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Full text of "Extra census bulletin"

*HA?OI . 1390. A2*i 
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Apr. 1 89J2H 
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in 2010 with funding from 

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Extra Census Bulletin. 



No, 23, WASHINGTON, D. C. September 9, 1892. 



AGRICULTURE.-IRRIGATIOJST. 



DEPARTMENT OF THE INTERIOR, 

Census Office, 
Washington, D. C, August 20, 1892. 
Sir: 

The accompanying report contains the summarized results of a special investigation into the condition of 
agriculture in the arid and subhumid states and territories, more particularly in relation to the practice of 
irrigation. The statistical portion of the report, which has reference mainly to the year ended May 31, 1890, is 
embodied in 18 tables, as follows : 

1. Total number of farms in the western states and territories on which crops were raised by irrigation in 1889, 
area irrigated, average size of irrigated farms, and average value of farm products per acre. 

2. Number of irrigated farms, area irrigated, and average size of irrigated farms in the subhumid region. 

3. Percentage of entire land surface irrigated in the several states and territories in the arid region, total 
number of farms enumerated and percentage irrigated, and total area of land in irrigated farms and percentage of 
same actually irrigated. 

4. States and territories in the order of the proportion of the number of farms irrigated to the total number of 
agricultural holdings. 

5. States and territories in the order of the proportion of land irrigated to the total area of land in farms. 

6. Total area of land in farms on which irrigation is practiced in the subhumid region, and percentage of 
same irrigated. 

7. Proportion of irrigated land in cereals and forage crops to total area irrigated. 

8. Total value and average value per acre on June 1, 1890, of land irrigated in arid region in 1889; total 
value and average value per acre of the products of irrigated land in arid region in 1889. 

9. Classification of irrigated farms as under 160 acres or as 160 acres and upward, with average size of farms 
in each class and percentage of total. 

10. Classification of large irrigated farms, as from 160 to 319 acres, from 320 to 639 acres, and 640 acres and 
upward, with number and average size of each class. 

11. Average first cost of water right per acre, average present value of existing water rights per acre, average 
annual cost of water or of maintaining and repairing ditches per acre irrigated, and average first cost of preparing 
land for cultivation, including purchase money. 

12. Total cost of productive irrigation systems, and their value in 1890. 

13. First cost of irrigated lands in the arid region, including water rights, and their value in 1890. 

14. Total cost of water and of maintaining and repairing ditches in 1889-1890, and total value of products of 
irrigated lands in 1889. 

15. Average cost per mile of constructing irrigating canals and ditches. 

16. Water supply of arid region, as shown by results of stream measurements. 

17. Total number, average depth, average cost, and average discharge of artesian wells on farms, number used 
in irrigation, with total acreage irrigated and average acreage irrigated per well. 

18. Total area of land irrigated and percentage of same irrigated by artesian wells. 

Of the 124,808 farms enumerated in the arid region in June, 1S90, 52,584, or 42.13 per cent, contained land on 
which crops were raised in 1889 by the artificial application of water, the entire area of land irrigated being 
3,564,416 acres, 20.72 per cent of the total area of the 52,584 irrigated farms, 9.66 per cent of the total area of the 
whole number of farms enumerated, and about one-half of 1 per cent of the total land area of the arid region. 

C. O. P.— 5m 



2 IRRIGATION. 

To this must be added 1,552 farms, containing 66,965 acres irrigated, in the western parts of North Dakota, South 
Dakota, Nebraska, Kansas, and Texas, designated, for convenience, the subhumid region, where irrigation is slowly 
making its way, as a method of agriculture always advantageous but not always absolutely necessary. 

The average value of the land irrigated in 1889, with the improvements thereon, is found to be $83.28 per acre, 
and the average value of products for the year stated $14.89 per acre. By correspondence with over 20,000 
irrigators, fairly distributed through the arid and subhumid regions, it has been ascertained that the average first 
cost of irrigation is $8.15 per acre and the average value placed upon the water rights, where separable froni the 
land, $26.00 per acre, or over three times their original cost. The average annual expenditure for water, as 
distinguished from the purchase of water rights, is $1.07 per acre, and the average cost of the original preparation 
of the ground for cultivation, including the purchase of the land at the government rate of $1.25 per acre, is $12.12 
per acre. By applying, with necessary modifications, to the enumerators' returns the averages obtained for each 
separate state and territory, it has been found that in round numbers the total investment in productive irrigation 
systems utilized in 1889, in whole or in part, was up to June 1, 1S90, $29,611,000. Their value at that date was 
$94,412,000, showing an apparent profit of $64,801,000, or 218.84 per cent. In the same manner the aggregate first 
cost of the irrigated areas, with their water rights, not including the farms of the subhumid states, has been 
ascertained to be $77,490,000, and the value of the same on June 1, 1890, $296,850,000, showing an increase in the 
value of land and water rights of $219,360,000, or 283.08 per cent. In other words, the land irrigated in 1889 was 
worth nearly four times what it cost, no allowance evidently being made for failures. The total expenditure for 
water, including the maintenance and repairs of ditches, in the arid states in 1889 was $3,794,000, and the total 
value of products $53,057,000. 

The number of artesian wells used in irrigation in the arid and subhumid regions in June, 1890, was 3,930, 
constructed at an average cost per well of $245.58, and giving an average discharge of 54.43 gallons per minute. 
The area of land thus irrigated, averaging 13.21 acres per well, amounted to 51,896 acres, or 1.43 per cent of the 
total area of irrigated land in the arid and subhumid regions. 

This investigation has been conducted and the following bulletin prepared by Mr. Frederick Haynes Newell, 
special agent, under the general direction of Mr. John Hyde, special agent in charge of statistics of agriculture. 
Although special bulletins on irrigation in California, Colorado, and the subhumid region still remain to be 
published, yet, as the following report presents the more important results of the entire investigation, I take occasion 
to express my appreciation of the very able manner in which Mr. Newell has discharged the laborious duties 
devolving upon him in this connection, especially in the analysis and collocation of the immense amount of original 
material, both statistical and descriptive, with which he has had to deal. 

Very respectfully, 

KOBEKT P. POETEE, 

Superintendent of Census. 
The Secretary of the Interior. 



IRRIGATION IN WESTERN UNITED STATES. 



BY F. II. NEWELL. 



"Within the arid and subhumid regions in the western half of the United States there were irrigated in the 
census year ended May 31, 1890, 3,631,381 acres, or 5,674.03 square miles, approximately four-tenths of 1 per cent 
of the total land area west of the 100th meridian. Of this irrigated area 65.31 per cent was devoted to the raising 
of various kinds of forage. The total number of irrigators was 54,136, or, more correctly, this was the aggregate 
number of farms or agricultural holdings upon which crops were raised by means of irrigation. In this connection 
it may be well to note that the definition of a farm adopted for the purposes of the census includes " all considerable 
nurseries, orchards, and market gardens, owned by separate parties, which are cultivated for pecuniary profit and 
employ as much as the labor of one able-bodied workman during the year ". "A farm is what is owned or leased by 
one man and cultivated under his care. A distant wood lot or sheep pasture, even if in another subdivision or 
district, is to be treated as a part of the farm, but wherever there is a resident overseer or a manager there a separate 
farm is to be reported." Under this classification a person can have but one farm, unless the estate is so large as to 
require a resident farmer upon each tract. 

The average size of such portions of farms as were actually irrigated was almost exactly 67 acres. This is the 
result obtained by dividing the total area irrigated by the total number of holdings. This acreage is large, from the 
fact that in many of the states of the far west large areas of hay lands are flooded, little care or attention being 
bestowed upon them. This is notably the case in Nevada and Wyoming, and to a less extent in Montana and 
Colorado. 

The average value of the products of this irrigated land was $14.89 per acre, this being the quotient obtained 
by dividing the total value of all products " sold, consumed, or on hand " in 1889 by the number of acres irrigated. 
There is an apparent teudency among farmers not only to underestimate the value of their products, especially such 
as are consumed on the farm, but also to overestimate the acreage irrigated. As a result the value of products per 
acre, obtained as above stated, is considerably less than returns popularly supposed to be obtained from irrigated 
lands. 

The following table gives the items above mentioned for each state and territory lying within the arid region, 
and also for the states lying largely within the subhumid region on the east, the statistics for the latter being 
grouped under the designation " subhumid region ": 



Table 1.— TOTAL NUMBER, AVERAGE SIZE, ETC., OF IRRIGATED HOLDINGS. 



STATES AND TERRITORIES. 



Number of Area in 
rrigators gated in 1 



Total 

Arizona 

California 

Colorada 

Idaho 

Montana 

Nevada 

New Mexico 

Oregon 

Utah 

Washington 

Wyoming 

Subhumid region 



1,075 


65,821 


13,732 


1,004,233 


9,659 


890,735 


4,323 


217,005 


3,706 


350,582 


1,167 


224,403 


3,085 


91,745 


3,150 


177,944 


9,724 


263,473 


1,046 


48,799 


1,917 


229,676 


1,552 


66,965 



Average 
size of 
irrigated 
farms, in 

1889. 



Average 
value of 
products 
per acre 



814.89 



13.92 
19.00 
13.12 
12.93 
12.96 
12.92 
12.80 
13.90 
18.03 
17.09 
8.25 



4 IRRIGATION. 

The terra "sublramid" is generally understood as applying to a portion of the Great Plains lying to the east 
of the arid region, and it is so used in this report upon irrigation. As a matter of course there is on the western 
side of the arid region a strip of country which may likewise be designated as sublrainid, but this area, on account 
of the diversified topography of that part of the continent, is comparatively narrow and restricted, since the arid 
region extends on the southwest to the shores of the Pacific ocean and on the northwest to the Cascade range. 
For purposes of discussion the subhumid region is therefore considered as extending in a broad belt across the 
country from north to south and including portions of North Dakota, South Dakota, Nebraska, Kansas, Oklahoma, 
and Texas. The western extremity of Texas lies far within the arid region, but since the greater part of that state 
is subhumid, the irrigation statistics for the entire state are placed in this category. 

The following table gives for these subhumid states the principal facts relating to irrigation, namely, the 
number of irrigators or separate holdings, the total irrigated acreage, and the average acreage in each holding. The 
average value of products has not been ascertained, from the fact that in these states, where some crops were 
raised by irrigation while others were produced without such artificial application of water, it has been impossible 
to discriminate between the products raised by these two methods of agriculture. The table shows in a general 
w r ay an increase from north to south, both in the number of irrigators and in the acreage irrigated, due largely to 
the fact that conditions of summer aridity increase with lower latitudes, but also in part to the greater density of 
population and the more easily available water supply toward the south. 

Table 2.— TOTAL NUMBER, TOTAL AREA, AND AVERAGE SIZE OF IRRIGATED 
FARMS IN THE SUBHUMID REGION. 







1 




Average 




STATES. 


Number of 
irrigators 


Area irri- 
gated in 1889, 


size of 
irrigated 






in 1889. 


in acres. 


acres 


in 










1889. 


