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University of California Berkeley 


Sidney T. Harding 

Edited by Gerald J. Oiefer 

Statewide Water Resources Center, University of California 

in cooperation with the 
Regional Oral History Office, Bancroft Library, Berkeley 

Berkeley, 1967 

- K V 

S. T. Harding 1949 

All uses of this manuscript are covered by an 
agreement between the Regents of the University 
of California and Sidney T. Harding, dated U 
December 1967. The manuscript is thereby made 
available for research purposes. All literary 
rights in the manuscript, including the right 
to publish, are reserved to the Bancroft Library 
of the University of California at Berkeley. No 
part of the manuscript may be quoted for publi 
cation without the written permission of the 
Director of the Bancroft Library of the University 
of California at Berkeley. 


The following interview is one of a series on "The Oral 
History of California Water Resources Development" sponsored by 
the Water Resources Center of the University of California and 
conducted at the Los Angeles and Berkeley campuses of the Uni 
versity during 1965, 1966, and 1967. In setting up the project, 
the nature and scope of the work was described as follows: 

The basic purpose of this program will be to 
document historical developments in California s water 
resources by means of tape recorded interviews with men 
who have played a prominent role in this field. Much of 
the published material on California s water resources 
describes engineering and economic studies of specific 
water projects. Little, however, is devoted to the 
concepts, evolution of plans, and areas of authority 
exercised by various interested Federal, State and local 

For example, there is little reference material 
with regard to the transition of administration of the 
Central Valley Project from the State of California to 
the U.S. Bureau of Reclamation in the early 1930 s. 
Similarly, the negotiations leading to contracts for 
water between the State of California and the Metropol 
itan Water District of Southern California are not 
documented. Yet, both of these agreements had profound 
effects on water resources policy in California. Re 
corded interviews can piece together these important 
links in California s water resources history. The 
resulting material will provide a valuable fund of infor 
mation for researchers in the years to come. 

The Berkeley project is under the faculty direction of 
J.W. Johnson, Director, Hydraulics Engineering Laboratory; 


Professor, Hydraulic Engineering, and David K. Todd, Ph.D., 
Professor of Civil Engineering. Gerald J. Giefer, Librarian, 
Water Resources Center Archives, is responsible for the inter 
viewing and processing of the manuscripts which are being 
handled in co-operation with the Regional Oral History Office of 
the Bancroft Library. Final manuscripts are available for 
research at the Water Resources Center, UCIA; Department of 
Special Collections, Library, UCIA; Department of Special 
Collections, Library, UC Davis; Water Resources Center Archives, 
UC Berkeley; The Bancroft Library, UC Berkeley; and the Regional 
Oral History Office, UC Berkeley. 

Included in the series at this date are Harvey 0. Banks, 
Sam Leedom, and Sidney T. Harding. The researcher is also 
referred to oral history interviews on California water develop 
ment done previously by the Regional Oral History Office with 
Frank Adams, Louis Bartlett, Stephen Downey, William Durbrow, 
Herbert Jones, Charles Lambert, and J. Rupert Mason. 

Willa Klug Baum, Head 
Regional Oral History Office 

15 September 1967 

Regional Oral History Office 
Room 486 The Bancroft Library 
University of California 
Berkeley, California 



This autobiography and oral history has grown like Topsy. 
Started at the request of the Water Resources Center Archives 
of the University of California for tape recorded interviews covering 
my experience in various water matters, it has expanded into a hist 
ory prepared by myself covering the procedures relating to water in 
which I have participated. 

It is difficult to appraise the value of such a record. To me, 
its preparation has been the source of much interest and enjoyment. 
It has been prepared in my recent, less active years when I had time 
to review my records and check dates and other factual items. To 
others, its value may be generally limited to those who may be 
interested in the background of current procedures in the same areas 
that I have covered. 

The interest in this history will diminish in time and at some 
point in the future the record here may not be worth preserving. Even 
present interest may not justify inclusion of some of the matters in 
this history. 

The Water Resources Center Archives has assisted in and encour 
aged the preparation of this material. The function of the Archives 
is to collect and preserve Material relating to the history of water 
development in the West, primarily in California. It is performing 
this function effectively. In any such effort there is invariably 
involved the question of what is worth preserving. Too literal an 
interpretation can result in the Archives becoming a museum rather 
than a reference library. Too strict a selection of the material to 
be preserved can result in the loss of essential records. The 


answers to such questions are already needed in relation to the past 
125 years of California history. It is safe to assume that this 
problem will become magnified in the next 100 years, when the volume 
of available material may encroach on the space available for its 
preservation. The problems involved in the indexing of these mater 
ials so that items may be retrieved will increase as the volume 
of these materials increases. 

I made four taped interviews prior to starting this history. 
In my opinion, these interviews were reasonably well organized 
and representative of the results that can be expected from such 
interviews. They had the usual tendency to skip from one subject 
to another without definite breaks. The following history is better 
organized in regard to placing all discussion of each topic in one 
place. A comparison of this extended history with the taped inter 
views may indicate the relative merits of these two forms of approach. 
Probably few whose record it is desired to preserve will have the time 
to prepare such a detailed history. 

Among the incentives which influenced me in undertaking the 
preparation of this material was the current tendency of economists 
and political scientists to review our past water history and to be 
critical of the actions taken. Water development in California has 
not been free from mistakes, but results secured under conditions 
at the time should not be judged by the standards of today. In my 
opinion, th ability and integrity of those who made past decisions 
on our water problems was fully equal to that of the current academic 

reviewers. It is a source of irritation to me to read & supposedly 
scholarly article on. our water development written by someone who 
has never been in a position where he had to make the decisions on 
which such developments depend. The use of hindsight to describe 
how much better it would have been if different decisions had been 
made lacks consideration of the conditions at the time the decisions 
were made. 

The present authors in this field are generally too young to 
have been active in the 1920 s or, for many of them in the 1930 s. 
It would be difficult for some commentators to place themselves in 
the position of responsibility for the decisions in these earlier 
years. Actions then had to be based on what could be accomplished 
with the resources then available. The current (1967) surplus of 
public funds usable for almost any purpose with limited responsibility 
for their repayment is a recent development. 

The early progress with the finances then available established 
the development on which present projects are based. If progress 
had been delayed until development could be made under present day 
standards we would not have developed the economy required to 
finance the present programs. To criticize our early water programs 
is similar to contending that we should not have built the two lane 
highways which have been superseded by the freeways. Without the 
traffic developed by the early highways, we would not have needed 
or been able to finance the freeways. 

My period of active participation in water matters in California 
began in 1912 and has continued to date (1967)- This period has seen 
the gradual extension of the participation of the state in the control 

of the use of its water supplies, and the deterioration of the economic 
standards for federal projects of both the U.S. Bureau of Reclamation 
and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers. An interesting story could 
be written tracing the history of each of these developments. A 
detailed history would require extensive search for the contributing 
legislation and administrative actions relating to this record. 
The results of these changes could be demonstrated from a review 
of the highlights of their history. 

Looking backward, I do not think that I could have been engaged 
in more interesting work during the past 55 years than my activities 
in water matters. Like all work which produces visible results, 
there is a material interest in the progress being made. To an 
unusual extent water controversies in arid areas bring out different 
attitudes and actions by its participants than most other lines of 
activity. Working in water matters is a sure way to secure an 
education in human nature that it would be difficult to secure in 
other lines of work. I am very grateful that my life span and 
activities fell into this field during these past years. 

No comments on my experience in water matterswould be complete 
without an expression of my high regard for the pioneers who started 
water development in California on its way. The early project 
leaders worked under difficult conditions and had to be rugged 
individualists to survive. At the same time the early workers in 
federal and state investigations included some very high type 
individuals. I came into this work in California in time to get to 
know men like C.E. Grunsky, Wm. Ham, Ball and Marston Manson f 
early California engineer sj and O.K. Gilbert and I.C. Russell 


of the U.S.G.8. I also had a chance to meet such men as L.A. Nares of 
the Kings River and Jastro of the Kern County Land Co. Among the 
older attorneys with whom I worked or worked against were E.J. 
McCutcheon, James Peck, and Edward Treadwell, all interesting indi 
viduals of diverse personalities. My work for the state engineer 
during the period when much of the policies of the state s parti 
cipation in the development of its water supply were being established 
gave me a part in these developments. Ky work for ton. F. McClure and 
Edward Pfyatt while each was state engineer gave me a high opinion 
of their integrity and ability. 

This history is lengthy. In addition, the procedures in 
which I participated on Kings River from 1938 to 1952 were numerous. 
Its own history became so lengthy that it has been separated from 
these accounts of other matters. It is always difficult to decide 
where to stop in preparing such a record. Many minor procedures have 
been omitted. Perhaps some of those that have been included should 
also have been omitted. 

There are numerous references in this history to items in my 
bibliographical file. These items are numbered. My bibliographical 
file contains the various reports, books and articles I have written. 
There are over three hundred items in it. This file will be given to 
the Water Resources Center Archives and should be retained intact for 
use in connection with this history. By references to the bibliographical 
file in the history some duplication is avoided. The numbering system 
used for the items in the bibliographical file is generally by date of 
preparation. Shorter materials in some cases have been grouped with 
several having the same reference number. 

Many thanks are due and gladly given to Prof. J.W. Johnson, 
Gerald Giefer, and the Water Resources Center Archives staff for 
encouragement and assistance in the preparation of this record. 


S. T. Harding 

Professor of Irrigation, Emeritus 

August, 1967 




Statistical Record 1 

Marriage and Descendants 7 

Work in 1911-191^ 8 

Teaching at the University of California 10 


Reminiscences of My Engineering Practice 12 

Lassen County Investigation 1915 lk 

Minidoka Project 1915 15 

Work in 1916 20 

Testimony for Crocker-Huffman L & W Co. 20 

Irrigation Pumping Articles 21 

Sunnyside Valley Irrigation District 21 

Truckee River Adjudication 22 

Pumping From Lake Tahoe 27 

Carson River Adjudication 29 

Washoe Project 30 

Interstate Compact Negotiations 32 

Truckee -Carson I.D. 1959-62 34 

The Feather River in 1918 36 

Work for the State 1920-30 ^2 

Investigation in Kern County 1919-20 kQ 

Tulare County Investigations 1920-22 53 

San Jacinto River Investigations 1920-22 57 

Proposed Prison Sites in the San Jacinto Area 62 

Mono Basin 63 

California Water Storage Districts 72 

Kern River Water Storage District 78 

Buena Vista Water Storage District 87 

San Joaquin River Water Storage District 97 

Tulare Lake Basin Water Storage District 111 

Kings River Water Conservation District 117 

The Herminghaus Case 122 

Bulletin 11 - Ground Water Resources of the 

Southern San Joaquin Valley 136 

Irrigation in the Sierra Foothill Areas 

Nevada Irrigation District 

Irrigation Service of Utica Mining Co. 152 

General Comments on Foothill Areas 154 

The Montague Water Conservation District 156 

Association of Western State Engineers l6l 

Twentieth Annual Convention, Resolution No. 8 l66 

Land Classification in the San Joaquin Valley 1929-31 173 

Bulletin 29 - San Joaquin River Basin 178 

Permissible Costs for Irrigation Water 178 

Gin Chow Case for Santa Barbara }.8l 

Union Sugar Co. Case 185 

The State Land Settlement Colonies 186 

Delhi 191 



The Walker Case 195 

Cleary s Final Report of June 30, 1931 197 

Results after 1931 198 

General Comments 200 

Proposed Sutter Irrigation District 205 

Oakdale Irrigation District 208 

Berkeley Olive Association 211 

Federal Land Bank Reports in 1933 220 

Ventura Co., Orange Co., Santa Clara Valley W.C.D., 
Hollister and San Juan Valleys and Morgan Hill 

Gilroy Area 221 

Work for the State of Oregon 223 

Walla Walla River Case 223 

Klamath Lake Case 225 

Central Valley Project, Miscellaneous Matters 227 

Possible Surplus Water from Kings River 228 

C.V.P. Report for U.S.B.R. in 1930 230 

C.V.P. after 1935, Procedural Reports 232 

The Barrows C.V.P. Studies 23k 

Hearing on C.V.P. in July 19^k 237 

Testimony on S912-80th Cong. 1st Sess. on Acreage 

Limitation 238 

The Hassle over the C.V.P. 

Report in 1936 for National Water Resources Committee on 
Missouri River down to and including the Platte 

Work in Arizona 251 

Work for Verde Irrigation District 251 
Work for Buckeye Irrigation Co. 


