of course see him frequently. He was also, as I recall, the chair
man of the task force that I had the governor appoint. So, I
had probably an extra close relationship with him.
Then during the years, I developed a close relationship with the
chairman, which was Mr. Jack Chrisman, from Visalia, who originally
had been appointed by Governor Brown, Sr. , and he was the only
appointee on the commission that was carried over by Governor
Reagan. I was very pleased at that, because he was very helpful,
very competent, and a very good chairman.
I would say, those two I worked much closer with on the commission
than the other members, although I would see the other memebers
from time to time, and of course always during commission meetings.
Chall: I understand that you were quite close, as you would be, to all the
water agency people those that we see represented in Western Water
News, one year to the other. And that they even provided you with
an automobile and a chauffeur during your term. Do you recall
No, that's not true at all.
No, that certainly isn't correct at
I just wanted to be sure I got that straight.
[chuckles] No, no, no. No, I had a state car just like everybody
else did. One of the things that I used to do was to do a lot of
my work when I was traveling from place to place in the state car.
In fact, I even had a little light installed in the dashboard so
I could read after dark when I was traveling from point to point.
So I did have a person who drove me on many occasions, so that
I could do a lot of my homework in the car, which I did very exten
That was a state car, that was a state employee, a lot of others
used the state government cars at that time.
It was claimed that you had a Cadillac, and a driver given to you
by the water agencies.
[laughs] Well, that's certainly not true. My first car was a Ford,
which Mr. Warne had used, that I'd obtained. I kept it, as I
recall, for two or three years. Then they had an arrangement where
the directors were able to get a Highway Patrol car, which didn't
have all of the Highway Patrol things on it, but was obtained
under the contracts with the Highway Patrol. I think most of the
directors had those. Those are the only cars I had.
Okay. Just wanted to clear it up.
That's very important,
It's interesting how rumors like that can
That's what we try to clarify by oral history. All right. I think
we'll just get into some of the major controversies that you had
as director, or problems, and then we'll touch on some other
matters as we go along. One other question that I have about the
organization, however, and that is, how did you deal with your
staff? William Warne had a meeting once a week with all his prin
cipal staff people I think at seven-thirty every Monday morning,
something like that and had very careful charts to delineate
where things were going, and a system called PROMPT to help keep
track of the movement of the project. What did you do?
We had what I call a directorate meeting. I think I indicated to
you earlier that by virtue of my appointing the three deputy
Gianelli: directors, we formed a team of four of us. But I augmented that
team, that directorate, with a chief counsel, and then I generally
had the public information officer, and maybe the financial advisor
in at that time, too.
So, we did have a meeting, a weekly meeting. As I recall, it
was eight o'clock every Monday morning it wasn't seven-thirty,
it was eight o'clock and perhaps met for a couple of hours
talking about the past week, talking about the coming week, and
at that time exchanging information back and forth which was
important for all of us to be informed on.
So, basically, organizationally, that's the way I operated,
although we had numerous briefings during the week in which certain
members of the staff were involved on certain subjects. Very
often, the deputies, or some of the deputies, would be involved
with those brief ings, depending upon what the subject was. That's
basically the way I operated.
Chall: You hadn't had any major administrative experience with a large
staff prior to this time?
Gianelli: Only within the Division of Water Resources originally, and then
a little later a little bit with the Department of Water Resources.
But, for example, I was in charge of water-mastering, had all the
water-masters early in my career. And so that involved a dozen
or so employees. Then, when I became the acting district engineer
of the southern district, southern California, before I left state
service, there must have been a hundred or so more people there.
So, I had some administrative experience, primarily within state
Chall: And financing experience?
Solving the Financial Problems in Order to Complete the State
Gianelli: Financing, very little, and that was one of the things I was most
concerned about. We had a financial advisor, and then the state,
at that time, had a financial consultant, which I retained.
Chall: Dillon Read?
Gianelli: Dillon Read in New York. They were with the project since its
inception, so I continued to use them as financial consultant.
Then I had my own person on the staff, senior advisor, Mr. John
Hunt, who was the department's financial advisor, who interfaced
Gianelli: with Dillon Read. All that came under Mr. Eiland, who had had
some experience because he had worked with some construction
agencies, and had had more financial experience than I had. And
that was the chain of command in that particular area.
Chall: I see. Now, when you did get in there, as you say, Reagan himself,
and certainly you, and I'm sure some in the department Mr. Hunt,
in his final report to Mr. Warne thought that there would be
financial problems down the road. So, you developed a task force
to survey and evaluate the project. Can you tell me, not neces
sarily in detail, what their recommendations were? How they
Gianelli: This is one of the things that I felt the governor needed very
badly, would be to have an independent analysis of exactly where
the project stood. Because I, along with many others, knew that
the project was under financed, and that something would have to
be done to take care of that shortfall prior to its completion,
if it were going to be completed successfully.
And I would say the shortfall was no one's particular responsibi
lity; it's the way the Burns-Porter Act developed. And it was,
as I recall in the discussions with Edmund Brown, Sr. It was
his judgement that $1.75 billion general obligation bond issue
was about all that could be sold to the public, and so that
provided a limit .
In addition, as the Burns-Porter Act went through the legislature,
there was some erosion of that by virtue of the Davis-Grunsky Act
the earmarking of a certain amount of it for the Davis-Grunsky
Act, and certain offset provisions. Also there was no amount
provided for cost escalation in the project costs as it went
Again, that was done intentionally because, I think, for two
reasons. As I recall, Governor Brown, Sr. and the department
people, at the earlier stages, felt that no one could tell what
the escalation would be over the period of the construction of
the project. And again, if you'd put in some escalation, it would
have run the cost of the bond issue much over what the judgment
was of the then Governor Edmund Brown Sr. on what the public
might be able to vote for successfully.
So there was no doubt about it in my mind that we had a great
problem, particularly in the financial area. And there were also
some difficult engineering problems. One of the big arguments
when I came in was just starting to develop. That was how should
the state get the water over the Tehachapi mountains. There were
arguments with the Metropolitan Water District as to how that
should be done.
Gianelli: So, I knew that there were both very difficult engineering problems
that still had to be faced by the department, as well as the finan
cial problem. The assignment of the task force mission was prima
rily to look at the problem of financing, but also to give us any
other views they had with respect to the project as they looked
And that's why I. asked the governor to put on this task force
a variety of people who had expertise in a variety of professions.
Gianelli: We needed to look at the project in depth. We wanted them to give
us some specific recommendations. I'd say that worked out very
well, because, as 1 recall, only a few months after we were in
office, I think still the spring of 1967, the task force came
up with a report and pointed out that we were going to be some
$300 million shy, I think by 1972, and $600 million shy by 198Q
or whatever the date was, to complete the project as it was then
So then I had the problem of, "What do we do about it?" and that
leads into a number of other things which I'm sure you'll be
interested to ask questions on.
Chall: All right. You're talking about finishing it as it was designed.
In that $600 million figure, you were considering also the Drain
and Peripheral Canal?
Gianelli: Certain elements, yes. There were certain contributions made
for both of those items as I recall, in the $600 million deficit,
because they were originally projected to be completed by the
1980s, so they were included in it. I don't believe they were
both included in the 1972 shortfall, because I think the Drain
was estimated to come on at a later date, and I think the
Peripheral Canal was , too .
At any rate, the six hundred did include, as I recall, those items.
The three hundred, that we had to face by 1972, I think were not.
Chall: You then, and I guess the task force also, thought you might delay
some construction like the Eel River and the Peripheral Canal.
Gianelli: The Eel River came along later, and that's another subject. You
see, the state had contracts with all the water service agencies,
and the financial integrity of the water project depended upon
the state delivering water to those water supply contractors, so
they could make a payment to the state, so the state could retire
their bonds .
Gianelli: So, my concern was to complete those features which would protect
the integrity of the State Water Project. Others could be delayed
for a later date, and also, I felt that some of the facilities
could be staged. In other words, you wouldn't need the full water
requirements right away so you could add on features later.
But my number one concern was to build those things which were
necessary to supply water to the thirty-one water supply contrac
tors, to maintain the financial integrity of the project. Because
every administration that had been involved with the project
indicated that it would be so designed so as not to be a lien on
the general tax base of the state.
What that meant was that you had to so design the project that
basically the revenues from it, water and power primarily, would
pay the cost of debt service, and so forth. And so this was of
great concern to me, and this is the thing we focused an awful
lot of attention on early in our time.
When our administration came into office, only a small part of
the State Water Project was under construction. It is interesting
to note that during my tenure as director, all of the State Water
Project facilities from Oroville Dam on the Feather to Ferris Dam
on Riverside County were completed and placed in operation. As
I recall, we expended over $1% billion during this period. That
is why project financing was so important.
Chall: In order to get some of that funding, you either had to cut back,
or stage, or delay, or you had to get money someplace else, or
you had to do a little of each, I suppose.
Gianelli: Yes, but we still had a chance to dictate which parts of the
project would be constructed or staged.
Chall: At the same time, as I understand it, there was some concern that
the State Water Project at least on the part of Alan Post, and
I'm sure others that the State Water Project would be monopolizing
the state's bonding capacity.
Gianelli: That's correct.
Chall: If you issued more bonds, you'd have to cut somewhere else if you
didn't cut the water project. So, I suppose there was quite a lot
of controversy over just what to do about raising funds.
Gianelli: Yes. Yes, there was.
Chall: How did you deal with that through the legislature and with the
Department of Finance?
Gianelli: The way I dealt with the overall problem was that after we received
the task force report, which identified the shortfalls of money at
certain dates, I then asked the staff to come up with certain
recommendations with respect to how the project might be staged.
And so we did. I have these several volumes here which include
the task force report, the staff's response, and then finally
what we did about those things. And what we did basically was
a combination of things.
We first of all scaled back some of the, you might say, the more
luxurious parts of the project which were not absolutely necessary
for the operation of the project.
Chall: What might those have been?
Gianelli: Well, for example, there were some very elaborate visitor centers
proposed; there were some very elaborate recreation facilities.
Some of the installations were gold plated, at least I felt. So,
we looked at all of those things with the idea of scaling them
back to the absolute minimum to perform the services which they
had to perform.
We were also able to stage some of the facilities. For example,
as I recall, we didn't have to put all of the pumps in the
Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta at that time, because it would be
quite a number of years before the full quantity of water was
needed. We also limited some of the capacity of the pumps at the
Tehachapi mountains, for the same reason. And some of the siphons
as you get south of the mountains, where there were two siphons
we constructed one of them.
So, we did a number of things which, for example, delayed parts of
the project which ultimately would have to be built, but which
were not needed right away. Because we viewed our financial
problem as one that would occur in the next ten or fifteen years
to complete the basic project. And we felt if we could do that,
then we could pick up some of these other things later.
The Tidelands Oil Funds
Gianelli: Originally, it was intended that all of the tidelands oil funds
would be dedicated to the water project. And during the Edmund
G. Brown administration, they, I think, sponsored legislation the
legislature went along with it that eliminated all of the tide-
lands oil funds, except, as I recall, $11 million a year. So,
Gianelli: one of the things that I did, then, with the governor's support,
was to go back to the legislature and get, as I recall, an addi
tional $14 million a year contributed from the tidelands oil funds,
which made up a total of $25 million annually.
So that, combined with the austerity measures, would allow us to
get through, as I recall, 1972, which is a key date. 1972 and
1973 were the dates when we would complete the project all the way
into southern California, and that was my primary concern. So,
we were able to both cut down parts of the project that could be
deferred, and we did get additional financing largely through the
legislature, with the governor's support, to give us additional
funding to complete the initial features of the project.
Chall : But you also did, with the tidelands oil funds, you put them into
the construction fund, and waived, for a year or two, the offset
Gianelli: That's correct.
Chall: That's very interesting. The offset, or set aside, or whatever
it's called that's important.
Gianelli: What you're referring to is that the legislation as it went
through, the Burns-Porter Act, provided that to the extent the
Department used tidelands oil funds, these funds would offset a
similar amount of the one and three-quarter billion bond issue
for future additions to the Project. And I'd say that was done
largely at the insistence of Senator George Miller, from Contra
Senator Miller was concerned because of his interest in the Delta.
And he was fearful that if you didn't provide for future additions
to the project, the project, in order to meet its contractual
commitments, might take too much water out of the Delta, and harm
certainly his constituency, and the Contra Costa Bay Area. George
Miller had two concerns. One of them was the offset provisions.
The other one was that we build the canal that goes from the Delta
to San Luis extra large to take care of the flood flows. George
Miller was responsible for those two things, I know personally
from my own exposure to them and my own dealings with them.
Chall: So, even though he opposed you, he made absolutely sure that the
water project was going to be an effective one.
Gianelli: Right. You're right. And would be of less detriment to them;
that was his theory. See, he felt that if there wasn't enough
water, we might try to let the salt come in farther, so that would
Gianelli: hurt his people. And he felt that if the canal wasn't big enough,
that then we would take water out during the dry part of the year,
when they needed it in Contra Costa County . That's why he insisted
on that thing.
So those two provisions were very important to him and to his cons
tituents. But it's interesting now how people from that area have
twisted that around. A lot of people in that area are supporters
of Wild and Scenic Rivers. They're against going to the north
coast. And that's what George Miller was for, was for diversion
of the north coast. It's interesting.
So that was one of the background reasons why the offset was set
in there, and you're correct, we did get some waiver of that. And
as a matter of fact, I think to this day, there is still some of
the $1.75 billion bond issue that has been set aside and has not
been used for augmenting the supplies of the State Water Project.
My recollection is that it's about $165 million.
Chall: Yes, it's between $165 and $168 million. Depends upon what you
happen to be reading. But, had the project had enough funds, I
guess it was expected that the set-aside funds would pay for all
the augmentation coming up, which it never will, of course.
Gianelli: Well, the $160 now will not begin to meet what's probably required
in the way of shortfalls, as far as the project yield is concerned,
the 4.4 million acre-feet that's ultimately going to be required
under the contracts.
Chall: That was an interesting feature of the Burns-Porter Act. Did
it take a great deal of work with the legislature to do away with
that offset provision?
Gianelli: Well, yes. One of the key people, of course, was Senator Gordon
Cologne. Senator Gordon Cologne was the chairman, as I recall, of
the Senate Water Committee. But more than that, Senator Cologne
represented Riverside County, and Riverside County was the tail end
of the State Water Project. Ferris Reservoir was to be constructed
in Riverside County.
I made it very clear that I was not going to go ahead to start the
construction of Perris Reservoir until I could see enough funds
available to finish it if I started it. He was originally very
critical of me for taking that position, because of the adverse
impact on his constituents. But I felt I had to unless I could get
additional funds, because I didn't want to start a facility that
couldn't be finished.
So, finally then, after we got over the wrangling back and forth,
and some of the accusations he made [laughs] about what we were
doing, we did work together very closely. And, as I said, he was
very much responsible for carrying that ball through the legis
lature, getting us additionl tideland oil fund money for use in
completing the project.
There was quite a bit of criticism, I guess,
of taking it away
Gianelli: Oh, yes, there was a great argument at that time primarily
between education and the water people as to who would get it.
Originally, when we didn't know, back in the sixties, what might
be in the tideland oil fund, Governor Brown, I can remember his
s-tatement during his inauguration, said, "We ought to take the
money that we secure from one resource, oil, and use it to
develop another resource, water."
Chall: Exactly. He did say that.
Gianelli: It was contemplated that all of it would be used. Then, as they
got into the tideland thing, it was obvious that it was going to
generate much more funds than originally contemplated, and that's
when, I think, during the senior Brown administration I wasn't
in the state government, but my recollection is that they decided
to limit what the State Water Project could get, and that the
rest would go to education.
And there were a few other people that had a tap on that tidelands
oil fund. I don't recall what they were; they were minor amounts,
But education was the biggy.
Chall: Yes. And William Warne did have his disagreement with the Brown
administration over that, but they said, "Eventually, you'll get
the money, so let's put it into education now, because that's
where we need it." So, eventually, of course, you did.
Gianelli: We got it back. At least, we got part of it back.
Chall: Yes. And then probably the most creative thing you did was to
do away for a while with the offset provision because that really
would tie up a lot of money.
Chall: I have a question about the tidelands oil money which I still
don't entirely understand. I always feel that if I don't under
stand it, somebody doing research twenty years from now may not
understand it either. I'm going to read to you from a publica
tion which I know you are familiar with Western Water published
by the Western Water Education Foundation.
Gianelli: I'm president of that organization, now.
Chall: They do a good job of education on the subject of water.
Gianelli: They try to balance the issues.
Chall: This is about the tidelands oil money and the financing of the
State Water Project. "The portion of tidelands oil money appro
priated for the construction of the State Water Project is
deposited in a fund called the California Water Fund. Under the
Burns-Porter Act, the state Department of Water Resources is
required to reimburse-; the California Water Fund for money
appropriated (presently about $25 million a year) . Today the
tidelands oil repayment obligation totals $437 million. Public
agencies purchasing water from the State Water Project eventually
will repay tidelands' oil funds with interest. Reimbursement of
the water fund is made from monies recieved from the sale of water
and power after all bond, operation, and maintenance expenses
have been met."*
What I don't understand I can understand construction, and I
can understand paying back the sale of the bonds, but operation
and maintenance expenses I thought was separate, because that
goes on forever.
Gianelli: No, let me see if I can help you a little bit. The income that
the state gets from the sale of water and power has certain
priorities attached to the use of that money. The first one
is operation and maintenance, the theory being, you've got to
operate it and maintain it if you don't do anything else. I'm
not sure of all these priorities, but I'm just giving you the
Then I think the next one maybe is repayment of bond obligations;
that's the next call on those monies, and so forth. Somewhere
down the line, your bonds that you've issued will start to be
paid off, and at that time, the priority is such that then you'll
have to start to repay the general fund for the tideland oil
monies that have been used.