Total 




1,552 


66,965 




43 


7 


445 




64 






189 


15,717 




83 






211 


11,744 




55 






519 


20,818 




40 


Texas 




623 


18,241 




29 



The relative position of these irrigated areas, or portions of agricultural holdings upon which crops were raised 
by irrigation during the census year, is shown in a broad way by the first plate, the small green patches, mainly 
along the streams, indicating the principal places where crops were raised by the artificial application of water. In 
size these patches of color are not comparable among themselves, from the fact that on the scale of the map it is 
impossible to represent them in their true proportions, and where a number of small holdings or groups of holdings 
are near together they have been run into one spot, the size of which is relatively too large. 

As will be seen from the map, these irrigated areas fall into a number of groups the position of which is 
regulated in a broad way by the topography and water supply of the country. The most prominent of these are the 
irrigated areas in Colorado and southeastern "Wyoming, lying at the base of the foothills of the Rocky mountains. 
Another group is found in Utah along the Wasatch range, and a third in the great valley of California at the 
western base of the Sierra Nevadas. 

PERCENTAGE OF LAND SURFACE IRRIGATED. 

The second plate shows the true proportion which the areas given in the first bear to the total land area of the 
western states and territories, both severally and collectively. In other words, these scattered green spots are brought 
together near the center of each state and territory and shown in true relative size, and they are further combined 
into one large area in the southwestern corner of the map. In the case of the states lying partly within the 
subhumid belt, North Dakota, South Dakota, Kansas, Nebraska, and Texas, the spots are so small as to be scarcely 
visible. These facts are further shown numerically in the second and third columns of Table 3, which also gives 
the relative number of agricultural holdings on which irrigation was practiced. 

Omitting the subhumid region, in which irrigation may be considered as exceptional, the total area irrigated 
was 3,564,416 acres, or 5,569.40 square miles. This is almost exactly one-half of 1 per cent of the total land area 
of the states and territories within which irrigation is commonly practiced. In this comparison the area of 13 
eastern counties of Washington and of 16 eastern counties of Oregon is taken instead of the total for the 2 states. 
The largest percentage by states is found in Colorado, reaching 1.34 per cent, and the smallest percentage irrigated 
among the arid states and territories is in Arizona, where the area is less than one-tenth of 1 per cent. 



IRRIGATION. 

Table 3.— EXTENT OF IRRIGATION IN STATES AND TERRITORIES WHOLLY OR 
PARTIALLY WITHIN THE ARID REGION. 



STATES AND TERRI- 
TORIES. 


AREA IRRIGATED. 

Total 


HOLDINGS CONTAINING IRRIGATED AREAS. 


Acres. 


number 
Percent : of farms 
of entire enumer- 
land sur- ated - 
face of 
state. 


Per cent 

„. , . of num- 
Total ! . . 
, ber of 
number. - 

farms in 

1 state. 


Total area, 
in acres. 


Per cent 
of total 
area irri- 
gated. 




3,564,410 


0.50 124,808 


52,584 


42.13 


17,199,925 


20.72 




65,821 
1,004,233 
890,735 
217,005 
350,582 
224,403 


0.09 1,448 
1.01 !l 53,269 
1.34 j 16,505 
0.40 ': 6,654 
0.38 5,664 
0.32 1,341 


1,075 | 74.24 


152,345 


43.21 
17.86 
31.09 






9,659 i 58.52 2,865,000 




3,706 65.43 
1,167 87.02 
3,085 73.91 


1,520,853 23.05 

1,587,700 | 14.13 

510,177 1 17.98 






Utah 


263,473 
48,799 
229,676 


0.50 10,757 
0.23 j 11,237 
0.37 3,246 


9,724 
1,046 
1,917 


90.40 
9.31 
59.06 


1,196,000 

287,000 

1,506,850 


22.03 
17.00 
15.24 



a 16 eastern counties only. 



b 13 eastern counties only. 



Considering the counties of these states in the order of the percentage of total area irrigated, Boulder county 
Colorado, heads the list with 15.75 per cent of its entire area cultivated by means of irrigation in 1889. Next 
conies the county adjoining it on the south, namely, Jefferson, with 7.44 per cent. Both of these are in the vicinity 
of Denver, and at the eastern front of the Bocky mountains, where the water supply is unusually laro-e and 
convenient. The following list gives the 10 counties containing the largest proportion of lands upon which crops 
were raised by irrigation in 1889: 



PER CENT. 

Boulder county, Colorado 15.75 

Jefferson county, Colorado 7.44 

Davis county, Utah 6.93 

Orange county, California 6.71 

Weber county, Utah 5.13 



PER CENT. 

Salt Lake county, Utah 5.06 

Tulare county, California 4. 71 

Custer county, Colorado 4.51 

Weld county, Colorado 4.30 

Cache county, Utah 4.43 



The third plate shows the proportion of the irrigated crop area in 1889 to the total area of the arid and 
subhumid regions, the county being taken as the unit. Five general classifications have been made, depending 
upon the proportion borne by the irrigated area from which crops were obtained to the total area of the county. 
In the first of these divisions, marked by the letter " I " on the map, the aggregate amount of irrigated laud was 
less than two-tenths of 1 per cent of all the land in the county, including mountain and valley. The fifth division 
marked on the map by the letter " V ", includes all cases in which the total area of irrigated lands equaled or 
exceeded 2 per cent of the entire area of the county. As will be seen at a glance, the latter includes only the 
counties where from local peculiarities of topography the water supply is unusually abundant, and such counties 
as are small and contain a large proportion of irrigable land. 



PERCENTAGE OF NUMBER OF FARMS IRRIGATED. 

The total number of farms enumerated in the 11 western states and territories named in Table 3 was 124,808 
omitting certain western counties of Oregon and Washington. In comparison therewith it has been found that 
52,584, or 42.13 per cent, of these farms contained irrigated areas ; that is to say, within the arid region, or at 
least within the area bounded by state and county lines, and including the greater part of the arid region, irrigation 
is practiced upon less than one-half of the holdings, which under the census classification are designated as " farms ". 
Of the remaining farms, on which irrigation is not practiced, by far the greater number are what are commonly 
known as cattle ranches, while on others crops are raised by dependence upon the rainfall. 

The largest proportion of irrigated farms to the total number is found in Utah, where over nine-tenths of the 
agricultural holdings contain irrigated areas. The smallest proportion is in Washington, the 13 eastern counties 
of which, although regarded as being in part, if not wholly, within the arid region, contain relatively a small 
number of irrigated areas, aggregating in fact less than one-tenth of the total number of farms. Arranging the 
states and territories in the order of the importance of irrigation as shown by this classification, the results 
obtained are as given in the table on the following page. 

23—2 



6 IRRIGATION. 

Table 4.— STATES AND TERRITORIES IN THE ORDER OP THE PROPORTION OF THE NUMBER OF FARMS IRRIGATED 
TO THE TOTAL NUMBER OF AGRICULTURAL HOLDINGS, WITH THE PERCENTAGE OF FARMS IRRIGATED. 

PER CENT. PER CENT. 

1. Utah 90.40 7. Wyoming 59.06 

S.Nevada 87.02 8. Colorado 58.52 

3. Arizona 74.24 9. Oregon (a) 29.96 

4. New Mexico 73.91 10. California (6) 25.78 

5. Montana 65.43 11. Washington (c) 9.31 

6. Idaho 64.97 

a 16 eastern counties only. b Including the whole state. (See following paragraph.) c 13 eastern counties only. 

Considering this table as a whole, it may be said that in the states and territories in the upper part of the 
list irrigation is the rule, while in those toward the foot it has less importance, and in the. case of Washington it 
mav be considered as almost exceptional. The relative position of California requires explanation, for in that state, 
with its enormous area and great diversity of topography, irrigation plays a peculiar part. In the northern and 
southern counties irrigation is practiced on a great majority of the farms, while in the counties near the center of 
the state especially those bordering upon the bay of San Francisco or the Pacific ocean, it is exceptional, there 
beino- however, but few counties in the state where it is not practiced to a greater or less extent. If the bay and 
coast counties, 14 in number, are deducted, California takes a position above Oregon, thus standing ninth in the list 
instead of tenth, with a percentage of 48.65. 

PERCENTAGE OF FARM AREA IRRIGATED. 

The total area of the 52,584 agricultural holdings of each of which some portion was irrigated, as shown in 
Table 3 was 17,199,925 acres, or an average of 327.09 acres each. The total area irrigated was 3,564,416 acres, or 
20.72 per cent of the total area of these farms. In other words, in these 11 states and territories less than half of 
the farms contained irrigated areas, and of this latter number one-fifth of the area was successfully irrigated. If 
now it is assumed that the average size of the agricultural holdings, 327.09 acres, derived as above from less than 
half of the farms, applies to the whole 124,808, the total area of these farms would be 40,823,449 acres. 

In comparison with this total farm area of 40,823,449 acres, the 3,564,416 acres of irrigated land evidently form 
only 8.73 per cent of the land owned by farmers within the states and territories designated. This is a significant 
fact, especially in relation to the water supply, for it has been found upon a detailed examination of each county 
and locality that as a rule the greater part if not all of the easily available water supply has been utilized, and in 
1888 and 1S89 the losses through drought were enormous, yet less than one-tenth of the land belonging to the 
farmers actually produced a crop by means of irrigation. It must be borne in mind, however, that a portion of the 
remaining nine-tenths, especially in the state of California, does not require irrigation, and that a still larger portion 
is unquestionably above the reach of water ; but from a careful consideration of these figures it would seem as 
if the whole of the water supply of the arid region must be needed to irrigate properly the lands already owned 
by farmers and not yet fully utilized, provided that these lands are so situated as to be susceptible of irrigation. 

Comparing the states and territories among themselves as regards the completeness of the irrigation of the 
area of the farms which are wholly or in part cultivated in this manner, it is seen that Arizona stands at the head, 
with a percentage of 43.21, while Nevada comes last, with only 14.13 per cent of the area of each farm irrigated. 
Arranging these in the order of this relation, the following result is obtained : 

Table 5.— STATES AND TERRITORIES IN THE ORDER OF THE PROPORTION OF LAND IRRIGATED 
TO THE TOTAL AREA OF LAND IN FARMS, (a) 

PER CENT. PER CENT. 

1. Arizona 43.21 7. California 17.86 

2. Colorado 31.09 8. Washington 17.00 

3. Idaho 26.08 9. Oregon 15.89 

4. Montana 23.05 10. Wyoming 15.24 

5. Utah 22.03 11. Nevada 14.13 

6. New Mexico 17-98 

a This table, as stated above, applies only to farms upon which irrigation is practiced in part at least, and not to all the 
farms of the state or territory. 

In Wyoming and Nevada the agricultural holdings are as a rule very large, being used chieily for stock 
raising. As might be expected, therefore, the irrigated portions constitute but a small percentage of the whole 
area. Thus, although irrigation is essential, these states are found near the foot of the list. 



IRRIGATION. 



In the case of the subhumid states any comparison of the area irrigated with the total area of the state would 
have little value, from the fact that irrigation is exceptional and is practiced in widely scattered localities. The 
following table, however, shows the relation between the irrigated area and the total area of the agricultural 
holdings on which this method of agriculture is practiced. Taking the five subhumid states as a whole, only 6.40 
per cent of the farms owned by men who practiced irrigation is actually cultivated in this manner. In comparing 
the percentages for the states, it will be seen that they diminish in order from north to south, ranging from 34.77 
in North Dakota, the highest, to 2.43 in Texas, the lowest. The small percentage in the latter state is partly due 
to the fact that irrigation is largely carried on by means of water from springs or wells, small areas of garden, fruit 
and shade trees, and of forage crops being watered on each farm, even where field crops are raised by dependence 
upon rainfall. 