Gate Storage at Horseshoe Dam 259 
Work for the San Carlos Irrigation and Drainage District 260 

Work for Safford Municipal Utilities 26l 


Work for the Madere Irrigation District 262 

Working with Barnes 263 

Reports for Madera Irrigation District 266 

Groundvater from the San Joaquin River 270 

Other Matters 27 1 

General Comments 27^ 

Work on Utah Lake 277 

East Bay Water Co. vs. Mclaughlin 285 

Water Conservation Conference, Chicago Sept. 7-8, 19^ 293 

Report on Wagon Wheel Gap Reservoir on Rio Grande in Colorado 301 

State Operation of the C.V.P. 307 

Work for the Palo Verde Irrigation District 313 

Work for Monterey County Flood Control and Water Conservation 

District 322 

Introduction 322 

Bulletin 52 and Continuing Ground Water Investigations 32k 

Storage Investigations 325 

Nacimiento Project 328 

Relations with San Luis Obispo County 331 

Acquirement of Nacimiento Reservoir Lends 333 

Nacimiento Water Right 33k 

General Investigations of Water Resources of Monterey 

County 336 

Salt Water Intrusion 

Recreation 350 


Pajaro River Area 351 

Conclusion of My Work 352 

Summary 352 

National Water Policy, 1950 EUC Report 355 

The 19^9 ASCE Committee 358 

The EJC Report of June 1950 360 

Comments on Report of President s Commission 367 

Scheidenhelm Committee 369 

Actions in 1951 by EJC 370 

ASCE Actions on EJC Report 371 

Activities After 1951 373 

Bureau of Reclamation Reorganization in 1953 373 

October 1953 Meeting with McKay 375 

Resources for the Future Conference 377 

The Second Hoover Commission Report 377 
Report of President s Advisory Committee Dec. 12, 1965 380 

The EJC Report - Hindsight 381 

Work for the Tulare Lake Basin Water Storage District, 

1938-52 385 

Agreement Between Lower Tule River Irrigation District and 

Crocket and Genibogy 386 

Work for the Vista Irrigation District 391 

Work on Bechtels 1 1955 Report on the Feather River Project 

Work for San Bernardino Valley Conservation District 

Work for Alameda County Water District 

State Bulletin 8l 

Storage on Arroyo Del Valle kl2 

Work Relating to the San Francisco Water Department klh- 


The South Bay Aqueduct kl.6 

Remarks k-20 

Report on Supplemental Water Supplies for North Santa Clara 
Valley and Related Service in San Benito and Santa Cruz 
Counties k22 

Bulletin 58 - Northeastern Counties Investigations ^31 

Consulting Board on Dam at Bidwell Bar Site ^38 

Agreement of May l6, 1960 between USER and the State D.W.R. 
Relating to Division of Water in the Delta 

Work for the State Reclamation Board 

Work on Cache Creek Settling Basin 

Work on Colusa Weir Settling Basin 
Work for Denver Water Department, 1953-55 

Report of Consulting Board on Drainability of Lands in the 
Missouri-Souris Project in North Dakota 

Report on Drainability of Lands in the Oahe Unit of Missouri 
River Basin Project 

Work in Western Kansas in 1912 

Work in Owens Valley for Los Angeles 

Report for Carlsbad Municipal Water District 

Work for Suburban Water Systems 

Economic Report on Cawelo Water District 

Appraisal of Value of Water Rights of Boulder Creek Division 
of Citizens Utilities Co. of California 

"Water in California" 

Enclosed Lakes of the Great Basin 500 

Evaporation from Water Surfaces 50^ 

The Pacific Southwest Water Plan 513 



Professor Harding sets forth the circumstances which prompted 
this memoir in the Author s Preface. Mrs. Baum, in the Preface, 
explains how the work fits into a larger project concerned with 
detailing the history of water development in the State. It 
remains to me as editor merely to say that it has been a privilege 
to work with Professor Harding. 

Gerald Giefer, Librarian 

Water Resources Center Archives 

December, 1967 


This autobiography has been prepared for the purpose of recording 
the history of various items relating to water developments in vhich 
I have participated. It also includes the usual statistical detail 
such as date of birth etc . 

In response to the request of the Water Resources Center Archives 
of the University of California at Berkeley in 196^, I made several 
recordings relating to different items in the history of water in Cali 
fornia. These were satisfactory for their intended purpose but lacked 
continuity. In this autobiography I have correlated these recordings 
into this more complete record of my participation in events relating 
to water resources during the nearly 60 years of my activity in this 

These comments were not prepared for publication. The matters 
covered may have usefulness when placed on record, where they may be 
accessible to anyone who may have need for the background history of 
any of the events discussed. Such occasional need does not justify 
general publication. The Water Resources Center Archives represents 
a publicly available depository in which such records may be preserved 
for any such future needs. 


Born October 20, 1883 in Brook^ie^Mass. Son of Henry J. 
Harding and Alice Twichell Harding. Both parents were descendants of 
New Englanders extending back prior to the Revolutionary War. The 
national background on both sides was English. 

The family home in 1883 was in Wichita, Kansas. My mother had 

returned to the home of her parents for my birth and returned to 
Wichita when I was about six weeks old. While born in Massachusetts, 
I have little claim to "being an actual New Englander. 

I had an older sister Adaline who was born in Wichita in i860. 
She married Clive C. Whittaker and lived in Kansas until the 1950s. 
She died in Phoenix, Arizona in 1958. 

Wichita in 1883 was a rough and rapidly growing town. It had one 
of the wildest of the western booms during the 1880s. My father was 
employed in the office of the city engineer. When the boom "busted" 
in the depression of the early 1890s, the family, of necessity, moved 
to Dallas, Texas, where ray father worked for the city engineer. In 
189^- a move was made to Tyler, Texas where father became superintend 
ent of the privately owned water system. In 1898 the family returned 
to Wichita. The family home there had been retained during the Texas 
migration. Father again worked for the city engineer and, shortly 
after the return, became city engineer, holding the position until his 
retirement in 

Schooling through one year of high school was secured in Texas. 
In Wichita after 2 years in the Wichita High School, I transfered to 
the preparatory school at Fair-mount College, then a small Congregational 
school, n^w Wichita State University. After graduating from the pre 
paratory school in 1901, I remained for one year of college at Fairmount. 

In the fall of 1902 I went to Ann Arbor and became a student in 
Civil Engineering at the University of Michigan. As a result of the 
one year s college work at Fairmount, I was able to secure credit 
for nearly a year s units at Michigan. By carrying extra units I was 
able to graduate in three years with the class of 1905- 

Mother became ill during the simmer of 1903 and I remained with 
her until her death, on October 3, 1903. This resulted in my enrolling 
about 3 weeks late in the fall semester at Ann Arbor. I was ab]_: to 
make up the missed work. 

In the spring of 1905 my funds ran out and I went to work for 
Prof. Gardner S. Williams. I was carrying 19 units and worked after 
noons and Saturdays on Prof. Williams engineering practice. This 
included computations for the tables in Williams and Hazen s Hydraulic 
Tables. Whenever I have used these tables over the years, it has 
reminded me of this work. 

I continued to work for Prof. Williams after graduation, mainly 
on surveys for a hydro-electric plant on the Huron River near Ann 
Arbor. While a student I was paid 25 cents per hour. On my gradua 
tion this was raised to 30 cents and later to 35 cents. I lived com 
fortably on this renumeration and saved money. Costs were similarly 
low at that time. 

In November 1905 I went to work for the U.S. Lake Survey with 
headquarters in Detroit. This is the branch of the U.S. Army Engineers 
having charge of navigation on the Great Lakes. This work included 
harbor surveys, hydrology of the Great Lakes and, during the season 
of 1906, special surveys at Niagara Falls. In 1906 there was much 
public concern regarding the effect of the diversions for power on 
the scenic qualities of Niagara Falls. The work there included deter 
minations of the division of the flow of Niagara River between the 
American and Canadian Falls, the rate of recession of the Horseshoe 
Falls and surveys of Niagara River to Lftke Ontario. This was interes 
ting work. Also Niagara Falls was an interesting place for a young 
man to spend the summer. 

By the spring of 1907, I thought that I needed more varied 
experience and I became a draftsman for the Russel Wheel and Foundry 
Co. in Detroit. This firm fabricated structural steel. Detroit in 
the summer is hot and sticky and vorking over a drafting board was not 
attractive to me after having spent ray previous years mainly out doors. 
Fortunately I received an offer of appointment from the then U.S. 
Reclamation Service for work on the Yakima Project in Washington. I 
could see that structural drafting had no future for me and I quickly 

The offer at Yakima said it was for a hydraulic computer and 
draftsman. When I arrived and reported I was told that the only 
vacancy was as a cost keeper which was dignified by the title of 
cost engineer. I was a long ways from home and, of necessity, 
accepted. Cost keeping on construction work was not generally 
regarded then as professional engineering. I learned later they 
had tried several individuals with varying background on this work 
without good results. As a last resort they asked for an engineer 
but disguised the real intent by calling the work by a different title. 

I remained as cost engineer for nearly a year. While I under 
took this work with reluctance I secured more benefit from it than I 
have secured in an equal period of time in any work I have done. The 
construction program included all types of work. I made monthly trips 
over all jobs, prepared comparative cost reports and took the progress 

In 1908 I was transferred to construction, first, briefly on the 
repairs of the Clealum Dam. In September 1908 I was made resident 
engineer on the concrete lining of the Tieton Main Canal. This was 

a canyon side location. The lining was precast on the canyon floor and 
transported to place in the canal. 7or the steep slopes and limited 
working space available this design was successful. This canal has 
been in operation for over 50 years and is still giving good service. 
We had never heard of slump, water-cement ratios or other modern terms. 
We used Taylor and Thompson s book on concrete and designed our mixes 
on the curves it recommended. The resulting mixes were tested by their 
workability in the V thick walls of the concrete shapes. 

This concrete lining had been let under contract. Progress had 
not been satisfactory and the contract was suspended. The work was 
being handled by force account. After the takeover, the contractors 
superintendent was employed by the Reclamation Service and placed in 
charge of the construction operations, and the resident engineer was in 
charge of the inspection and the compliance with the specifications. The 
only trouble with this form of organization was that both reported to the 
same project engineer. Specifications which increased the cost without 
being essential to the quality of the product were difficult to enforce. 
A good quality of work was secured even though such specifications as 
those relating to variations in size of the shapes were not as rigidly 
enforced as they had been under the contract. 

During the winter of 1908-09, when the concrete lining in the 
Canyon Division of the project was shut down, I was transferred to 
office work and canal location in the Valley Division. I went back to 
the Canyon for the 1909 season and remained until the completion of the 
Tieton Main Canal late that year. 

Feeling the urge to try other work, I resigned from the Bureau 
of Reclamation and looked for other opportunities. I secured a pros 
pective position as resident engineer of a Carey Act project in Utah, 

scheduled to start construction in the spring of 1910. This gave me time 
to revisit Wichita and Detroit. When I returned to Salt Lake City early 
in 1910, the project there was unable to complete its financing and other 
work had to be found. 

Father had registered for the drawing for homesteads in the opening 
of the Uintah Indian Reservation in Eastern Utah in 1905. He drew a low 
number and had homesteaded near Roosevelt. I bought land there in 1908 
and 1909 in anticipation of the construction of the Moffatt Railroad 
through the Uintah Basin. This railroad has never been built. I later 
sold part of this land and part was eventually allowed to g < for taxes. 
I retained some of this land until 19^, when I deeded it to my children. 
It is leased for oil but is strictly wildcat. I learned some useful 
lessons about land speculation from this experience. 

The spring of 1910 was the end of the active promotion of new Carey 
Act irrigation projects, as the market for their bonds collapsed with 
the failure of the leading Chicago bond house, Trowbridge-Niver, which 
had been active in this field. I could not find work in Utah and I went 
on to Denver. I kept busy for the next year on whatever work I could 
find in Colorado. This work included subdivisions, surveying, land 
office practice, canal location in Routt County, land classification and 
power site investigations for the U.S. Geological Survey, winter railroad 
construction in southern Colorado (23 below zero), and inspection of the 
Point of Rocks Dam of the North Sterling Irrigation District in north 
eastern Colorado. 

In May 1911 I was appointed an irrigation expert in the Irrigation 
Investigation of the then Office of Experiment Stationsof the U.S. Depart 
ment of Agriculture and placed in charge of this work in Montana and 
North Dakota. An office was established in Helena and work on a general 

report on irrigation in Montana was begun. This report was published 
in 1915 as Bulletin 103 of the Montana Agricultural Experiment Station 
entitled "Irrigation Development in Montana." 


While working in Detroit in 1907, I had met Miss Evelyn Rosso of 
Mt. Clemens, Michigan. While visiting there in the winter of 1909-10 
we became engaged. Due to the uncertainties of my employment at this time 
our marriage was deferred until 1911. Miss Rosso was teaching school in 
Highland Park, Detroit. As soon as I had secured a more permanent posi 
tion in Montana and had gotten started in the work there, I returned to 
Mt. Clemens. Our marriage took place June 28, 1911. Our first home 
was in Helena, Montana. 

