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Imperial press and farmer. (Imperial, San Diego County, Cal.) 1901-1903, December 21, 1901, Image 3

Image and text provided by University of California, Riverside; Riverside, CA

Persistent link: https://chroniclingamerica.loc.gov/lccn/sn92070142/1901-12-21/ed-1/seq-3/

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PRESIDENT ROOSEVELT ON IRRIGATION
FOR THE FIRST TIME IN THE HISTORY OF THE GOV
ERNMENT ITS PRESIDENT TAKES THE STAND FOR
THE NATIONAL IRRIGATION OF THE ARID
PUBLIC DOMAIN.
OVER $200,000,000 PRIVATE CAPITAL ALREADY EXPENDED IN IRRI-
The government is likely to get a
move on Itself in the way of reclaim*
ing the arid Public Domain, hut it
will take years to accomplish results.
In the meantime the hest irrigation
enterprises are hi ing developed by
private enterprise — in the front
ranks of which stands the Imperial
irrigation system.
President Roosevelt in his late an
nual message to Congress says:
Question of Irrigation.
The forests are natural reservoirs.
By restraining the streams in flood
and replenishing them in drought
they make possible the use of waters
Otherwise wasted. They prevent the
soil from washing and so protect the
storage reservoirs from tilling up
with silt. Forest conservation
therefore, an essential condition of
water conservation.
The foreatß alone cannot, however.
fully regulate and conserve the
waters of the arid region. Great
Btorage works are necessary to
equalize the How of streams and to
save the flood waters. Their con
struction has been conclusively shown
to be an undertaking too vast for
private effort. Nor can it be best
accomplished by the Individual states
acting alone. Parreachlng inter
state 1 problems are involved : and the
resources Of single states would often
be inadequate. It is properly B na
tional function, at least in some- of
its features, it is as right for the
national government to make the
streams and rivers of the arid region
useful by engineering works for wa
ter storage as to make useful the riv
ers and harbors of the humid region
by engineering works of another kind.
Tin 1 storing of the floods in reser
voirs at the headwaters of our rivers
is but an enlargement of our present
policy of river control, under which
lcveeß are built on the lower reaches
of the same stream.
Government Construction.
The government should construct
and maintain these reservoirs as it
does other public works. Where
their purpose is to regulate the How
of Btreams, the water should be
turned freely into the channels in
the dry season to take the same
course under the same laws as the
natural How.
The reclamation of the unsettled
arid public lands presents a difficult
problem. Here it is not enough to
regulate the How of streams. The ob
ject of the government is to dispose
of the land settlers who will build
homes upon it To accomplisn this
object water must, be brought within
their reach.
The pioneer settlers on the arid
public domain choose their homes
along streams from which they could
themselves divert the water to re
clain their holdings. Such oppor
tunities are practically gone. There
remain, however, vast areas of pub
lic land which cad be made available
for homestead settlements, but only
by reservors and main-line canals
impracticable for private enterprise.
These irrigation works should be
built by the national government.
The lands reclaimed by them should
be reserved by the government for
actual settlers, and the cost of con
struction should so far as possible be
repaid by the land reclaimed. The
distribution of water, the division of
the streams among irrigators. should
be left to the settlers themselves in
conformity with state laws and with
out interfer. nee with those laws or
with vested rights. The policy of the
national government should he to aid
irrigation in the several states and
territories in BUCh manner as will
enable the people in the local com
munities to help themselves, and as
will stimulate needed reforms in the
state laws and regulations governing
irrigation.
GATION WORKS.
Reclamation of Arid Lands.
The reclamation and settlement of
the arid lands will enrich every pot
ton of our country just as the settle
ment of the Ohio ami Mississippi
valleys brought prosperity to the
Atlantic states. The increased de
mand for manufactured articles will
stimulate industrial production, while
wider home markets and the trade
of Asia will consume the larger food
BUpplles and effectually prevent west
crn competition with eastern agricul
ture. Indeed, the products of irri
gation will be consumed chiefly in up
building local centers of mining and
other industries, which would other
wise not come into existence at all.
Our people as a whole will profit, for
successful home making is but an
other name for the upbuilding of the
nation.
The necesssary foundation has al
ready been laid for the inauguration
of the policy just described. It would
be unwise to begin by doing too
much, for a great deal will doubtless
be learned, both as to what can and
what cannot be safely attempted by
the early efforts, which must of
necessity be partly experimental in
character. At the very beginning
the government should make clear
beyond shadow of doubt its Intention
to pursue this policy on lines of the
broadest public interest. No reser
voir or canal should ever be built to
satisfy selfish personal or local in
terest: but only in accordance with
the advice of trained experts, after
long investigation has shown the lo
cality where all the conditions com
bine to make the work most needed
and fraught with the greatest use
fulness to the community as a whole.
There should be no extravagance and
the believers in the need of irriga
tion will most benefit their cause by
seeing to it that it Is free from the
least taint of excessive or reckless
expendture of the public moneys.
Private Capital Invested.
Whatever the nation does for the
extension of irrigation should har
monize with and tend to improve the
condition of those now living on irri
gated land. We are not at the start
ing point of this development. Over
$^00,000,000 of private capital has al
ready been expended in the construc