Table 6.— TOTAL AREA OF LAND IN FARMS ON WHICH IRRIGATION IS PRACTICED IN 
SUBHUMID REGION, AND PERCENTAGE OF SAME IRRIGATED. 



Total area, 

STATES. j„ ____ 

in acres. 


Area 
irrigated 
in 1889, 
in acres. 


Per cent 
irrigated. 


Total 1,045,993 


66,965 


6.40 












Nebraska 81,305 

Kansas 161,020 

Texas 749,922 


11,744 
20,818 
18,241 


14.44 
12.93 
2.43 



CHARACTER OF CROPS. 

The character of the crops raised by irrigation is shown in a broad way in Table 7, in which a classification is 
made into two great groups, cereals on the one hand and forage crops and miscellaneous products on the other, of 
this latter group the forage forming the greater part. From this table it appears that over one-third of the area 
irrigated was devoted to cereals, viz, to wheat, oats, Indian corn, barley, rye, and buckwheat, the importance of 
these products being in the order named. Of the remainder of the crop probably 60 per cent or over consisted of 
forage, including the various grasses and clovers, alfalfa or lucern, and also wheat, oats, corn, and other cereal 
plants cut before maturity for the purpose of feeding cattle. The irrigated fruit crops of California will be dealt 
with in the bulletin on irrigation in that state. 

Only four-tenths of the area irrigated was utilized for the production of small grains and of the various kinds of 
vegetables and fruits produced within the arid region. In this connection it should be stated that this investigation 
of the statistics of irrigation has had to deal with the total acreages and values of crops irrigated, the figures 
showing the amount of the different products and the value of the same being a part of the general agricultural 
census and not of this special branch. By obtaining in round numbers, however, the cereal production of the arid 
region it has been possible to approximate the character of the crop, as shown in Table 7. In many cases it is 
impossible to draw the line sharply between the plants raised by irrigation and those not watered in the census 
year, from the fact that in many localities farmers were successful to a greater or less degree in cultivating apart of 
their land without applying water, even in localities within what is known as the arid region. 

Table 7.— GENERAL CHARACTER OF IRRIGATED CROPS. 



Total FORAGE, ETC. 

states and TERKI- acreage 


CEREALS. 


Tories. irrigated 

in 1889. , p er oen t_ : Acres. 


Per cent. Acres. 


Total 3,564,416 65.31 2,328,016 


34.69 ; 1,236,400 




34.18 i 22,500 
52.78 530,000 
29.75 265,000 
29.03 63,000 
21.39 I 75,000 

6.68 15,000 
63.22 58,000 
30.01 53,400 
43.65 115,000 
42.01 ( 20,500 

8.27 19,000 1 




Colorado 890,735 70.25 625,735 

Idaho i 217,005 ' 70.97 154,005 

Montana 350,582 78.61 275,582 

Nevada 224,403 93.32 209,403 


Oregon 177,944 09.99 124.544 

Utah 263,473 56.35 148,473 


Wyoming 229,676 91.73 210,676 



IRRIGATION. 



VALUE OF LAND AND CRDI>n. 



The average value in 1890 of the land upon which crops were raised by irrigation in 1889 and the average 
value of the products per acre in 18S9 are shown in Table 8, these averages being obtained by dividing total values 
by the number of acres for which values were given ; that is to say, in cases where the returns of farm values of 
products were deficient the acreage was omitted in order to obtain the averages, it being assumed that these few 
cases did not differ materially from the mean of all others. For the 11 states and territories given, the average 
value of the irrigated laud, including improvements, such as fences and buildings, was $83.28 per acre, ranging 
from $31.40 per acre, in the case of "Wyoming, up to $150.00 per acre, in that of California. The total value of this 
irrigated land and its improvements thus obtained was $296,850,000. 

The average value of products for the 11 states, $14.89 per acre (to nearest figure), multiplied into the 
number of acres gives in round numbers a total of $53,057,000. This average value has been obtained, as above 
stated, by taking all the cases in which definite returns were made and assuming that they represent the general 
condition, since they include from 95 to over 99 per cent of the agricultural holdings of each state. In the case of 
the states and territories where crops are raised on the same farm both with and without irrigation it is exceedingly 
difficult and not unfrequently impossible to discriminate between them. 



Table 8.— VALUE OF IRRIGATED LANDS IN ARID REGION IN 1890 AND OF THEIR PRODUCTS IN 1889. 



1 Area 

irrigated 

STATES AND TEERI- . , nnn 
TOBIES. m 1889 ' 

in acres. 


VALUE OF FARMS ON 
JUNE 1, 1890. 


VALUE OF PRODUCTS 
IN 1889. 


Average 

value per 

acre. 


Total value. 


Average 

value per 

acre. 


Total value. 


Total 3,564,416 


$83.28 


8296,850,000 


$14.89 


853,057,000 




48.68 
150.00 
67.02 
46.50 










150,635,000 , 19.00 19,080,000 
59,696,000 13.12 11,686,000 
10,091,000 12.93 2,806,000 


Colorado 890,735 

Idaho 217,005 




41.00 9,200,000 12.92 2,899,000 




Oregon 177,944 

Utah 263,473 

Washington ' 48,799 

AVyorning 229,676 


57.00 
84.25 
50.00 
31.40 


10,143,000 
22,198,000 
2,440,000 
7,212,000 


13.90 
IS. 03 
17.09 
8.25 


2,473,000 

4,750,000 

834,000 

1,895,000 



SIZE OF FARMS. 

The average size of farms is shown in the fourth plate, which gives at a glance the localities where the 
farms, or rather portions of farms, on which crops were raised by irrigation are large or small, the county being 
taken as the basis for representation. The fact brought out most prominently by this map is the large size of the 
areas devoted mainly to the raising of forage crops, as in Nevada, Montana, and Wyoming. On the other hand, 
where irrigation is highly advanced and the products are of more than usual value the irrigated holdings are 
small. The condition of the water supply, however, and the density of settlement often come in to modify 
this generalization, the irrigated areas being large where water is abundant and the population is scattered. 

In order to examine into the average size of the majority of irrigated areas and to eliminate the results 
produced by the existence of large tracts of land owned by a few men, Table 9 has been prepared, in which the 
irrigated holdings have been classified according to size. The larger areas have been taken out and placed by 
themselves, thus allowing the far greater number of moderate sized holdings to be considered independently. For 
this classification 160 acres, or a quarter section, has been taken as the basis, and for simplicity all irrigated 
holdings or parts of holdings under 160 acres in area are called " small farms ", and those of 160 acres or over are 
designated as "large farms ", it being understood that these terms apply only to the areas irrigated, and not to the 
total holding of each individual, so that if a farmer owns 640 acres and irrigates 40 acres, the latter number is the 
one considered and it is classed as a small farm. 

Out of the 54,136 holdings upon which crops were raised by irrigation in the census year there were 4,595 in 
which the area irrigated was 160 acres or upward, the total of the same being 1,802,605 acres, or 49.64 per cent of 
the whole amount irrigated : that is to say, 4,595 persons, or 8.49 per cent of those irrigating, owned very nearly 
one-half of the total area irrigated. The great majority of irrigators, 91.51 per cent, irrigated 1,828,776 acres, or an 
average of nearly 37 acres each, against an average of 392 acres upon which crops were raised by irrigation by 
the few large owners. 



IRRIGATION. 
Table 9 — RELATIVE NUMBER AND SIZE OF IRRIGATED FARMSj 



UNDER 160 ACEES. 



Total 49,541 

Arizona I 996 

California 12,595 

Colorado ' 8,227 

Idaho 4,110 

Montana 3,130 

Nevada 823 

New Mexico 3,022 

Oregon 2.S96 

Utah 9,641 

Washington j 994 

Wyoming 1,614 

Snbhumid region 1,493 



Total irri- , Average 

gated area. I size, in 

in acres. \ acres. 



65.58 
38.12 
50.66 
73.51 
49.63 
21.31 
78.55 
57.20 
90.19 
65.46 
34.82 
69.92 



1,137 
1,432 



Total irri- 
gated area, 
in acres. 



22,656 
621,383 
439,520 
57,477 
176,573 
176,591 
19,676 
76,156 
25,857 
16,856 
149,714 
20,116 



Average Per cent 
size, in of 

acres. . total. 



49.61 



34.42 
61.88 
49.34 
26.49 
50.37 
78.69 
21.45 
42.80 
9.81 
34.54 
65.18 



All the cases ill which 160 acres or upward of crop were irrigated have been tabulated (see Table 10) under 
three headings, viz, those of from 160 to 319 acres, those of from 320 to 639 acres, and those of 640 acres and 
upward, these figures, as before stated, applying not to the total acreage of the agricultural holding, but only to that 
portion upon which crops were raised by the artificial application of water. 

Taking the irrigated areas of 640 acres or upward, Table 10 shows that they numbered 411, with an aggregate 
area of 724,147 acres, or an average of 1,762 acres each. The 411 individuals or corporations owning these irrigated 
lands constituted three-fourths of 1 per cent (0.76) of the number of irrigators and held 19.94 per cent of the total 
area. 

Table 10.— RELATIVE NUMBER AND SIZE OF LARGE IRRIGATED FARMS. 



STATES AND TERRITORIES. 


160 


TO 319 ACRES. 


320 


TO 639 ACRES. 


610 ACRES AND OVER. 




Total irri- 


Average 




Total irri- 


Average 




Total irri- 


Average 




Number. 


gated area, 


size, m 


Number. 


gated area, 


size, in 


Number. 


gated area, 


size, in 






in acres. 


acres. 




in acres. 


acres. 




m acres. 


acres. 




3,242 


671,151 


207 


912 


407,307 


432 


411 


724,147 


1,762 












6,515 
103,488 
103,845 














152,542 
224,518 
















1,113 


202 


244 


426 




111,157 


1,482 


Idaho 


172 


34,751 


202 


34 


14,036 


413 


7 


8,690 


1,241 




421 


88,994 


211 


123 


51,986 


423 


32 


35,593 


1,112 




201 


46,556 


232 


91 


41,494 


456 


52 


88,541 


1,703 




46 
192 


10,202 
38,736 


222 
202 


14 
49 


6,460 
21,110 


461 
431 


3 
13 


3,014 
16,310 


1,005 
1,255 




Utah 


65 


13,234 


204 


13 


5,555 


427 


5 


7,008 


1,414 




30 


7,599 


211 


11 


4,615 


420 


5 


4,642 


928 




161 


35,370 


220 


93 


42,780 


460 


49 


71,564 j 


1,460 




40 


8,195 


205 


12 


5,423 


452 


7 ! 


6,528 


933 



COST OF IRRIGATION. 