Helen June Harding was born in Berkeley on June 29, 1912. Henry 
Howard Harding was born there on June 12, 19l and Stephen T. Harding 
on Aug. 8, 1919 Helen Harding is now Helen Harding Bretnor. She is 
a research librarian on the staff of the Bancroft Library of the 
University of California at Berkeley. 

Henry Harding married Ruth Muirhead on July 10, 1939- They have 
three daughters; Barbara, born March 21, 19^-1* Marcia, born June 17, 
1 9*4-2 and Sarah born November 9, 19^-5- Barbara graduated from USC in 
1963 and married George McMeem Dec. 27, 196^. Marcia married Hugh Ellis 
on Sept. 8, 1963 and has a daughter Jennifer. Sarah will be a Junior 
at USC in Sept. 1965. Barbara has been employed in the advertising 
research department of the Los Angeles Times. They live in Pasadena 
where her husband is in the school department. Marcia lives in Berkeley. 
Her husband works in the Radiation Laboratory on the hill. 

Henry Harding has been in the lumber business in Orick and Arcata. 
He lives in Eureka. 

The Harding Family, June 1941 

Left to right: daughter Helen; Sidney; wife Evelyn; daughter-in-law 
(Henry s wife) Ruth; granddaughter Barbara Jane; son Henry; son Stephen. 


Stephen T. Harding is with the Harron, Rickard and McCone Co. in San 
Francisco. This company handles machine tools. He was half way 
through UCLA when he volunteered for service. After assignment to the 
Presidio in San Francisco, he attended officers training at Fort Sill, 
Okla., became a second lieutenant in the field artillery and saw over 
2 years service in the Pacific combat areas. He came out of the ser 
vice a captain, remained in the reserve and is now a lieutenant colonel 
in command of his local reserve unit. He lives in El Cerrito. 

Stephen married Joyce Openshaw on June 6, 19^2 while in the ser 
vice at the Presidio. Stephen D. Harding was born on May 21, 19^3 
and Jane Harding on July 23, 19^- Stephen D. Harding is now a student 
at Hayward State College. Jane will be a senior in the El Cerrito High 
School in September 1965. 

WORK 1911 TO 1914 

At the end of the field season of 1911* I vas transferred to 
Berkeley, Calif, to work on a survey of the irrigation resources of 
California being made by the U.S. Department of Agriculture in cooperation 
with the California State Conservation Commission. In this work I pre 
pared the inventory of the water supply of the state and the portion of 
the report relating to Central California. The results were published 
in Bulletin 25^ of the Office of Experiment Stations and in the reports 
of the state commission. 

This investigation was the first comprehensive effort to prepare 
an inventory of the water and land resources of the state. It found 
about the same total area of irrigable land that has been found in later 
surveys, but the portion of this acreage which it was estimated could 
be irrigated was only about one-half that now planned. In 1912 the 

height of dams considered feasible was very much less than that of the 
dams nov being built. The costs then considered to be feasible for canal 
systems precluded planning the conveyance of water from areas of origin 
to areas of surplus land. For the date at which it was made, this report 
represents a sound inventory of the resources which it covered. That its 
results have been superseded in the fifty years after its completion, 
illustrates the futility of trying to foresee the changes that may occur 
over such time periods. Todays conditions had not been conceived in 
1912; it may be that the conditions fifty years from now will be equally 
different from these of the present. 

On completion of the work in California in 1912 I was transferred 
to Kansas to undertake a survey of irrigation opportunities in the 
western part of the state. Following the field work on this assignment, 
I was transferred to Washington, D.C. for the winter of 1912-13. While 
there the Kansas report was completed and published as S.D. 1021, 62d Cong. 
3d Sess. During this winter I also prepared naterial for inclusion in 
Bulletin no. 126 by my chief, Samuel Fortier, entitled "Concrete Lining 
as Applied to Irrigation Canals" published in 191^. 

In the spring of 1913 I was assigned to Billings, Montana to 
undertake experiments on the effect of the use of different amounts of 
water on crop yields. Fields under farm conditions were secured, 
different quantities of water used and the resulting yields measured. 
I also made measurements of the flow in various types of irrigation chan 
nels in different parts of Montana to determine the value of their friction 
factor "n" Kuttefs formula. At the end of this field season I was 
again transferred to Berkeley for the winter where I worked on my 
reports and other matters until May, 191^ 

While in Berkeley during the winter of 1913-1^ an opening on 
the faculty of the University of California became available in its then 


Irrigation Department. Mr. A.E. Chandler, who with B.A. Etcheverry 
comprised this department, resigned to leave at the end of the 1913-lk 
academic year. I was appointed Assistant Prof, of Irrigation to begin 
teaching in August 


I was s. member of the faculty of the University cf California 
at Berkeley in active teaching from 191k to 19^9, advancing from 
assistant professor in 19lk to associate professor in 1918 and professor 
in 1925. In 19M-U5 and 19U5-U6, following the retirement of Prof. 
Derleth, I was Chairman of the Civil Engineering Department. I retired 
on June 30, 19^-9* after reaching the minimum retirement age of 65 in 
October 19^8. My teaching extended continuously over a period of 35 
years. My title was Professor of Irrigation. 

The courses I taught included Irrigation Practice, Water Rights 
and Organizations and Operation and Maintenance of Irrigation Systems. 
In addition during World War I, I helped out in the instruction in survey 
ing and in World War II in courses in engineering economics, general 
water supply and sewage engineering. 

I wrote the text book for use in my irrigation courses. "Operation 
and Maintenance of Irrigation Systems" was published in 191? by the 
McGraw-Hill Book Co. "Water Rights for Irrigation" was published by the 
Stanford University Press in 1935- Vol.1 of Irrigation Practice and 
Engineering 1 by B.A. Etcheverry was used as the text in the courses in 
irrigation practice until 1933. A second edition of Vol.1 by Etcheverry 
and Harding was then published by McGraw-Hill. I did nearly all of the 
writing of this revision. 

These texts continued to .be used in the courses I taught until my 


retirement in 19^-9- They have not been revised and are all now out of 
print . 

A condition of my original appointment on the university faculty 
was that I vould be able to do consulting work in addition to my teaching. 
During the teaching terms such outside work was to be subject to the 
approval of the chairman of the Irrigation Department in order that it 
would not interfere with my university duties. At other times I was 
free from university obligations. Throughout my teaching term I parti 
cipated in outside engineering work in the general fields of irrigation 
such as: water supply, water requirements, water rights, and project 
organization. This practice included work in all of the western states 
with a greater extent of it in California. 

Additional detail regarding the Irrigation Department and my 
part in it are contained in the history of the Department which I 
recently prepared at the request of the Water Resources Archives. 

When California passed its registration act for Civil Engineers 
in 1925.> I was among the early applicants and secured Registration no. 
Ilk- which I still have. In later years I secured registration in 
Arizona, Utah and Colorado when the work I was doing in these states 
made such registration advisable. 

I joined the American Society of Civil Engineers as a junior 
member in 1905 and progressed through the various grades to the present 
Fellow. I was a director from District 11 from 19^9 to 1951. I also served 

two terms as a member of the Executive Committee of the Irrigation 
Division including being its chairman. 

When the association of Western State Engineers was organized in 
1928 I was appointed one of the two Associate members for California by 
State Engineer Hyatt and continued such membership for about 25 years. 


I attended the meeting of the National Reclamation Association in 
Boise in 1933 and have continued to be a member since. I have attended 
all but a few of its annual conventions. 

I have participated in the activities of the California Irrigation 
Districts Association since 19lU. At the meeting in Fresno in April 
196^ I was given one of the Association Certificates of Honor for service 
to the association. 

Additional comments on the larger items of this consulting practice 
are included in the later portions of this autobiography. These relate 
mainly to the assignments where my participation enables me to make 
comments that may be useful to anyone seeking the history of these local 


As previously stated I was active in consulting work in the 
general irrigation "field during my teaching and after my retirement from 
the University. My experience prior to joining the University faculty 
has already been covered. 

The remaining portion of this autobiography is mainly a history of 
the work with which I have been connected in my consulting engineering 
practice. It has been prepared primarily as a history of water develop 
ments of which I have had direct knowledge during the last 50 years. 
While my engineering work has extended over 60 years, the more responsible 
portion had its beginning when I became a faculty member at the University 
of California in 191^. 

The rest of this report represents reminscences relating to con 
ditions and events during the period covered. The emphasis is on these 


events rather than on my part in them. Its purpose is to make 
available the record of these matters as I participated in them and 
as I had the opportunity to know those who directed the developments 
that have been made in this period. 

The larger part of these reminiscences relate to California 
matters but they are not limited to this state. Matters in which I 
participated in other states are included. My own experience has 
been limited to the western portion of continental United States with 
some activities in matters relating to national water policies. 

A generally chronological arrangement has been used. Events 


have been discussed in the time sequence in which I have followed them 
through to the end of my connection with it, in order that the results 
may be more easily followed. 

No strict rules were set to control what would be included. The 
purpose has been to preserve information which might not be recorded 
elsewhere and to present points of view that might be overlooked by 
others . 

I have no thesis to support or image to create. As nearly as 
I have been able, my accounts of events are as accurate and impartial 
as I can make them. The record presented is from my own participation 
and, is factually correct to the best of my knowledge. I do not claim 
that I have been active in these matters, many of them controversial, 
for so many years without acquiring opinions of my own or prejudices 
against some individuals and policies. I have tried to subordinate 
any personal bias and to distinguish between statements of record and 
performance from my individual views of the individuals involved or 
the results. 



In 1915 Lessen County made a cooperative agreement with the U.S. 
Reclamation Service for an investigation of its water resources and 
their development. Work was begun on this work. Garfield Stubblefield 
handled the water supply and I handled the land classification. When 
Lassen County did not meet its share of the costs the work was suspended. 

This work has been long forgotten. It is discussed briefly in 
the 15th Annual Report of the U.S.R.S. for 1915-16. Only two points 
are worth recording here. Stubblefield and I ran a fly line from 
what is now Frenchman Reservoir in Sierra Valley to make a 
rough estimate of the cost of diverting Last Chance Creek through Bfcck- 
with Pass to Long Valley tributary to Honey Lake. It could be done 
but at a cost probably greater than its value. At that time Sierra 
Valley had a well developed agricultural economy based on the use of 
its unregulated stream flow. It has continued this economy without 
showing sufficient interest in securing additional stored water to 
purchase the use of Frenchman storage. The State s project is now 
being justified as recreation. 

The second item, largely of personal interest to me, was my first 
acquaintance with Eagle Lake. The lake was relatively high in 1915 
and had recently submerged trees around its southern shore. This 
was the beginning of my interest in Eagle Lake. In 19l6 I made 
reports for the State Water Commission on applications then pending 
in this area. Later I made ray own observations on Eagle Lake extending 
to the present time. These results are included in my report on "Recent 
Variations in the Water Supply of the Western Great Basin" published 
in 1965 by the Water Resources Center of the University of California. 



The Minidoka Project of the U.S. Reclamation Service serves 
lands on both sides of the Snake River below American Falls. It 
was one of the earlier U.S.R.S. projects and was operating when the 
Reclamation Extension Act was passed in 191^. 

On the north side of the river around Acequia was a considerable 
area of blow sand which had been included in the project. The 
settlers were having difficulty handling these lands and were using 
7 to 9 acre feet per acre per year irrigating them. 

The Washington D.C. direction of the U.S.R.S. could not under 
stand why any land should need to use such large amounts of water. 
A provision was included in the 191^ Extension Act requiring operation 
and maintenance charges to be on an acre foot basis instead of an 
acreage basis. It was thought in Washington that putting such 
charges on a quantity basis would result in greater care in the use 
of water and the reduction of waste. 

When the 1915 and M rates were set on the U.S.R.S. projects, 
difficulties arose where there were wide variations in the soils 
within the projects. If a uniform charge per acre foot was used the 
resulting costs to sandy lands of large water use would be more than 
the settlers could meet and the better lands of smaller use and generally 
greater return would secure their water under favorable terms. 

To meet these conditions some projects adopted a sliding scale 
with the price for the first acre foot per acre set high enough to 
return the major part of the necessary income and additional water 
placed at lower rates.. In some cases the rates were raised for 
quantities of use considered to represent waste. This type of rate 


enabled the lands requiring more water because of their texture to secure 
the water they required at a rate they could afford to pay. 

The 1915 and M rate on the North Side Minidoka Project was set at 
60 cents for the first acre foot per acre and 5 cents for all additional 
water. This is a gravity system and the total costs were relatively low. 
Even this rate resulted in the sandy lands paying about 50$ more than the 
best lands . 