In other words, the theory being that they didn't have to be
repaid right away, but that they would have to be repaid when you
developed sufficient revenues to repay them. So, it's contem
plated, as I recall, that the repayment of those will take place,
*Rita Schmidt Sudman, "Cost Sharing; The State Water Project,"
Western Water, November /December 1983, p. 6.
Gianelli: and phase in, with the repayment of the revenue bonds, which are
of a higher priority. In other words, it eventually has to be
paid, but it doesn't have to be paid right now. That's what
it's trying to say right there.
Chall: Maintenance and operation, of course, is continual, and so that
comes out of
Gianelli: The revenues we get. Oh, yes, that's the first priority. Yes,
Chall: These bonds, I think, what, many of them fifty-year
Gianelli: Forty -year bonds, I think by and large, forty and maybe some
Chall: And after that the money will just come out of
Gianelli: After that, then we pay this $400 million you see, that we're
Chall: That's for some other day.
Gianelli: That will be for tomorrow.
Chall: For tomorrow. For wherever they're going to get the rest of the
water to fill in the contracted obligation.
Gianelli: Sure, at that time, maybe they'll have to be using it, a lot of
it for capital improvement, as you point out that $165 million is
not going to be adequate. So, either they'll have to sell
additional bonds between now and then, or wait until those bonds
are retired, and you pay off the water fund, and then you can
use the surplus .
In other words, you won't drop the price down, you'll keep the
price up, just like we're doing on our toll bridges. Originally,
the theory was that you'd pay off the toll bridges, and they'd
be free. And you know what's happened; they decided to use the
revenue on a continual basis, like they did for the Bay bridge,
and they're using it for highways or whatever else, now.
Chall: They even increased it. But presumably the water users are
paying for their project.
Gianelli: They will pay for everything except those things which the legis
lature's designated to be paid for from the general fund, like
some of the recreation, fishing enhancement.
The Electric Power Contracts
Gianelli: Yes. The other thing we did, which we'll probably get to later,
Chall: You may as well get to it before I do. I have no objection.
Gianelli: Well, the other part of the ultimate package of financing was
to generate the ability to sell additional bonds. And we were
able to do that; we were able to sell additional bonds by
virtue of a unique arrangement we worked out at Oroville for the
disposition of Oroville-Thermalito power. We subsequently did
it in southern California with connection to some of the power
that was generated down there.
Those additional revenue bond issues generated additional funds
for the State Water Project.
Chall: My understanding of the Oroville-Thermalito power arrangement was
that it was already set to go before Mr. Warne left office.
Gianelli: There were discussions about it, but it wasn't set because I
think most of the negotiations took place during the first year
or two of our administration.
Chall: I see.
Gianelli: But I think it was hoped that that could be worked out. But
we're the ones that finally negotiated the final arrangement.
Chall: The arrangement had to be worked out with all the private power
Gianelli: Power utilities in the state.
Chall: Did that entail also some acceptance by the federal government,
because they were utilities? Was there anything involved with
Gianelli: We had to have a federal power license in Oroville, and that was
quite a problem, getting a federal power license. And I can't
recall all of the issues that were involved in securing that
license, but I know that it took a very long time.
And we had to have that license as I recall, before the bond
people indicated we were able to market our bonds. So there
was a deep involvement that involved the Federal Power Commission
and the issuance of the federal power license for the Oroville-
Gianelli: One of those problems was that we had to have the time of the
federal power license coincide with the length of the bonds the
time period for the pay-out of the bonds. There was a ten-year
gap we had to work out with the Federal Power Commission so that
we could make sure that the federal power license would go long
enough so that the Oroville-Thermalito revenue bonds could be
paid off, and that was a difficult period.
Chall: I think something like 1983 or '84
Gianelli: Things have happened subsequent to that arrangement. Under
the Jerry Brown administration, they terminated the contract that
originally was entered into, then resold it for a higher value
to, I think, Southern California Edison.
But there was a subsequent development with respect to Oroville-
Thermalito power, but the point that I was concerned with, and
the point that was important to us was that we. be able to use
the power contract to generate as I recall, another $230 million
or $240 million of revenue bond issue capability to help complete
some of the portions of the project which were still coming along
Chall: How does it work? What was the contract, as a matter of fact?
These companies say that they will take the electricity, and sell
it back to you at a certain rate?
Gianelli: Well, no. Basically it was that the three private power companies
would agree to get all the power that we generated from the
Oroville-Thermalito complex. In return for that, they would pay
the state somewhere around $14 million a year for that power out
We took that contract then, with that payment, and converted it
to the revenue bond issue. The reason that was necessary was
because during the operation of a project, you have dry years and
you have wet years. And so they were taking a chance that the
whole thing would average out so that they could get enough
revenue from the power that they obtained to make this $14 million
payment to the state every year, which I think probably has worked
out, or did work out.
Chall: What about the power that was needed to get the water over the
Gianelli: Then we had a power suppliers' contract. The power suppliers'
contract was entered into between the three private utilities and
the city of Los Angeles Department of Water and Power. And
they agreed to furnish power to the State Water Project at a
certain price, under certain conditions, under a certain demand.
Gianelli: Now, the reason we worked out that arrangement was that the
Oroville-Thermalito power could be developed to meet peaking
requirements of these agencies, these private power companies.
Because the great demand at that time was for peaking power;
it was worth a very great deal more to them than just base load.
But the pumping requirements for the project we could work out
and take off-peak power. So, it worked out from a financial
standpoint to sell the power we generated, which was largely on-
peak power, to the power companies we could get more for it
and then to buy from these same utilities, plus the city of
Los Angeles, off-peak power, to run the pumps. And that was the
arrangement that we had.
Chall: Takes quite a bit of arranging, doesn't it?
Gianelli: That's right. And it worked out financially because of the
difference of value in the kind of power that you develop and
in the kind of power you give.
Chall: That is very expensive, that power bill.
Gianelli: Well, it is now. The original arrangement with the power sup
pliers, as I recall, was that they guaranteed the price, up to
a certain period, and I'm not clear now exactly what that period
was. It seems to me it might have been around 1983.
Chall: That's probably the 1983 that I'm thinking of.
Gianelli: Yes, it could have been 1983, could have been '83. They guaran
teed the price of power. Then, subsequent to that, the price
of power went up very dramatically. Of course, we had a lot of
problems prior to that time with respect to the cost of power.
Chall: I should say. In the early seventies, when the power rates went
up quite high I mean, it was a very great move up because of
the embargo then what happened? Did they retain this same
Gianelli: Yes; the contract, as I say, provided for power to be provided
by the power suppliers at a certain rate up until 1983. As a
matter of fact, I wasn't director during this latter period, but
my recollection is that those private utilities and the city of
Los Angeles tried very hard to get out of that obligation. But
they could not, and so it cost them a very great deal to carry
out the obligations of the contract.
Chall: Also, later on, one of your problems was to raise the interest
rate. That required a ballot measure.* What happened to the
contracts that had already been signed in 1961 for the repayment
of transportation and maintenance, and construction? When the
interest rates went up, then in about 1972, did you have to change
the contracts in any way?
Gianelli: No, the contract provided that the water users, and the power
users, on a different basis, would have to pay whatever cost the
department incurred to build the project. And as interest rates
went up, then that meant that on new bond issues, there would be a
higher debt payment to make, and so that was reflected in the
amount which the department collected from those thirty-one water
Chall: So their rates went up quite a bit, too, over the years.
Gianelli: Yes. The capital investment had been made, and those bonds had
been sold, so they had a very favorable interest rate. We had
some in the early part of our regime that went for, I think,
three or four percent.
Chall: They were going for under five, yes.
Gianelli: And even when we finished the basic project in 1973, the meld
of all those interest rates was, as I recall, still in the neigh
borhood of four something.
Chall: Is that so?
Gianelli: Very low. Because it had some very low rates, and they had not
gone up by the time we sold the basic bond issue. The bond
issues that came along later, like the revenue bonds issued, were
higher. Some of those, if you were going to sell them today,
would be marketed at a much higher rate.
As I remember, we had to go to the legislature, because I think
there was a six or seven percent limit on what the state could
pay, and we had to get that raised, which we did through, as you
pointed out, a legislative measure, and a subsequent ballot
*Proposition 7 on the June, 1970 ballot, increased the interest
ceiling on bonds from five percent to seven percent.
Chall: I'm not sure, but I think it was five, and I think you had to
raise it to seven, though I could be wrong.
Gianelli: I think that may be right. Five raised to seven. I think that
may be right. But there was a limitation which we had to address
in later years.
Chall: Oh, yes. In the senior Brown administration, with respect to
power and the concern about the large acreages, particularly in
the Kern County area, Governor Brown had said that he would
charge, for the use of power, to those owning 160 acres or less,
the going cost of delivering the water including only the cost
to pump it.* For those over 160 acres it was the market value
of the power used to pump water to the land. i' m sure that's
something you never paid attention to.
Gianelli: There was a big argument, however, over whether or not the state
ought to do what the federal government did in terms of some sort
of restriction on acreage that could be irrigated. There was a
big argument on that. But, as I remember, that was finally
reconciled on the basis that the State Water Project users were
not getting a subsidy, like the federal government users.
The federal government, the users, at that time, of a hundred
and sixty acres or less, were exempt from the interest component,
so that made their water costs very low. But with the state
project, they were not exempt from the interest component, and
so I think there was no such restriction on the use of water for
those under a state contract as there was under a federal contract,
Chall: That's right. However, between 1960 and '61, as a matter of
fact, I think one of Brown's statements during the bond issue
campaign and before the contracts were finally negotiated was
that power would be sold at two prices. For those of a hundred
and sixty acres or less, the price of power would be the actual
cost; and for those owning a hundred and sixty acres or more,
the price of power at market value.
Gianelli: I don't understand that, because, as I indicated to you, the main
source of power was contracted with the Pacific Gas and Electric
*See Edmund G. Brown, Sr. "The California Water Project: Personal
Interest and Involvement in the Legislation, Public Support, and
Construction, 1950-1966," and oral history interview conducted
in 1979, in California Water Issues, 1950-1966, Regional Oral
History Office, The Bancroft Library, University of California
Berkeley, 1981, pp. 43a-A3b.
Company and the other two private utilities, and that was at a
fixed rate. Now there were a lot of negotiations that led up to
what they would pay, but I don't remember, and I don't see how
it could have worked, to have a different price for power that
you charge for an individual who had a different acreage.
I don't know how they would have worked it out.
those things that he said in his campaign.
It was one of
I can't see how that could have worked. Of course, he didn't know
at that time what the arrangements would be on the sale of power.
But I think the practical problem was that we were faced with
trying to get the most out of that power that we could. And
there was a limited market for it, mainly the big private utilities
within the state.
Regarding this money that you received from the raising of the
rate, the interest rate
You mean the ability to sell bonds?
Yes, at the higher interest rate. SB621 was the bill that gave
you your additional monies from the tidelands oil. You also
recieved a $100 million loan from the general fund, as I under
stand it, while you were waiting results of Proposition 7.
That gave you some other opportunity to move ahead. Otherwise
you would have been maybe waiting for a while. And weren't
there some short term
Yes. I can't remember the $100 million loan, but we did issue
some bond anticipation notes. And the reason we issued the bond
anticipation notes is because that was before the interest ceiling
was raised, and that was the only way we could market any bonds
which we needed to carry out the construction. They were for a
year or so duration, and they were subsequently refunded, or
whatever happens to them when the long-term bonds are issued.
But that's right. As I remember, they were called bond anticipa
tion notes, of about a year's duration, to get us over some of
our hurdles when we couldn't sell regular bonds.
When you were doing this kind of maneuvering, as it were, finan
cially, did you work primarily with the Department of Finance and
with Dillon Read? What about Ivy Baker Priest? Was she instru
Oh, yes, Ivy Baker Priest was very important because she was the
person that kept in touch with all of the people on the sale of
state bonds. We worked, for example, through her, and through
Gianelli: our financial consultant, Dillon Read. I used to go back and meet
periodically with the bond people, potential bond customers and
the rating bureaus in New York to bring them up to speed on our
project, so there was very close coordination between the state
Treasurer's office and our office.
Finance was involved, but not, it seems to me, as extensively
as the state Treasurer's office, because we were dealing with
largely marketing of bonds, and while Finance was involved with
a lot of issues, of course, I don't recall them being one of the
We had a committee, and I'm just trying to remember what it was
called, a bond finance committee, that had to approve the sale
of the bonds, and the need for them, and all that. The director
of Finance was on that, and Ivy Baker Priest was on it, and the
director of Water Resources was on it. I don't remember whether
there were any others or not.
But anyway, they were all very deeply involved in what was going
on. But the state Treasurer was particularly a key person.
Chall: Was she knowledgeable about these kinds of issues?
Gianelli: Yes, she was knowlegeable . She had a very competent staff that
we worked with. Remember, Mrs. Priest had been a U.S. Treasurer
before she came back to California and was elected state
treasurer. So, she had quite a bit of background in the financial
area, and knew a great number of people in the financial area
in New York, which was very helpful to us. But she also had
a very competent staff who we worked very closely with.
Chall: That's a key spot, the treasurer of the state.
Gianelli: Yes, it was very key. It was very key to us at that time, because
of her relationship and her advice on marketing of the bonds. She
had all the other bond issues to market, too, and that was a big
concern to her, that the bonds would be sold at an appropriate
rate to keep the state's double A rating, which she was very proud
Setting Policies for Recreation
Chall: You'd have to be concerned with that. Now, another place, I think,
where you were able to cut back on some of your expenses was with
respect with the Davis-Do Iwig Act, or recreation in general.
Chall: There seemed to be quite a bit of funding projected from the State
Water Project for that; just philosophically, apparently, because
money was not in the bill for Davis-Do Iwig. It was for Davis-
Somewhere, I guess in your material, it was estimated, in 1966,
that ten percent of the project going to recreation would be
borne by the state, and a very large share of the total would be
in the state park funds.
Gianelli: Yes, let me talk about that a minute, because I think it is an
important part of the project and there was a lot of discussion
on it in the early years. In addition to the task force, which
the governor appointed to look at the financing of the State Water
Project, he also appointed a recreation task force, headed by a
man who was the executive director of the Wildlife Conservation
Board, Raymond Nesbit.
At any rate, the point of it was we asked them to look at the
potential recreational needs, and development around the State
Water Project, and to make certain recommendations, which they
did. And we did you're correct we cut down materially on some
of the things that were originally hoped could be built, as
recreation, as part of the State Water Project.
And as a matter of fact, I think it was during our term we worked
out an arrangement where there were bond issues specifically for
recreation development around the project. Those monies would
not come from the water project customers, they would come from
the general fund, the argument being that recreation would benefit
such a large segment of the population that it was not appropriate
to charge the water users and power users for that recreation
benefit rather than the general taxpayer. So then there were
bond issues that were related specifically to those recreation
features of the project under Davis-Do Iwig which the task force
Gianelli: Certain of the recreation facilities needed to be built around
the project. One of the major problems we had was that as the
reservoirs were completed, they created a body of water, and they
were really an attraction, then, for visitors. So we gave extra
priority to the recreation around our reservoir areas where the
public would come in anyway, so that we'd have some way to take
care of them.
I think the recreation development that's taken place has been
appropriate. It's been funded, as I say, independently of the
Gianelli: water project fund, and I think the experience demonstrates its
being used by a broad segment of the public. That was a difficult
problem, as was the fish and wildlife connected with the recrea
Chall: I understand you had quite a bit of difficulty with the fish and
Gianelli: The Department of Fish and Game.
Chall: The Department of Fish and Game. Their concerns were not always
the same as yours, so there was controversy. And how did you
Gianelli: That was a difficult one. That was true even with the Department
of Recreation, to a certain extent. In other words, you had other
departments, particularly in the Resources Agency, that had other
responsibilities. For example, the Department of Fish and Game,
I'm sure, felt its responsibility was to protect and to enhance
the fisheries of the state.
While we had no argument with that, we felt that the project
should be limited to what the water users were going to pay for
to those things which were necessary for mitigation. So, we
always had a continuing argument of what involved mitigation and
what involved enhancement .
I'll never forget the situation that we had in Oroville. For
example, the fishery people were concerned that we have cold water
for the fish hatchery that was eventually constructed at Oroville
for the salmon and the steelhead. They were fearful that if the
water wasn't cold enough, the hatcheries would not operate properly.
So, at great expense, we incorporated into the design of Oroville,
these multiple-level outlets where you could control the tempera
ture by drawing from the lower part of the reservoir where the
water would be much colder. So, we designed the dam and the
reservoir with those cold water outlets in place for the hatchery.
The first year of operation at the hatchery, it turned out a lot
of the small fish died of cold water virus because the water was
too cold. So then we had to come along, and we went out and
bought groundwater from the Oroville- Thermalito Irrigation District
to heat up the water for the hatchery, after we'd made it cold at
the request of fish and game. So, I used to kid Director [Ray]
Arnett, director of Fish and Game at that time, that he cost the
water project users a lot of money by his calculation that they
needed cold water, and when we provided the cold water, it was
too cold, and we had to heat it up again.
Their continual arguments, I would say, were concerning the amount
of water you had to release from a reservoir down the stream to
maintain the fishery, and things of that nature. So, we had a lot
of interface with the Department of Fish and Game, and consider
able, I would say, disagreement with them on what we had to pay
for and what was appropriate for someone else to pay for. That's
largely what it came down to.
The reimbursable and the non-reimbursable expenses.
I suppose that there's some way to solve some of these problems
scientifically, but it looks as if so much of it has been kind
of trial and error like cold water; how cold is cold?