The statistics concerning the acreage and value of land and products have been taken from the enumerators' 
returns for each agricultural holding. Other facts now to be discussed have been obtained by direct correspondence 
with farmers by means of special schedules addressed to each irrigator. These schedules contained questious 
intended to cover facts concerning the location of irrigated land, the character of the water supply, the cost of 
irrigation, methods of using the water, necessity of irrigation, the use of artesian wells and pumps; also the 
location of canals or irrigating ditches, size and cost, methods of distributing the water, etc. In all about 30,000 
replies have been received, and from these, after proper tabulation, certain averages have been drawn, the principal 
of which are shown in Table 11. 

The average first cost of bringing water to the land throughout the entire arid and subhumid regions has been 
$8.15 per acre. This average is derived from the statements of all persons who have constructed ditches or have 
purchased water rights from others. It includes all cases from those, on the one hand, where the farmers have dug 
23—3 



10 IRRIGATION. 

or plowed small ditches leading from the river or creek to their land, to those, on the other, where the irrigator 
purchased the right to take water from some large canal, and embraces all the intermediate conditions where 
water was obtained through co-operation of neighboring land owners or through partnerships of farmers. The fact 
that a person has used water upon a certain number of acres entitles him in many localities to certain rights or 
privileges, and therefore it has become customary to term property of this kind a " water right ", and the first cost 
of applying the water to the land can be considered as the cost of this " water right ". 

In the different states and territories there is a wide range in this average first cost of applying water to the 
land, or of the water right. The highest average is in the case of California, where the most thorough and 
expensive systems for saving and distributing water have been constructed ; the lowest is in the case of Wyoming, 
where enormous areas have been covered with water by means of ditches quickly and cheaply constructed by means 
of plow and scraper, the average cost in this latter state being little more than one-fourth of that given for 
California. 

The average value per acre of these water rights, wherever they can be considered independently of the value 
of the land, is $26.00. This is the average of the values given to this privilege or property by the owners of water 
rights or of independent ditches. In many localities, however, owing to scarcity of water or to other causes, the 
water right can not be taken from the land without depriving the latter of its entire value, for without a water 
supply the land is worthless. In such cases the entire value inheres in the water right, and if it is assumed that 
the average value of the land is $83.28 per acre, at least $80.00 of this, and possibly more, must be attributed to the 
water right. Taking, however, those cases in which water rights are transferable and are sold or treated like other 
pieces of property, the apparent profit to the creator of these rights has been the difference between $26.00 and 
$8.15, or $17.85 per acre. 

Besides the first cost of water, viz, the expense of constructing ditches from the stream or the cost of shares in 
some irrigating canal, the irrigator must pay a small amount annually or must expend some labor in order to 
repair the ditches and keep them in good order, the amount being often only a few cents per acre. Where he takes 
water from some larger canal, especially one owned by a corporation, he may be compelled to pay a larger sum, 
that will not only cover the cost of keeping the canal in repair, but will also pay interest on the investment, salaries 
of officers, and other items of expense. In the aggregate this often amounts to from $2.00 to $3.00 or even more 
per acre. Averaging, however, all the statements as to the annual cost of water, the result for the entire arid and 
subhumid regions is $1.07 per acre. 

Since the greater part of the irrigators own the small ditches used for bringing water from the streams to the 
land, having built such ditches at points where the conditions are most favorable for construction and maintenance, 
the annual cost of keeping them in repair is undoubtedly small, much less than it would be under other conditions. 
For example, with the construction of larger irrigating works designed to carry water to land farther away from 
the streams and to overcome more or less serious obstacles, the first cost of irrigation is usually greater, as is also 
the annual cost, on account of the heavy interest upon the original investment, and also from the fact that salaries 
and other items of expense which do not enter into the operation of the small ditches must be included. 

The average cost of bringing the land under cultivation beyond the expense for water, but including fencing, 
etc., was, according to the statements of the farmers, $12.12 per acre, ranging from $4.62 per acre, in the case of the 
subhumid states, to $17.4S per acre, in California, the difference being due both to the configuration and character 
of the ground and to the amount of labor spent in preparing it for the various kinds of crops. For example, in 
most of the states where the cost of cultivation is low the ground originally was nearly barren, and there were no 
plants, except perhaps sagebrush, to be removed. 

In cases where the expense of preparing the ground for cultivation was great, either the ground was rough and 
uneven, requiring more or less leveling in order that the water might be applied economically, or it was covered 
with willows and other small trees, requiring considerable labor before the fields could be brought into arable 
condition. Also where fruit trees and vines were to be planted great expense has often been incurred, especially in 
California. 



IRRIGATION. 

Table 11.— AVERAGE COST OF IRRIGATION, CULTIVATION, ETC. 



11 



Average Average , Average 
first cost of value of | annual 

n i water water rights cost of wa 

■ights per per acre ter per 

acre. 



Total . 



Arizona 

California 

Colorado 

Idaho 

Montana 

Nevada 

New Mexico 

Oregon 

Utah 

Washington 

"Wyoming 

Subhumid region . 



8.15 



7.07 
12.95 
7.15 
4.74 
4.63 
7.58 
5.58 
4.64 
10.55 



28.46 
13.18 
15.04 
24.60 
18.30 
15.48 
26.84 
13.15 



1.55 
1.60 
0.79 
0.80 
0.95 
0.84 
1.54 
0.94 
0.91 
0.75 
0.44 
1.21 



Average 
first cost 
of culti- 
vation per 
acre. 



8.60 
17.48 
9.72 
9.31 
8.29 
10.57 
11.71 
12.59 
14.85 
10.27 



TOTAL INVESTMENT AND PROFITS. 

By making use of the averages given in Table 11 and applying them, with proper modifications, to the total 
acreages given in Table 1, it is possible to arrive at certain conclusions as to the amount invested in irrigation works 
and in lands cultivated by irrigation, also as to the value of the same and the increased value or profit realized by 
the owners of lands and water rights. The results obtained are shown in round numbers in Tables 12, 13, and 14. 
In the cases of Nevada and Wyoming a mean value has been substituted for the average first cost of water for each 
state, shown in Table 11, from the fact that, as stated in previous bulletins, the average first cost of bringing water 
to the land in Nevada, owing to peculiar circumstances, applied to the land which was under a comparatively high 
state of cultivation, and not to the hay lands, while in Wyoming the reverse was the case. 

In Table 12, under the head of "Cost", is given the total first cost of bringing water to the land irrigated 
during the census year ; that is to say, this is in round numbers the sum of the amounts obtained by multiplying 
the acreage given in Table 1 by the average first cost of obtaining water, or of water rights, as given in the 
statements of irrigators. It may also be considered as the investment in time and money in the construction of 
irrigating systems in use during the census year, under the broad assumption that each system was employed to 
its full capacity. In such cases, however, as those in which a canal furnished water to only a small proportion of 
the irrigable lands only a portion of the total cost of the canal would be represented in the totals shown. 

The total first cost of irrigating the designated land was for the entire arid and subhumid regions $29,611,000, 
this being the amount, as stated above, presumably invested in productive irrigation works. The total value of the 
works or of the rights thus created, assuming that the statements of the farmers apply to all cases, was $94,412,000, 
showing an apparent increase or profit of $64,801,000, or 218.84 per cent. As to the total cost of the irrigation 
works or the expenditures for irrigation upon lands which for one reason or another were unproductive it is 
impossible to obtain reliable estimates. Statements and conjectures have been made by interested parties, but they 
have no foundation so far as can be ascertained beyond the personal impressions of the individuals making the 
statements. 

Table 12.— TOTAL APPROXIMATE COST OF PRODUCTIVE IRRIGATION 
SYSTEMS AND THEIR VALUE IN 1890. 



STATES AND TEltlilTOKl KS. 



Total $29,611,000 

Arizona 465,000 

California 13,005,000 

Colorado 6,369,000 

Idaho 1,029,000 

Montana 1,623,000 

Nevada 1,251,000 

New Mexico 512,000 

Oregon 826,000 

Utah 2,780,000 

Washington 197,000 

Wyoming 1,281,000 

Subhumid region ; 273,000 



$94,412,000 $64,801,000 



828,000 
39,416,000 
25,350,000 
2,860,000 
5,273,000 
3,714,000 
1,679,000 
2,755,000 
7,072,000 

612,000 
3,801,000 

992,000 



363,000 
,441,000 
,981,000 
,831,000 
,650,000 
,463,000 
,167,000 
,929,000 
,292,000 

445,000 
,520,000 

719,000 



12 



IRKIGATION. 



The results shown in the foregoing table apply to irrigation constructions or rights considered apart from the 
land. As a matter of fact, in the vast majority of cases it is practically impossible to separate land values in the 
arid region and assign to them a certain sum, for the value of the land is inseparably bound up with the question 
of water supply. 

In considering what may have been the first cost of the irrigated land upon which crops were raised in the 
census year it is necessary to assume a sum representing the purchase price of the wild or desert land, the cost of 
bringing water to the land, and that of cultivating the soil, building fences, and performing other necessary 
operations. Table 13 gives in round numbers the acreage under discussion multiplied by the probable first cost of 
these 3 items per acre, as shown in part in Table 11. It also shows the total value of this same land, as given in 
Table 8, and the difference or increase in value, or, in other words, the profit to the farmer or owner of these irrigated 
areas. From the table it appears that the total first cost of this land, excluding the subhumid states, was 
$77,490,000, and the value, as derived from the statements of a majority of the owners, was $296,850,000, showing 
an increase of $219,360,000, or 283.08 per cent. 

Table 13.— FIRST COST OF IRRIGATED AREAS, INCLUDING WATER 
RIGHTS, AND THEIR VALUE IN 1890. 



STATES AND TERRITORIES. 



Total 877,490,000 



$296,850,000 



$219,360,000 



Arizona 

California . 
Colorado ... 

Idaho 

Montana ... 

Nevada 

New Mesie 

Oregon 

Utah 

Washingtoi 
Wyoming.. 



1,114,000 
31,814,000 
16,140,000 
3,320,000 
4,968,000 
3,905,000 
1,701,000 
3,288,000 
7,022,000 
759,000 
3,459,000 



3,204,000 
150,635,000 
59,696,000 
10,091,000 
17,354,000 
9,200,000 
4,677,000 
10,143,000 
22,198,000 
2,440,000 
7,212,000 



2,090,000 
118,821,000 

43.556,000 
6,771,000 

12,386,000 
5,295,000 
2,976,000 
6,855,000 

15,176,000 
1,681,000 
3,753,000 



The total amount expended each year in maintaining systems of irrigation may be assumed, for purposes of 
comparison, to be represented by the total acreage of Table 1 multiplied by the average expenditure per acre as 
reported by the irrigators (Table 11). This is given in round numbers in the table below, and the total value of 
products as shown in Table 8 is placed in comparison with it. The difference represents the net value of 
products from the irrigated land, or the sum by which the irrigator must reimburse himself for his labor and for 
interest on the capital invested. This table shows that $3,794,000 was the probable amount expended during the 
census year at least for maintenance of canals and ditches, or 12.81 per cent of the amount previously assumed 
as the first cost of these S3 r stems. The average value of the products, deducting the cost of water for the year, 
viz, $49,263,000, represents a return of 16.60 per cent upon the total value of the land with its water rights. 