Difficulties in settler relations in Montana had resulted in the 
appointment of I.D. O Donnell, a successful farmer and manager near 
Billings as Supervisor of Irrigation for the Montana project of the U.S.R.S. 
His success there resulted in his being given the same position for all 
U.S.R.S. projects. In 1915 the situation on the Minidoka project came to 
his attention and he asked that the U.S.D.A. arrange to have me make a 
study on how much water the sandy lands there really needed. I had known 
O Donnell in my work for the U.S.D.A. near Billings in 1913 and 191*1 and 
had made experiments on the use of water on his farm. I had just finished 
the Lassen Co. work and was available. I went to Idaho and spent six 
weeks irrigating these sandy lands, measuring their use of water and 
taking soil moisture samples to see how much water the soils could retain. 
The results were included in a report to the cooperating parties. 

These soils consist of about 5 feet of light sand over a coarser 
heavier sand. It was found that only about U inches depth of water 
could be retained from an irrigation regardless of the depth applied. 
Well prepared land could be irrigated without using over k inches depth 
of irrigation. Any additional water applied percolated to the ground 

More convincing to the land owners than the results of my/ soil 


moisture samples was the effect on the alfalfa. In July this crop would 
begin to wilt on the 12th day after the last irrigation regardless of the 
depth of water that had been applied. By measuring the depth of irrigation 
on the different checks I could show the farmer that the heavy applications 
did not carry the crop any longer than the smaller ones. 

As a result of these investigations in 1915> the rates in 1916 were placed 
on a zone basis. Three zones were used, the minimum charge in each being 
75 cents per acre foot, for which 1, 3 and 6 acre feet per acre respectively 
were supplied in each zone. For water in excess of these minimum amounts 
a uniform rate of 15 cents per acre-foot was charged. These minimum 
deliveries were intentionally made somewhat less than the requirements under 
good practice in each zone. 

In connection with this work I also visited the Umatilla Project in 
Oregon which was having serious trouble with its sandy lands. Some of 
the Umatilla lands required irrigation at 5 or 6 day intervals. The area 
of this project was later reduced to eliminate the lands which could not 
be farmed profitably. 

In 1915 alfalfa was the only crop that could be grown on the blow 
sands around Acequia. It was necessary to keep these soils continually 
moist until the crop reached a stage where it could control the blowing. 
Rye would be sown and the alfalfa planted in the stubble. Even at best 
seedings would be lost and levelling would be required. Once having 
secured a stand, it was necessary to leave it in as long as reasonable 
yields could be obtained. These lands were productive of good yields once 
a stand was secured. 

In 1919 there was controversy between the land owners in the different 
zones regarding the operation of the project. The local irrigation 


district had taken over the operation of the project. The demands of the 
sandy lands at the upper end of the project had taken so much of the supply 
that deliveries to the lower end were inadequate. Litigation had been 
started to break the zoning system. I was asked to investigate the situa 
tion to see if some way could be found to avoid this internal controversy. 
I spent a couple of weeks on the project, talked to both sides and finally 
got them into a meeting where they agreed their trouble had been a break 
down in operation and was not the fault of the zoning. It was agreed that 
excess deliveries to the upper lands would be restricted until base service 
had been made to the lower lands. The litigation was dropped. 

Over the years I have visited this area several times. Time has 
accomplished a marked change in the blow sands of 1915- They have been 
used for annual row crops with good yields. Enough humus has been built 
up to overcome the soil blowing. The area round Acequia now has the 
usual appearance of a prosperous farming area. 

As a result of this experience with these sandy lands I have always 
had an interest in experience elsewhere with similar soils. Some 
such areas overcome their tendency to blow; some do not. The Umatilla 
Project, as mentioned, included some lands that had to be abandoned. 
Some Columbia River areas near Pasco have not been successful. Some 
sandy lands on the Sunnyside Project have improved. Fernley Bench on 
the Newlands Project has not changed materially. 

I have not been able to find a test which could be applied to sandy 
land in advance of its irrigation which would determine whether it will 
blow or not when levelled for irrigation. Some indication can be secured 
from the way the soil may have drifted around its native vegetation. 
Apparently the dividing line between enough fines to bind the soil and a 


deficiency is too indefinite to be s nown by a mechanical analysis of the 
soil. Grain texture may be a factor. 

The problem of the irrigation of blow sands has been diminishing 
since 1915- Present projects are too costly to inclxide lands of large 
water requirement even if they are productive. Only vhere deep percola 
tion losses can be recovered should such lands be served. 

The effort to secure improvement in the use of water by placing the 
operation and maintenance charges on an acre-foot basis in the 191^- 
Extension Act was not, in my opinion, a success. Costs of and M on 
the then Reclamation Service projects were generally in the order of $1 
per acre per year. The cost per acre-foot of the water received was 
much less than the cost of the labor required to apply it to the land 
even though going rates for irrigators then vere about $^0 per month and 
found. (Found means board and room). I was offered seasonal employment 
at this rate in 1913 by one of the land owners near Billings on whose 
farm I was conducting irrigation experiments for the U.S.D.A. The farmers 
could not see economy in using additional attention to the water during 
the irrigations or in spending money for improved land levelling under 
the then conditions. 

Since 191^ the costs of water and of labor and land preparation 
have all increased. It is still necessary to compare the costs of saving 
water against the costs of accomplishing the saving. The greater factors 
in securing improved irrigation practice and reduction in the amount of 
water used, have been and are, the better yields obtained with more 
uniform irrigations and the prevention of damage to the land from over 
irrigation and the resulting need -for drainage. 


WORK IN 1916 

My work in 1916 did not include the start of any major undertakings . 

I was an expert witness in a damage claim case against the Crocker 
Huffman Land and Water Co., in 1916 testifying for the company. This 
case involved the loss of an orchard as a result of high ground water. 
This was claimed to have been caused by seepage from an adjacent canal 
of long usage. Their irrigated area above the canal had recently been 
increased and its percolation loss had been more than the natural drainage 
could remove. The jury gave the plaintiff a substantial award which was 
later reversed on appeal. 

James Peck was the attorney for the company. This case was a test 
for several other similar claims that would be made if it was successful. 
It was expected that the plaintiff s neighbors would be his supporting 
witnesses. To meet this situation Peck sent one of his assistants into 
the area as a phonograph salesman incognito. He called on the neighbors, 
demonstrated his wares, made a few sales and got into general conversation 
with them. Among the subjects discussed was the pending suit against the 
company. When these neighbors appeared as witnesses and found the salesman 
participating in the trial and ready to cross- examine them on their pre 
vious statements to him, their testimony was much less helpful to the 

A peg model of the ground water elevations in the area involved had 
been made. This was used in the trial. After covering my general results 
Peck asked me a hypothetical question which included the main facts in the 
case. It took him 15 minutes to ask this question. It ended by asking my 


conclusion on vhat had caused the high water table and why I had reached 

this conclusion. I took a minute or less to answer his direct question 

and then took ^5 minutes to explain the why, using the peg model to 

demonstrate the conditions. The opposing attorney made efforts to 

stop my arguing the case from the witness stand, but the judge permitted 

me to proceed when I stated I had not completed my answer to the preceding 


The Crocker Huffman system was the predecessor of the present Merced 
Irrigation District. The District later bought the public utility system, 
constructed Exchequer reservoir and extended the irrigated area. 


The Journal of Electricity Power and Gas was a weekly engineering 
magazine published in San Francisco covering the field of its title. 
Recognizing the growing interest in irrigation pumping the editor, 
Arthur Halloran, in 1916 asked me to edit a section on this subject. 
I tackled the job. I was expected -to fill two pages. I had never 
realized that weeks went so fast and that it took so much material to 
fill two pages. We did pretty well for a few months and then stopped 
the regular department by mutual consent. 

I was able to secure a number of good articles from those active 
in this field but had to prepare much of the material myself. I have 
all of these articles bound in a volume which is included in my bibli 
ography file. At least I learned a lot from this experience. 


In 1917 the Sunnyside Valley Irrigation District asked me to make a 
study of the water requirements of the lands in this district. I spent 


6 veeks there in June and July. This district was the successor to a 
private canal company which had been acquired by the U.S. Reclamation 
Service. The canal was extended and improved and additional water 
provided by storage. The lands that had been served had different 
classes of water rights. The water to which these lands were entitled 
involved their needs for beneficial use. 

I spent my time there irrigating lands of different texture and 
topography. My report discussed the soils which I considered had 
different water requirements and their reasonable needs. The results 
were used in their operation and maintenance rates. 

In later years the water requirements of the lands in this district 
became the cause of action in litigation which became Ickes T&. Fox, 
300 U.S. 82 (1937). Secretary of the Interior Ickes had tried to charge 
$1,000,000 of the cost of additional storage for the Kittitas Unit to 
the Sunnyside unit based on his findings of their contract rights under 
the old canal company contracts. The U.S. Supreme Court held that the 
extent of these rights based on beneficial use was a matter for state 
determination and that the Reclamation Service was only the conveyor of 
the water which the land owners owned. I did not testify in this case 
although both sides made use of my results. 

If I had testified in this case my sympathies would have been with 
the District. Any testimony I would have given would have been based 
on the results of my work on the project. It is my understanding that 
the attorney for the District had the case on a contingency basis and 
avoided incurring any avoidable costs. 

In 1917 I was retained to prepare the technical testimony on the 


water requirements of the lands receiving water from the Truckee River. 
This case had been brought by the U.S. to adjudicate these water rights 
in order to determine the remaining water supply available under the 
priority of the Truckee -Carson (now Newlands) Project. I was retained 
by the U.S. 

This began work relating to the project which continued intermittently 
until 1962. It included this adjudication, similar work on the Carson 
River, and later work for the Truckee Carson Irrigation District in the 
negotiations relating to the attempt to formulate a compact between 
California and Nevada, relating to the interstate division of these waters. 
This whole story is related here. 

In the summer of 1917 I made a soil survey of the lands of the defen 
dants served from the Truckee River. In this I was assisted by E.P. 
Osgood, an engineer of the Reclamation Service. This began an association 
with Osgood on field work and in general interest in the enclosed lakes 
of the Great Basin which lasted until his death in 1962. Osgood was a 
unique personality, a dissenter from many of the accepted common opinions 
but a loyal friend and tireless worker. Working with him was an experience 
to be remembered. 

In the work on the Truckee River we secured the use of lands on which 
we handled the irrigation in order to have our own direct results on their 
water requirements. Osgood handled the irrigation under my general 
programming. We irrigated some land in the Experiment Farm of the Uni 
versity of Nevada one year and secured alfalfa yields larger than they 
had secured under their program. We had agreed to reimburse the University 
for any reduction in yield that we might cause but were not able to collect 
for the excess. To get the types of soil we desired we irrigated some 
lands on the farm of the Nevada State Hospital, east of Reno. We secured 


good results where we were able to avoid too much cooperation by some of 
the inmates. 

All of the results of this work were used in preparing a water re 
quirement classification of the lands having Truckee River rights based 
on the soil texture. The testimony regarding the extent of the right of 
each land owner was based on this classification. The decree in this 
case recognized differences in the water requirement based on soils 
although the amounts desired were larger than those I had recommended. 
Overall the decree represented about a ten per cent reduction from 
the past average practice. 

The testimony regarding the water requirements- of the lands in the 
Truckee-Carson Irrigation District was presented by D.C. Henny, Super 
vising Engineering of the Reclamation Service who had knowledge o^ the 
project during much of its^history. 

The defendants in this case were represented ty several different 
attorneys. Among them was Patrick McCarran later U.S. Senator. His 
family had a ranch in the Truckee River Canyon above Wadsworth. In 
McCarran s cross examination of my testimony I found that I knew more 
about his ranch than he did. Another attorney, Sardis Summerfield,who 
had prepared for the case by reading reports on irrigation and getting 
acquainted with technical terms which he then asked me to define. I 
enjoyed his cross examination. When he asked me what evapo- transpiration 
of the lands involved was, I replied that this term did not have a 
then recognized single meaning but that if he would define the meaning 
he was using I would be glad to apply it to these lands. All present 
enjoyed his efforts to define a term he did not understand himself. 

After a lengthy trial the court issued a "Temporary Restraining 


Order" or temporary decree on Feb. 13, 1926. The U.S. had recommended and 
the court agreed that the decree should be put into effect on a tentative 
basis so that any defects that might be developed in its operation could 
be more readily corrected. Harry Dukes was appointed water master and 
successfully administered the decree until his death in 1938. Later 
when Boca Reservoir was constucted provisions relating to its use were 
included in the decree by stipulation. The final decree is dated Sept. 
8, 19^. 

The tentative Truckee River decree is one of the earlier decrees in 
which an effort was made to base the extent of beneficial use on the 
needs of the different soil types. On the projects the lands were 
divided between bottom and bench areas with different allowances to each. 
In the Truckee Meadows the decrees were to each land owner with the 
amounts adjusted generally in proportion to my water requirement 

The Truckee River decree defined the rights in terms of acre feet 
per acre. This practice had been used in the adjudications made in 
Oregon under their water code adopted in 1909- Earlier decrees had 
usually been in terms of the rate of diversion with or without a limita 
tion on the length of the irrigation season. Typical of earlier decrees 
were those in M <ntana which were in terms of a miners inch per acre all 
lands included. In 1925 I was chairman of a committee of the Irrigation 
Division of the A.S.C.E. which assembled results on the terms used to 
define the extent of irrigation rights in adjudications. The committee 
prepared a report which was published in Vol.90, Trans. A.S.C.E. p.107^ 
(1927). Like usual committees the chairman did almost all of the work. 

