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Newspaper Page Text
NO WATER RIGHTS
yon out In one of the clearest cut de ciders that has ever been rendered In this State on the rights of ' the water users to the water to Irrigate their lands. In view of this decision and numerous others along the same line It is manifest that the plan on which Imperial Water company No. 1 was organized was defective for the pur- J peses for which It was organized. This company was ostensibly put forth to supply entrymen on desert lands with water rights so they could reclaim their lands and acquire title from the gov ernment. The government required then, as It requires now, that the en tryman shall show that he has a -clear right to sufficient water to successfully and permanently Irrigate his land" and this requirement Is now being more strenuously Insisted upon than ever. Messrs. Stephens and Stephens de ny that the stockholder in this water company has any right to the water much less a -clear right" as the gov ernment requires. They say them selves "neither the stockholders nor persons other than stockholders have ever made any appropriations of water or done any act upon which a claim of right can be based." If this Is the case those who bought stock in Imper ial Water company No. 1 with the be lief that they were buying a water right were deluded for they have done "no act upon which a claim of right can be based." We are now at the heart of this matter. We contend that the users of the water supplied by Imperial Water company No. 1 have a right to the use of the water thus supplied them and that this right is absolute in every sense. That even though both the California Development company and Imperial Water company No. 1 should pass away this right would remain and the land owners still be entitled to 'the —.water necessary to irrigate their lands. Thei right to the use'of water must be long to the land on which; it is benefic §Jalfy used. Otherwise w^iere does it belong? If as Messrs." Stephens and Stephens say, "neither the stockholder nor persons other than stockholders have ever made appropriations of water or done any act upon which a claim of right can be based" how can an entry man on public lands set up a claim to such a "clear right 10 the use of water" as the government requires before title is granted to these lands? Messrs. Stephens and Stephens thave raised questions that must be set tled and settled right; also they must 6e settled promptly. If it fs contend fed. as seems to be the case, that the waters of the Colorado river belong to the California Development company then the contention set up by Messrs. Stephens and Stephens is c rrect and the people of this Valley have acquired no right to the use of water and can acquire none. For this contention to be correct however the California De velopment company must own the wat er of the Colorado river absolutely and would therefore not be a common car rier according to the laws of this State but would be carrying ana delivering Its own property, 1. c., water. Under such conditions It would sell this prop erty (water) to the Imperial Water company No. 1 in bulk and the only thing the stockholder of Number One would get for the money he paid for his stock would be a chance at this water after it was delivered to Imperial' Water company No. 1 . This Is not a water right nor is it any part of a water right. The use of water Is a public use and the right to Its use attaches to the lands on which It is used and not to the stock of a subsidiary company such as Imperial Water company No. 1 was planned to be. From the opinion of Messrs. Ste phens and Stephens above published It Is clear that they believe Water com pany No. 1 and all the other Imperial Water companie* to be merely agen cies for the collection of water bills for the California Development company and have no proper ownership in or right to the water they handle. From the fact that everyone of these water companies was Incorporated In the of fices and from among the members and employees of the California De velopment company and the further fact that at the time the contracts were made the water company direct orate was in every Instance controlled by the California Developmeiit com pany would at least give color to this belief. When the contract between Water company No. 1 and the Cali fornia Development company was en tered Into on July 24th. 1901. and which Messrs. Stephens and Stephens and also the late Judge Varlel declare to be a valid and enforceable contract three of the five directors of Imperial Water company No. 1 were not only stockholders in the California Develop ment company but were also members of Its board of directors and the active managing force in the direction of its affairs. The fact that these water companies were all incorporated under the California Development company control and made the contracts by which all their capital stock was turned over to the California Development company while under that control goes to show that the entire scheme of Im perial Water companies was merely a set of regulations established by the California Development company to be observed by the settlers on the pub lic lands before they would be permit ted to receive a supply of water for the irrigation of their lands. If as Messrs. Stephens and Stephens declare "neither the stockholders nor persons other than stockholders hive ever made any appropriations of water or done any act upon which a claim of right can be based" then all they have done is to comply with the regulations established by the California Develop ment company. None of the decis ions of the supreme court of this State that have ever been quoted In support of the views held by Messrs. Stephens and Stephens are as recent as