Right. One of the things that we found out, and I guess a lot of
people already knew, was that fishery biology in not an exact
science, and when one tries to predict how a fish would behave,
you're really kind of not too sure sometimes whether your projec
tions are correct. For example, it was never believed that any
kind of a fish could survive a two thousand foot pumping lift at
the Tehachapis in southern California. Yet, after we operated
those big pumps, we found some fish in the aqueduct in southern
California that only could have gotten there through these big
pumps. And that was absolutely amazing to the fishery biologist
who claimed that could never happen. Yet, there it was; it was
So, what I think part of our problem was, and I might say if
you haven't come across it, I'm sure you would that we at one
point in time went and hired some outside fishery biologists,
which created a big controversy within the Resources Agency, and
within the administration. But I felt that we, the Department of
Water Resources, were paying the bill, and had to make certain
we had the best expertise in an unbiased way on some of the
And I thought that the Department of Fish and Game, for example,
did not have that responsibility, and that they would be asking
for more than they would really be entitled to under a mitigation
measure, which was our area of responsibility. So, we had quite
a number of very heated sessions, a
lot of them in the Resources
Were Mr. Livermore and his people there?
Mr. Livermore and his people were there, and also the Department
of Fish and Game of course was there. And during the first part
Gianelli: of our administration, Mr. [Walter] Shannon was the director of
Fish and Game, and he was a carryover from the Pat Brown adminis
Then, as I recall, two years or so into the administration,
Mr. Shannon left, and Mr. Arnett was appointed. Mr. Arnett
finished part of the first term, and finished the second term
with the Reagan administration in Sacramento.
Chall: Was he a career man in the department as Mr. Shannon had been?
Gianelli: No, he was not. He was a very active sportsman, a very avid
hunter and fisherman, and he later became president of the National
Wildlife Federation. This is subsequent to his term. But my
point was I think he was basically a geologist, but he was very
active in the fishery community by virtue of his personal, private
life, and so he was apparently selected because of his being a
sportsman, or however you would call it someone very interested
in fish and wildlife.
Chall: When you hired your own people, did you hire them to put on your
staff, or as consultants?
Gianelli: As consultants. Two of them were from the state of Washington,
and one of them was on the staff of Humboldt State University.
These were all world-wide fishery recognized experts . And they
were for specific assignments, too.
Chall: Did they help?
Gianelli: I thought they helped. They gave us an independent view of some
things that we were getting from the Department of Fish and Game,
which we felt were more in tune with our areas of responsibility.
Chall: I see. What about William Penn Mott? Was he concerned, in terms
of how much money was going into parks around the reservoirs
instead of someplace else?
Gianelli: Yes. He was concerned similarly as the director of Parks and
Recreation. In other words, he had responsibility for parks
within the state. Let me say, going back a number of years,
the Park Department of the state, (it was the Division of Parks,
I think it was called) was largely interested in historic sites,
and preserving monuments, and things like that. They were not
actively involved in the operation of recreation facilities.
So, during our administration, as I recall, the Department of
Parks and Recreation went from that sort of an organization to
actually an operation that was operational in terms of operating
the recreation facilities. And we built many of them, and then
Gianelli: turned them over to the parks people to operate. As a matter of
fact, the State Water Project paid for certain parks and recreation
employees to operate the recreation facilities.
Chall: But that would mean that anybody in Parks and Recreation would be
quite concerned about developing a sort of all around kind of park
department, rather than having it more water oriented than some
thing else. And then their budget, of course, would be affected.
Gianelli: Yes. The water project paid them for a lot of the work that they
did around the water project.
Chall: Does it still?
Gianelli: It still does. Certain of the facilities, particularly around
the reservoirs, I think the park people now, are reimbursed from
the Department of Water Resources. They were for a while. I'm
not completely informed on what's going on now, but I suspect
that's still the case.
There's one thing that should be mentioned at this point in time,
that tied in with the early part of the project, and that was the
governor's Task Force on Governmental Efficiency. I don't know
whether you recall, but the governor, early in the administration,
asked a number of businessmen in California to come to Sacramento,
and asked a number of the big corporations to assign some of
their top personnel for a period of time to the various state
agencies to look at their organizations, and to make recommenda
The Department of Water Resources was one of the state agencies
where we had a part of this government efficiency team with us for
about six months. And they made something like seventy or eighty
recommendations on how the department could improve its operation,
looking at it from the businessman, private venture standpoint.
And as I remember, we implemented sixty or seventy of those
recommendations that were made, a lot of them to do with organiza
tion, and contracting out things of this nature. Some of them
we couldn't implement because it required legislation, and involved
other people, and so forth. Early in our administration, if you
look at the governor's overall program, you'll probably run into
that task force, or its reports, which dealt not only with water
resources, but dealt with state governemt generally. That was
an important part in the early days of our administration also.
Chall: I wasn't sure whether those recommendations had come from the task
force on water, or where they had come from.
Gianelli: Those were separate task forces with separate missions, and they
each performed independently. My recollection is that the Water
Resources Task Force came out with its recommendations, I think
in May of '67, and I think that the other one took a year or some
thing like that.
Chall: Oh, that's why. I kept running into the task force, and different
dates, and I did get confused about which was which. Did you find
that there was a valid carryover in terms of administration from,
let's say, a business point of view, and a point of view of what
can be done or accomplished in a governmental agency? Can it be
transferred over as if it were a private business?
Gianelli: No, not completely. There are some things you can do, but I think
there are some things that the government can do, that the private
sector can't do, and vice versa. So, I would say when you have
that kind of an exposure you have to try and sort them out as to
which things are applicable to government, and which things are not,
I think there is still considerable argument in those general areas,
Chall: But you were in some ways, in the Department of Water Resources at
least, carrying on what might be considered a business.
Gianelli: Yes, more so than some agencies, because as I view it, we were
under very tight arrangements on the money that we had, and what
we had to use it for, and that we had to repay it. Most govern
mental agencies, and this is of course what I ran into at the
federal level (I don't know if you want to talk about that later)
but one of the big differences is that the federal water agencies,
for example, get money from the federal government, and they don't
ever worry if it's ever paid back or not.
But in the state, in the department, where we had to pay off bonds,
and the administration was committed not to tap the general fund
to pay off those bonds, it put a great restraint, and a different
complexion on the operation of the Department of Water Resources
from the other departments of the state government.
While it was good in a way, it was difficult because you had a lot
of the governmental constraints that hindered your ability to
operate strictly as a business.
Chall: Like what kind of constraints?
Gianelli: Like approvals, inability to make independent decisions, impact
on other state agencies, other control agencies who would have
something to say about what you were doing, the Department of
Finance, for example.
Personnel; Building Up and Reducing Staff
Even, I guess, personnel.
Personnel was very difficult. The other thing that we did, as I
recall, (my figures may be a little off, but I think this is
indicative of the magnitude), we reached a peak level of employ
ment in the department two or three years after I came aboard,
and I think the figure was something like 4600 employees. You
had to recruit people with special expertise, and doing that
under the civil service rules was very difficult, so that was
a very great concern.
Than we had the opposite problem. At the tail end of my adminis
tration we had to reduce the work force. As I remember we reduced
it from 4600 down to 2500 in four years, and doing that under
the civil service system and being able to keep the people you
needed in the technical area was extremely difficult.
So, the whole personnel aspect of our problem was very difficult,
and it's one that I was also very proud of because we were able
to go up to what we needed to get the expertise, and we were able
to drop down when we were through with the positions without any
mass layoffs in terms of dropping down, and without any great
controversy. I think it worked out extremely well.
How could you do it without mass layoffs?
hired for a particular function?
Were these people just
No, they had to go into the civil service system, most of them,
but what we were able to do, is that we worked out an arrange
ment, for example, with the Division of Highways, who hired a
large number of technical people, to take our people as they
were surplus to us. They were a larger organization than we
were. And also other organizations of state government were
able to take some. The Public Utility Commission I think took
Largely, we were able to transfer those people to other state
agencies, but in addition we had a recruitment program in the
private sector by contacting engineering firms who had need for
certain people, and finding them a position. So, it didn't
actually amount to the person walking in the street.
I always thought that was a very significant accomplishment, and
I think you can only appreciate it if you had gone through it,
because going up and then going down in a governmental organiza
tion is very difficult.
Yes, it is. While we're on the subject, then of personnel, you
did have one problem, and that was your strike in May 1972.
These were people who were
These were the operators of the State Water Project basically.
The hydroelectric operators, and the pump operators, and the
water operators .
That was because there was a change in the type of job that they
were then carrying?
Well, we were going from a design and a construction organization
into an operating organization. Again, we had a very difficult
time recruiting people because of the limited number of those that
would be available that we suddenly needed. So, there was dissen
sion about salaries, working conditions, number of employees,
and so forth. That's what prompted the first strike that we had.
It was the first strike ever of public employees in California,
I noted from, I guess it was your material, maybe it was one of
your reports to the commission, that you had been working on this
for quite some time, recognizing that you couldn't deal with
these people as if they were nine to five workers. You have to
consider a whole other kind of personnel arrangement, and I guess
as you were doing that they became a little restive, shall we
Was that a serious problem to you personally?
Yes, very serious. I felt it very badly because in a strike situa
tion, the striking employees essentially pull out all stops, and
make all kinds of threats, and so forth. So, it was a personal
problem. The governor made it very clear at the beginning of
the strike that he would not tolerate a strike situation, that
he felt that it was illegal, and that they would be fired if they
didn't come back to work.
Under the civil service system, if an empolyee is absent without
leave for five days, he would be considered to be terminated, so
the governor made that very clear, and on the fifth day the
employees all came back. But we had some difficult problems those
first four days in keeping everything operating, because there
was some damage done by the strikers as they went off on strike,
and we had to repair that damage .
Gianelli: That, plus the fact that we had some facilities which were very
technical to operate; we just couldn't bring anybody in. But
we were able to keep the water running and the power generators
working largely using our supervisory force.
And the strike ended after the fifth day, and the people came
back in spite of what happened. But it was a very difficult
period, very difficult indeed.
Chall: It's a kind of situation that a water engineer doesn't find him
self in very often.
Gianelli: That's right, and that's one you could do without, very much, too,
Administrative Control: Contrasting the Stateand Federal Govern-
Chall: But I suppose it did lead to your understanding of what some of
these problems were going to be in the future, the very near
There was another problem with respect to the financing. You
indicated that through strict cost controls on your project,
that that resulted in substantial saving, and I'm wondering about
the cost controls. Was this something that you could see, or
your staff could see, or was this also something that the task
force on efficiency noted?
Gianelli: One of the things that I've felt, having spent some time, now,
with the federal government, too, in sort of a similar capacity
that I was with the state there's a difference in organizations,
and the difference in how you handle things at the state level
versus the federal level.
For example, I always felt that I really ran the Department of
Water Resources when I was in the state. I really felt that I
was in control. I felt that the bureaucracy responded, and that
everything went pretty much the way I wanted. Not that I didn't
have problems, but I had control of it.
At the federal level, with the Corps of Engineers, I didn't feel
I ever had control of it. There were certain things that I wanted
done, and they ' d say, "Yes." But then I'd find later on that out
in the field if they didn't want to do it, for example, they
would get to the Congress, and Congress would come in and keep us
from doing some of the things we needed to do.
Gianelli: So, what I guess I'm saying is that I think that the bureaucracy
at the federal level is much more entrenched, and it appalled me
the way they have no reluctance at all to oppose what an adminis
trator of that agency may want to do in terms of an administration
philosophy, or good government, or whatever.
I'm absolutely amazed at that. And then that there are members
of the Congress with whom they relate to accomplish their things , not
necessarily what's good for the government or what's good from
an admistration standpoint. Very different.
Chall: Yes, it not only is entreched, but I guess they have points of
view that have been entrenched, and it's a close relationship
with the Congress and the bureaucracy. The committees of Congress.
Gianelli: That's right. For example, I never felt the personal pressure
from legislators, for example, to do things specifically for
their area,, nearly as much as I did at the federal level . And
I think part of it relates to the fact that Congress has more
power, in my judgement, than the legislature.
You see, the governor has the line item veto authority, and he
has to have a balanced budget. Back in Washington, the president
doesn't have the line item veto authority. Congress, they're
experts at knowing legislation that he has to have, and putting
things in there that they want personally that the administration
doesn't want, but he either has to take the whole thing or none
at all. Makes it much more difficult to operate the federal
That's why, I'm sure, every administration has trouble balancing
the budget back there. The special interest groups, and the
bureaucracy they're too far removed from the taxpayer. It doesn't
bother them that their things get funded, even though they're not
in the name of the overall public interest.
Chall: And they might be interested in the taxpayer in their own district,
if they pull something through for them. Sometimes that's done
in the last few weeks of an administration, not only an adminis
tration, but of a Congress. And, as you say, you take it all or
Gianelli: That's right. I felt that my experience in Washington was much
less satisfying than my tenure in state government, as its Director
of Water Resources. They were kind of comparable, in a way in
terms of their functions.
I've often wondered whether the Corps of Engineers within the
army the Department of Defense in the army- whether that's
really still a place for an engineering group dealing with the
That's being argued right now. But the problem is that the Corps
of Engineers, they do a lot of military construction, too. One
of the things when I was back there that helped a lot while
our civil work stuff went down, the military was going up, so you
could transfer employees more. And I think you always have to
have some kind of Corps of Engineers that does work for the army.
They're part of the army.
I understand that, I'm just wondering whether they should be
dredging rivers and harbors
Yes, because that could then tend to be a real boondoggle, of
The federal government is building things which in my judgment
shouldn't be built. If they had to stand the test of economics,
they'd never be built. That's one of the things I tried to do,
to put into the federal system some of the things we did out here.
In terms of repayment
Boy, nobody liked that, I'll tell you. Nobody liked that at all.
They don't want to think about having to repay certain amounts.
But I felt if a project's good it ought to stand the test, and
that's one way to stand the test is whether the beneficiaries
are willing to pay for the cost of it. But they don't want to
face that at the Washington level.
Is that being considered as a part of the cost reduction program
in the Reagan budget?
Yes. It's been considered all along, but it's tough. I don't
know what ultimately is going to happen. For example, I developed
a number of projects where the users of the facilites were willing
to pay back more of the cost than under the [present] federal
system. The Congress refused to let me build those projects
because they said, "Well, we don't know whether we agree with
your policies on repayment."
So, they thwarted the purposes of trying to demonstrate that you
could get more money back to the federal government if they'd let
us go ahead and operate it like we did out here. They didn't want
to do that.
It may come to the point where you don't get projects at all,
I think that's where we're headed, because the president turned
down an omnibus bill at the close of the session. I was kind of
pleased, because that demonstrates that they weren't able to
coerce him, and didn't have the votes to override him.
It's always been a real problem. That brings me up to another
task force that Governor Reagan appointed. This was to study the
160-acre limit, although that really wasn't really a state
problem, as such.
It was a state problem, because the state was being asked as to
their position on it. We created a 160-acre task force. Earl
Coke, the director of Agriculture, was on it. That time I was on
it, and a few others. It was important in terms of, not state
government, per se, but recommendations that the state would make
to the federal government in terms of modifying that law.
Of course, that created all kinds of controversy, too, because
that's been so controversial since 1930, or before. And it's
still a problem. I read the Westlands Water News every now and
then, and they're wrestling with getting the new rates established,
Yes. Year before last, I guess, Congress modernized the reclama
tion law, but they're now in great controversy on implementation
of whatever that law says. As you say, the pot's still boiling
Oh, it's just very difficult. Even if everybody accepted it,
just the whole process of determining what the cost would be, and
the prices. You have to run it through a computer, I'm sure.
Recordable contracts, and acreage equivalency, it's very involved.
And then you've got a lot of people under existing projects, and
you've got a lot of new ones coming along with new projects.
Really a can of worms. Really.
It is. Did you get any flak at all from the pro-160-acre people,
like Paul Taylor, and some of the others?
The recommendations that the task force made, as I recall, were
trying to point out that it was necessary to modernize reclamation
laws. And I think one of the things we said in the task force
SACRAMENTO. CALIFORNIA, MAY. 1967
Governor Reagan Tackles
1 HE first step by a state administration to seek to "update" the con
troversial land limitation provisions of the 1902 Reclamation Law
JL was taken last month when Governor Ronald Reagan named a five-
member task force to draft amendments which could be offered to Con
gress to "afford rational approaches to the different situations which face
California agriculturists." * -----
The Governor's action was in line Under the Homestead Act, any
with statements which he had made, person who had filed his first papers
before and after election, in which or was a citizen at least 21 years old
he termed land limitations as "ar- and head of a family could enter
chaic and unsuited to California's
In these state
pledged his sup
port in an effort
to lift these limi
on irrigated farms
obtaining supplemental water from
Named to the task force were:
Burnham Enersen (Chairman), San
Francisco attorney and Dir. of the
California State Chamber of Com
merce and Chmn. of its Statewide
Water Resources Committee; James
F. Sorensen, Visalia engineer, 2nd
Vice-Pres. and member of the Board
of Directors of the National Recla
mation Association, and Executive
Committeeman of the IDA; William
H. Jennings, La Mesa, General
Counsel to the Helix Irrigation Dis
trict, Vice-Chmn. of the California
Water Commission and an attorney
for the IDA; Breckinridge Thomas,
Fresno, attorney for the Kings River
Water Association; and Richard D.
Andrews, Fresno, attorney and for
mer minority counsel for the U.S.
Senate Interior and Insular Affairs
An 18th Century Concept
The 160-acre limitation provisions
in the Reclamation Act had their
origins in the 105-year-old Home
stead Act a measure passed by
Congress in 1862 to stimulate settle
ment of the West
upon a quarter section 160 acres
of public land. After residing on and
farming the land for a stipulated
number of years, he was issued a
patent to the land by the Federal
Somehow this 160-acre concept
became associated with the suooly-
ing of water by the government to
developed farms as well as undevel
oped arid public lands.