The use of the present water codes in nearly all of the western 
states has reduced the need for general adjudications of all rights on 


each stream. New rights acquired under the permit and license system of 

such codes are defined at the time their permit terms are issued. To make the 

administration of streams having both old rights acquired before the adoption 
of such codes and new code rights effective it was necessary to define the 
old rights. Such adjudications were frequent in the period from 1910 to 1925. 

The Truckee River decree is also one of the first ones in which the 
U.S. Department of Justice asserted the claim that the U.S. could withdraw 
unappropriated water, similar to its withdrawal of public land for federal 
purposes. The decree did not define the basis on which the finding for the 
Truckee Canal was based. There was no difference in the amount of the U.S. 
claim under its withdrawal theory or under its proof under state law. This 
was my introduction to this federal claim which has continued to date with 
much concern to the holders of rights acquired under state law. It is 
still unsettled. This is a larger subject than can be adequately discussed 

I was also retained to prepare the testimony on water measurements 
for the Pyramid Lake Indian Reservation on the lower Truckee River. Some 
land was being irrigated by the Indians and there were additional irrigable 
lands in the Reservation. The decree defined the Indian right in agree 
ment with my testimony on the requirements of this area. The Indian Service 
made no claim in this case that the Indian had rights to have water continue 
to reach and maintain Pyramid Lake for fish or recreational purposes. The 
lake is within the reservation and under the control of the Indians. Such 
claims have been asserted recently in the compact negotiations. It will be 
interesting to see if the U.S. is bound by a decree of the federal court. 
Questions relating to the nature of the water rights of the Indians on 
Reservations are still active and not finally resolved. 


The rights decreed to the Indians in the Truckee River have a pri 
ority of 1859> the date the reservation was created. These rights are 
limited to defined amounts of use. The decree stated the extent of 
the total right for all of the irrigable land considered to be serve- 
able from the Truckee River but restricts the use in any year to the 
same rate of use for the area actually irrigated. This decree is also 
limited to use of these lands by the Indian and ceases when and if 
these lands nay be transferred to others if the lands are released from 
the Indians and disposed of to others. 

There was an early canal which diverted from the Little Truckee 
River to Sierra Valley. This was not included in the Truckee River 
Adjudication. In discussions regarding its inclusion, among the U.S. 
sta^f in 1917, it was decided that it had been out of use long enough 
to represent abandonment and it was not made a defendant. In later 
negotiated procedures a right to this diversion has been recognized. 


The Truckee River decree includes the operation of the outlet 
gates at Lake Tahoe. This had been the subject of an earlier stipulated 
decree. This earlier decree was included in the Truckee River decree. 
It provides for the joint operation of Lake Tahoe ^or the maintenance of 
flow for the power plants along the Truckee River (Floriston rates) and 
the fluctuation of Lake Tahoe within a 6 foot range above its rim. 
Efforts were made by the U.S. to negotiate a larger control of the fluctu 
ation of Lake Tahoe in 1918 and 1919 by the negotiation of flowage ease 
ments vith the riparian owners around the lake. A few such easements were 
secured but their extent was too small to justify an attempt to condemn 
the remainder. 


The area of Lake Tahoe is relatively large in relation to its 
inflow. In periods of deficient runoff the inflow may be less than 
the evaporation and the lake may fall below its rim. This has occurred 
within the period of record on the lake. In 192U, 1929, and 193^ pumping 
from the lake to maintain flow in the Truckee River was permitted by the 
riparian owners on the lake. In 1931 the lake fell below its rim and 
Nevada interest sought to secure permission to pump again. 

A meeting was called in San Francisco on July 21, 1931 to consider 
this situation. Governors Rolph of California and Balzar of Nevada 
jointly presided. No agreement on pumping was reached and there was no 
pumping in 1931- There has been no pumping since 193^ although the lake 
has lowered to or below its rim since 193^. With the present extent of 
development around Lake Tahoe the mechanics of securing the consent of 
the large number of parties involved make any future pumping improbable. 

When efforts to pump were being made in 1931, Governor Rolph 
appointed Major A.M. Barton as his representative. Barton was the mana 
ger of the S^.ate Reclamation Board. He was not familiar with Tahoe 
conditions at that time and asked me to advise him. I sat in on the 
meetings leading up to the one on July 21. This meeting was held at the 
Palace Hotel with the two governors at an elevated table. Governor Balzar 
sat on the left flanked by his advisors. Governor Rolph sat on the right 
with Barton at his right and myself at Barton s right. When t a question 
would be raised from the floor Rolph would turn to Barton for an answer 
and Barton would turn to me. I would supply the backgound vhich Barton 
would relay to Rolph. While this process was slow, we succeeded in 
helping Rolph avoid making any inappropriate statements. Attorney 
General U.S. Webb participated from the audience and carried much of 
California s case. It was an interesting experience. 



In 1927 I was asked to prepare testimony for the U.S. on the water 
requirements of users from the Carson River for use in the case of U.S. 
vs Alpine Land and Reservoir Co. This was a general adjudication suit 
which had been filed on May 11, 1925. The users in the Carson Valley 
had been constructing reservoirs on the upper drainage area. It was 
thought that the total storage might reduce the inflow to Lahontan 
Reservoir and deplete the water supply of the Newlands Project. 

I undertook this work. It included preparations for testifying 
on the water requirements of the Newlands Project as well as on the 
lands of the defendants. I made a soil classification of the irrigated 
areas. I testified in 1929 on the water requirements of the Project. 
The field work in the Upper Carson Valley was done mainly in 1930. I 
testified on the water requirements of the lands of defendants in 1937. 
A proposed decree was issued in 1951- To date there has been no final 
decision in this case. 

The Newlands Project uses surplus water to irrigate areas in the 
former Carson Sink and Lake for pasturage. This soil is very heavy and 
feed production in relation to the water used is small. The landowners 
operate these areas as a community pasture. Costs are low. In testify 
ing on the needs of the Project in the Carson River adjudication I 
declined to testify on the water requirements for these pastures as a 
beneficial use. Such testimony was presented by other witnesses. The 
irrigation of these pasture lands represents a desirable use of water 
that would otherwise be evaporated. I did not consider that a claim 
should be made ^or a priority for such irrigation that could prevent 
the irrigation o* crop lands of greater productivity. 


In the Carson River case the U.S. made the same claims regarding 
the right of the U.S. to withdraw water from appropriation that it had 
made in the Truckee Riv-?r case. Copies of the U.S. briefs came to the 
attention of interests in Alpine Co., Calif. This U.S. claim resulted 
in opposition to the proposed decree by California interes-ts and to 
date has prevented securing a final decree. It is now Uo years since 
the complaint in this case was filed with no final results as yet. 
This delay is adverse to everyone s interest. It is my opinion that a 
final decree could have been secured in this case within a reasonable 
period of time if the procedure had not been used to make an attempt to 
secure a decision favorable to the theory of federal control over unappro 
priated water. 

My direct work on the Carson River adjudication ended vith tr 
completion of my testimony. 


In an effort to find a project to make additional use of the water 
supply of the Truckee and Carson Rivers, the Bureau of Reclamation devel 
oped a plan called the Washoe Project. A report was completed (H..D.181, 
8Uth Cong. 1st Sess.) and such a project was authorized in 19??; ; . : ubli. 
Law 858, 8kth Cong. Chap. 809-2d Sess. 3*1-97. This authorization net 
provided that repayment of irrigation charges for construction for lands 
in excess of lo acres for any owner shall be subject to payment of in 
terest. For lands of any owner of less than l6o acres, the usual inter 
est free terms of the Reclamation act are to apply. This method of 
meeting the excess land coatroversy is intermediate between the no 
delivery to excess lands and the complete waiver of the excess land 


limitations that had. b^n made in some other projects. 

I had no direct part in matters relating to the report on the 
Washoe Project. It has been a factor in my wor.;, later discussed,, on 
the interstate compact and for the Truckee-Carson I.D. on its internal 
matters . 

T ie vfashoe Project, proposed storage on the Little Truckee River in 
California and on the Carson River in Nevada. Its main source of revenue 
would have been from the power plant at the Stampede Reservoir. 

Th ore has been no construction to dp to on the Tfashoe Project except 
p or the Prosser Reservoir. This reservoir on thr: Little Truckee has 
been built ^or fish benefits. Its storage is to be used to replace 
releases from Tahoe for the maintenance of . is a flows 1.; tVu: Truckee 
. rer above Truckee at times when such Tahoe releases would not 
p or other purposes . 

In an effort to r ind a unit of thr; Washoe Project wh.L - ; .,.;/ 
constructed on the Carson "Uver the U.S.B.ii. hs-.;: bee/i investigate P.O; the 
Watasheamu stor-^o, on the i iast Carson, niove Gardnerville. Tho .-.tored 
water would, in part, be diverted to the V. ,-st Carson to supply supple- 

.al water there. The power to be ^r-nerated wo jlr! ^roviO.-. a na.ior 
part o. p the repayment . 

This project, to be feasible, requires thcit the ; vie ^ls Project 
divert more Truckee River water in order to rele^ -o Carson River vat ^r 
whi.cli it now stores in Lahontan Reservoir. This, in turn, wouiKL reduce 
the Truckee River water available for storage at thr 1 Stampede site. 

The Upper Carlson Valley is a well developed area with an established 


economy. It is short of late summer water but has operated, -profitably 

many years. Supplemental water will have value but in not a necessity. 

The ^uture demand for additional water in this area for municipal use 
around Reno may requr.-s all of the remaining supply that can be developed 
on the Truckee River. In my opinion, the future overall needs of this 
genera. area may make the Carson River portion of the Washoe Project, as 
proposed, unattractive . 


The problems relating to the increased development around Lake 
Tahoe and those involved in the proposed Washoe Project led to suggestions 
that California and Nevada should negotiate an interstate compact cover 
ing the use by each state o f these waters. This was expanded to include 
the Truckee, Carson and Walker Rivers. The required authorizing legisla 
tion was secured, the state commissions appointed and negotiations "b -jun. 
These negotiations have been under way about ten years. No draft of a 
compact has been completed for submission to the state legislatures and 
to congress for approval. 

In 1959 the Truckee Carson I.D. requested me to advise them regard 
ing their interests in such a compact and to attend the meetings of the 
compact commission in their behalf. I undertook this assignment and 
attended the meetings -for about a year. 

Nevada and California were discussing terms which would be acceptable 
to them with only limited presentation of the position the U.S. might 
take. The U.S. is a major party on all three streams. Not only does it 
have the Newland Project but it has Indian Reservations and Vish and Wild 
Life claims in Pyramid and Carson Lakes. In view of this situation I 
asked R.J. Newell, the Federal representative and the Chairman of the 
Joint Commission to see if he could secure a statement from the Depart 
ment o r Interior of the terms of a compact that would be acceptable to it. 


The direct federal interests are all within the Department of the Inter 
ior. As Congressional approval is required to make any interstate com 
pact effective I considered such a statement of position was basic to 
any negotiations. 

Mr. Newell agreed to make such an inquiry. He later told me that 
he had sought such an expression from Secretary Seaton and had been ad 
vised not to raise any such issues at that time. That time was July 
1960 and the presidential campaign was under way. There were conflicts 
between the three affected divisions of the Department of the Interior 
and the Secretary apparently did not want to attempt to resolve them 
during the campaign. 

In view of this political aspect of the negotiations for a compact 
I could see no further usefulness in my attendance at the CommissiTi 
meetings. I advised the T.C.I.D. that, in my opinion, it was not worth 
their costs and my time to attend further negotiations. The District 
agreed and I ceased my attendance . 

In my opinion, the need for this compact is not urgent. Present 
development has proceeded under existing conditions. The principal 
problems relate to Lake Tahoe. These have become emotional as well as 
technical. As the greater part of the runoff originates in California, 
Nevada can only secure the water California does not retain. If Califor 
nia increases its use of water to an extent that Nevada considers to be 
injurious to her, court procedures are available to resolve such specific 

The meetings of the Commission which I attended usually had an 
attendance of about 50 interested parties. Some appeared to be sincerely 
attempting to reach a constructive result; some appeared to be interested 
in delaying progress. Harvey Banks, as California Director of Water 

Resources, was -Che main spokesman for California in the discussions 
through 1960: his suggestions were directed toward securing progress 
and the chances of reaching a solution diminished materially when ne 
resigned at the end of 1960. 

The problems of Lake Tahoe are the result of trying to retain its 
pristine conditions and have a large summer population around its shores. 
These two items are conflicting. People create sewage and sewage 
creates pollution. In Try opinion, the proposed standards of treatment 
of sewage that may be discharged into the lake and the alternate of 
exportation of all sewage from the Basin both fail to recognizet the 
economic conditions involved. 