TABLE 14 TOTAL COST OF WATER AND OF MAINTAINING DITCHES IN 1889-1890, 

AND TOTAL VALUE OF PRODUCTS OF IRRIGATED LANDS IN 1889. 



STATES AND TERRITORIES. 


Total cost 
of water. 


Value of 
products. 


Difference. 




83,794,000 


953,057,000 


849,263,000 






102,000 

1,607,000 

704,000 


916,000 
19,080,000 
11,686,000 


814,000 




17,473,000 
10,982,000 




333,000 4,544,000 4,211,000 
188,000 2,899,000 2,711,000 
141,000 1,174,000 | 1,033,000 
167,000 2,473,000 , 2,306,000 
240,000 4,750,000 4,510,000 
37,000 834,000 797,000 

















IRRIGATION. 



L3 



COST OF IRRIGATING CANALS. 

Classifying irrigating canals and ditches according to their widths, it has been found that for those averaging 
less than 5 feet in width the expense of construction, including headworks, flumes, etc., was $481 per mile; for 
those 5 feet in width and under 10 feet, $1,628 per mile, and for those 10 feet or more in width, $5,603 per mile. 
The greater number of the irrigating systems of the country have been constructed under such conditions that the 
owners can not give even an approximate estimate as to what they really cost. Many of them have been built by 
the efforts of a few farmers acting originally in partnership, and have been enlarged from year to year as more land 
was brought under cultivation and population increased. Farmers as a rule do not keep account of the amount of 
labor or money expended on such works, and in cases where they own the irrigating ditches they do not take into 
consideration the labor expended upon the ditches at times when the farm work is not pressing. 

Table 15 shows the average cost per mile of the 3 classes of irrigation works for each state and territory, 
and exhibits the variations in cost due to difference in topography, thoroughness in construction, and accidental 
circumstances. California heads the list as to cost, standing far in advance of the other political divisions of the 
country in this regard, as well as in other items already given. The differences in cost are also due largely to the 
condition of development of irrigation, the states where the methods are crude and simple generally showing a less 
average expenditure, although the existence of one or two great works has introduced apparent departures from this 
rule. 



Table 15. 



-AVERAGE COST PER MILE OF CONSTRUCTING IRRIGATING CANALS 
AND DITCHES. 



TERRITORIES. 



UnderE 
feet in 
width. 



5 to 10 
feet in 
width. 



General average . 



Arizona 

California 

Colorado 

Idaho 

Montana 

Nevada 

New Mexico 

Oregon 

Utah 

Washington 

Wyoming 

Subhuniid regio 



1,674 
5,957 
1,131 



1,060 
1,025 
1,236 



10 feet 
and over 
in width. 



5,274 
15,511 
5,258 
1,320 
2,300 

6,666 
1,300 
3,072 
2,571 
3,884 



WATER SUPPLY. 

Facts concerning the water supply for irrigation have been ascertained in a general way by correspondence 
with irrigators and owners of canals and ditches, mainly by means of special irrigation schedules sent to all parts of 
the west. Obviously it is not possible in this way to obtain exact statements, for data as to the amount of water 
available or utilized for irrigation can be obtained only by means of measurements made by engineers skilled in 
such matters. The average irrigator has very indefinite notions concerning the amount of water flowing in streams, 
especially in those of considerable size, and in fact it is almost impossible for any person who has not made a specialty 
of such matters even to approximate such quantities with success. 

As a general statement, it may be said that throughout the arid region there is hardly a stream of small size 
from which water can be conducted readily upon arable land that has not been utilized to its full capacity during 
the summer season. To increase the area under irrigation it will be necessary either to use greater economy in 
employing the water, so that it will cover larger areas, or to store the flood and waste waters of the nonirrigating 
season. A great increase in the acreage cultivated can come also by the construction of expensive works to divert 
the water of large rivers upon lands which can not be watered except by the expenditure of a large amount of 
capital. Taking the country as a whole, there are very few localities, if any, where, as in the past, a farmer can divert 
water unclaimed by others and by means of a simple ditch constructed by himself and his neighbors bring his farm 
under irrigation. 

From the replies of irrigators throughout the country it is apparent that in 1888 and 18S9 there was a deficiency 
of water supply for the land then under cultivation along most of the streams. By a comparison of all the facts it 
is evident that, taking the past decade as a whole, there was an unusually large amount of water in the streams 
in 1885 and 1886, and that this amount decreased year by year, although by no means constantly in all localities. 
Thus it happened that while the area under irrigation was rapidly increasing, the water supply as a whole 



14 IRRIGATION. 

decreased, and during the years of drought, viz, 1888 and 1889, and in some localities 1890, there was general loss 
of crops upon irrigated lands, due to the fact that a larger acreage was tilled than could be irrigated by the methods 
in use. 

Not only was there loss of crops in many counties, but the areas which were irrigated and from which crops 
were obtained did not in many instances receive a sufficient amount of water to produce large or satisfactory results. 
Many statements have been made that, owing to insufficiency of water during the latter part of the season, some 
of the cereal plants were cut for forage or were hardly worth the gathering. 

The simple fact that the area which can be irrigated is dependent upon the amount of water flowing in the 
streams is often ignored in general discussions of irrigation and its possibilities. It is often taken for granted that 
because there are vast areas of fertile land along some river, some of which has been irrigated profitably, larger 
and larger areas will, with the progress of settlement, be brought under cultivation to an indefinite extent, the 
assumption being tacitly made that since the river drains a large area its waters must be proportionately abundant. 
It is unfortunately the case, however, that many of the rivers of the arid region occupying a prominent place upon 
the map carry a very small amount of water for a part of the year, and this water is all utilized or needed for the 
land now wholly or in part under cultivation. 

In order to ascertain the extent of the water supply, and consequently the area irrigable, it will be necessary 
to measure the amount of water flowing in a number of streams in all parts of the country, and to continue these 
measurements for a length of time sufficiently great to obtain the amount and character of the fluctuations of 
typical rivers and creeks. "Work of this character has already been attempted by the state engineers of California 
and Colorado, and on an extended scale by the United States Geological Survey. The results of many of these 
stream measurements are given in Table 16, which exhibits in the most condensed form possible the present 
condition of knowledge regarding the streams of the arid region, reference being given to reports where more 
detailed statements can be found. 

This table (No. 16) gives the name of the river or creek, the locality at or near which the measurements 
were made, and, in the third column, the area of the drainage basin above this point. In the fourth column is 
o-iven the time during which the measurements or computations of discharge were continued. In cases where these 
have been carried on for a whole year the date of the last day is given, as, for example, " year ended August 31, 
1890 ", signifies that the daily discharge was computed from September 1, 1889, to August 31, 1890. In cases where 
only a single measurement was made the date of that measurement alone is given. In the fifth, sixth, and seventh 
columns are given, respectively, the maximum, minimum, and mean discharges in cubic feet per second, or second- 
feet, a second-foot of water being the quantity discharged by a stream one foot wide and one foot deep flowing at an 
average velocity of one foot per second. In many instances the maximum and minimum discharges have not been 
ascertained, and in cases where only a single measurement has been made this is given under the column of mean 
discharge. This amount can be expressed in still another unit in popular use in the arid region, namely, the 
miner's inch. This unfortunately is an indefinite quantity, varying with the method of measurement and the 
character of the aperture through which the water flows. It may be assumed that in round numbers 50 California 
miner's inches make 1 second-foot, and in Colorado and adjoining states 40 miner's inches or even less are 
equivalent to the same fixed quantity. To obtain, therefore, the discharge in miner's inches the amounts given in 
second-feet can be multiplied by 40 or 50. In the footnotes reference is made to the report or volume from which 
these figures were obtained. 



IRRIGATION. 



15 



Table 16.— WATER SUPPLY OF ARID REGION, AS SHOWN BY RESULTS OF STREAM MEASUREMENTS. 

ARIZONA. 



RIVERS AND CREEKS. 



San Pedro (n) 

Gila(n) 

Verde (n) 

Salt (6) I Ari 

Salt (6) Ari 



Dudleyville 

Buttes 

Fort McDowell 



Salt (6) 

Salt (a) 

Colorado (f) . 
Colorado (c).. 
Colorado (c).. 



Arizona dam 

In caiion 

Stone Ferry, Nevada- 
Camp Mohave 

Yuma 



Drainage 
area in 
square 
miles. 



2,819 
13,750 

6,000 
12,260 
12,260 
12,260 

5,880 



April 9 to August 31, 1890 

Year ended August 31, 1890 

August 14 to September 30. 1890 . 
Year ended December31, 1889... 
Year ended December 31, 1890... 

Y'ear ended February 28, 1891 

May 28 to August 31, 1890 

August 12, 1875 

September 2, 1875 

March 20, 1876 



DISCHARGE IN SECOND-FEET. 



Maximum. Mini 



33,791 
113,288 
300,000 



2,576 
3,771 
6,066 
599 
18,410 
11,611 
7,659 



Sacramento (d) : Collinsville 

Cosumnes(d) ; Live Oak 

Dry creek (d) ' Foothills 

Mokelumne (d) ! Lone Star mill 

Calaveras (d) Bellota 

Stanislaus (d) , Oakdale 

Tuolumne (d) Modesto 

Merced (d) Merced Falls 

Bear creek (d) ( Base of foothills 

Mariposa creek (d) Base of foothills 

Chowchilla creek(d) Base of foothills 

Fresno (d) Base of foothills 

San Joaquin (d) Hamptonville 

Kings (d) I Slate Point 

Kaweah (d) Wachumna 

Tule(d) Porterville 

Deer creek (d) Base of foothills 

White creek (d) , Base of foothills 

Poso creek (d) Base of foothills 

Kern (d) I Rio Bravo ranch 

Caliente(d) Base of foothills 

Prosser creek (a) , Near Boca 

Prosser creek (a) Near Boca 

Little Truekee (a) Boca 

Truckee(a) Boca 

Truekee (a) Tahoe City 

Squaw (a) Mouth 

Toll Gate (a) 

Donner(a) Below Donner lake- 
Cold (a) Near Donner lake 



CALIFORNIA. 

6 years, November 1, 1878, to October 31, 1884... 
6 years, November 1, 1878, to October 31, 1884... 
6 years, November 1, 1878, to October 31, 1884... 
6 years, November 1,1878, to October 31, 1884.. 
6 years, November 1, 1878, to October 31, 1884... 
6 years, November 1, 1878, to October 31, 1884... 
6 years, November 1, 1878, to October 31, 1884... 
6 years, November 1, 1878, to October 31, 1884.. 
6 years, November 1, 1878, to October 31, 1884.. 
6 years, November 1, 1878, to October 31, 1884... 
6 years, November 1 , 1878, to October 31 , 1884.. 
6 years, November 1, 1878, to October 31, 1884.. 
6 years, November 1, 1878, to October 31, 1884.. 
6 years, November 1, 1878, to October 31, 1884.. 
6 years, November 1, 1878, to October 31, 1884.. 
6 years, November 1, 1878, to October 31, 1884.. 
6 years, November 1, 1878, to October 31, 1884.. 
6 years, November 1, 1878, to October 31, 1884.. 
6 years, November 1, 1878, to October 31, 1884.. 
6 years, November 1, 1878, to October 31, 1884.. 
6 years, November 1, 1878, to October 31, 1884.. 