The late U.S. Senator Sheridan
Downey, a leading authority on the
land limitation issue, said in his
book, "They Would Rule the Val
ley": "The 160-acre figure bore no
particular relevance to any agricul
tural theory of what an economic
unit should be under varying soil,
crop and terrain conditions; it was
used because it was traditionally as
sociated with the homestead laws
in opening up the public domain."
In recent resolutions adopted by
the Irrigation Districts Association
of California and the National Rec
lamation Association, urging -that
the Reclamation Act be modernized,
the directors of these long-estab
lished water associations referred
to the Act as follows:
"Th* Reclamation Act of 1902 ap
plied primarily to undeveloped and
unirrigated public lands. Under
modern farming practices a farm
within that limitation usually can
not be competitively or economic
ally operated to provide full em
ployment and income sufficient to
maintain a reasonable standard of
living within the farm areas in the
Would Expand Limitations
The officials of IDA and NRA
pointed out that while the "original
Reclamation Act had been amended
to permit supplemental water deliv
eries to lands already irrigated, Fed
eral Administrative Agencies have
proposed to impose acreage limita
tions in areas which would be in
conflict with the local reliance upon
contracts with the Federal Govern
ment and the long-standing an
nounced policies of the Administra
tive. Agencies." (An instance of this
kind is the suit brought by the US.
against the Imperial Irrigation District
to upset a 30-year-old Federal ruling
and apply acreage limitation within the
"At the same time, the Depart-
isent of the Interior has announced
plans attempting to apply land lim
itation policies in ground-water ba
sin areas receiving only supplemen
tal project water." (A classic jxam-
ple here is that of the US. proposing to
apply acreage limitation to all acres in
Santa Clara and neighboring counties
receiving water from the Bureau of
Reclamation's San Felipe Division of
CVP. Only a small percentage of water
to be used in the area will be supplied
by the project, but by following the
water into tht underground, the US.
would apply land limitation to anyone
who pumps any water in the service
area for more than 160 acres.)
IDA and NRA also declared that
"the Department now asserts the
continuing applicability of acreage
limitation in a Reclamation project
where the agency contracting to pay
the reimbursable costs thereof has
fully repaid all such reimbursable
, costs, thus controverting a basic
concept and interpretation of Rec
lamation law which has been repeat
edly recognized and ratified by Con
gress and has existed and been uni
formly applied and relied upon
since the passage of the Reclama
tion Act of 1902." (A good illustra
tion of this situation is that of Isabella
Dam on the Kern River a Federal
project where the entire Federal con
tribution to water conservation benefit
has been repaid to the government by
the farmers owning rights to the water,
but tht US. has told the landowners
that land limitations will nevertheless
Governor Reagan's Committee is
expected to bring to his attention .
these and other examples of imprac
tical and harassing application of
the old land limitation law which
creates inequity with other Federal
programs both on and off the land,
causes difficulty in developing much
needed supplemental water proj
ects, and has an unsettling effect on
great areas of privately owned and
developed farm land.
Gianelli: report, as I recall, was that the 160-acre thing was no longer
applicable, it ought to be some different figure, because it
takes many more acres now and a lot of farm equipment to make a
So, I think we recommended that the 160 be changed to, I don't
remember, 640, or whatever it was, and that people that used water
on more than 640 acres pay the full interest component, that
those under it would not pay it. But the whole thing was moot
because the arguments continued, and then the modification was
Cahll: Not very long ago.
Gianelli: A year or so ago. But it's still not solved.
Chall: No, it isn't. When you indicated that one of the ways that you
were able to save money and continue financing the State Water
Project was that you had developed strict cost controls, which
resulted in substantial savings, what kind of cost controls?
How do you set up a strict cost control, and actually make sure
that you're holding it?
Gianelli: Well, we went ahead and had the engineers reestimate the cost
of works that were still to be constructed on a staged proposi
tion. And so then, as the bids came in, we were able to keep
control of whether the bids matched the cost estimates, the cost
estimates being the thing that we used to determine whether we
were going to have enough money or not.
And I think it worked pretty well. It put a burden on some of
the employees. For example, on preparing contract bids, to
prepare them in a way that had options. Maybe we provided an
option of whether someone should put in steel pipe or concrete
pipe, and then we would take the cheaper of the two, for example,
and match that against what the estimates were to begin with.
So that primarily the way we did it was to keep a running
account, and then any overruns had to be justified very exten
sively. Word got around very quickly that change orders were
to be held to a minimum. Change orders is where you can get
into a lot of additional cost, when you tell a contractor, "We
want you to do this in addition to what you've already done." If
you don't have a strict control, then he can charge you more
Gianelli: because he's already doing the job. So, we had a very strict
limit on change orders, for example, and had to have them reviewed
very thoroughly as to their justification.
Chall: I wanted to back up a bit, because I had read, and you had
mentioned, the problem of getting water over the Tehachapis.
At one time I'd read that it was an engineering problem that
you had to solve. I think you just said that too. How did you
solve it? What was the problem?
Gianelli: The problem was physically how you would get it over there,
because what you were talking about, basically, was lifting more
water higher than it had ever been lifted anywhere in the world.
That was the technical problem. So, the question then became,
how do you do it?
The state and this was developing as I came in was arguing
that you could do it in one lift. The Metropolitan Water District,
who was the main recipient, said it ought to be done in two lifts.
And we finally prevailed. They hired an outside consultant to
check us, we did some more studies on it, and finally we just
said, "We think that the single lift is the way to do it. We
think the pumps can be designed." We'd had some laboratories
over in Europe that had some prototype pumps that we had them
And we felt that, because of the earthquake potential there, it
was desirable to keep everything underground and to do it in one
lift if we could. So, we prevailed, I would say, over the objec
tion of Metropolitan Water District. Their feeling was that you
couldn't design that big a pump to work without a lot of problems.
Anyway, I made that decision. We prevailed on that argument, and
I think, now, since the pumps have been operating now for more
than eleven years, I think it's been proven that our decision
was right. They've been operating with a minimal amount of
problems, nothing more than you would find in other places, even
though it required technology reaching out farther than it had
ever reached before in the design of such tremendous pumps. So,
that was one of the difficult engineering problems that we had.
Chall: Certainly was. Who built it, some European company?
Gianelli: No, the pumps were built by Alis Chalmers and Westinghouse, the
big pumps and generators, and our engineers designed the crossing
with advice from the best consultants that we could get soils
and seismic consultants, and pump consultants, and others. So,
basically, the department engineers designed it with input from
Gianelli: the most highly qualified consultants that we could find anywhere
in the world, and with experimenting in some of the laboratories
in Europe .
Chall: Quite an achievement.
Gianelli: Yes. And I feel really good about it because with all of that
controversy that we had on how it should be done, the one we
chose seems to have been working out very well.
II POLICY JUDGMENTS: COMPLETING THE STATE WATER PROJECT
The Peripheral Canal
Chall: We'll now talk about finishing or completing the State Water
Project, areas that you were looking ahead to but could delay
didn't want to, of course, too long. How about the Peripheral
Canal and the related Delta water quality studies?
Gianelli: The Peripheral Canal was a Delta facility, I guess is what I
should say. It was extremely important in terms of the success
of the State Water Project. Because the studies that had been
made over the years, and there were a great many of them, indicated
that if you just released water down the Sacramento River, and
picked it up with pumps, as you took more water south, out of the
pumps, you would have to waste a lot more to the ocean. So, some
conveyance facility, if you want to call it that, was necessary.
Originally, there was a proposal that would have gone through
and enlarged some of the existing channels, and so forth. But
that was rejected, largely by the fishery interests, by the
recreation interests, as being too detrimental to their causes.
And so, prior to the time that I got there, the Peripheral Canal
concept was developed, and Director Warne, before he left the
directorship, authorized its construction and indicated he could
do this under the Burns-Porter Act. The Peripheral Canal was
determined to be the best facility, and it should be constructed
as the Delta water facility for conveying water across the Delta.
When I came in, I asked the staff to look particularly at the
timing. I wasn't arguing about the need for it, but the timing.
I was convinced, after the staff made the necessary studies, that
this is a facility that wasn't needed for some time. And so we
said, "We will put it on the deferred list," and I think the first
deferral was to 1976 or something like that.
At any rate, my conclusion was that that was necessary, all right,
but it was not necessary as early as originally envisioned,
because the pumps could still operate, without it being in place,
effectively, for a period of time.
Why did you think that? You didn't think the water was needed?
We looked at the demands that were being placed on the system by
the customers who had water supply contracts. And comparing
those demands with our capabilities, with the existing pumps in
the Delta, and the existing facilities, we thought that we could
meet the demand requirements with a given water quality for longer
than they originally estimated. That was as a result of quite
a number of studies that had been made.
However, there were other problems with respect to the canal, in
terms of getting it built, even later. In May 1970, when you
gave a report on the activities of the department to the California
Water Commission, you said that Governor Reagan had thrown the
full weight of the state administration behind the proposed
federal-state Peripheral Canal. And you, I guess together, issued
a strong statement in support of this as a vital part of the State
Water Project, and the Central Valley Project.
"He (meaning Governor Reagan) reached the state position after
lengthy cabinet consideration of this issue, and after hearing
from a great number of people favoring the canal." Was Governor
Reagan really taking, in his cabinet meetings, a lot of information
about the canal?
Gianelli: As I remember, I briefed the cabinet on this thing, I think more
than once. His information largely came through those cabinet
sessions, and the pros and cons at that time. Because I think
there were still people who were advocating that there was a better
way of doing it than the Peripheral Canal, and that was what
prompted, I think, the many discussions which we had.
Chall: Wasn't there also some concern about building it as a state
project alone, if the federal government wouldn't go along with it?
Gianelli: Yes, we felt, and I felt, that the federal government needed it
just as bad as the state government needed it, and that it should
be a joint facility. In other words, it should be a joint project
by the Central Valley Project and the State Water Project, and
there would be some sharing of the cost of it, and construction
by the two agencies .
Originally it was designed to take care of the amount of water
that would be needed for both projects.
Chall: But I guess the federal government wasn't putting much money into
the Central Valley Project.
Gianelli: The federal government wasn't putting a lot of effort into it,
and also, it had not been authorized for federal participation.
Remember, San Luis was specifically authorized by the Congress
as a joint federal-state facility. The Peripheral Canal had not
been specifically authorized, and there was some argument whether
or not the federal government had to have a special authorization
for it. And I'm not quite clear how that was finally resolved.
But at any rate, I think subsequently the feeling was that the
state would go ahead with it, and then be reimbursed by the federal
government if they weren't ready to put up their money at the time
the state was ready to go. But there was a relationship with the
federal government on that issue.
But the federal government had supported the Peripheral Canal too, the
Bureau of Reclamation, because the original federal-state task
force that recommended the Peripheral Canal consisted of represent
atives of the Bureau of Reclamation, as well as the Department of
Water Resources, and so there was no doubt that they felt it was
the best facility. The problem was, what do they need in order
to bring it about?
Chall: There were also other problems not having to do only with whether
you needed it at any particular time, and that was with the Delta
water people, and various water control studies. I guess the major
one was the Water Resources Control Board Study Report.
Gianelli: The decision on water quality.
Chall: Very high standards. 1 think you said it was too high, that it
would cut down on the quantity of water to the State Water Project,
and they claimed that if you didn't develop these standards you'd
turn the Delta into another Lake Erie . There were these kinds
Gianelli: Yes, these arguments went on kind of continuously, yes.
Chall: There's quite a skein of bureaucracies in the Delta. National,
state, local, all the other concerns. Not only the bureaucracies,
but the private fish and game people, and the environmentalists,
and all of that. That didn't make you very happy from time to
time, as I understand. You got rather angry at the whole
Gianelli: The thing that I was concerned with was that the legislature had
authorized the State Water Project, we had contracts, and we had
some obligations. We, on the studies that had been made for the
'Delta, for example, said that we felt that if you maintained a
certain quality, which largely would protect the agricultural area
of the Delta, that that should constitute our obligation. Keep
in mind that in years past, before any dams were built, the salt
water intruded, in dry years, all the way up as far as Stockton
So, we felt, the people that designed the project felt, that if
the project took on the responsibility of maintaining quality
for the agricultural area, that should take care of the obligations
of the project insofar as the Delta was concerned. Then the
argument came in, "Well, what about all the fish, does that
adequately protect the fish?" That's when the state board came
up with the decision, 1485, or whatever it was, which said that
the state would have to maintain quality at points lower. And
that's when I said, "Wait a minute, they haven't demonstrated
that need. That will create some great problems because that
means we'll have to waste a lot more water than we thought."
And that argument's still going on, as a matter of fact, from a
quality standpoint. But largely, the problem is not so much that
you'd have a Lake Erie, it's how much the salt water would
intrude from the ocean into the Delta. So, it was a question of
how much of the Delta was salt water, and how much was fresh
water. That was really the problem rather than pollution from
toxics. That wasn't a major consideration at that time. It was
the salt water intruding.
And then there were arguments with the federal government about
to what extent they would be concerned with the water quality,
Yes, because, you see, the decision that I was talking about
would have applied to the federal Central Valley Project, so then
they didn't agree with it either, but they came back and said, "Well,
we don't have to comply to the state law." So we got into the
big argument of federal-state relations .
Which wasn't true. We never argued that. Our department, the
state project we said we had to comply with state law. We were
just arguing that they were wrong. The federal government took
the tack that they don't have to comply with state law, which added
a whole new complex argument into the issue.
Rather a large can of worms on the whole,
Hasn't been solved yet,
And can it be?
Gianelli: This is the way I sized it up, anyway. We determined, when we
advocated the Peripheral Canal, that the state project Bill Warne
had legally authorized the Peripheral Canal didn't have to go
back to the legislature, didn't have to go back to the people.
We had the attorney general's opinion to back that up, because
the Burns-Porter Act specifically talked about a Delta facility,
although it didn't identify it. We felt that you didn't have to
have any further authorization.
Now, when Jerry Brown came in this is my view of what he did,
and they may have another view the Peripheral Canal was still
very controversial. Largely, people in the Delta, who were fearful
if you built the facility around the Delta, then they wouldn't get
the free ride of all the water they'd been getting from the
reservoirs, and it would detrimentally affect them.
He, then, took the position that the legislature has to specifically
authorize the Peripheral Canal. Then he put together a package
which included not only the Peripheral Canal, but a lot of other
things, which went up to a $13 billion price tag. A lot of other
things that were really not relevant to the functioning of the
project. And of course, that was turned down by the people, as
you know, and then of course that 's more recently developed into
the wrangle between Deukmejian and the legislature. And the
legislature turned down Deukmejian kind of on the same thing.
So the problem, as I see it, was not solely a defeat of the
Peripheral Canal by the people, but a defeat of the measure that
Jerry Brown put together which had the Peripheral Canal and a lot
of other things included with it. And I think it was the price
tag that scared off the people, not so much the Peripheral Canal.
But right now, the fact that Jerry Brown did go to the legislature
and to the people, and the fact of Deukmejian going to the legis
lature, I think has made it more difficult. Because now you've
got the emotion, and you've got the politics, you've got the north-
south thing, and if there was one thing that the Burns-Porter Act
was trying to do, was to remove the project from political maneu
vering and partisan issues.
And now, my interpretation is that the Peripheral Canal is right
back in the middle of partisan, sectional differences, and I don't
know how they're going to unscramble it. The way Deukmejian was
planning now, was not to build the Peripheral Canal, but to build
something different. But even that you see, he had trouble last
year. So, the Delta issue is still not resolved.
Chall: Do you think that, really, the environmental concerns are not that
Gianelli: I think that people are trying to get more out of the two water
projects than was ever intended, and more than they're legally
entitled to. That's my judgment. And that's why, basically, the
controversy, 1 think.
Chall: By more, you actually think that the Peripheral Canal will provide
Gianelli: The Peripheral Canal would allow the state and federal projects
to operate to meet their commitments , and at the same time main
tain a certain quality of water in the Delta. Now, the argument
is, by the opponents , that that quality in the Delta is not
adequate. And that gets to that decision of the Water Resources
Control Board, and subsequent points that have been made.
It depends upon where you sit as to what's adequate, I expect.
Chall: Do you think the Peripheral Canal is necessary?
Gianelli: Yes. I think it's necessary, or something similar to it. And
originally it was proposed, and Deukmejian proposed, to go out
and enlarge some of the channels. That's an alternative, but it
was originally rejected largely by fish and game, and others, who
felt that it would be more detrimental than the Peripheral Canal.
The Peripheral Canal was really adopted at the insistence of the
fishery and recreation interests, not the water interests. It
didn't fly, so now they're back to what they originally talked
about before the Peripheral Canal was conceived, and that is
enlargement of the existing channel. But that's still running up
against trouble, too.
Chall: That's only a way to get somewhat more water down into both water
projects. But for the full entitlement of the 4.4 million acre-
feet of water, will they still have to go into the north coast?
Gianelli: They'll have to go somewhere.
Chall: I see.
Gianelli: They'll have to develop some new water supplies that are not there
in the Delta now if you meet the Delta requirements that have
been set forth, and are now assumed to be needed. There's not
enough water. But you see, the other thing that's happened is
that the contractors have not needed the water as fast as they
thought. So, the 4.4 MAF I don't know what they're using now,
2.5 MAF, or something like that.
So, the point of it is that they've had additional time, but at
some point of time, there'll be a day of reckoning. As the use,
Gianelli: and as the Colorado River is withdrawn for Arizona, there will be
further need to meet these contractual commitments. And that's
when it's really going to be tough.
Chall: You had some concerns and arguments with the environmentalists
during this period. There's been a lot written about what you
said. Do you ever feel, perhaps, after all these years, that
maybe they are right about something?