A compilation of the man power that has been used during the ten 
years of these negotiations in comparison with what has been accomplished 
would be interesting. In my opinion neither the T.C.I.D. nor myself 
have lost anything by my dropping out in 1960. 

A word of appreciation should be expressed for R.J. Newell, the 
Chairman. He has presided with patience and mild insistence on progress. 


In 1959 when the Truckee-Carson Irrigation District asked me to 
participate for them in the interstate compact proceedings for the District, 
I was also asked to advise them regarding matters that were pending re 
lating to the Washoe Project. I undertook such work. 

The Truckee-Carson I.D. functions under its repayment contract with 
the Bureau of Reclamation. This 1926 contract defines the water supply 
the District is entitled to receive from the water rights of the U.S. on 
the Truckee and Carson Rivers. It also defines the total area of pro 
ject lands which may be irrigated. 


The T.C.I.D. is the lowest divertor on both the Truckee and Carson 
Rivers. It develops power from its diversion from the Truckee River. , 
No other user is injured by use by the T.C.I.D. as all water the T.C.I.D. 
gets has already passed the diversions of others. The rights of other 
lands under the Truckee River decree are generally senior to those of 
the U.S. 

At times o^ surplus flow the T.C.I.D. receives excess water. It 
makes such use as it can of this surplus for power and pasturage. It 
runs excess water through its canals as a convenience in their operation. 
These practices have resulted in the appearance of wasteful use and an 
opinion by outsiders that the T.C.I.D. has an excessive water supply. 

Tn periods of shortage the T.C.I.D. has eliminated the excess 
diversions and has operated on standards of practice comparable to 
those in the Upper Carson Valley and the Truckee Meadows. Actual use 
of water delivered to the farms represents as good a standard of irriga 
tion practice as that of other uses of these two streams. 

If the Watasheamu storage sho\ild be built on the Carson River it 
will require changes in the present operations of the T.C.I.D. To make 
this new unit feasible it will need to be permitted to store water within 
the storage rights and capacity of Lahontan Reservoir. Such storage of 
summer flow for later release for winter power development will not be 
harmful to the T.C.I.D. provided this stored water is returned to Lahon 
tan after its use for power. Such operations can be worked out but will 
require a carefully prepared operating agreement if future conflicts are 
to be avoided. 

From 1959 to 1962 I worked intermittently on these matters for the 
T.C.I.D. Among my recommendations I urged that the District should de 
cide whether it wanted to bring its water right area up the full 87,500 

permitted under its 1926 contract with the U.S.B.R. or vhether it preferred 
to have a more dependable supply for a somewhat smaller area. I recommended 
some increase from the then water right area of about 70,000 acres and 
immediate action to replace tax foreclosed lands with other lands of better 
quality. The area actually oeing irrigated was 55,000 to 60,000 acres. 
At my last meeting with the Board of the T.C.I.D. on June 25, 1962 
this program was approved for immediate action. By November 1962 no pro 
gress appeared to have been made. As I saw no benefit to the T.C.I.D. or 
to myself -from a continuation of any further activity on my part on these 
matters, I advised the District of the termination of my work for them 
under date of Nov. 5, 1962. I have had no further part in these matters 
since that date. It is my understanding that matters relating to the 
192^ T.C.I.D. contract with the U.S.B.R. have become involved in the com 
pact proceedings since 19^2. In my opinion this contract in its present 
form is binding on both parties and its terms are not a proper subject for 
discussion in the compact negotiations. 


In 1938 the stream flow of the Feather River was well below its mean. 
This condition applied generally to northern California. World War I was 
under way and there was an active effort being made to increase food pro 
duction in order that the U.S. might be able to assist in feeding its 
allies. A -federal war food administration had been created with broad 
general powers in this field. 

The two main canals diverting from the Feather River in 1918 (and 
also to date) were the Western and the Sutter Butte. The Western Canal 
was owned by the Great Western Power Co. which also owned Lake Almanor 


and the power plants along the river. This company was later acquired 
by the PG&E. 

The Sutter Butte Canal operated as a public utility selling water 
to land owners in its area of service. It was under the jurisdiction 
cr* the then California Railroad Commission (now the P.U.C.). This com 
pany had been organized mainly to serve lands to which water rights were 
sold as a means of securing irrigated land values for the lands. The 
earlier areas served consisted of general crop areas adjacent to the 
west bank o"*" the leather River extending ^rom the diversion to south of 
Gridley. Later when rice irrigation was developed on the clay adobe lands 
to the west, service was extended to such lands. 

Mr. Tulloch was the local manager of the Sutter Butte Canal Company. 
He had been manager of the Tulloch Ditch on the Stanislaus River. Gordon 
Hall was president of the company. Tulloch had secured his experience 
on a canal system where the extent of its service enabled him to carry 
its records in his head. He was adverse to written records. When he 
moved to the Sutter Butte Canal he could still follow his former system. 
However as the extent of service increased after rice production in the 
western part of the service area expanded, Tulloch s filing cabinet be 
came inadequate to contain all of the information needed. Hall asked me 
to attempt to help Tulloch out when the water shortage in 1918 became 

I went to Gridley and tried to secure enough information to enable 
me to get started taking some of the load. I found that the only source 
of the information I needed was an interview with Tulloch. This added 
to the burden on his time without producing useful results. As a result 
I devoted myself to an attempt to secure measurements of the diversion 
and main uses of water which were needed in the canal operation. 


The Sutter Butte Canal in 1918 served its earlier vater right con 
tract lands devoted to general crops and its more recent area growing 
rice. The rice needed large amounts of water. When the shortage occurred 
the general crop lands ^elt they should have a priority in the use of the 
available supply. The situation was becoming critical in June when the 
ponding of the rice checks increased the demands for this crop. 

This was also the controversy between the Western and the Sutter 
Butte canals. The Sutter Butte Canal had the prior right but its diver 
sion was downstream -from that of the Western Canal. The diversion dam 
of the Sutter Butte Canal was the result of past repairs and had a rela 
tively large amount of leakage. It could not hold the river high enough 
to divert the desired flow into the Sutter Butte Canal without letting 
a. large amount of water pass on downstream. Emergency repairs were 
attempted but could not be made effective in the short time available. 

When the Sutter Butte Canal attempted to compel the Western Canal 
to let water down or its diversion, the Western Canal pointed to the 
leakage in the Sutter Butte dam and told the Sutter Butte Canal there 
was enough water in the river for their needs if they would divert it. 
This situation was also getting rough. 

The deficient runoff in 19l8 reduced the output of the hydroelectric 
power plants and resulted in a power shortage. The Great Western Power 
Co. was in a relatively favorable position with its Almanor storage to 
meet the overall power needs. All power in California was pooled under 
a power administrator. H.G. Butler was appointed to this position under 
authority of the R.R.C. and with the consent of the power utilities. He 
had authority to control the release of Almanor storage so that it would 
produce the maximum power output at the times of greatest need. 

Another factor in the diversion by the Sutter Butte Canal was the 


operation of the Big Bend power plant a few miles above Oroville. This 
plant had about 800 acre feet of forelay storage. This was used to 
enable this plant to operate mainly on the peak load hours. The result 
was that when the daily average flow of the leather River at Oroville 
was 1500 second feet, the actual flow during the day would vary from 
about 300 to 2,000 second feet. There was not sufficient pondage in 
the Sutter Butte diversion dam to reregulate this flow. 

All o^ these matters were pending toward the end of June 1918. 
There was concern that these conflicts would prevent securing maximum 
crop production from the available supply of Feather River water. The 
War Food Administration stepped in with the support of the R.R.C. and 
took over the administration of the river. I was appointed water master 
on June 29, and told to allocate the available water supply to s<-"" re 
maximum help in the war effort. The War Food Administration ruled that 
production o f rice was more essential to the war effort than the pro 
duction of alfalfa. 

In World War I there was widespread support for an all out effort 
to help in any available way. I had ample authority to back up any 
actions I might take. It was necessary to disregard individual entitle 
ments and assign the available supply where it would do the most good. 

At the time I was appointed the most urgent need was the filling 
of the rice checks. The available supply was divided between the two 
canals so that the rice areas under each were served. This took about 
three weeks. During this period some alfalfa had to have its irrigation 
deferred with some limited amounts of reduction in its yield. When the 
rice checks were filled, the demand for this crop was reduced and the 
needs of all crops could "be met. In 1918 rice practice consisted of 3 or 
U flushing irrigation to get the rice high enough to stand submergence 

"before the checks were filled. Present practice fills the checks earlier. 
Under present practice the conditions of 1918 would be largely avoided 
as the rice checks would be filled before the period of major demand for 
general crops . 

As water master I worked closely with Butler, the power administra 
tor. We had an understanding that, if I had to call for storage release 
^rom Almanor, he, as power administrator, would have the water released. 
We also had an understanding that I would not call for storage release 
at a time when it was not needed for power use except to meet an emer 
gency if one should arise. Actually no releases not usable for power 
were required. As indicated above, the operations of the Feather River 
Watermaster in 1918 were above and beyond the principles of civil law. 
There was no time to define or to recognize prior rights. The resulting 
damage was kept to a minimum. 

To the credit of all concerned, particularly of the water users, 
none of my actions were ever attacked by anyone having water rights on 
the river. The program followed was accepted as a part of the neccessity 
of the war. 

The only difficulty which I had was a minor skirmish with the Fish 
and Game people. The Sutter Butte Canal had a rack type fish screen 
across the canal near its head with a narrow opening between the bars. 
It was not possible to keep this screen clear of the fine debris in the^ 
water such as leaves. As a result it required a loss of head o^ about 
6 inches to force the discharge through the screen. The diversion of the 
canal was about 900 second feet. The upstream elevation of the water 
could not be increased to offset this loss of head with the then available 
diversion dam. Consequently the fish screen was reducing the diversion 
obtainable bv about ^0 second feet. In view of these conditions,. I 


ordered the fish screen to be removed. 

When we had it about one-half out, the local game warden and one 
of his higher ups appeared on the scene and started to order me to 
replace the screen. They were unable to define the injury to the fish 
that would result if the diversion was not screened. I refused to re 
place the screens and they threatened legal action leading to my impri 
sonment if convicted. I then offered to replace the screen if they 
would take the responsibility of telling the War Food Administration and 
the public of the extent of their interference with the war effort. 
That was the last I heard of replacing the -fish screen during my period 
as water master. After the emergency had passed the screen was replaced. 

As soon as the peak demand for filling the rice checks had been 
met, conditions settled down and the services of a water master were no 
longer required. I ended my active control on July 18, 1918 but would 
have been available later if need for further services had arisen. 

These three weeks as water master were busy times. While there 
was general support for the methods being used, the habit of taking ad 
vantage o f a chance to get some extra water required continual vigilance 
to see that the instructions I issued were followed. 

This was a very interesting experience. While the methods used 
would not be condoned except under war emergency conditions, the results 
illustrate what can be accomplished when all interests work for the 
common good. The spirit in support of World War I in our rural areas 
was very strong. This was the first war in which the population 
had been involved and in which their sons were being drafted to fight. 
The home support was all that could be asked. 

Later in 1918, when the records on the river operations became 
available, I made an analysis o^ them for the Sutter Butte Canal Co. 

The filling of Lake Almaqor had been continued after the time when the 
stream flow at Oroville had decreased below the irrigation demand. This 
may have been unintentional and the result of a lack of overall river 

After 1918 the Gutter Butte Canal Co. made repairs on its diversion 
dam which reduced its leakage. In later years the Canal Co. has sold 
different parts of its system to local irrigation districts for opera 
tion b the districts. Irrigation from Feather River weathered the 
deficient water supply of 1931 and ] 93U without the controversies that 
occurred in 1918. 


In the 1920s much of my engineering work was for the State o" Cali 
fornia under an appointment as Irrigation Engineer,, Special Investigations. 
The work was under the direction of the State Engineer under the various 
titles used during this period. This work began under W.F. McClure and 
continued after his death in 1926, briefly under Paul Bailey and more 
actively under Edward Hyatt. 

This work fell into two general classifications. One was the dir-*c- 
tion of the field work and the preparation of reports on different water 
supply investigations. The work in Kern and Tulare Counties are in this 
group. The other consisted of the supervisory and regulatory activities 
of the state engineer, particularly those relating to the water storage 
districts. The assignments of larger work are described individually 

The duties of the State Engineer in the procedure relating to the 
water storage districts included not only the review o^ their engineering 
feasibility but also conduct of their elections and approval of the dis 
trict plans. The responsibility ^or these actions rested with the State 

Engineer. To assist him in conducting hearings and other duties there 
were two executive directors. These were V7.P. Boone of Fresno and 
D. Joseph Coyne o^ Los Angeles. Mr. Boone was chairman of the Kings 
River Water Association. Mr. Coyne was a lawyer. I acted as the engi- 
neer for the state in reviewing the plans proposed relating to the 
organization of these districts and later their final projects plans. 