April 1 to September 30, 1889 

April 1 to August31, 1890 

April 2 to October 31, 1890 

March 24 to October 31, 1890 

July 4 to August 18, 1889 



June 3, 1889 

July 3 to August 17, 1889 ... 
June 28 to August 17, 1889.. 



10,980 
22,900 



a Eleventh annual report of the United States Geological Survey, part 2, 1889-1890; Washington, 1891 ; pages 93-110. 
6 Twelfth annual report of the United States Geological Survey, part 2, 1890-1891 ; Washington, 1892 ; page 313. 
c Twelfth annual report of the United States Geological Survey, part 2, pages 291, 292. 

d Physical data and statistics of California, collected and compiled by the state engineering department of Califomi; 
Sacramento, 1886 ; pages 412-477. 



1,230 
2,867 
7,172 



37,632 
1,234 



1,958 
2,6a5 
1,631 



3,074 
2,584 



Win. Ham. Hall, state engine 



16 



IRRIGATION. 



Table 16.— WATER SUPPLY OF AMD REGION, AS SHOWN BY RESULTS OF STREAM MEASUREMENTS— Continued. 

COLORADO. 



CachelaPoudre(a) Above Fort Collins.. 

Cache laPoudre(a) ; Above Fort Collins.. 



Above Fort Collins.. 
Above Fort Collins.. 
Above Fort Collins- 
Above Fort Collins.. 
Above Fort Collins.. 
Above Fort Collins.. 

Canon City 

Canon City 

Cation City 

Cation City 



Cache laPoudre(-i). . 
CaehelaPoudre(a).. 
CachelaPoudre(a).. 
Cache la Poudre(a). . 
Cache la Poudre (.!)•■ 
Cache laPoudre(a).. 

Arkansas (a) 

Arkansas (a) 

Arkansas (a) 

Arkansas (a) 

Arkansas (b) i Rock canon 

Arkansas (b) I Pueblo 

Arkansas (6) Pueblo 

Arkansas (b) j La Junta 

Purgatoire (6) I Las Animas 

Rio Grande(o) , Del Norte 

Rio Grande (a) Del Norte 

East fork, Arkansas (6) Near Leadville 

Tennessee fork {b) Near Leadville 

Lake fork (6) Near Leadville 

Twin Lake creek (')) Below Twin lakes 

Clear creek (b) Near Granite 

Middle Cottonwood {b) Near Buena Vista 

South Cottonwood (b) Near Buena Vista 

St. Vrain (c) Below Lyons station.. 

St. Vrain (c) Below Lyons station.. 

St. Vrain (d) Below Lyons station.. 

St. Vrain (d) Below Lyons station.. 

South Platte (c) Canon 

South Platte (c) Canon ... 

South Platte (d) Canon 

South Platte (d) Canon 

South Platte (d) Denver 

South Platte (d) 

Bear(c) 

Bear(c) 

Bear (d) 

Bear(d) 

North Boulder (c) 4 

North Boulder (c) 4 

North Boulder (d) 4 

North Boulder (d) : 4 



Denver 

2.5 miles above Morrison.. 
2.5 miles above Morrison.. 
2.5 miles above Morrison.. 
2.5 miles above Morrison.. 

les above Boulder 

les above Boulder 

les above Boulder 

les above Boulder 



Drainage 
square 



1,060 
1,060 
1,060 
1,060 
1,060 
1,060 
1,060 
1,060 
3,060 
3,060 
3,060 
3,060 
4,560 
4,600 
4,600 
12,200 
3,010 
1,400 
1,400 
44 
44 



2,600 
2,600 
2,600 
2,600 
3,870 
3,870 



March 15 to October 16, 1884 

April 4 to October 10, 1885 

April 27 to October 31. 1886 

May 18 to September 30, 1887.... 
April 1 to September 30, 1888... 
Year ended December 31, 1889.. 
Year ended December 31 , 1890.. 

Y'ear ended May 31, 1891 

Year ended December 31, 1888... 
Year ended December 31, 1889... 
Year ended December 31, 1890... 
Year ended December31, 1891... 

May to August, 1889 

Year ended December 31, 1886.. 
Year ended December 31, 1887.. 

May 20 to August 31, 1889 

May 22 to September 30, 1889.... 
Year ended December 31, 1890 . 
Year ended December 31, 1891 

April 25 to October 31, 1890 

May 11 to October 31, 1890 

April 23 to October 31, 1890 

April 19 to October 31, 1890 

April 20 to October 31, 1890 

April 16 to August 31, 1890 

April 16 to August 31, 1890 

April 10 to September 11, 1887... 

April 3 to October 8, 1888 

May 20 to October 31,' 1889 

May 15 to November 15, 1890 

July 11 to October 15, 1887 

March 25 to October 20, 1888 

April 22 to October 31, 1889 

May 1 to October 31, 1890 

May 1 to October 31, 1889 

June 14 to October 31, 1890 

August 17 to October 12, 1887 

April 1 to October 7, 1888 

May 3 to August 10, 1889 

May 20 to November 15, 1890 

August 20 to November 5, 1887.. 

April 1 to October 13, 1888 

May 7 to October 31, 1889 

May 13 to November 9, 1890 



South Boulder (c) Kneales s 

South Boulder (d) Kneales g 

South Bowlder (d) Kneales s 



wmill April 6 to October 11, 1888 

wmill : ! May 26 to November 2, 1889 . 

wmill I May 9 to October 29, 1890 



Big Thompson (c) 10 miles west of Loveland 

Big Thompson (c) 10 miles west of Loveland j 

Big Thompson (d) 10 miles west of Loveland 

Big Thompson (d) 10 miles west of Loveland 

Clear creek (c) 7 miles above Golden 

Clear creek (c) 7 miles above Golden 

Uncompahgre (d) i 8 miles above Montrose 

South Platte (c) 6 miles above Fairplay July 3, 1876.. 

South Platte (e) Above mouth Little Platte June 29, 1876 

South Platte (<•) Colorado Springs road June 23, 1876. 



April 25 to September 20, 1887... 

April 3 to October 8, 1888 

May 15 to October 31, 1889 

May 8 to November 15, 1890 

August 3 to October 16, 1887 

March 24 to September 29, 1888.. 
July 10 to October 18, 1890 



South Platte (f).. 
South Platte (c)... 
South Platte (c).. 
Clear creek (c)... 
Clear creek (c).... 



Foot of canon September 8, 1876.. 

Denver December, 1876 

2 miles above Denver j Low water, 1876... 

Golden i September 3,1876.. 

Golden ' August 27, 1876 



DISCHARGE IN SECOND-FEET. 



1,315 
1,202 



Maximum. 


Minimum. 


Mean. 


5,611 


48 


1,385 


3,857 


202 


1,109 


2,660 


115 


708 


2,380 


110 


888 


1,490 


70 


420 


1,960 


33 


283 


1,804 


37 


335 


2,080 


41 


440 


2,760 


430 


860 


2,620 


190 


433 


3,270 


180 


874 


4,230 


325 


1,012 


4,375 


405 


1,210 


7,659 


400 


1,441 


6,510 


400 


1,323 


2,620 


55 


931 


1,770 


6 


92 



1,015 
1,400 



a Twelfth annual report of the United States Geological Survey, part 2, pages 327, 316-358. 

6 Eleventh annual report of the United States Geological Survey, part 2, 1889-1890; Washington, 1891; pages 93-110. 
c Fourth biennial report of the state engineer of Colorado, part 2; Denver, 1889; plates 17-23. 
d Fifth biennial report of the state engineer of Colorado ; Denver, 1890 ; pages 24-41. 

e Tenth annual report of the United States Geological and Geographical Survey ; F. V. Hayden, Washington, 1878. Report on the arable and pasture lands 
of Colorado, Henry Gannett, pages 324, 325, 327, 334, and 338. 



IRRIGATION. 



17 



Table 16.— WATER SUPPLY OF ARID REGION, AS SHOWN BY RESULTS OF STREAM MEASUREMENTS— Continued. 

COLORADO— Continued. 



Drainage 


Time. 


DISCHARGE IN SECOND-FEET. 


square 
miles. 


Maximum. 


Minimum. 


Mean. 










1,765 
2,050 
670 
608 
4,614 
356 
364 


















November, 1876 
































Bear (6) 

Bear (6) 

Henry (6).. 
Henry (&).. 

Falls (6) 

Falls (6) 

Teton (6) ... 
Teton (b) ... 
Snake (6) ... 
Snake (6) ... 
Weiser (b) . 
Weiser (6) . 



Battle Creek.. 
Battle Creek.. 
In canon 



In canon 

In canon 

Chase 

Chase 

Idaho Falls. 
Idaho Falls. 

In canon 

In canon 



4,500 
4,500 



967 
10,100 
10,100 
1,670 
1,670 



Year 
Year 
Year 
Year 

Year 
Y"ear 
Year 
Year 
Year 
Year 
Year 
Year 



ended 
ended 
ended 
ended 
ended 
ended 
ended 
ended 
ended 
ended 
ended 
ended 



December 31, 1890. 
December 31, 1891. 
December 31, 1890 . 

June 30, 1891 

March 31, 1891 

December 31, 1891. 

March 31, 1891 

December 31, 1891.. 

June 30, 1890 

December 31, 1890. 
February 28, 1891... 
June 30, 1891 



7,710 
3,180 

4,440 
2,790 
4,445 
2,360 
50,450 
50,450 
11,220 



1,120 
1,280 



2,000 
2,000 



1,751 

1,224 
1,719 
1,458 
1,194 

773 
1,021 

696 
8,335 
10,635 



West Gallatin (b) | 20 miles above Bozeman . 

West Gallatin (6) i 20 miles above Bozeman . 

West Gallatin (c) Near mouth 

Madison (b) ' Red Bluff. 



Madison (&)...., 

Madison (c) 

Madison (d) 

Madison (d) 

Red Rock (d) 

Red Rock (d) 

Big Hole (d) 

Blaektail Deer(d).... 

Beaverhead (d) 

Ruby (d) 

Jefferson (c) 

Jefferson (d) 

Jefferson (d) 

Dearborn (c) 

Dearborn (d) 

Dearborn (d) 

Deep creek (c) 

Sun (b) ' Augusta 

Teton (d) ! Choteau 

North Musselshell (d) Martindale. 

South Musselshell (d) Martindale 



Red Bluff. 

Near mouth ... 

Blacks 

Three Forks... 

Allerdice 

Red Rock 

Melrose 

Poindexter 

Dillon 

Laurin 

Mouth 

Willow creek.. 
Three Forks... 

Mouth 

Dearborn 

Dearborn 

Mouth 



Big Elk (d) 

Lebo (d) 

American fork (d).. 

Missouri (c) 

Missouri (c) 

Missouri (c) 

Missouri (c) 

Missouri (c) 

Missouri (c) 



Missouri (&).. 
Missouri (b) . 



Big Timber road 

Big Timber road 

Big Timber road 

Three Forks 

Three Forks 

Below Gallatin 

Caiion ferry 

71 miles below Three Forks.. 



Craig. 
Craig.. 