the de cision rendered in the case of Crow vs. the San Joaquin and Kings River Canal and Irrigation company. In this case the court swept aside the regula tions established by the water company and the contract set up by them and established the rule that it is the duty of water companies in this State to supply water to the users "whether they comply with their regulations or not." In other words no water com pany has the right to prescribe the terms on which water shall be deliver ed to users in this State. Aside from the conclusions above which are clear ly deducible from the opinion of Mes srs Stephens and Stephens there is a further and more vital consideration and that Is the fac* that the people of this Valley are entrymen on the jpubllc lands, the great majority of them un der the desert land act. Before they can secure title to their lands they must each show to - the commissioner of the general land 'office that they have a "clear right to sufficient water to successfully and permanently Irrigate the lands embraced In their entries." If as Messrs. Stephens and Stephens contend they have never done any act on which a claim of right can be based how are they to meet this requirement? If the contention Is advanced that such an arrangement as Messrs. Stephens and Stephens set forth prevails In this Valley and it Is claimed that this is le gal according to the laws of California It must be remembered that the secre tary of the Interior has knocked the bottom out of that by already ruling that the attempted appropriation of the waters of the Colorado river by the California Development company Is invalid. They therefore don't own the water and the attempt on their part to work in water companies and their stock as part of the regulations to be observed by settlers before they would supply them with water falls flat. While the secretary of the Interior has no Jurisdiction over land In private ownership and cannot prescribe the kind of arrangement by which It shall be supplied with wster except In reda matlon districts he is the supreme au thorl.y over the public lands and has prescribed the kind of water rights we shail have before title will Issue to us !as desert Jand entrymen In this Valley and elsewhere when the source of wat er supply is the Lower Colorado river where it Is navigable. In hls'report to congress dated January 6th, 1905. con cerning the use of the waters of the Lower Colorado for Irrigation he goes Into this matter In detail and states that while the attempted appropriation of this water by the California Develop ment company was Invalid because the Colorado Is a navigable stream and not under the control of the State of California, yet It would be allowed to the extent to which the water thus dl verled^waTpuTtd" beneficial use and the water made appurtenant to the lands on which It had been beneficially used. This therefore establishes the basis on which water rights in this Valley must rest. The right to the water is acquired by the user when he makes a beneficial use of. It. But in order to fully protect himself in this right he must take proper action to make it appurtenant to his land. This can be done, as pointed out by the honorable commissioner of the general land office In his letter to us dated May Ist by complying with the require ments of section 324 of the civil code of this State. It will also be well to amend the articles of Incorporation of these Imperial Water companies so as to empower them to secure water from any source that Is available. ' For this purpose and for the further While you are planning your vacation don t overlook your Wardrobe wants « Take time by the forelocks and save time and money by calling now to see that elegant line of Hand Tailored High Art Suits. 'We have just what you want for your sum- mer trip; a remarkable strong showing of medium dark and light Greys in plain and mixed patterns, also Blue Serges and medium weight Cassimeres. Prices from $12.50 to $22.50. We also have just received a large shipment of Ladies and Gents Shoes of all kinds. We can please you and save you money when you are in need of footwear. Remember our line of Summer Underwear for Ladies and Gentlemen is the kind that lends Physical comfort and a smiling countenance to the purse. Our line of Fancy and Staple Groceries are complete in every respect and the prices rifiht. ' We takeiyour produce in exchange for Merchandise and allow you the best market price possible. for the same. We respectfully request that you call and be convinced that what we say is correct and 1 he Valley Mercantile Lxx El Centro, California; J. Stanley Brown, El Centro, Calf purpose of making the stock In their companies Irrigation stock and appurt enant to their land each of the water companies should have stockholders' meetings. When this Is done no mat ter what changes may come our right to the use of the waters of the Colora do river will not be nullified. Under present conditions If what Messrs. Ste phens and Stephens say Is true we have no water right. The continuance therefore of our chance to get water efiCSKXSiSSXSKCSKSXSXSXSXSJB Homeseekers | Colonists | Should take advantage of the excellent Tourist Car service from r\ New Orleans to the Imperial Settlements maintained by X the H SOUTHERN PACIFIC R </fCQwmW^is For Information Write Ask Agent, Q Eighth Street IHPERIAL, CALIFORNIA depends on the solvency of the Cali fornia Development company and thelr ablllty to cope with the Colorado river.. We contend that the people of this; Valley shall be protected In thelrrlghts and now that It Is known what the sec retary of the Interior requires v why should the water users of the Valley jeopardize their rights? If you don't find what you want advertised In the paper Bert R. Chaplin can dig it up for you.