The Water Storage District Act includes procedure by the State 
Engineer covering hearings on the sufficiency of the organization peti 
tion, actions on the proposed boundaries including petitions for inclu 
sion or exclusion of lands, and a -finding that the lands to be included 
are susceptible of irrigation from a common source. The State Engineer 
also conducts the elections on the district organization. As the State 
Engineer had no one on his staff at that time with experience in con 
ducting elections I *"ell heir to this work in addition to the duties 
relating to more direct engineering matters. In effect I was secretary 
to the State Engineer in water storage district matters as well as con 
sulting engineer. 

The Water Conservation District Act was passed for use on Kings 
River. It provided for three or more irrigation districts to combine 
in the construction of joint works, particularly storage. The administra 
tion of the act was placed with a State Irrigation Board created by 
the act. This Board consisted of the State Engineer as Chairman and the 
same two executive directors of the Water Storage District Act. This 
act was passed in 1923. A petition for the organization of the Kings 
River Water Conservation District was presented. The board met and 
organized on June 12, 192U. I was appointed the secretary of this board. 
This Kings River District was the only one filing a petition with this 
board. Its procedure continued for several years and then was dropped. 

I continued to hold the position of secretary during all of the activity 
of this board. Details relating to the Kings River procedure are included 
later in the general Kings River discussion. As ray work for the State 
Engineer relating to the water storage and water conservation districts 
included recommendations relating to official actions by the state re 
garding their organization and financing, I did not take other work on 
projects which might come before the State Engineer for his semi- judicial 
action. The larger part of my consulting practice during the 1920s was 
for the state. These districts procedures became dormant during the 
1930s and I resumed a more general engineering practice. 

The work for the State Engineer in the 1920s was under very congenial 
conditions in the main. The extent of the discretionarv authority of 
the State Engineer in these district procedures was greater than that 
for irrigation districts. The main policy standards were set while Mr. 
McClure was State Engineer, survived during Mr. Bailey s relatively 
brief tenure and were continued under Mr. Hyatt. 

The provision in the water storage district act that the lands to 
be included must be found to be susceptible of irrigation from a common 
source was interpreted to include beneficial results from irrigation. 
Susceptibility because the area proposed to be included was physically 
serviceable from the common source was not accepted unless the lands 
proposed for inclusion were also susceptible of producing crops and 
returns from which the costs could be met. This issue was important in 
some proposed districts which included lands of high alkali content or 
shallow depth to hardpan. Exclusions of such lands were required as a 
condition of approval of the boundaries of some of the proposed water 
storage districts. The conditions affecting each district are discussed 
later in the comments on ??ach district. 

This concept regarding the quality of land includable in a proposed 
district had not been enforced in past practice and encountered 
opposition in some of the proposed districts. Mr. McClure stood firmly 
behind my land classifications and the boundaries of the districts were 
adjusted, vhere ner-ded, in accord with these results. 

Another responsibility assigned to the State Engineer under the 
water storage district act was the appointment of directors to fill 
vacancies between elections. There were some individual vacancies that 
occurred and were generally easily filled. In three districts the plan 
involved the purchase of the existing irrigation systems from their 
owners who were also large land owners in the district. As voting in 
water storage districts is on a property basis these owners had elected 
their representatives on the district board. When negotiations for the 
purchase of the existing canal systems were undertaken, the attention 
of the districts was called to the conflict of interest statute. These 
districts were advised that a purchase of these systems by their existing 
boards would not be approved. The directors having a conflict of interest 
resigned. I was assigned the task of canvassing the local eligibles and 
selecting for recommendation to the State Engineer names for appointments 
to these vacancies. While this was an interesting assignment it required 
much effort to sift the local recommendations to find individuals whose 

business experience was commensurate with the scale of responsibility 


involved and who had the confidence of the area in their fairness and 

ability. Such appointments were made. Two of these three districts did 
not complete their plan and were dissolved. The other is still operating. 

The water storage district act provides that assessments shall be 
proportional to the benefits. Such districts were expected to construct 
storage for use on lands having varying extents of present water supply 


with the benefits proportional to the amounts of supplements.! water 
needed. For such conditions a benefit basis of assessment is" logical. 

In order to determine the benefits to be derived from the project 
worKs it is essential that the service to be received be defined. In 
two of the larger water storage district planning to acquire the several 
existing canal systems in the service area, the proposed district plan 
did not define the existing and proposed service with sufficient defi- 
niteness to enable an assessment based on benefits to be made. On 
this basis I recommended the rejection of these plans and was supported 
by the State Engineer. We were threatened with court action and other 
dire consequences but the decision of the State Engineer stood in both 
districts. Both areas have now proceeded under other plans. 

When the activities relating to the water storage districts slackened 
in the 1930s, Hyatt asked me to prepare reports on the procedure relating 
to each of the districts and also a report of the general procedural 
practice and standards that had been used. I did this and such reports 
were filed in the State Engineer s office. Copies are also in my file 
of reports which I have prepared. 

This procedural work for the State Engineer was not technical 
engineering except in reviewing districts plans. It might be called 
human engineering, as much of the work involved included the problems 
of the personality of the individual with whom I had to deal. Many 
amusing anecdotes could be recited relating to some of these individuals. 
In the 1920s the water leaders were usually individuals with strong 
enough personalities to stand out in their local areas. They had been 
used to proceeding without state regulation. Some of them did not 
recognize that when they changed to a public -form of organization to 
which the state had extended the taxing power and other public privileges, 
they also were placed under public supervision in order to see that 

these powers and privileges were not abused. 

In the 1920s the authority to decide these matters was vested in 
the State Engineer. Action could be secured promptly without lengthy 
procedural delays. It is my opinion that this power was not abused, 
that the actions taken were in the public interest without considering 
their political effects, and that the state was fortunate in having 
during this period two State Engineers, McClure and Hyatt, having a 
high sense o~f their responsibility and the courage to do their duty as 
they saw it. As for myself, I consider that it was a privilege to have 
been able to participate in these procedures. It was my responsibility 
to provide the State Engineer with the correct factual material on which 
to support my recommendations. It is a satisfaction to me that in the 
controversies that were involved, no material defects were found in the 
conclusions in my reports. This does not mean that there was agreement 
with my conclusions because the differences were vehement and lengthy in 
some cases. It was a satisfaction in the 1930s to have some of the 
major opponents thank me for the earlier actions which avoided their 
going ahead with development that would have been in difficulties in 
the depression o f the 1930s. 

Additional comments on the separate investigations and procedural 
matters relating to my work for the state during the 1920s are made in 
the discussions of the individual items which follow. These are arranged 
generally in a chronological order based on the time the particular work 
began and carrying it through to its end. 


Concern regarding the ground water lowering that was occurring in 
northern Kern County began to be felt before the end of World War I. 
Observations of ground water elevations were begun by the Kern County 
Land Co. under the direction of their consulting engineer, H.L. Haehl. 
The land company had begun the sale of land in the Shafter-Wasco area 
and many wells were beginning to be used to supply irrigation water. 

The political situation in Kern County in 1919 was involved. Mr. 
Jastro was the manager of the Kern County Land Co. He had been chairman 
of the County Board of Supervisors for many years. There had not been a 
turnover in the Board of Supervisors for many years. There had been a 
turnover in the Board of Supervisors following Grand Jury inquiries in 
1916. The Kern County Farm Bureau had become a factor in county matters 
under its president J.J. Deuel. Antagonisms had been built up over 
the years between the dominant land owner in the irrigated area of the 
county and the small farm operators. The older irrigated areas had 
been colonized by the land company using the common colony system. 
Land purchases included a considerable portion of English emmigrants. 
The parents of Harry Barnes, who had field charge of the state s 1920 
work in Kern County, had been early English settlers in this area. 

In 1919 there was active agitation for improvements in the irrigation 
conditions in the areas served from Kern River. There was support for 
storage to improve the usefulness of the Kern River runoff and some pre 
liminary work had been done on storage at the present Isabella site. 

There was also a general hassle over the need for drainage on the 
south side of tho river in the general Panama area. High water table 
conditions there were reducing crop yields in what had been a productive 

area. The areas not needing drainage indulged in critical comments on 
the irrigation practices that had caused this condition. This had aroused 
a defensive complex in the high water table area and opposition to drainage 
of my kind. 

A report on the local situation had been made in 1919 by A.L. Fellows. 
He recommended storage. Kern River, like other California streams, is 
subject to wide variation in its runoff, in some periods continuing over 
several years. The available records in 1919 of the runoff of Kern River 
happened to consist of a first half of smaller runoff and a second half 
of larger supply. To enable storage to be accumulated to meet shortages 
in the deficient period, Fellows reversed the order of the recorded 
runoff, and assumed that the more favorable period had occurred first. 
This simple action materially improved the storage yield as storage 
capacities up to 1,000,000 acre feet was being considered. 

During 1919 these local water matters were very actively under 
discussion. Charles Lee was chairman of the State Water Commission. 
The Commission was asked to make an investigation of the situation. 
However the commission lacked funds for such work. W.F. McClure was State 
Engineer and had some funds. After much discussion an agreement was 
made under which Korn County, the Kern County Land Co. and the Tejon 
Ranch Co. each contributed $5,000 to be matched by $5,000 of state 
funds to be used by the state in making an investigation of the water 
resources of the San Joaquin Valley portion of the County. The actual 
investigations were limited to the eastern San Joaquin Valley portions 
of the County, primarily Kern River as it was the only substantial 
source of water supply. It had been understood that Miller and Lux 
had also agreed to contribute $5,000 to this work. Efforts that were 
made later to collect this contribution were unsuccessful. 


After the arrangements for this Investigation had been made, I was 
asked to take charge of the work under employment by the State Engineer. 
I accepted and began organizing the program in December 1919- 

It was apparent that the main item on which adequate information 
was lacking was the ground water. Observations on wells on a wider 
scale than the Land Co. was covering wers programmed. Two field engi 
neers were secured to cover the areas north and south of Kern River. 
The records of the surface stream flow were available for a longer 
period than had then been secured on most other California streams. 
Under the terms of the Miller-Haggin agreement, a. record of the flow 
of Kern River at First Point was required for river operation. A.K. 
Warren was the hydrographer under this agreement. Records beginning 
in 189^ were available. 

Kern River at First Point has a sandy bottom in which there if a 
continual movement of sand waves. Mr. Warren developed methods of 
measurement adapted to these conditions. His methods were compared 
with the measurements we made in 1920 and found to be reliable. Mr. 
Warren continued his work on Kern River until his retirement. This 
record represents what may be the longest continuous record secured by 
any one individual on any California stream. 

The field work continued through 1920. Funds were short and the 
program had to be adjusted to their amount. We had three engineers 
at Bakersfield, Barnes continuously and others (Arthur Dunlop, Harvey 
Kilburn, Earl Storie and Don Baker) for various periods. We checked the 
topographic survey of the Isabella site and excavated a trench across 
the site of the then proposed concrete dam. I was responsible for the 
direction of the work. We needed autos for the -field men but lacked 
money to buy them. The county let us have some model T : s that they 


were going to turn in on nev ones and we got one army surplus Model T. 
I wrote the report and McClure found an additional $2,500 for the cost 
of its publication as Bulletin 9 of ohe State Department of Engineering. 
Its title is "Water Resources of Kern River and Adjacent Streams and 
their Utilization". The total cost of this work, including the pub 
lished report in 1920 was $22,500. The above detail has been included 
here as an illustration of what could be done at such costs at that time. 

Bulletin 9 presented an inventory of the water supply of this area 
that has not been changed essentially by the records of the ensuing 
1*5 years. Its conclusions on the area which this water supply could 
irrigate have also not been materially modified by later results. Its 
recommendations of where the available water should be used have been 
generally followed. The forms of organization and the areas they should 
include have been changed by the later availability of imported water, 
first the C.V.P. and now the State project. 

Following the completion of Bulletin 9 and- the passage of the 
water storage district act, such districts were organized for the 
areas of service of both the First Point rights and the Second Point 
rights. Their story comes later under the discussion of these districts. 

Another result of Bulletin 9 w &s to show quantitatively the con 
ditions of ground water overdraft that existed in the north Kern area. 
This, with similar results in Tulare County (see later discussion) 
served to -focus public attention on the need -for some source of addi 
tional water and to secure support ^or beginning the general studies 
by the state that eventually resulted in the C.V.P. 