1,770 
2,085 
2,085 



2,335 

300 

4,000 

710 

9,400 

2,280 

9,400 

484 

350 

350 



10 
55 
13,415 
13,415 
13,415 
15,036 
15,080 
15,121 



17,615 
17,615 



Year ended December 31, 1890 . 
Year ended December 31, 1891 .. 

July, 1872 

Year ended December 31, 1890 . 
Year ended December 31, 1891 . 

July, 1872 

August 17, 1889 

October 14, 1889 

September 6, 1889 

Year ended December 31, 1890 . 

September 8, 1889 

September 4, 1889 

September 9, 1889 

September 4, 1889 

July, 1872 

August 19, 1889 

October 15, 1889 

1882 

August 9, 1889 

April 15, 1890 

1882 

Year ended December 31 , 1890 . . . 

August 7, 1889 

August 17, 1889 

August 17, 1889 

August 17, 1889 

August 17, 1889 

August 17, 1889 

July,1872 

July 28, 1890 

August 6, 1890 

September 18, 1890 

July 31, 1872 

1882 



Year ended December 31, 1890 .. 
Year ended December 31, 1891 .. 



3,800 
2,975 



6,420 
4,620 



a Tenth annual report of the United States Geological 
of Colorado, Henry Gannett, pages 324, 325, 327, 334, and 338. 

b Twelfth annual report of the United States Geological Survey, part 2, pages 327, 346-358. 

c Twelfth annual report of the United States Geological Survey, part 2, pages 236, 237, and 240. 

d Eleventh annual report of the United States Geological Survey, part 2, 1S89-1890 ; Washingto 



12,500 1,742 4,307 

I 16,355 1,742 I 5,503 

d Geographical Survey ; F. V. Hayden, Washington, 1878. Report on the arable and pasture lands 



1,285 
1,070 



2,090 
2,068 
1,872 
2,670 
1,104 
1,191 



8,538 
2,863 
2,160 
2,682 
10,000 
3,770 



,1891; pages 93-110. 



18 



IRRIGATION. 



Tablk 16.— WATER SUPPLY OF ARID REGION, AS SHOWN BY RESULTS OF STREAM MEASUREMENTS— Continued. 

MONTANA— Continued. 




Missouri (a) Below Sun 

Missouri (a) Below Fort Benton 

Missouri (a) Dauphin rapids 

Missouri (a) Ryan island 

Yellowstone (6) Horr 

Yellowstone (6) Horr 

Y'ellowstone (c) Springdale 

Shields creek (c) Flathead creek 

pine(c) ; Shields creek 

Bracket (c) Shields creek. 

Rock (c) Shields creek 

Shields river (c) Below Rock creek 

Sweet creek (c) Big Timber road.. 

Big Timber (c) Big Timber road.. 

Tongue (c) Miles City 



Truckee (c) Essex 

Truckee (c) Laughtons 

Truckee (6) Vista 

Truckee (6) Vista 

Martis (c) Mouth 

Juniper (c) Clinton 

Joe Grey (c) Cuba 

Bronco (c) Bronco 

Dog(c) Verde 

East Carson (6) Rodenbah 

East Carson (6) Rodenbah 

West Carson (6) Woodfords, California.. 

West Carson (6) : Woodfords, California.. 

Carson (c) Empire 



Rio Grande 
Rio Grande 
Rio Grande 
Rio Grande 
Rio Grande 
Rio Grande 
Rio Chama 
Rio Grande 
Rio Grande 

Jemez (c) 

Jemez (c).. ■• 



Embudo 

Embudo 

Embudo 

El Paso 

El Paso 

El Paso 

Abiquin 

San Ildefonso.. 
San Marcial .... 

Canyones 

Canyones 



1,054 
1,519 
1,519 



7,000 
7,000 
7.000 
30,000 
30,000 
30,000 
2,300 
11,250 



900 



May 1 to September 30, 1889 

May 13 to September 30, 1890... 

Year ended March 31, 1891 

Year ended December 31, 1891 . 

June, 1889 

May 30, 1889 

June, 1889 

May 31, 1889 

May 22, 1889 

Year ended March 31, 1891 

Year ended December 31, 1891 . 

Year ended March 31, 1891 

Year ended December 31, 1891 . 
April 16 to September 30, 1890.. 



NEW MEXICO. 



Year ended December 31, 1889.. 
Y'ear ended December 31, 1890.. 
Year ended December 31, 1891.. 

Year ended April 30, 1890 

Y'ear ended December 31, 1890.. 
Year ended December 31, 1891.. 

March 9, 1889 

March 9, 1889 

August 8, 1889 

Spring, 1889 

Summer, 1889 



6,310 
7,510 
3,285 



4,260 
1,884 
1,284 



5,660 
6,071 
8,550 
4,705 
7,200 
16,620 



2,433 
1,895 



1,327 
2,653 



Owyhee (6) Rigsbys.. 

Owyhee(6) I Rigsbys.. 

Malheur (6) Vale 

Malheur (6) Vale 



9,875 
9,875 
9,900 
9,900 



Year ended March 31, 1891 

Year ended December 31, 1891 .. 
Y'ear ended February 2S, 1891... 
Y'ear ended September 30, 1891. 



u Twelfth annual report of the United States Geological Survey, part 2, pages 230, 237, and 240. 

/* Twelfth annual report of the United States Geological Survey, part 2, pages 327, 346-358. 

,■ Eleventh annual report of the United States Geological Survey, part 2, 1889-1890; Washington, 1S91 ; 



11,230 
10,000 
4,445 
2,820 



IRRIGATION. 



L9 



Table 16.— WATER SUPPLY OF ARID REGION, AS SHOAVN BY RESULTS OF STREAM MEASUREMENTS— Continued. 

UTAH. 



Bear (a)... Collinston. 

Bear (a) Collinston. 

Bear (a) Collinston. 

Ogden (n) Powder mi 

Ogden(a) j Powder mi 

Weber (a) Devil Gate. 

Weber(o) Devil Gate 

American fork (b) Cafion 

Prove («) 

Provo(n) j Pro 

Spanish fork (a) Ca 

Sevier (a) Leamington 

Sevier (a) Leamingt' 

Bear(o) | Above Smith Fork 

Bear (a) I Soda Springs 



6,000 
6,000 
6,000 




Year ended June 30, 1890 

Year ended December 31, 1890.. 
Y'ear ended December 31, 1891 .. 

Year ended July 31, 1890 

Year ended December 31, 1890. 
Year ended December 31, 1890.. 
Year ended December 31, 1891.. 

Year ended July 31, 1890 

Year ended December 31 , 1890 .. 
Year ended December 31, 1891.. 
Year ended December 31, 1890.. 
Year ended December 31, 1890.. 
Year ended December 3!, 1891.. 

August 24, 1877 

August 17, 1877 



DISCHARGE IN SECOND-FEET. 



Maximum. Minimum 



8,220 
8,220 
5,000 
2,178 
2,178 
5,465 
4,655 
885 
2,260 
1,704 
1.010 
2,329 
1,386 



3,255 
2,945 
1,847 



Yellowstone (6) Y'ellowstone lake 

Yellowstone (6) Yellowstone lake 

Yellowstone (b) Yellowstone lake 

North Platte (c) Below Fort Laramie . 

North Platte (c) Below Fort Laramie . 

North Platte (c) Below Fort Laramie . 

North Platte (c) Below Fort Laramie . 



1,100 , August 25, 1875 

1,100 September, 1886 

1,100 October9, 1889 

21,200 Year ended December 31, 1887.. 

21 ,200 j Year ended December 31 , 1888. . 

21 , 200 Year ended December 31 , 1889. 

21,200 Year ended December 31, 1890.. 



1,200 
1,273 



10,140 
6,490 
10,260 
10,240 



3.000 
3,000 
2.370 
2,600 



a Twelfth annual report of the United 'States Geological Survey, part 2, pages 327, 346-358. 

6 Eleventh annual report of the United States Geological Survey, part 2, 1889-1890; Washington, 1891; pages 93-110. 

c Twelfth annual report of the United States Geological Survey, part 2, pages 23(3, 237, and 240. 

In the foregoing table are given some of the main facts concerning quantities of water either at one particular time 
or during periods of months or years. As is well known, the amount of water in any stream varies greatly from 
day to day and from year to year, and results obtained on any one day or even during a year to be of value must 
be intelligently used and the fact kept in mind that there is no unvarying regularity or certainty of behavior of the 
stream. On the other hand, these data obtained by direct measurements, though in themselves indecisive, furnish 
the only reliable basis upon which to compute the water supply available or the amount which can be depended 
upon with a reasonable degree of confidence. Any discussion of the agricultural possibilities of the arid region to 
be of value must make use of such data, and in like manner any irrigation enterprise to be entered upon with 
confidence must be preceded by a thorough examination of the amount and character of the flow of the streams of 
the particular neighborhood. 

The fluctuations of river flow can be considered under two general classes, one the periodic rise and fall, and 
the other the change from year to year. The former is somewhat regular in character and in time of appearance, 
but the latter is exceedingly variable and is not reducible to any rule or order. There are, however, certain general 
limits or extremes which any one stream at a particular locality rarely passes, although streams differ from each 
other greatly in this regard. There is also for each stream an average spring and summer flow, which when once 
ascertained makes possible a reasonably correct estimate of its value for irrigation. The chances of unusual flood 
or drought, however, must not at any time be forgotten. 

The stream measurements given above must be used with due consideration of these general principles. For 
example, a measurement made on a single day applies strictly to that day, and that day only, but by taking into 
consideration the season of the year and also the general character of the year, whether one of drought or floods, 
a useful conclusion can be drawn. The measurements continued through a year have of course far greater value, 
but in the same way the character of the year should be borne in mind. 

The periodic or annual fluctuations of water supply have a very immediate bearing upon the agricultural 
capabilities of an arid country, since at the time of the yearly flood the amount of water increases two, three, four, 
or even up to ten times that which flows during the remainder of the year. If the flood season occurs, as it 
unfortunately does in many localities, early in the spring, before irrigation is necessary, the greater part of this 
valuable water is lost. If, on the other hand, the floods occur later and coincide with the height of the irrigating 
season, the advantage to the country can hardly be overestimated. 



20 IRRIGATION. 

The nonperiodic fluctuation or variation from year to year is a matter of the greatest concern in irrigation 
development. It is comparatively easy to adapt the methods and systems of irrigation to the regularly occurring 
floods and to economize these by storage reservoirs, but this fluctuation from year to year, perhaps a gradual increase 
of water supply through several years and then a decline to one-half, one-third, or a still smaller proportion of the 
usual supply, bears heavily upon the resources of the irrigator and destroys the confidence of the public at large. 

DUTY OF WATER. 

The duty of water is the term used to express the relation between the quantity of water used in irrigation and 
the area upon which it is employed. If a given stream flowing at the rate of 10 second-feet irrigates throughout 
the season 1,000 acres, it is said that the duty of water is 100 acres to the second-foot. The duty, as might be 
inferred, differs very widely with the character of the water supply, the methods of employing it, the character of 
the soil and crops, and perhaps more than all with the skill and experience of the irrigator. It is necessary, 
however, to assume certain averages in order to ascertain the value of flowing water. 