Gianelli: I think the environmentalists have a viewpoint which needs to be
considered. But, for example, there was a concerted effort by the
environmental community to defeat the rising of the interest rate
so we could sell additional bonds. And if you go back into the
history you'll find that there was opposition at every point to
completing the project.
I felt, as director, a mandate by the people and by the legislature
to finish the project as designed. And I felt that the environ
mentalists were largely reflecting the opposition to the project
in the first place, which I felt had been resolved by the majority
of the people. And I expressed, in a vociferous way, as you
pointed out, my unhappiness with what they were doing, because I
felt they were trying to thwart the will of the people, which I
had been put in the job to carry out.
And I still feel that way. I think there's a point of reason,
and a point to which they're entitled, but I think some of the
views that have been expressed by the Bay Area, and particularly
by the Contra Costa interests, also, are not reasonable. It is
not reasonable to expect a solution to all of their problems from
the State Water Project.
I felt, for example, that a good part of the pollution of the
Western Delta and the bay is due to the "gook" which they dump
in from their own industry. But you see, they would never admit
that, they would always say, "Our problem's caused because you're
taking the water south." But I think the facts that were developed
show that a lot of the pollution in the Bay Area, and the problems
in the South Bay, were caused by their own dumping of undesirable
material into those areas.
But they were trying to mask that by blaming the transport of water,
and I was very critical of it. I still am; I think that's still
Chall: Of course, you've read all these articles about what you said, but
I did pick up one with a slightly different point of view. It was
in the California Journal .
It was another one of your statements but quite different from the
rest in which you said, "In spite of our professional pride,
engineers would be making a big mistake in continuing to write
off the environmental coalition as a bunch of eco-freaks." So,
I suppose you changed somewhere to get along with the Sierra Club?
Gianelli: I don't know that we were ever bosom buddies. I guess one of my
basic problems was that I felt that the water project enhanced the
environment in a lot of areas. For example, you take southern
California. We created some great bodies of reservoirs where
people now enjoy great fishing and recreation. I always felt that
that was an environmental plus that we didn't get any credit for.
San Luis Reservoir is one of the greatest bass fisheries in the
country. And so my position was that I thought the environmenta
lists were being unfair in that they were always asking us to do
more, and not giving us credit for the things that we did do. I
guess that's still my basic feeling.
I don't view myself as being anti-environmentalist, but I view
myself as being, I think, anti-extreme environmentalists. At
least that's the way I characterize myself, [chuckles] Which
they may or may not agree with depending on where they stand,
where their interests are.
Chall: It's a continuing controversy.
Gianelli: It is, and it requires a careful balance, there's no doubt about
Chall: Over the years more is understood than it was when the water
project was designed. Well, that gets us into the problem of the
Drain. No, before we go into the Drain, let's talk about Dos Rios.
That was an attempt to develop a water resource in the north coast,
which was then planned, I guess, to an extent, for both the State
Water Project, and the Central Valley Project?
Gianelli: Let me talk a little bit about Dos Rios. Perhaps that would help
you a little bit. Dos Rios was a project that had been designed
by the Army Corps of Engineers to provide both flood control and
water supply benefits. It was designed as a result of, I guess
it was the 1955 flood, or whatever it was, on the Eel River.
A lot of property was damaged up there, and some lives were lost,
and so the Corps of Engineers, with its responsibility for flood
control, looked to the dam at what we call the Dos Rios site,
which would have inundated an area in Round Valley, not far from
And so the corps developed this plan, and they said, "Okay,
we're going to be able to develop some water as well as provide
flood control, and are you, the state, are you interested in the
water?" And we said, "Yes, we're interested in the water." We
had hoped to work out an arrangement whereby the corps would
build it, it would be a federal project, we would pay them
for the water supply that was developed, and we would integrate
the supply into the State Water Project. That was what was
proposed, and that's what did not pass.
The opposition developed from the Indians over there and from
some of the environmental groups of which Mr. Livermore was very
much a part. This is where he and I had a very difficult problem.
The net result was that the state had to formally indicate whether
or not it would participate, and so there were a lot of hearings
held, legislative hearings, water commission hearings, on that
And the governor then came down by saying, "No, the state is not
going to give the federal government the guarantee now. We
want you to look at other alternatives , " which we then did . But
by virtue of what happened it did not go, and the Dos Rios project,
I would say, with what's happened since then with the designation
of the area as a Wild and Scenic River and all that sort of thing,
I would say the Dos Rios project is certainly dead. Any project
on the north coast is dead for the forseeable future, I think.
Would the state have paid for that part of the project out of
so-called set aside funds?
Could have. We didn't get quite that far. The thing I was looking
at was probably an annual payment to them. In other words, there
was a provision of federal law where the water supply of a multi
purpose project could be paid back on an annual basis over a
period of time. I think we were looking, really, at that part of
the thing more than anything.
More than paying it out of the State Water Project funds?
Out of the bonds, yes. That didn't get a chance to develop. That
would have depended on what Congress did in the way of authoriza
tion. It could have been paid off in a lump sum, like some
projects have, or it could have been stretched out a real long
period. We really hadn't gotten far enough to nail that down,
but I think it could have gone either way, as you say.
I just wondered because I know that augmentation on the north
coast, presumably was supposed to come from those set aside funds,
of which there weren't very many at the time, but that still was
part of the Burns-Porter Act.
Exactly. And so did George Miller, who was~ responsible for that.
He knew the water would have to come, probably, from the north
coast, so that's why he put in the arrangements in Burns-Porter
for the offset provisions.
Did you have the ear of Ronald Reagan over this? Could you go in
and talk to him, knowing that you and Livermore were on opposite
sides? Did you know it right along?
I know it early on because a lot of the opposition had made
contact with Mr. Livermore, and I know where his sympathies lay.
Largely, it was resolved in cabinet sessions, I would say.
Were you in on some of these cabinet meetings?
How did you feel they were going?
The governor did not flatly turn it down. He said, "We think you
should look at alternatives . " I felt that he was very largely
influenced by the Indian community. In fact, I think he made a
statement at that time that he wanted to avoid, if at all possible,
an inundated Round Valley, which was quite an Indian settlement
at that time, because he felt that the Indians had been mistreated
around the country, and that he didn't want to contribute further
to it unless it was absolutely necessary.
My own feeling was that he was very largely influenced by the
Indian community and the people who were representing them, in
terms of not going ahead with the arrangement at that time that
we had worked out with the Corps of Engineers.
Was that a surprise to you, that the Indians
would be a factor
Yes. I knew that they were over there, but it was a surprise to
me that they would be able to exert the influence which I thought
that they had exerted on the governor's decision. Mr. Livermore
felt that way, too, I think.
Chall: He was surprised, too?
Gianelli: Mr. Livermore, I think, was sympathetic with the Indians, and my
perception is that Mr. Livermore was probably fairly influential
in terms of that decision that the governor made, to defer Dos
Rios, over my desire to go ahead with it.
Chall: And then that followed in another year or so, with the Wild and
Scenic Rivers Act. So, you felt further disappointment then?
Gianelli: The Wild and Scenic Rivers Act I felt fairly comfortable on,
because that was worked out with the governor's legislative
representative, and with Senator Peter Behr, who was the prime
advocate, and carried the legislation for the Wild Rivers Bill.
And the way it was worked out, the reason I bought off on it, was
that it provided that for the next thirteen years there would be
no development in the north coast, and at the end of that time
a report would be made to the legislature on the need for further
development on the north coast.
So, my agreeing to that, and going along with that legislation
was that I felt that we could get by. Let me back up a little
bit. Originally, they wanted a longer period, twenty or twenty-
five years, as I recall. Whatever it was, it was longer than
thirteen. And I said, "That's too long." The thirteen was a
compromise period that was worked out. I think Ed Meese, who's
now back to being considered for attorney general, was important
in that decision, because he was over in the cabinet at that time.
But that was worked out as a compromise.
So, I didn't feel unhappy with it, because the Eel was the only
one that looked like it had any feasibility from the studies made,
and if we'd only been limited for thirteen years, I felt that
wouldn't destroy our ability to develop it in the future, when
we needed it.
Chall: And that's just about up, now.
Gianelli: Well, it's been more than up. Let's see, I think it would have
been up in about '83, wouldn't it?
Chall: Well, it passed somewhere between 1972 and 1973.
Gianelli: I thought it was earlier than that.
Chall: I have '72.
Gianelli: Maybe it is about up. But they subsequently have passed it by
in terms of the federal government, under the last thing that
happened in the Carter administration, when Cecil Andrus declared
Gianelli: it in the federal wild and scenic river system. Now they've been
arguing about that in court. What I'm saying is that subsequent
events have superceded, you might say, the arrangement that was
worked out in 1972, or whenever that was, on the
My judgment tells me now that it will be much more difficult to
get water from the north coast than it would have been as we
envisioned it at that time.
Chall: When water's needed, if and when it becomes desperately needed,
where do you suppose it will come from, or will such laws and
acts as Wild and Scenic Rivers be revised?
Gianelli: I think that what it means is that there will have to be other
alternatives developed first, whether they're the most economic
Chall: What kind?
Gianelli: Off-stream development. For example, like reservoirs south of
the Delta, where you can pump in some of those flood flows when
they occur, and hold them there rather than going up, say to
the north coast. That would be one example. Another one would
be relaxing some of the water standards in the Delta so that
you didn't have to let so much out for salinity control there,
if that was feasible.
So, there are other things that might be done at least tempora
rily to forestall the need to go to the north coast. Ultimately,
ultimately, I think you're going to have to go there if you're
going to meet the state's water needs under the estimated demands
that are anticipated.
The San Luis Drain
Chall: Another problem that you had, of course, getting funded this not
only dealt, I guess, with the federal government, but with your
own farm group that was the Drain. Even during William Warne's
administration, he couldn't get the Drain off the ground because
the state farmers didn't want to pay for it in the San Joaquin
Gianelli: Yes, let me talk a little bit about the Drain, because that thing
came to a head when the Reagan administration came in, too. First
Gianelli : of all, let me back up. The federal Central Valley Project had
a provision, when the San Luis unit was built, that there would
be a drain constructed to the Delta because they knew they would
have problems in the Westlands Water District in that area.
The state knew that some day a drain would be required farther
down the valley. Bill Warne was about to enter into an arrange
ment with the federal government for a federal-state drain,
where the state would bring it from the middle of the valley,
or the southern end, up to join with the federal service area,
and then they would both discharge into the Delta.
I refused to enter into that agreement that Bill Warne had nego
tiated because I didn't feel we had any way to pay for it from
the state standpoint. So then, that kind of took it a little
bit off the back burner. Then the federal government proceeded
to go alone with its share, and that's what's been happening
ever since .
So, what happened, basically, was that the state part of the Drain,
which was an authorized part of the Burns-Porter Act, hasn't
been needed, and there's been no way to pay for it. So it's kind
of been on the back burner, while the federal government had to
go in and do it's thing, because its problem was more urgent.
And that's now been climaxed with the selenium problem at
Kesterson that you've been reading so much about. So that's a
quick capsule of the situation with respect to the Drain.
But the master Drain is still an authorized feature of the Burns-
Porter Act, but so far there's been no way found to fund it, and
to repay the cost, because, basically, a lot of the people who
create the problem are not the people that get benefit from it.
That ' s the problem that the federal government is having
Chall: I see. The people who create the problem don't get the benefits
Gianelli: Right. Largely, the drainage water accumulates in the low regions
of the trough of the San Joaquin Valley. Some of the people
that create that water are up in the higher areas of the valley,
so the Drain does not become a problem to them, but it becomes
a problem to the people where it drains on. So that's why it's
been such a difficult problem to solve.
Chall: There's no way to enforce payment from the farmers in the area?
Gianelli: Well, the San -Luis unit has got some responsibility for its share
of the Drain, so there was a provision made, in the federal
Gianelli: San Luis unit, to have the farmers in the Westlands Water District,
in that area, who would create, largely, the problems of that
project, to pay for a share of it.
Chall: You say the Drain isn't needed?
Gianelli: By the state, the state's part.
Chall: What's happening? Aren't the salts there building up?
Ginaelli: The water hasn' t been that much of the problem down in the state
service area. You see, the state serves down south of the King's
River service area, mostly in Kern County, and so the recurrence
of the drainage water there has not been such a problem as it
has been in the upper San Joaquin Valley .
Chall: Will it not, eventually?
Gianelli: I don't think it ever will be the problem, but it will be a^
problem. I think ultimately the state will have to address it,
but it hasn't had to worry about it now, so far.
Chall: Can a drain, as planned, be an effective way to get rid of the
salts, and the minerals, and all of the pesticides, what we
see now in the whole Kesterson problem?
Gianelli: Yes, I think that the Drain can be. You see, you have two kinds
of problems with a drain. First of all, you have a quantity
problem that in certain areas of the valley creates a waterlogged
condition. But it isn't a quality problem. The problem with
Kesterson is very largely a quality problem.
You see, up until the selenium problem, a lot of the water from
the drains, from those districts, were used for the wildlife
refuge down there. They liked to have that water. But it's only
the sudden occurrence of things like selenium that makes the
quality a great consideration.
Originally, it was anticipated that the Drain would go to the
Delta and be discharged at a point where it wouldn't be any worse
than receiving water, in other words, the western Delta. It
wouldn't create a problem. But that was objected to by [Jerome]
Waldie and by the Contra Costa people, and they were successful
in getting the Congress, when they appropriated money for the
federal study on the federal Drain, to not get money so they could
study discharge west of Carquinez, or some point.
So my judgment of what's happened is that the western Delta
interests have been successful in preventing the Drain
Gianelli: from dumping where it was originally intended, and where it
probably could have been dumped without a problem. But now,
they forced the drainage water to stay in the Kesterson area,
and then the selenium has aggravated that, has created the big
quality problem, of course, which they're now trying to deal with.
My judgment is if the Drain had been built ten or fifteen years
ago, it would have been operating now with no problems. Because
you wouldn't have had the concentration build up, and it would
have been an accepted thing. I think it could have been demon
strated that it didn't harm the discharge waters that it dumped
into. But the political reality is that it didn't allow that
to happen, so now you've got a problem of concentration because
there's been no place to dump it. But I think it could have
solved the problem.
Chall : A lot of problems still around.
Gianelli: Yes, there are.
Chall: That's not only a political problem, but it's really scientific,
because nobody is really sure what's going to happen with all
the salts. Some statements were made over the years that some
of these problems could be taken care of by various technical
methods like reverse osmosis of couse it would take a lot of
electricity, I guess evaporating the water leaving a great
big dump of minerals somewhere which ultimately could be mined;
all of these factors. Is that still possible?
Gianelli: There are studies continually being made, and it depends upon
what elements you have to dispose of. If it were salt alone,
you could probably dispose of that some way. But, when you
have these elements, now, like selenium, and no one is quite
sure what concentrations you have and what problems they create,
then it throws an uncertainty into it which makes it not clear
just how successful you would be dimineralizing, as you call it,
or evaporating the water that's there and removing the minerals.
Chall: What about the problem of not only salts, but pesticide residues
and things of this kind? Where are they going?
Gianelli: They've been looking at the problem of removing those. I think
one of them has been nitrogen that they've been worried about
that gets introduced, and they've looked at raising certain kinds
of plant life and then harvesting that plant life. The plant
life would use the nutrients. So they've been looking at
various ways to get out of the water, the drainage water, those
things that have been harmful. But the selenium is a new one
which people don't know too much about.
Gianelli: The subject of selenium has only surfaced in the last two or
three years as a problem. I'm told that selenium has occurred
in the area for literally thousands of years. What's happened,
apparently, is that the irrigation water has caused the selenium
to leach to the surface, and that's when it concentrates and
creates the new problems.
Chall: So we're really still living in the dark in terms of some of the
environmental problems that we just knew nothing about a few
Gianelli: Yes. I think that's true particularly with respect to the Drain.
I wouldn't say we were living in the dark, I would say we're
having to learn more about it than we ever thought
Chall: Dreamed was necessary.
Gianelli: Dreamed we would. Yes, no doubt about that.
Chall: It's claimed that most of the water that's being used by the
farm interests is not the surface water, and that they're still
pumping underground. That does, and will continue to create a
problem. Are they not taking the surface water because it's
more expensive than pumping?
Gianelli: I think largely it's been the unavailability of surface water;
and this has occurred principally in the southern San Joaquin
valley. Surface water is limited to areas where it's available.
This has required a lot of the people to continue to pump and
they can do so by just dropping a well on the property from
which they can pump .
It's creating a condition of overdraft, which is a great concern,
and if it keeps on, probably what it will mean is a lot of land
would have to go out of production if they can't get a substitute
supply, because it won't be economic to keep going down and down
and down. Eventually it will run out anyway if you take out
more than you put in.
Chall: Not only that, I guess it's ruining the land, as such, as you
say. The salts coming up.
Gianelli: That's a function of the quality.
Chall: Of the ground.
Gianelli: The quality of the groundwater. In some areas, groundwater
does have a quality problem; other areas, it's not a very
difficult problem. So I think that all depends on where you're
pumping, and the quality of the water that you're pumping from
Each time you use water, it deteriorates a certain amount, through
evaporation and transportation. Then it tends to concentrate
the solids. So if your water isn't very good in the first
place that you pump, then it very quickly gets to the point
where maybe it's not even usable for, say, things like surface
Chall: Sometimes it just looks as if there is no solution to some of
the problems that we are creating.
Gianelli: It's interesting. In San Bernardino County, along the upper
reaches of the Santa Ana River, before the State Water Project
was built, there was an overdraft of the groundwater supply,
and they were very worried about the people who were relying on
groundwater. Since the State Water Project has come in there,
there's been a surplus of water, and now they've got a ground-
water condition that's too high.