tion of irrigation works, and many
? £
I The Los Angeles Furniture Company *
»,
I Carpets » Rugs -- Draperies I
5 *
225-227-229 South Broadway-Opposite City Hall, Los Angeles, Cal. fc
'5 Give Good Furniture £
5 Nothing makes a more practical Xmas gift than some good article of £
% Furniture which will stand the test of years and always be a pleasant £
remembrance of the giver. fc
I Our Holiday Assortment is Now Complete £
*i *.
From it you can select articles for Mother, Wife, Brother or Sister—
Easy chairs for the Old Folks— Parlor Pieces for the Young Married £
Couple— Blacking Cases for the Young Man— Music Cabinets or *
Toilet Tables for the Young Lady and so on through a splendid fc
store of magnificent gift pieces— you'll find the prices £
temptingly reasonable.
IMPKRIAI. PRKSS
million acres of arid land reclaimed.
A high degree of enterprise and
abilits has been shown in the work
itself; but as much cannot be said
in reference to the laws relating
thereto. The security ami value of
the homes created depend largely on
the stability of titles to water; but
the majority of these rest on the un
certain foundation of court decisions
rendered in ordinary suits at law.
With a few creditable exceptions, the
arid staes have tailed to provide for
the certain ami just division of
Btreams In times of scarcity, l.ax and
uncertain laws have made it possible
to establish rights to water in excess
of actual \ises or necessities, and
many streams have already passed
into private ownership, or a control
equivalent to ownership.
Whoever controls a Stream practi
cally controls the land it renders pro
ductlve, and the 1 doctrine of private
ownership of water apart from land
cannot prevail without causing endur
ing wrong. The recognition of such
ownership, which has been permit*
ted to grow up in the arid regions,
should give way to a more enlightened
and larger recognition of the rights
of the public in the control and dis
posal of the public water supplies.
Laws founded upon conditions ob
taining in humid regions where wa
ter is too abundant to justify hoard
ing it. have no proper application In
a dry country.
State Ownership of Water.
In the arid states the only right
to water which should be recognized
is that of use. In irrigation this right
should attach to the land reclaimed
and be inseperable therefrom. Grant
ing perpetual water rights to others
than Users, without compensation to
the public, is open to all the objections
which apply to giving away perpetual
franchisee to the public utili
ties of cities. A few of the
Western states have already
recognized this, and have incorporated
in their constitutions the doctrine of
perpetual state ownership of water.
The benefits which have followed the
unaided development of the past jus
tify the nation's aid and cooperation in
the more difficult and important, work
yet to bo accomplished. l^iws so
vitally affecting homes as those which
control the water supply will only he
effective when they have the sanction
Of the [rrlgators; reforms can only be
final and satisfactory when they come
through the enlightenment of the peo
ple most concerned. The larger de
velopment which national aid insures |
should, however, awaken in every arid \
state tin 1 determination to make its
irrigation system equal in justice and j
effectiveness to that of any country in
the civilized world. Nothing could be
more unwise than for Isolated com- |
munities to continue to learn every- j
thing experimentally, instead of profit
ing by what is already known else- ,
where. We are dealing with a new
and momentous question, in the preg
nant years while Institutions are form
ing, and what we do will affect not
only the present but future genera
tions.
Careful Study of Irrigation.
Our aim should not be simply to re
claim the largest area of land and
provide homes for the largest number
of people, but to create this new in
dustry the best possible social ami in
dustrial conditions; and this requires
that we not only understand the exist
ing situation, but avail ourselves of
the best experience of the time in the
solution of its problems, k careful
study should be made, both by the na
tion and the states. of the
irrigation laws ami the condi
tions here and abroad. Ulti
mately it will probably be neces
sary for the nation to cooperate with
the several arid states in proportion
as these states by their legislation
and administration show themselves
fit to receive it.
A Co-Operative Home.
Forty thousand meals for $5000 —
L2H cents apiece— is not so bad. Per
haps it is a record, ami. if so. the
credit belongs to several original wo
men of Longwood who have succeeded
in establishing a co-operative borne.
The scheme has been in operation a
year, and is a big success. Mrs.
Thomas Chambers of Longwood first
though of the plan more than a year
ago. and one of the results was the
purchase of a clubhouse, where fam
ilies who were on the society's roster
congregated at meal time, and when
they pleased, and enjoyed themselves.
This saved the drudgery of cooking in
the several homes, and the plan
proved so satisfactory that it was
broadened and a cooperative garden
established, with a saving on vege
tables for the year of about $300.
The dubhOUM is for both sexes,
and members <>*■ the family generally
sit at a table by themselves, use their
own silverware aid enjoy the same
delights as if In UietT own homes.
The $r»000 includes all the expenses
of the association, including the pur
chase of equipment, BUCh us ranges.
steam table, refrigerator and cooking
utensils. In the computation of meals
[those served to children under 12
years old are counted at one-half and
charged on that basis.
The next step of the association,
plans for which are now being made,
is a co-operative laundry. After that
will come the co-operative stock farm
for the purpose of supplying the as
sociation with milk, butter, etfßs,
poultry, etc.
The news of the success of the
LongWOOd "Home" has spread, and it
is probable that similar institutions
will spring up In Washington Heights.
Blue Island and Harvey. Chicago
Correspondence New York World.
3

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