The average duty of water most widely accepted is that originally taken by Powell as 100 acres to the second- 
foot. In practice some irrigators undoubtedly reach a higher value and others a lower one. Throughout the arid 
region there is a popular expression of "1 inch to the acre"; that is to say, water flowing in a stream of moderate 
size will irrigate at the rate of 1 miner's inch to the acre. This would give an extremely low duty of only 40 or 50 
acres to the second-foot, but it is probable that in many localities where there is an ample water supply it is used as 
freely as this. The saying is so common that the majority of the irrigators who have formed any opinion on the 
subject have given this as the common practice. Nevertheless there can be little doubt that a higher duty is 
generally obtained. 

Upon the new lands of Utah, Idaho, and Montana it is probable that the duty of water averages about 70 acres 
to the second-foot, and that it can be readily brought up to 100 acres. In California, in localities where water is 
scarce and great care is taken in using it, the duty has been found to be 200 acres or more, in exceptional cases 
rising to 500 acres or over, this high water duty being obtained usually in the case of orchards, in which the water 
is conducted by pipes to each tree. The state engineer of Colorado in the fifth biennial report estimates the duty 
of water of certain streams at from 168 to 424 acres per second-foot, using in this connection the acreage estimated 
by the water commissioners. By substituting the acreage from which crops were obtained as shown by this census, 
the duty has been found to be from 90 to 200 acres to the second-foot. This high duty of water is unquestionably 
due to the fact that some of the water returns by seepage to the stream and is used a second time. As a 
conservative estimate, as well as a convenient one, 100 acres to the second-foot may be considered as the average 
duty which has been obtained under favorable conditions and by the employment of ordinary skill on the part of 
the irrigator. 

VALUE OF FLOWING WATER. 

By taking a definite quantity to represent the duty of water, viz, 100 acres to the second-foot, and by 
ascertaining the average value of this water to the land, it is possible to obtain some conception of the value of the 
water resources of the country. Taking from Table 11 the average value of the water right per acre as $26.00 and 
the average first cost per acre as $8.15, the difference, $17.85, previously regarded in the light of profit to the 
irrigator, can be considered as the value of the flowing water to each acre. If, then, one second-foot irrigates 100 
acres, its value under these assumptions is $1,785. A small river or creek carrying throughout the irrigating 
season 100 second-feet should be worth at least $178,500. By using this ratio it is a simple matter of multiplication 
to estimate from Table 16 the value of the rivers there mentioned. As these form but a small part of the water 
resources of the country, it is impossible from this alone to sum up the total value to agriculture of the rivers of 
the arid region. An approximation of the total water supply can, however, be made in another manner and its 
value arrived at in this way. 

From an examination of all the material at hand it appears that almost without exception the water supply 
of use for irrigation comes from rugged mountains, that is, from a country whose topography is highly diversified. 
There are minor exceptions to this, as, for example, in Texas, where the supply comes largely from springs deriving 
water from the rainfall upon prairie regions. Within the limits of the arid region it has been estimated that there 
are approximately 360,000 square miles of rugged, mountainous country from which perennial streams issue, this 
being about 30 per cent of the area usually termed " arid ". The rest of the country consists of valleys, plateaus, 
and undulating areas from whose surface comparatively few perennial streams flow. 

By inspection of the data contained in Table 16 it has been found that the mountainous areas above mentioned 
contribute to some stream on an average, in round numbers, one second-foot to every square mile drained. The 
whole area of mountainous country should then furnish water to all of the rivers at the mean annual rate of about 
360,000 second-feet. As a matter of fact not all of this water can be used, since some of it quickly escapes through 
deep gorges far below the level of the agricultural lands. Aside from this consideration and taking the simplest 



IRRIGATION. 



2] 



form of statement, the total area irrigable at a water duty of 100 acres to the second-foot wonld be 36,000,000 acres, 
and the total value of the water at the rate given above would be $042,600,000, but with a higher water duty the 
area and value would be correspondingly increased. 

IRRIGATION BY ARTESIAN WELLS. 

The total number of artesian wells used for irrigation during the census year has been ascertained to be 3,930, 
furnishing water for 51,896 acres, or 1.43 per cent of the total area irrigated. The total number of artesian wells 
upon farms in June, 1890, in the 14 states and territories forming the western part of the United States was 8,097. 
The average depth was 210.41 feet, the average cost $245.58, and the average discharge 54.43 gallons per minute, 
irrigating 13.21 acres per well. Out of the total number of 8,097 artesian wells complete statistics were obtained 
concerning 2,971, or 36.69 per cent. From this latter number of wells, fairly distributed through each state and 
county, averages have been drawn, which when applied to the entire number give the results shown in Table 17. 

Table 17.— ARTESIAN WELLS ON FARMS IN JUNE, 1890. 



STATES AND TERRITORIES. 



California 

Colorado 

Idaho 

Kansas 

Montana 

Nebraska 

Nevada 

North Dakota . 

Oregon 

South Dakota . 

Texas 

Utah 

Washington .... 
Wyoming 



Average 
depth 
in feet. 



Average 
Average ' discharge 
cost per in gallons 
well. per 

minute. 



S245.5S 



425.00 
221.00 

53.00 
175.00 
473.00 
173.00 
607.00 
265.00 
250.00 
158.00 
359.00 

78.00 
312.00 
456.00 



54.43 

164.00 

39.00 
11.00 
44.00 
28.00 
13.00 
6.00 
21.00 
15.00 
51.00 
19.00 
26.00 
89.00 ;, 



48.54 

G4.17 
57.85 
50.00 
41.37 
42.85 

7.40 
60.00 

2.17 
50.00 
13.46 
27.32 
48.49 



Computed 
number. 



irrigated 
per well. 



13.21 

18.63 

18.01 
13.21 
13.71 
3.00 
1.00 
1.00 
2.00 
4.00 
6.68 
3.00 



Total 
acreage 
irrigated. 



In measurements of flowing water several units are in use, depending largely upon the amount of water and 
the connection in which the latter is discussed. For engineering purposes in the United States the unit most 
widely employed in measurements of rivers and streams is the second-foot, already described. The quantities of 
water discharged by artesian wells are, however, generally so small that the use of the second-foot as a unit is 
inconvenient on account of the fractions involved. The flow is therefore usually expressed in gallons per minute, 
the gallon being often employed by engineers in computations of municipal water supply. A cubic foot equals 
7.48052 gallons, and therefore 1 cubic foot per second, or second-foot, equals 448.831 gallons per minute. Conversely, 
1 gallon per minute is equivalent to 0.002228 second-foot. 

The average discharge of the artesian wells, 54.43 gallons per minute, is equivalent to 0.121 second-foot. 
At this rate the flow from all the 8,097 wells was 979.74 second-feet. Comparing the average number of acres 
irrigated, viz, 13.21, with the average discharge of water, 0.121 second-foot, it appears that at this rate 1 second-foot 
would irrigate 109.17 acres. In other words, the duty of the water from these artesian wells under the assumptions 
made above was 109.17 acres per second-foot. 

At an average expense of $245.58 per well, the discharge given cost at the rate of $4.51 per minute-gallon, 
or $2,025 per second-foot. Assuming that the duty of water as deduced above is 109.17 acres per second-foot, the 
average cost of irrigating an acre has been $18.55. As shown by Table 1, the average cost of irrigation throughout 
the entire country was $8.15 per acre, or 43.93 per cent of the cost by artesian wells in cases where these have 
been successful. 

An artesian well discharging at the rate of one-tenth of a cubic foot per second, or 44.88 gallons per minute, 
will in one day cover an acre of ground with water to the depth of 0.198 foot, provided that none escapes by 
evaporation or seepage. Stating the same fact in another way, a well flowing at this rate will cover nearly 
two-tenths of an acre to the depth of 1 foot, and in a month of 30 days will cover 5.95 acres to a like depth. 
Thus, by storing the water, if it were possible to do so without loss, large quantities could be obtained from 
comparatively small wells. Unfortunately, however, the loss from ordinary earthern reservoirs is so great that 



22 IRRIGATION. 

the smaller wells can hardly do more than saturate the ground in their immediate vicinity, little or no water 
accumulating on the surface unless this has been made almost completely impervious. 

In most of the states and territories the area irrigated by flowing wells is almost insignificant ; in the state of 
California alone does the ratio rise above 1 per cent. 

The following table shows the total area irrigated, as given in Table 1, the number of acres watered by 
artesian wells, as shown in Table 17, and the percentage : 

Table 18.— PERCENTAGE OF TOTAL AREA OF IRRIGATED LAND 
IRRIGATED BY WATER FROM ARTESIAN WELLS. 



STATES AND TERRITORIES. 


Total area 

irrigated in 

1889, in 


Area 

irrigated 

by artesian 

wells in 1889, 

in acres. 


Per 
cent. 




3,031,381 


51,896 


1.429 




65,821 
1,004,233 

890,735 








38,378 
6,213 


3.822 
0.098 
0.08.) 
1.580 
0.005 
0.000 
0.009 


Colorado 




20,818 ! 329 
350,582 18 
11,744 ' 7 










91,745 

445 
177,944 
15,717 
18,241 
263,473 
48,799 






20 
12 
474 
438 
5,802 


4.494 
0.007 
3.010 
2. 401 
2.202 



























BULLETINS UPON IRRIGATION. 

The condition of irrigation and its relation to agriculture have been discussed in separate bulletins, one for each 
of the states and territories in which irrigation is practiced to any considerable extent. Bulletins have been issued 
for Arizona, Idaho, Montana, Nevada, New Mexico, Oregon, Utah, Washington, and Wyoming, while those relating 
to California, Colorado, and the subhumid states are in course of preparation or printing. Reference should be 
made to these bulletins for the details of this method of agriculture within the several states and territories and for 
descriptions of the features of topography and water supply and their relation to agriculture in each county. 



ELEVENTH CENSUS OF THE UNITED STATES 

ROBERT P. PORTER, SUPERINTENDENT 




ELEVENTH CENSUS OF THE UNITED STATES 

ROBERT P. PORTER, SUPERINTENDENT 



EXTRA BULLETIN No.23. 




ELEVENTH CENSUS OF THE UNITED STATES 

ROBERT P. PORTER. SUPER I NT EN DENT 



EXTRA BULLETIN No.23 




ELEVENTH CENSUS OF THE UNITED STATES 

ROBERT P. PORTER, SUPERINTENDENT 



EXTRA BULLETIN No. 23. 



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ELEVENTH CENSUS OF THE UNITED STATES 

ROBERT P PORTER, SUPERINTENDENT 



RAILWAY MILEAGE IN THE UNITED STATES 

PER 10O SQUARE MILES OF TERRITORY 

FOR THE CENSUS YEARS 1830 TO 1890, INCLUSIVE , 

TERRITORIAL GROUPS. 

Scale: 3 miles per inch . 



EXTRA BULLETIN No 22< 





























































































































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PER 10,000 INHABITANTS 

FOR THE CENSUS YEARS 1830 TO 1890, INCLUSIVE , 

TERRITORIAL GROUPS. 

ELEVENTH CENSUS OFTHE UNITED STATES Scale. 9 miles per incli 

ROBERT P. PORTER, SUPERINTENDENT^ 



EXTRA BULLETIN No. 22-. 



Miles 


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H CENSUS OF THE UN 
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