So exactly the reverse is happening. So they're trying to
figure out how to lower the groundwater table in the area now,
where before they were very worried because it was too low. It's
all a matter of careful balance, and what we find is, I think
in many of these areas, you go sort of from one extreme to the
Chall: Is there a way to organize some of these problems? The opponents
to the State Water Project continue to say that you need real
management ; groundwater management, and irrigation controls, and
understanding of waste water, et cetera. If an effort were made
in that direction you might not need some of this extra water
for a long period of time, according to their theories.
Gianelli: I think it's being made for example, you take Orange County.
They have imported water, but they also manage the groundwater
basins. My feeling has always been that the groundwater manage
ment has to be handled at the local level, that you can't impose
a whole state system because the groundwater basins are different
in various areas of the state, and largely should be a local
So I think groundwater management will be playing more and more
a role in terms of water development. It actually is doing that
in areas where you have a shortage of the supply, and you have
both groundwater and surface water.
Santa Clara valley, too.
I think it's happening in the
Santa Clara valley depends very much on pumping, but we brought
in state water, and now they're bringing, through Pacheco Pass,
federal water into the area. Actually, my perception is, and
I think certainly the Reagan administration's, was that ground-
water should be managed by local entities, but you do have
to rely on the state and the federal government, big entities,
where you have to bring in quantities of water from large
distances in order to augment the water supply.
But it's not going to be settled until some state rules are made?
There are provisions in the law now. If you have a groundwater
basin that's overdrawn, you can adjudicate that. In other words,
you can determine the rights. We've done that in southern
California, Raymond Basin and the West Coast Basin; originally
they were overdrawn. So, court action was brought to adjudicate
the rights, and the court came up with the decision on how much
water could be pumped and how much would have to be brought in.
So ultimately that's probably what's going to happen in most
of the basins is that there will be a legal determination of
who can pump how much, and then the rest of it will have to be
brought in from the outside. But until you have that overdraft
condition, you have that court determination, it's not possible
to impose strict regulations on people.
This may take a while.
It may take a while.
But that may be the way it will have to go?
That's right. Nevada now has a law where you can't drill a well
unless you get a permit from the state engineer. Before he issues
a permit, he has to determine whether or not there's an overdraft
in that particular groundwater basin. If there's an overdraft,
then he denies it. If there's not an overdraft, he may put condi
tions on it, and so forth. I think that's possible.
The Central Arizona Project
Chall: One of the problems you had, and so did Mr. Warne, and so did water
interests decades before, was with the Colorado River. But I
Chall: guess it was pretty well solved early in your administration by
the signing of a bill by President Johnson.
Gianelli: Yes, and Senator [Carl] Hayden was involved at that time.
Chall: Senator Hayden, yes. He finally gave way. He was holding up
one of your water projects until they got the Central Arizona
Gianelli: Yes. What happened was that the Central Arizona Project was
being held up by California congressmen, and California congress
men were very strong in their position. Then, of course, it
became apparent that water development in general might dry up
because you'd have people like Carl Hayden, who was very powerful
in the Senate at that time, holding up California appropriations.
So our legislators pointed out that it was very important that
this Colorado River issue be resolved, and so we did resolve it.
And there's a picture on the wall in the hall showing the signing
of it by the president. I got a letter from the governor on it,
too, as a matter of fact. I think this was in '68. We played
a strong role in bringing it about over a lot of objections from
some southern California interests who wanted to fight it in
the courts all the way .
Chall: They already had for a decade or more.
Gianelli: They fought for decades, but finally our administration persuaded
them not to pursue that. So, the legislation contained a guar
antee of 4.4 million [acre-feet] for California. The net effect
is, when the Arizona Project is built, it will take away some
water now used by the Metropolitan Water District. That's when
the crunch will come on for more northern California water, I
think at that time.
Chall: With whom did you work in the federal government? Did you have
to go back from time to time
And work with Congressman [Harold] Johnson?
Congressman Johnson was very much in the middle of it. Congress
man Hosmer was another one who was very important. He was sort
of the water spokesperson for southern California, Craig Hosmer.
And then I worked with the staffs of some of the key people, like
staffs of Senator Hayden. I can't remember the person's name
now. But I was very much involved with it. And of course,
Northcutt Ely was an important one. He was representing some
of the southern California interests. And he was one of
the last ones that had to be persuaded to go along with
the compromise that was worked out, rather than fight it in court.
He'd been fighting that one in court for so long I guess it was
hard to give it up .
Yes , a long time .
So, it was finally solved. Now, my feeling about it is, sometimes,
that this is, oh, kind of slight of hand, because if it hadn't
been that you had said to the Columbia River water basin people,
"Okay, we won't talk about getting water from you for..." what
was it, ten years?
That that was the sticky point. I mean, it was not only Senator
Hayden, but it was Senator [Henry] Jackson
Jackson was invoved, you bet.
And so as long as you were willing to say, "We'll take our 4.4,
and we'll leave you all alone for ten years," that was the key
to solving it. Prior to that time, there was no way, while you
sought northwest water.
I think that plus the willingness to limit ourselves to 4.4 was
another critical one.
How much were you asking for before? I thought it was
I think the Metropolitan, I think those people were talking about
5.6 or something like that. It was considerably more than that.
So the 4.4 was actually a limitation based on what they thought
they might be able to get if they fought it out in court. That
was the problem, the historical problem.*
The other one was that they felt if they could keep projects in
the upper basin from going ahead like the Central Arizona Project,
then they ' d have a physical guarantee, too. They'd get more.
* For a brief overview of the history of the Central Arizona
Project, see, "Water for Arizona: The Central Arizona Project,'
Western Water, May/ June 1985.
Chall: You couldn't keep that out.
Gianelli: Couldn't keep that out, no. I'd say the primary players there
were Carl Hayden, and "Scoop" Jackson, for the reason that you
mentioned. And then, let's see, at that time, who did we have?
Tom Kuchel, I think was still in the Congress. His term
expired in '69. And Senator [George] Murphy was there too, but
Murphy wasn't nearly as active as Kuchel was.
Chall: Well, you had to go back and forth many times, I guess.
Gianelli: Yes, many meetings.
The Western States Water Council
Chall: What was the value, then, at the time, in solving this, of the
Western States Water Council? You were active in that, weren't
you, on the state level?
Gianelli: The Western State Water Council was created, as I recall, a
couple of years before I became director.
Chall: In 1965.
Gianelli: 1965. Okay, Bill Warne was one of the first members of it. So
I took his place, or I was appointed by the governor at that
time, when he left. Western States Water Council probably was
created recognizing that there were a lot of problems of which
that was one. But there was another thing which maybe had some
influence, too, and that was the [Stewart] Udall plan for diver
ting water from the north coast in the northeast and, down into
southern California. There was an outfit called the Advisory
Committee on Western State Water Planning which I was put on
by Pat Brown, which functioned largely as the outgrowth of that
Udall plan, which never got anywhere. But it was kind of a
plan to divert from the north coast to the southern California
And then the Western States Water Council, I think, was a more
general thing. It wasn't so specifically related to that, but
a recognition that the states had to work together, a creature
of the western governors at that time.
Chall: So that took in all the western states, Oregon, and Washington,
Gianelli: It took in, let's see, who did we have, eleven states, I think.
Chall: That's where there was the battle over whose water was going
to be used for general replenishment, and it's still there, I
Gianelli: They have continual arguments about western water rights, federal
claims versus state rights, all that sort of thing. They're
continually going over that same ground.
Chall: Did you find these meetings useful, boring, exciting?
Gianelli: I found them educational. One of the things I found out was
that It was interesting to me that California was so far
ahead of all of the other states in everything that it had done
in water. No state had ever gotten into the water business
itself, never built anything.
California was looked upon as the leader of all the western
states in terms of moving ahead to solving its water problem.
And I didn't think we gained very much out of it as Calif ornians,
but I felt that it helped educate the people in the West
generally, about some of the things we'd done in California,
and were doing in California.
And the main thing that it did was to provide a vehicle for
information exchange, to get acquainted with the water leaders
of each of those states, because you often dealt with them on
various other matters. So I felt it was a worthwhile thing.
That's why we so actively participated. But how much we got out
of it, I think that is fairly limited. Because California, as
I say, was so far ahead of everybody else.
Chall: Do you think that the state of Arizona, with the Arizona project,
is going to learn anything from the state of California in
terms of water use, and overdraft and all of that?
Gianelli: Yes. A couple of things are happening, in my judgment. First
of all, I don't know whether you know this, but Wesley Steiner,
who was a deputy director under Bill Warne for his last year in
office, eventually was recruited by the state of Arizona, and
became the main proponent for the Central Arizona Project. He's
been down there now for, well, I think he went down there in '69.
He's been down there fifteen years, and his number one assistant
is Don Maughan, who also worked for the Department of Water
Resources here. He was vice-chairman of the Water Resources
Control Board during part of Reagan's administration, and early
in Brown's, and then he quit and went to Arizona to be the number
two man for Steiner, and he's been down there now ten years.
Gianelli: But the Central Arizona Project, I think, is learning that it's
going to have to do more on its own, and not rely solely on the
federal government. It still has a lot of money to be spent to
complete the project, and in view of the tightness of federal
funds and all, I think they're beginning to recognize that what
we did in California they're going to have to do in part.
You see, they've been relying on a federal project completely,
federal funds, and that's why it's taken them so long. But I
think, even though they're still relying on them, I think they
recognize now that they're going to have to do more on their own
than they ever did before. So I think they're learning.
And I think they ' re entering into contracts as we did with water
users in California, and following somewhat our practice,
although they've been more heavily relying on the federal govern
ment to finance their project than we were.
Chall: Is the federal government still providing no- interest loans, and
anything of that sort?
Gianelli: It has the rules of the reclamation law which apply.
Chall: They do? Still?
Gianelli: Yes. But largely I think that project is going to be very
heavily for municipal and industrial, rather than agricultural
purposes. There'll be some irrigation, but not heavy.
Chall: They'll be able to pay it back.
Gianelli: I think that's the plan.
III PRIVATE CITIZEN: CONTINUING INTEREST IN WATER ISSUES
Leaving the State Department of Water Resources, 1973
Chall: Now we'll get into your resignation. You got a ten-year
appointment to the state Personnel Board. Is that because you
wanted to get out of the administration before Reagan left office?
Ginaelli: That came right afterward. What happened was, I let it be known
that when we finished the construction of the State Water Project,
that I felt I really wanted to leave. I felt it had been a very
high pressure job, and a very difficult one, and I'd really
just about felt that I'd worn myself out.
I made it quite clear. So after we dedicated Perris and got water
down to the tail end, I indicated to the governor that I'd like
to leave and go back into my own consulting practice . I'd heard
then on that the personnel board thing, that there was a vacant
position. It had been vacant, I think, from January of that
year, 1973. I left in September of '73. It hadn't been filled.
I was coming back into private practice, and of course, having
been a state employee, I was interested in the personnel system.
So I said to the governor's office, "That would tie in with my
going back into private practice," because it only took about
I think it was classified as a one- third- time job, or something
like that. It would allow me to keep a hand in state government,
which I kind of wanted to do, but in a completely different arena.
The governor, then, was kind enough to appoint me to that term.,.
which would have run ten years. I stayed in it until I went
back to Washington. Then I resigned to go back to Washington.
Chall: When did you go to Washington?
Gianelli: I went in March of 1981. So I actually served on the Personnel
Board not quite eight years. I served there from it would have
been September of '73, until March '81. About seven and a
Chall: Did you find it interesting? Did the background help?
Gianelli: Yes, I found it interesting, but I think the background of being
a director That's what the governor said when he appointed me,
"I think your experiences as an administrator will help the
Personnel Board as it deals with state government problems," and
I think it did to a very great extent. And then I also, as a
result of being on the Personnel Board, served a term on the
Public Employment Retirement System here. I served that by
virtue of being on the Personnel Board. The Personnel Board had
a rotational policy of its members being chairmen. So I rotated
through, and after I became chairman, then I served, I think it
turned out to be two and a half years, or something like that,
on the Public Employment Retirement System Board.
Under the PERS law, a member of the Personnel Board was a member
of the PERS board of directors. I found them both very interes
Gianelli: I thought of going back into my other firm in Sacramento, which
I guess I could have, although I had no arrangements. I decided
instead to come down here [Pebble Beach] and operate as an
individual, which I did.
Chall: Did you travel all over the country?
Gianelli: Mainly California. Mainly a California consultant. I repre
sented some irrigation districts in the valley in some of their
water problems, and some of the municipalities. I worked for the
Turlock and Modesto Irrigation districts, the City of Los Angeles,
PG & E, and SMUD [Sacramento Municipal Utility District], and
others. So I did a variety of things.
Chall: And you still do?
Gianelli: No, I'm very restricted now. I consider myself to be semi-retired,
And I stayed on in a non-pay status as chairman of the Panama
Canal Commission. Mr. Weinberger asked me to stay on; they put
in some legislation that allowed me to do that after I left my
other job. So I'm doing that now, and that takes a fair amount
of time. I just spent ten days I got back last week in
Washington and Panama. We have quarterly meetings of the commis
Chall: What is this?
Gianelli: It's the operation. The commission, under the treaty, is
responsible for the operation of the Panama Canal. We have an
administrator on the job full time. I'll be going back in
March to testify before the Appropriations Committee on appropria
tions for the commission. But mainly we're an oversight policy
board to running the canal, the physical running of the canal.
And I accepted the chairmanship of the Western Water Education
Foundation, which is based in Sacramento, and I'm now the
president of that on a non-pay, volunteer, basis. I've just
been elected to the board of my country club here. And I'm doing
a little work. I have a couple of people that I do a little
work for; Bechtel has asked me to do some things for them,
so I've been involved a little bit in the private consulting
Chall: That's enough fora partly retired person.
Gianelli: It's getting to be much. I still want to play golf a little
bit, too, which is why I'm here.
Chall: When you left the state, Mr. Teerink was appointed in your place.
How did that come about?
Gianelli: I recommended that John be the one that should succeed me,
because he was a career employee, he'd been a deputy under me,
and I felt he could carry out, for the remaining time less
than a year" and a half the tasks that had to be done to move
along the track that we'd started while I was there. And so
the governor was gracious enough to go along with my recommen
Chall: Now, he said, when he took over, "We need to recognize that
mistakes have been made, and the fact that public values and
attitudes are changing." Do you know what he meant by that?
Gianelli: No, not for sure, except I suspect that he was talking about
some of the environmental issues, maybe. I don't know for sure
but I think that's probably it.
Chall: Did he have the same point of view as you did?
Gianelli: I think basically. It was interesting, going back. Mr. Teerink
went to work for the state engineer about six months after I
did in 1946. But he stayed with them, whereas I left in 1960.
He stayed with them continually, and I made him a deputy director.
All six men who have served under Democratic and Republican administrations as Director
of the State Department of Water Resources were present at Western Water Education
Foundation's Water Briefing in Sacramento, April 22, 1985. From left to right are
former Directors Harvey 0. Banks, William Warne, William Gianelli, John Teerink, Ron
Robie, and present Director David Kennedy.
Photograph eourtesy of Department of Water Resources
Gianelli: So he didn't leave; in fact, he was hoping to stay on when Jerry
Brown came in. He stayed on three or four months, and then
was finally replaced by Mr. [Ron] Robie. But I think he was
disappointed that he wasn't able to stay on for Mr. Brown.
But anyway, I knew there would be a change then, and I thought
for a year and a half it would present fewer problems to the
governor if he just had someone who was knowledgeable carry on.
I think that's the way it worked out, basically.
Chall: I see. You also recommended, when you left, that there be a
different organizational structure for the Department of Water
Resources as it became a public utility rather than regular type
state department. You suggested that it should operate like
a business, with a general manager reporting to a highly qualified
board of experts. That didn't come about, did it?
Gianelli: No, it did not.
Chall: Is it operating in the same way, then, basically?
Gianelli: It's operating in the same way as it always has. But I still
feel that there are advantages to a separate organization that
would be reportable to a board of directors that you could choose
somehow or other from appropriate people, and you'd have a general
manager who would run it. Because it seems to me the department
still has areas of potential conflict, just by virtue of its
organization, and that it would be desirable to have the water
project a separate entity completely that would be operated as
a business, as a utility.
Chall: And then the other department functions would function
Gianelli: Would go to some residual organization that would be left in
government. They would have things like some of the planning;
they'd have some of the flood control work; they'd would have
safety of dams, things of that nature that were not directly
related to the State Water Project.
I still think it's a good idea, but politically, I guess,
apparently not saleable, I suspect.
Analyzing Current Water Conservation Issues
Maybe not. It was hard enough to get the department. We've
talked a little bit about some of the revised outlooks for the
Chall: last twenty years or so, since the water project was established.
I notice that you use the term, too, about "water wasting to
the sea." Do you think that water does "waste to the sea?" The
environmentalists, I know, take exception to this phrase, and
I just wondered whether, in light of the passage of time, you
still think that water wastes to the sea?
Gianelli: Oh, yes, I do. Because in times of flood, floods create great
damages, and if that water can't be stored behind reservoirs, it
goes to the ocean, and it doesn't do anybody any good, and does
a lot of harm on the way down. Oh, yes, I still believe that
there's a lot of water that goes to waste to the ocean.
Chall: What about water that's just normally flowing from the rivers and
into the ocean, or into the bay? Do you consider that a waste?
Gianelli: No. One of the problems you get into on these things is you
have to relate it to time, when you say waste. You have to relate
it to time and circumstances. In other words, you can't say, for
example, "All water that wastes to the ocean all the time, is
wasted." On the other hand, you can't say that none of it is, in
So, if you take a look at the way water occurs in California, your
hydrologic cycle, you have rains in the wintertime, your heavy
run-off during the winter months and spring months, and practically
none in the summer and the fall. So our basic problem in
California, as I've always seen it, is twofold.
One, of saving those waters during the winter and the spring
months when they would go to the ocean as waste, holding them
over, and then using them in the fall and the summer months,
when normally the natural flow isn't available. So, in answer
to your question, I'd say, in the summertime and the fall, "No,
you need all the water that comes down to repulse salinity, and
provide for the fisheries, and so forth, and you need even to
augment it." But in the wintertime, when you have your surpluses,
then I say, "Yes, water does waste to the ocean." So you have
to relate it to time, really, and to circumstances. Neither
statement is 100 percent true. You can't say that all water is
wasted when it goes to the ocean, and you can't say that none of
it is needed .
Chall: Years ago, desalinization was considered the key to the future.
Particularly it was tied, I think, to nuclear energy. What
about that prospect now?
Gianelli: The thing that created the big problem for desalinization was
the high cost of power, because basically any desalinization plant,
no matter what you call it, is largely a large tea kettle. And
Gianelli: what it does is to heat the water and condense the steam, and
that's where you get your fresh water.
The point is that any desalinization process takes a very large
amount of energy. So, we were just getting it down to a reason
able cost in about 1973 when the energy crisis came along, and
that caused the price of oil energy to go up so high that it just
made a desalinization plant not very feasible as compared with
other alternatives. So that's the problem with desalinization.
It still is available for places like Israel, where they have
no other choice. It's used aboard ship, when you don't have any
other alternative, but where you have other alternatives, like
developing surface supplies, or catching flood flows in the winter
time, it doesn't compare, normally, economically with other
Chall : And nuclear energy
Gianelli: The reason why it's tied to nuclear energy is because that was
believed to be a new, unlimited source of energy that could be
used. It could be steam, it could be coal, it could be nuclear,
it could be anything . But nuclear was coming into being at that
time, and it was thought it was the only way to go in the future.
I think there are some changes that have taken place since then.
Chall: It's not considered now the sole choice for the future, if any
choice. What about wastewater treatment? There was some that
was done in the Lake Tahoe region going down to what, Santee?
Those people who are opposed to the State Water Project always
talk about wastewater treatment as a way, even, of using up
some of the waters that come from irrigation.
Gianelli: Wastewater reclamation is a very important part of our water
budget, and I think much more has to be done. Again, economics
come into play. This area here has tried to save some for the
golf course, but the economics of it are very difficult. So,
I would say wastewater reclamation certainly has a place, but
it isn't the overall answer, because most of the time, large
amounts of wastewater occur in areas where it's hard to reach.
For example, it may occur in an area close to the ocean, where
your need may be back up many miles away from that . And then
the cost of the process to clean it up is quite expensive. So
I would say that it still is a very important part, and as water
becomes more expensive, it will become more viable as an
alternate source, but even then it's going to be limited in terms
of how far it can be used, in my judgment.
Chall: Weather modification.
Weather modification has a place. But I think that the technical
people now have concluded that you can't make rain if certain
cloud conditions are not in existence, and so what weather making
does is to induce rain where you have certain kinds of cloud con
ditions. And some of the power companies, PG&E and others, still
employ people to modify the weather to create rain at certain
times in certain areas.
It's actually being done?
It's being done. I think PG&E does it in one of the basins of
the Sierras, and I think Southern California Edison does it over
on the other side of the mountain, and it's being done in some
other states. But again, you have to have cloud conditions there
that will allow you to induce rain from those clouds before it's
successful, and that's quite limited. I would say it's a tool,
but it's not again, certainly, the ultimate answer, and it's only
applicable under certain conditions .
We did talk about groundwater control. So, there are only limited
ways of developing water for future uses, I guess is what you
can say .
I always felt, and I think we used to say this, that California's
very fortunate , because within its boundaries we think we have
enough water that originates with our boundaries to take care
of the ultimate needs of the state, and I think that's still true.
But that envisions the development of many surface supplies as
well as weather modification, wastewater reclamation, groundwater
management, and so forth. It still involves all those things.
Do you think we'll find ways of getting this necessary
We will if the need is great enough .
But so far it hasn ' t proved to be as great as we thought it would
We need some more floods, or we need some more droughts, that's
what always makes water projects go. The Feather River Project
was built after the '55 flood. If we hadn't had the '55 flood in
Yuba City, I don't think Oroville would have ever been built.
And you had other things as a result of droughts that occurred.
Some of the water agencies that have contracted for water haven't
needed it to the extent they thought they would. So there's a
certain amount of transfer from one to another. Does this have
Chall: to be done through the state agency, or do you think they could
just do it themselves?
Gianelli: The problem arises in that you built a state system to take water
to certain areas, and those areas have contracts. This happened,
for example, in I think, Santa Barbara County. Santa Barbara
County has a contract with the state. Now, luckily, the convey
ance facility out to Santa Barbara County has not been constructed,
Originally there was going to be a coastal aqueduct that served
San Luis Obispo and Santa Barbara County. They haven't built
that. But, there are provisions of the aqueduct to take water
down to that point. Capacity is built in, and those people are
paying even though they are not taking anything . They are paying
a certain share of the fixed costs.
So, I think it's all right for some of those people to work out
arrangements, but the state's got to approve it because it has
the main responsibility for delivering the water to certain points
For example, case in point: supposing you decided to transfer
all the water from Kern County to southern California. The
state couldn't do that, because it doesn't have enough capacity
in those Tehachapi pumps to take all of it out there. It holds
only a certain amount .
So the state's got to be involved with approval of those things,
but I think the locals could inititate the action with state
Reviewing the Early History of the State Water Project
I think we're through then,
say in addition?
Is there anything that you want to
There's one thing I'm surprised you didn 't hit . You know, the
big controversy that led up to the State Water Project was the
north-south thing. That was interesting, the way that was all
resolved. Now, you have to go back certainly, prior to the time
that I was director.
But during the Goodwin Knight administration, the appropriation
of funds to start the State Water Project was withheld, pending
what everybody thought was necessary a constitutional amendment.
I remember when Goodie Knight created a Water Lawyers Committee,
composed of fourteen water lawyers, seven from the north, seven
from the south, seven legislators and seven non-legislators, to
come up with their recommendations.
I was a civil servant, and I was appointed as the technical
person to be available for that lawyer committee . This was
1957. We met on weekends trying to resolve it, and they came
up with a draft of a constitutional amendment to sove the north-
The difficulty was and you must have gotten into this, maybe
Bill Warne covered it, although he wasn't here then, either
was that the north was afraid that if it let the water go south,
that at some time in the future, it wouldn't have it to call back
if it needed it. The south was afraid that if it spent its money,
tax base usually, to build the works to take water down south,
that at some point in time the north would take it back from
them, and they'd have a dry aqueduct.
Anyway, that issue never got resolved in the Goodwin Knight
administration. The way Pat Brown resolved it when he came in
was to say, "Let's not talk about a legal, constitutional amend
ment. Let's talk about a project that will serve both the north
and the south." And so that's when he put together the Burns-
Porter Act, and part of the spill-off in the Burns-Porter Act of
the north-south thing was Pauline Davis got the Davis-Grunsky
The Davis-Grunsky Act took off $130 million largely aimed at
providing loans and grants to small entities in northern California
and central California, and it's worked that way. It's really
worked that way. So an important part of the north-south issue,
was the way that was resolved by creating that particular $130
million I think it was, for loans and grants to the mountain
counties in the northern California area, as part of the bond
And also building both ends of it almost simultaneously.
And building Oroville; it had flood control. Flood control, as
I indicated, was very important to the area around Yuba City
and Marysville, and so forth.
It was very clever,
I think the people who came up with this
The other thing that happened I don't know whether you picked
this up, but, you see, Goodie Knight couldn't do it; he didn't
do it. And Pat Brown was able to do it because he put together
a coalition in the legislature. He got people like Hugh Burns
well, see, it was the Burn-Porter Act he got Hugh Burns on the
senate side, who had the respect and control of the senate, and
he had Carley Porter, who was highly respected on the assembly side.
Gianelli: And those two people, being the advocates for it, and having the
political muscle that they did, were able to put this thing
through, it would never have gone through if it hadn't been for
Pat Brown politicizing this thing in the way that he did, and
having those people involved who were responsible for its going.
Chall: And then of course he had Banks and Brody on the sidelines.
Gianelli: I got in the middle between Banks and Brody. They were kind of
like a couple of bantam roosters going back and forth. Ralph
Brody felt that he was Pat Brown's man, and I think he was a
little distrustful of Harvey Banks. And Harvey felt that he
was an important person in making the thing go. That's one of
the reasons I presented most of the testimoney, because I think that
was the only compromise that the two of them could reach.
So I think that I was caught, in some instances, in the middle of
the problem between Brody and Banks who, while they got along
on the surface very well, I think underlying it, one was highly
suspicious of the other in terms of his motives and loyalties.
Chall: Some of that comes out in their oral histories, but I do recall
that Ralph Brody said that you had given him a great deal of
assistance. Whenever he really needed some material that he
felt he could trust, then he would call on you.*
Gianelli: I was looked upon as the staff person knowledgeable with the
project, so that I think Brody felt free to call on me. And
of course Harvey I'd worked with him before, and we had a
rather close personal relationship, so I think he was glad to
have me be the one that filled this role.
Chall: Speaking of personal relationships, did you develop one with
Governor Reagan, or President Reagan, ultimately?
Gianelli: I think so. In fact, you would be interested, when I was back
last year, we had a meeting with the president of Panama in
President Reagan's office. We were talking about the Panama
Canal, and so forth.
* See Ralph M. Brody, "Devising Legislation and Building Public
Support for the California Water Project 1959-1960; Brief History
of the Westlands Water District, " an oral history interview
conducted in 1980, in California Water Issues, 1950-1966, Regional
Oral History Office, The Bancroft Library, University of California
Berkeley, 1981, p. 7.
Gianelli: He said, "Let me tell you about Bill." And so he then took about
fifteen minutes, it seemed to me well, not that long, but
several minutes to reflect what we were able to do in California
with respect to the State Water Project.
He always has had that very much on his mind. When he got all
through, I said, "Mr. President, the Peripheral Canal is not like
the Panama Canal, there's an awful lot of difference, and the
problems are altogether different." So, we had a very amazing
exchange. I didn't see him but very little during the time he
was president and I was back there, because there are too many
people and too many things going on.
But when I did get a chance to see him, I always felt that we
had sort of a warm relationship going back to the water project.
There were times when I remember when we started up the Delta
pump, he had the loudspeaker turned on, and he was going to press
the button, and I said, "Governor, don't touch that!" or some
thing like that. I came on really strong, and it came out over
the loudspeaker, and he's always kidded me about that.
Then the other one was on the Tehachapis . When we turned on
the pump on the Tehachapis , it didn't work the first time. We had
the governor there; we had people from Washington there, and the
pump didn't work. Because what we had to do was to take the
starting motor, and get it up to what we call synchronous speed.
Unfortunately, the starting motor went too far and we had to start
all over. So what happened was that the governor and the official
party left before the pump started working. But it did work a
few minutes later .
Chall: That is a memorably frustrating experience. Thank you very much
for your time and for a most interesting interview.
Transcriber: Michele Anderson
Final Typist: Stella Dao
TAPE GUIDE William Gianelli
Date of Interview: January 29, 1985
tape 1, side A 1
tape 1, side B 14
insert from tape 3, side B 19
resume tape 1, side B 22
tape 2, side A 29
insert tape 3, side B 42
tape 2, side B 44
tape 3, side A 55
tape 3, side B 68
WILLIAM R. GIANELLI
EXPERIENCE RECORD AND BIOGRAPHICAL SUMMARY
June 1984 to Present
(1) Consulting Civil Engineer specializing in the
field of water resource development and related
(2) Serves as Chairman of the Board of Directors of
the Panama Canal Commission responsible for the
operation of the Panama Canal.
April 1981 to May 1984
Assistant Secretary of the Army for Civil Works
(1) Responsible for, on behalf of the Secretary of
the Army, overseeing the Civil Works program
for water resources of the U.S. Army Corps of
Engineers, with focus mainly on policy
formulation, program objectives, review and
approval of planning studies, and budget
guidance, review and approval.
(2) Serves as Chairman of the Board of Directors of
the Panama Canal Commission responsible for the
operation of the Panama Canal.
(3) Also responsible for the administration of
Arlington and Soldiers' Home National
September 1973 to March 1981
Consulting Civil Engineer
(1) Specializing in the fields of water supply,
water rights, and related problems. Conducted
and reviewed studies on availability of surface
and groundwater supplies for power plants,
public works projects, and other
installations. Acted as expert witness before
courts and legislative bodies.
(2) Chairman and Member of the Board of Directors
of the Monterey Peninsula Water Management
District, 1978 - 1980.
(3) Member of National Commission on Water Quality
under Presidential appointment, 1973 -1976.
(4) Chairman, Special Task Force, to review
policies and procedures of U.S. Bureau of
Reclamation for western reclamation projects,
under appointment of Secretary of Interior,
(5) California Director, National Water Resources
Association, 1979 - 1981.
(6) Member of three-man arbitration board - PG&E -
SMUD, regarding Rancho Seco Nuclear Power Plant
problem, 1978 - 1981.
January 1967 to September 1, 1973
Director, California State Department of Water
(1) Supervision over the planning, financing,
design, construction and operation of the
California State Water Project, the largest
single water conservation and conveyance system
ever built. Responsible for the expenditure of
approximately one and a half billion dollars
for completion of first phase of project with
physical works extending over 600 miles
throughout the State.
(2) Supervision over:
a. Statewide water resources development.
b. Statewide water resources planning.
c. Wastewater reclamation, desalinization,
and weather modification programs.
d. Flood control and floodplain programs.
e. Statewide dam safety program.
(3) Appearances before State and Federal
legislative bodies in furtherance of programs
under supervision of Office of Director. Acted
as expert witness before courts and
quasi- judicial State and Federal agencies on
matters relating to State water problems.
(4) Chairman for two years and Vice Chairman for
two years, Western States Water Council, which
was organized by western Governors, to provide
a coordination voice in western water
(5) Principal advisor to Governor on California
water problems. Also served on numerous
committees concerned with water-related matters.
March 1960 to January 1967
Consulting Engineer - Senior Partner, Gianelli
and Murray, Consulting Civil Engineers
(1) Engineer member of three-man team negotiating
water supply contracts for water users along
the Sacramento River.
(2) Represented numerous municipalities and
districts to assist in developing supplemental
water supplies for municipal, irrigation, power
and recreational purposes.
(3) Represented numerous clients as expert witness
in litigation and before quasi- judicial bodies
on matters relating to water rights and water
(4) Conducted and supervised studies concerning
availability of water from surface and ground
(5) Chairman, three-man Board of Consultants
appointed by the Secretary of Interior, to
review repayment problems of the Columbia Basin
project in the State of Washington.
October 1959 to March 1960
District Enaineer, Southern District, California
State Department of Water Resources
(1) Supervised all activities of the Department in
(2) Represented the Director of Water Resources on
various water-related matters in the southern
July 1956 to September 1959
Staff Engineer and Special Assistant to the Director,
California State Department of Water Resources
(1) Engineer in charae of Watermaster activities
involving distribution of water under court
(2) Engineer assianed to State Legislative
Committees attempting to solve north-south
(3) Represented the Director before legislative and
congressional committees in presenting
testimony in furtherance of the State Water
(4) Represented the State of California in compact
negotiations with other states on water
January 1946 to July 1956
Junior to Principal Hydraulic Engineer, California
State Engineer's Office
(1) Engineer in charqe of water rights and water
distribution activities within the State.
(2) Supervision of studies under adjudication of
(3) Assistant State Snow Surveyor and distribution
of water under court decrees.
July 1941 to December 1945
Second Lieutenant to Major, U.S. Army Corps of
Served as platoon leader, Company Commander, and
Battalion Executive Officer of U.S. Army
construction troops in Hawaii, Saipan, Okinawa, and
Korea, rebuilding airfields and constructing water
PLACE AND DATE OF BIRTH
Stockton, California, February 19, 1919
University of California, Berkeley, California
Graduated May 1941, Bachelor of Science Degree, Civil
Engineering, Irrigation option
Registered Civil Engineer, No. 7539, State of California
Registered Civil Engineer, No. 1613, State of Nevada
Fellow Member, American Society of Civil Engineers
Honorary Member, American Waters Works Association
Member, California State Personnel Board under
appointment from Governor, 1973 - 1981.
Member, Board of Directors, California Public Employees'
Retirement System, 1978-1981.
Member, Board of Directors, California Chamber of
(1) Distinguished Service Award, January 1972,
California Council of Civil Engineers and Land
(2) Construction Man of the Year, February 1973,
Engineering News Record.
(3) Public Works Man of the Year, One of the Top Ten
Public Works Men of the Year for 1973, American
Public Works Association and other organizations.
(4) Honorary Member, American Waters Works Association,
(5) Royce J. Tipton Award for outstanding contributions
in the field of irrigation and drainage, ASCE, 1973,
(6) Distinguished Service Award for 1973, Soil
Conservation Society of America.
(7) Special award in appreciation for contributions to
the people of California as Director of Water
Resources, Association of California Water Aqencies,
(8) The SIR Award (Skill, Integrity and Responsibility)
in recognition for contribution to the construction
industry, Association of General Contractors of
California, December 8, 1973.
(9) U.S. Department of Interior, Bureau of Reclamation,
Citizen Award, in recognition of outstanding
leadership in the effective development of the
Nation's water resources, December 4, 1975.
(10) U.S. Department of Defense Medal for Distinguished
Public Service, April 1984.
(11) U.S. Department of the Army Decoration for
Distinguished Civil Service, May 1984.
(12) Distinguished Engineering Alumnus 1986 award, by
the University of California, Berkeley Engineering
Alumni Society, April 25, 1986.
(13) Water Leader of the Year, 1985, for outstanding
achievement in the field of water resources, by
the Association of California Water Agencies,
May 7, 1986.
INDEX William R. Gianelli Eiland, Robert, 6, 13
Ely, Northcutt, 62-63
environmentalists, 50-51, 52
acreage limitation, 26-27, 40-41 Fish and Game, Department of, California,
Andrus, Cecil, 54 30-32, 49
Arnett, Ray, 30, 32
Gianelli, William R.,
Banks, Harvey, 3-4, 76 as assistant secretary of the army,
Behr, Peter, 54 34, 37-40
Brody, Ralph, 76 in Department of Water Resources, 3-4,
Brown, Edmund G., Jr. (Jerry), 23, 48 12
Brown, Edmund G., Sr . (Pat), 7, 13, as director Department of Water
19, 75-76 Resources, 1, 3, 5-66
Burns, Hugh, 75 in Division of Water Resources, 4, 12
Burns-Porter Act, 3, 13, 17 on Panama Canal Commission, 68-69
on state Personnel Board, 67-68
Golze, Alfred, 5-6
cabinet, governor's (Ronald Reagan), groundwater management, 59-61
California Water Commission, 8-10
California [State] Water Project, Hayden, Carl, 62, 64
construction of, 15-16, 18, Hill, Clair, 10
44-66, 77 Hosmer, Craig, 62
electric power contracts, 22-27 Hunt, John, 12, 13
engineering problems, 13, 42-43
financing of, 7, 12-34, 41-43
history of, 74-76 Indians, 53-54
personnel for, 35-37
Chrisman, Ira J. (Jack), 10
Central Arizona Project, 61-64, 65-66 Jackson, Henry (Scoop), 63-64
Central Valley Project, 45-47, 56 Johnson, Harold (Bizz) , 62
Coke, Earl, 40
Cologne, Gordon, 18-19
Corps of Engineers, U.S. Army, Knight, Goodwin, 74-75
34, 37-40, 51-52 Kuchel, Thomas H., 64
Davis-Dolwig Act, 28-29 Livermore, Norman B., Jr. (Ike), 7, 8,
Davis-Grunsky, 13, 29 52-54
Deukmejian, George, 48, 49
Dillon Read, 12 Mau?han, Don, 65
Dos Rios dam, 51-55 Meese, Edwin, III, 54
Miller, George, Jr., 17-18
Mott, William Penn, 32
Murphy, George, 64
*Unless otherwise noted, departments and agencies listed are units of California
Nesbit, Raymond, 29
nuclear energy, 72
Panama Canal Commission, U.S., 68-69
Parks and Recreation, Department of,
Peripheral Canal, 14, 44-50
Porter, Carley, 75
Post, A. Alan, 15
power, electric, 22-27
Priest, Ivy Baker, 27-28
Proposition 7 (1970) to increase the
interest ceiling on bonds, 25-
wastewater reclamation, 72
water agencies and administration,
federal and state governments,
compared, 34, 37-40
water, conservation of, 71-74
Water Resources, Department of,
water, transfers of, 73-74
weather modification, 73
Weinberger, Caspar, 5
Western States Water Council, 64-65
Western Water Education Foundation,
Wild and Scenic Rivers Act, 52, 54-55
Reagan, Ronald, as governor, 1-2,
7-8, 9, 17, 36, 40, 45, 52-54,
55, 67, 77
Reagan, Ronald, as president,
Recreation, Department of,
Resources Agency, California,
San Luis Drain, 14, 55-59
State Water Project. See
California [State] Water Project
Steiner, Wesley, 65
Task Force on Acreage
Task Force on Governmental
Task Force on Recreation, 29
Task Force on Water Resources,
7, 10, 13-14, 16, 34
Teerink, John, 5-6, 69-70
tidelands oil funds, 16-21
Waldie, Jerome, 57
Warne, William, 1, 11, 19, 44, 48,
GOVERNMENT HISTORY DOCUMENTATION PROJECT
Ronald Reagan Era, 1966-1974
Interviews Completed or In Process, June 1986
Single Interview Volumes
Beilenson, Anthony C., "Securing Liberal Legislation During the Reagan
Administration," UC Los Angeles, 1982, 81 pp.
Breslow, Lester, "Vision and Reality in State Health Care: Medi-Cal and
Other Public Programs, 1946-1975," DC Berkeley 1985, 96 pp.
Burke, Yvonne Brathwaite, "New Arenas of Black Influence," UC Los Angeles,
1982, 46 pp.
Busterud, John A., "The California Constitution Revision Commission,"
Claremont, 1982, 37 pp.
Carleson, Robert, "Stemming the Welfare Tide," UC Berkeley, 1985, 107 pp.
Coke, J. Earl, "Reminiscences of People and Change in California Agriculture,
1900-1975," UC Davis, 1976, 265 pp.
Dales, Jack, "Pragmatic Leadership: Ronald Reagan as President of the Screen
Actors Guild," UC Los Angeles, 1982, 49 pp.
Darling, Dick, "Republican Activism: The California Republican Assembly and
Ronald Reagan," UC Los Angeles, 1981, 56 pp.
Dunckel, Earl B., "Ronald Reagan and the General Electric Theatre, 1954-1955,"
UC Berkeley, 1982, 46 pp.
Dunne, George H., "Christian Advocacy and Labor Strife in Hollywood," UC
Los Angeles, 1981, 67 pp.
Finch, Robert H., "Views From the Lieutenant Governor's Office," CSU
Fullerton, 1983, 107 pp.
Flournoy, Houston I., "California Assemblyman and Controller," Claremont,
1982, 235 pp.
Gianelli, William, "The California State Department of Water Resources,
1967-1973," UC Berkeley, 1986, 86 pp.
Livermore, Norman B., Jr., "Man in the Middle: High Sierra Packer,
Timberman, Conservationist, and California Resources Secretary," UC
Berkeley, 1983, 285 pp.
Livingston, Donald G., "Program and Policy Development in Consumer Affairs
and the Governor's Office," DC Berkeley, 1986, 90 pp.
Plog, Stanley, "More than Just an Actor: The Early Campaigns of Ronald
Reagan," UC Los Angeles, 1981, 29 pp.
Reagan, Neil, "Private Dimensions and Public Images: The Early Political
Campaigns of Ronald Reagan," UC Los Angeles, 1981, 58 pp.
Reinecke, Ed, "Maverick Congressman and Lieutenant Governor for California,
1965-1974," UC Berkeley, 1986, 96 pp.
Riles, Wilson C., '"No Adversary Situations': Public School Education in
California and Wilson C. Riles, Superintendent of Public Instruction,
1970-1982," UC Berkeley, 1984, 134 pp.
Wright, Donald, "A View of Reagan and the California Courts," CSU Fullerton,
1984, 87 pp.
Younger, Evelle J., "A Lifetime in Law Enforcement," UC Los Angeles, 1982,
Mu It i- Interview Volumes
APPOINTMENTS, CABINET MANAGEMENT, AND POLICY RESEARCH FOR GOVERNOR RONALD
REAGAN, 1967-1974, UC Berkeley, 1983, 232 pp.
Adams, Winfred, "Strategies for Republican Elections, State Government
Management, and Water Resources, 1963-1976."
Haerle, Paul R., "Ronald Reagan and Republican Party Politics in
Martin, Jerry C., "Information and Policy Research for Ronald Reagan,
THE ART OF CORRECTIONS MANAGEMENT, CALIFORNIA 1967-1974, UC Berkeley, 1984,
Breed, Allen F. , "Theory and Practice in Juvenile Justice."
Procunier, Raymond K. , "Administering Your Prisons."
THE ASSEMBLY, THE STATE SENATE, AND THE GOVERNOR'S OFFICE, 1958-1974,
UC Berkeley, 1982, 490 pp.
Bagley, William, "Some Complexities of Social Progress and Fiscal
Mills, James R., "A Philosophical Approach to Legislative and Election
Monagan, Robert T., "Increasing Republican Influence in the State
Rodda, Albert, "Sacramento Senator: State Leadership in Education and
GOVERNOR REAGAN AND HIS CABINET: AN INTRODUCTION, UC Berkeley, 1986, 174 pp.
Luce, Gordon, "A Banker's View of State Administration and Republican
Orr, Verne, "Business Leadership in the Department of Motor Vehicles and
Reagan, Ronald, "On Becoming Governor."
GOVERNOR REAGAN'S CABINET AND AGENCY ADMINISTRATION, DC Berkeley, 1986, 213 pp.
Brian, Earl W., "Health and Welfare Policy, 1970-1974: A Narrow
Spectrum of Debate."
Stearns, James G., "Joining Reagan's Campaign in Sacramento:
Conservation, Agriculture, and Employee Relations."
Thomas, Edwin W. , Jr., "The Governor's Cabinet as Policy Forum."
Walton, Frank J., "Transportation Policies and the Politics of
DEMOCRATIC PARTY POLITICS AND ENVIRONMENTAL ISSUES IN CALIFORNIA, 1962-1976,
UC Berkeley, 1986, 101 pp.
Boas, Roger, "Democratic State Central Committee Chairman, 1968-1970."
Warren, Charles, "From the California Assembly to the Council on
Environmental Quality, 1962-1979: The Evolution of an
CALIFORNIA STATE DEPARTMENT OF FINANCE AND GOVERNOR RONALD REAGAN,
UC Berkeley, 1986, 125 pp.
Beach, Edwin W., "Some Technical and Political Aspects of State
Bell, Roy M. , "Revenue Policies and Political Realities."
Dwight, James S., "Early Reagan Administration Perspectives on State
THE GOVERNOR'S OFFICE AND PUBLIC INFORMATION, EDUCATION, AND PLANNING,
1967-1974, UC Berkeley, 1984, 301 pp.
Beck, Paul, "From the Los Angeles Times to the Executive Press Office,
Sherriffs, Alex C., "Education Advisor to Ronald Reagan and State
University Administrator, 1969-1982."
Tooker, John S., "Director of the Office of Planning and Research, and
Legislative Assistant, 1967-1974."
Hannaford, Peter, "Expanding Political Horizons."
THE HISTORY OF PROPOSITION #1: PRECURSOR OF CALIFORNIA TAX LIMITATION
MEASURES, Claremont, 1982, 102 pp.
Stubblebine, William Craig, "The Development of Proposition #1."
Uhler, Lewis K. , "Chairman of Task Force in Tax Reduction."
INTERNAL AND EXTERNAL OPERATIONS OF THE CALIFORNIA GOVERNOR'S OFFICE, 1966-
1974, UC Berkeley, 1985, 235 pp.
Gillenwaters, Edgar, "Washington Office Troubleshooter and Advocate for
Commerce in California, 1967-1973."
Jenkins, James, "Public Affairs, Welfare Concerns in Washington and
Procunier, Florence Randolph, "Working with Edwin Meese."
Walker, Robert, "Political Advising and Advocacy for Ronald Reagan,
Walton, Rus, "Turning Political Ideas into Government Program."
ISSUES AND INNOVATIONS IN THE 1966 REPUBLICAN GUBERNATORIAL CAMPAIGN,
UC Berkeley, 1980, 187 pp.
Nofziger, Franklyn C., "Press Secretary for Ronald Reagan, 1966."
Parkinson, Gaylord B. , "California Republican Party Official, 1962-1967."
Roberts, William E., "Professional Campaign Management and the
Spencer, Stuart K. , "Developing a Campaign Management Organization."
THE "KITCHEN CABINET": FOUR CALIFORNIA CITIZEN ADVISERS OF RONALD REAGAN.
CSU Fullerton, 1983, 157 pp.
LAW ENFORCEMENT AND CRIMINAL JUSTICE IN CALIFORNIA, 1966-1974, UC Berkeley,
1985, 300 pp.
Ellingwood, Herbert, "Law Enforcement Planning and Coordination, 1969-
Gunterman, Joseph F. , "Sacramento Advocate for the Friends Committee
on Legislation of California."
Houghton, Robert A., "Law Enforcement Planning in the Reagan
Marinissen, Jan, "'To Let the Legislature Know 1 : Prison Advocacy and
the American Friends Service Committee in California, 1960-1983."
Palumbo, Anthony L., "Law Enforcement, Emergency Planning, and the
Califonia National Guard, 1965-1974."
LEGISLATIVE-GOVERNOR RELATIONS IN THE REAGAN YEARS: FIVE VIEWS, CSU
Fullerton, 1983, 157 pp.
Carpenter, Dennis E., "Republican State Committee Chair and
Beverly, Robert, "Reflections of a Republican Assemblyman."
Zenovich, George, "Senate Democrat in the Reagan Government."
Moretti, Robert, "Recollections of an Assembly Speaker."
LEGISLATIVE ISSUE MANAGEMENT AND ADVOCACY, 1961-1974, UC Berkeley,
1983, 315 pp.
Cory, Ken, "Education Consultant and Assemblyman, 1961-1974."
Hall, Kenneth, '"Playing Devil's Advocate': The Governor's Office and
The Department of Finance in California, 1966-1974."
Kehoe, John, "Advocacy for Education, Consumerism, and Governor Ronald
Miller, John, "Issues of Criminal Justice and Black Politics in
Sturgeon, Vernon, "State Senator, Reagan Advisor, and PUC Commissioner,
ORGANIZATIONAL AND FISCAL VIEWS OF THE REAGAN ADMINISTRATION, UC Berkeley,
1984, 183 pp.
Post, A. Alan, "Public Aims and Expenditure: A Divergent View."
King, Warren, "Governor Reagan's Use of Task Forces and Loaned
Volk, Robert, Jr., "Government Reform and the Maturity of the Political
Lucas, Harry, "New Approaches to Vocational Rehabilitation."
POVERTY PROGRAMS AND OTHER CONSERVATIVE POLICY STRATEGIES, 1970-1984,
UC Berkeley, 1986, 105 pp.
Chickering, A. Lawrence
Hawkins, Robert B. , Jr.
REPUBLICAN CAMPAIGNS AND PARTY ISSUES, 1964-1976, UC Berkeley,
1986, 201 pp.
Cristina, Vernon J., "A Northern Californian Views
Conservative Politics and Policies, 1963-1970."
McDowell, Jack S., "Press Work and Political Campaigns,
Todd, A. Ruric, "Experience and Advice for the Reagan
Watts, Skip (Norman), "Observations of a Youthful Political
REPUBLICAN PHILOSOPHY AND PARTY ACTIVISM, UC Berkeley, 1984, 142 pp.
Hume, Jacquelin, "Basic Economics and the Body Politic: Views of a
Northern California Reagan Loyalist."
Storrs, Eleanor Ring, "Parties, Politics, and Principles: 'It's at the
Local Level. 1 "
Wrather, Jack, "On Friendship, Politics, and Government."
del Junco, Tirso, "California Republican Party Leadership and
THE SAN FRANCISCO BAY CONSERVATION AND DEVELOPMENT COMMISSION, 1964-1973,
UC Berkeley, 1986, 98 pp.
Bodovitz, Joseph E. , "Management and Policy Directions."
Lane, Melvin B. , "The Role of Leadership in Setting and
Shute, E. Clement, Jr., "The Place of the Courts in the Solution of
Controversial Policy Issues."
SAN FRANCISCO REPUBLICANS, UC Berkeley, 1980, 100 pp.
Christopher, George, "Mayor of San Francisco and Republican Party
Weinberger, Caspar, "California Assembly, Republican State Central
Committee, and Elections, 1953-1966."
In Process - March. 1986
Barrett, Charles, UC Berkeley.
Bradley, Melvin, UC Berkeley.
Camilli, Richard, UC Berkeley.
Canson, Virna, UC Berkeley.
Carter, Louis, UC Berkeley.
Connelly, Margarete, UC Berkeley.
Deaver, Michael, UC Berkeley.
Dumke, Glenn S. , UC Berkeley.
Fenlon, Roberta, UC Berkeley.
Habecker, Jackie, UC Berkeley.
Hall, James, UC Berkeley.
Heine, Carolyn, UC Berkeley.
Lovry, James, UC Berkeley.
Magyar, Roger, UC Berkeley.
Meese, Edwin, III, UC Berkeley.
Miller, Anita, UC Berkeley.
Mott, William Penn, UC Berkeley.
Swoap, David, UC Berkeley.
Watson, Philip E. , UC Los Angeles.
Way, Howard, UC Berkeley.
Williams, Spencer M. , "The Human Relations Agency: Perspectives and Programs
Concerning Health, Welfare, and Corrections, 1966-1970," UC Berkeley.
Oral History Office, Department of Special Collections, University of
California, Davis, California, 95616.
Oral History Program, California State University, Library 243, Fullerton,
Oral History Program, Claremont Graduate School, Claremont, California,
Oral History Program, Powell Library Building, University of California, Los
Angeles, California, 90024.
Regional Oral History Office, 486 The Bancroft Library, University of
California, Berkeley, California, 94720.
Graduated from Reed College in 1942 with a B.A.
degree, and from the State University of Iowa in
1943 with an M.A. degree in Political Science.
Wage Rate Analyst with the Twelfth Regional War
Labor Board, 1943-1945, specializing in agricul
ture and services. Research and writing in the
New York public relations firm of Edward L.
Bernays, 1946-1947, and research and statistics
for the Oakland Area Community Chest and Council
of Social Agencies 1948-1951.
Active in community affairs as a director and
past president of the League of Women Voters of
the Hayward Area specializing in state and local
government; on county-wide committees in the
field of mental health; on election campaign
committees for school tax and bond measures, and
candidates for school board and state legislature.
Employed in 1967 by the Regional Oral History
Office interviewing in fields of agriculture and
water resources. Project director, Suffragists
Project, California Women Political Leaders
Project, and Land-Use Planning Project.