An item in the 1920 ground water situation in north Kern County 
that has generally r- scaped public recognition was the action of the 
Kern County Land Co. in stopping further sales of its lands when the 


adequacy of the ground water supply cane into question. The Land 
Co. had been selling its lands in the Shafter-Wasco area. The ground 
water draft on these lands exceeded the replenishment. As soon as the 
consulting engineer of the Land Co., H.L. Haehl, had enough results to 
confirm such an overdraft, the Land Co. on his advies 1 stopped further 
sales. There was a continued demand for such lands and this action by 
the Land Co. deserves commendation. The last large sale was what had 
been known as the Hoover Ranch. The Land Co. retained its lands under 
the Lerdo Canal until the construction of storage at Isabella and the 
transfer of water released by users south of the river provided a 
water supply for these lands. They are now being served by the North 
Kern Water Storage District. 

Against the background of conditions in 1920 it is my opinion 
that the Kern County report (Bulletin 9) represents a real contribution 
to the progress in this area in determing what water supply was locally 
available and where it could best be used. No basic errors have been 
found it its conclusions over the ^5 years since this work was done. 
This work did not involve any objective except to determine the facts. 
The state at that time was not proposing construction of irrigation 
works by the state and the Bureau of Reclamation had not entered this 

The results of the 1920 Kern County investigations should be 
judged by the conditions at the time the work was done. All conclusions 
had to be based on applicable cost limitations. At that time 
the Federal Land Bank was reducing the amount it would loan if the 
borrower s pumping lift for alfalfa exceeded 65 feet . 

The deep well turbine was then relatively new and lacked much of 
its present efficiency and economy. Bond issues for irrigation districts 


exceeding $50 per acre were considered to be questionable. 

The progress that has been made in the pumping of ground water is 
illustrated by our 1920 conclusions relating to the feasibility of 
securing a ground water supply from the finer sands at the lower end of 
the Kern River delta. It was recognized that there was available 
ground water in this area. A few wells had been drilled and equipped 
but their operation had been unsatisfactory. The gravel envelope type 
of wells were beginning to be used but experience had not developed 
the success that is now secured. 

In our report we conceded the availability of ground water at 
reasonable lifts in this area but did not include it in the water supply 
to be developed. This conclusion was based on the lack of successful 
pumping at that time. We concluded that successful methods of extracting 
this supply would be found but deferred counting on it until they had 
become a demonstrated success. Such a position may seem strange at 
the present time but it illustrates the progress that has been made in 
the last ^5 years. Successful wells in this area are now routine. 


The conditions in 1920 in Tulare County were similar to those in 
Kern County. In both areas the increase in ground water pumping was 
resulting in an overdraft. In addition the action of the Lindsay- 
Strathmore Irrigation District in pumping from lands along the Kaweah 
River for conveyance to the District had resulted in what is generally 
referred to as the "Lindsay- Strathmore case". There was much local 
concern over the issues involved in this case and also in its effect 
on the inter- community relations of the areas involved. 

After the Kern County investigations had been organized, similar 

interest developed in Tulare County. A cooperative program between 
the county and the state engineer was worked out and a similar water 
supply study was undertaken. This was financed by contributions of 
$5000 each by the county and the state for work in 1920. 

Similar funds were provided for 1921. Part of the local con 
tribution was provided by the local Water Users Association. The 
final costs were about $22,000. This covers 2 years field work and 
the publication of the report. The report is Bulletin 3 of the Division 
of Engineering and Irrigation entitled "Water Resources of Tulare County 
and their Utilization". 

This work was organized with G.H. Russell handling the Kaweah 
River area in the northern part of the county aud Chester Marliave 
the Tule River and adjacent small streams in the southern part of the 
county. I was asked to direct the work and wrote the report. 

The desire for this investigation was greater in the Kaweah River 
area than in the southern part of the county. The Lindsay-Strathmore 
case was under trial. It was the hope of some of the interested parties 
that if the state came in to make an impartial study of the situation 
that some acceptable basis for settling this law suit could be found. 

The first requirement for any basis of settlement of such a con 
troversy is a complete knowledge of the facts. We organized the work 
to secure the facts leaving any proposals relating to the law suit 
until we had the facts and also had sounded out the attitudes of the 
parties. Mr. Russell was a very good man for the Kaweah River part 
of this work. He was a good listener and got along well with both 
sides. Later he was for many years chief engineering appraiser for 
the Federal Land Bank at Berkeley. Mr. Marliave was stationed in 
Porterville. His work there aided in securing public recognition of 


their water problems. He later became chief geologist for the state 
in its water investigations and after that a consultant. 

This Tulare County vork brought out the overdraft on the ground 
water in the areas of the county not directly recharged from some of 
its streams. The specific results are contained in the report. The 
report was a factor in securing support for the general investigations 
of the state seeking a source of imported water to meet this overdraft. 
These general investigations eventually led to the C.V.P. 

A part of the results of this Tulare County investigations which 
is not inluded in Bulletin 3 was the work done in trying to find a 
basis for settling the Lindsay-Strathmore case. I handled this part 
of the work. After the newness of the states entry into this area 
had begun to wear off, I began to discuss with both parties the terms 
which they might consider acceptable for a settlement. I did not 
propose any terms until I had found out the position of the parties. 
I found both sides firm in their position and too far apart to compromise 
their differences. Both sides wanted to talk about the terms the other 
side would have to accept as a basis of settlement. 

In negotiations attempting to reconcile differences, it has been my 
experience that progress is not made on this basis. Real progress 
may be made if the parties are ready to discuss the concessions they 
will make instead of what the other party must do. We found no common 
meeting ground in this conflict and proceeded to complete our investi 
gations on the water supply of the county. 

In hindsight some observers of the Lindsay-Strathmore case have assumed 
that a settlement should have been obtainable without the large costs 
of the different trials or that the plefntiffs were supporting a dog in 
the manger position. An understanding of this case requires a recognition 


of the human factors that vere involved as veil as the legal principles 
applicable to the controversy. 

The Lindsay- Strathraore District developed its citrus area using 
its local ground water. The overdraft resulted in ground vater lowering 
and an increase in the salt content of the water pumped. The area faced 
abandonment of producing acreage unless outside water could be secured. 
Stephen Kieffer entered the picture with a plan to buy land above the 
Kaweah River diversions and install wells to produce water to be con 
veyed to the District. This water bearing land was bought and the system 

The lower diverters on Kaweah River brought suit to enjoin this 
pumping on the ground that the water pumped would deplete the stream 
flow reaching their diversions. In the earlier stages of the suit there 
were statements made which aroused community Dealings to the point where 
neither side could retreat. The District disclaimed that their opera 
tions affected the river. The lower users were equally insistent on it. 

The case went to trial. Lindsay secured outside lawyers and expert 
witnesses to support their position. The lower canals used local talent. 
H.H. Holley did the engineering work on the case for the plaintiffs; 
H.L. Haehl, B.A. Etcheverry, Thomas Means and others were experts for 
Lindsay. W.R. Bailey carried much of the legal load for the plaintiffs. 
Lindsay had former California supreme court judge Sloss and others. 

The trials were lengthy. One trial was completed before Judge 
Wallace of the Tulare County Superior Court. After the completion of 
the trial, Lindsay secured his disqualification based on his ownership 
of land in Visalia whose value might be affected by the outcome of the 
case. This disqualified! on has resulted in local judges avoiding 
trying local water cases. An outside judge was appointed and started 

to hear the case when it was found that some relative had a lot in 
Lindsay and he withdrew. Judge Stephen was eventually appointed, tried 
the case, and made the decision which was appealed and became the final 
decree. Total costs o"f all of these procedures was reported to be about 
$1,500,000. The decision became final in 1935- 

When the decision became final and the lower canals had won, 
they did just what they had told me they would do in 1922. The lower 
canals were willing to let Lindsay have water for its survival once 
the plaintiffs rights had been recognized b.. r the courts. If Lindsay 
had won the law suit other similar pumping along the upper Kaweah River 
could have materially reduced the down stream river flow. The plaintiffs 
were resolved that they would establish their legal position before they 
would compromise the suit. Having won they then made a settlement which 
enabled Lindsay to secure water until C.V.P. water became available. 


In 1921 there were controversies pending between the five areas 
and users of the San. Jacinto River. Litigation was pending in the court 
and protests had been filed against applications before the State Water 
Commission. Charge s H. Lee was then the Executive Member of the Water 
Commission and attempted to get the five parties to agree on some settle 
ment. The lack of factual results on which to base such a settlement 
became apparent. In June of 1921 I was asked to make an examination 
o^ this situation and to advise the Water Commission whether the avail 
able information would enable them to act on the pending applications 
and if the conclusion on this item was no to prepare an outline of the 
investigations that would be needed to supply support for such action. 
I spent about a week in the area and on July 18, 1921 submitted a 


preliminary report t "Water Supply Conditions on San Jacinto River 
Drainage Area and Outline of Investigations Recommended to be Undertaken. 
This report recommended that field investigations should be made covering 
at least one year s water supply and use. It suggested cooperative 
financing of the costs by the local interests and the state. 

Tha five parties involved were (l) the Lake Hemet Water Co., then 
a public utility serving lands around Hemet and owning the Hemet rese- 
voir; (2) the Fruitvale Mutual Water Co., serving lands around San 
Jacinto and spreading water of the San Jacinto River to replenish its 
ground water draft; (3) Lake Elsinore area interests represented by 
the Elsinore Valley Water Users Association desiring to maintain inflow 
to support the recreational value of the Lake; (U) the Temescal Water 
Co., having pumping rights along the San Jacinto River near Ethanac 
in the Ferris Valley area and conveying the water pumped to its area 
o f service around Corona; and (5) the Ferris Valley area represented 
by the Ferris Valley Chamber of Commerce seeking a source to augment 
its overdravn ground water. 

After further discussions among the parties an agreement was made 
under which each of the five local interests contributed $1000 and the 
state $3000 toward the cost of an investigation Scheduled to continue 
"or one year. As the State Water Commission supplied 2/3 of the States 
contribution, the general direction of this work was placed with the 
Commission. Mr. R.H. Jamison was secured to handle the field work. 
I was asked to take general direction and to prepare the report. 

The estimated budget for this work called for one field engineer 
at a salary of $250 per month, plus $150 per month for auto and other ex 
penses and $100 per month for general expenses, a total of $6000 for 
one year. To allow for part tine help such as rodmen and for printing 


the report , $2000 was added to make a total estimated cost of $8000. 
Tills detail is given here as an illustration of what could be secured 
for such costs under the 1921 value of the dollar. 

The agreement was completed and field work started in October 1921. 
The wells to be observed had been selected before the large runoff 
which occurred in December 1921. The work covered a year of above 
average water supply. 

The report on this work is entitled, San Jacinto River Hydro- 
graphic Investigation, 1922". It was dated December 1922. The State 
Water Commission had been succeeded by the Division of Water Rights in 
the Department of Public Works, the office had been moved from San 
"Francisco to Sacramento and Charles H. Lee had been succeeded by H.A. 
Kluegel, as Chief of the Division. This report was not given a bulletin 
number. Copies were distributed to the interested parties in the affected 
area. This work is discussed in Part III of the Biennial Report of the 
Division of Water Rights dated November 1, 192U, p.?8. 

This report was primarily a water supply inventory of the area 
covered. It strongly urged adjustment of points of difference between 
the conflicting interests by negotiation rather than by litigation. 

Following the completion of the report meetings were held with 
the interested parties seeking agreement on an allotment of the avail 
able water supply among the conflicting interests. The five principle 
parties on July 13, 1923 requested the Division of Water Rights i pre 
pare a tentative schedule for the use of the waters of the San Jacinto 
River. After further meetings such a schedule was prepared in September 
192U and circulated among the parties. Mr. Edward Hyatt had become 
the Chief of the Division of Water Rights. The parties had 60 days 
on which to comment on this allotment. I did the main work in the 
preparation of the September 192^ allotment. 


After further discussions with the parties a Second Tentative 
Allotment was prepared under my authorship. This made some adjust 
ments in the first allotment to meet the comments of the affected 
parties. In 1926 there was further discussion of the allotment between 
the Lake Hemet Water Co. and the Fruitvale Mutual Water Co. I prepared 
a tabulation of stream and diversion records applicable to these two 
users in 1926. In August 192?, following further discussions among 
the parties I prepared a revised tentative allotment between these 
two parties. 

As a result of their investigations and negotiations the pending 
local litigation was allowed to lapse. The Temescal Water Co. built 
storage in Railroad Canyon above Lake Elsinore and reduced its draft 
on the ground water in the Ethanac area. The State took action on 
the applications before it in harmony with these results. 

In later years this area has joined the Metropolitan Water Dis 
trict and is receiving Colorado River water. All that the 1922 inves 
tigations could do was to define the existing local supply and assist 
in reaching local agreements on its use. This was accomplished. It 
also brought out the inadequacy of the local sources of supply to meet 
the needs of the area but could not at that time even suggest where 
additional water might be obtained. 

The observations, particularly on ground water in 1922, have 
furnished a useful basis for comparison with conditions in later years. 
Such observations can only be made for current conditions and, if not 
secured, cannot be replaced by future activities. One of the items 
of usefulness of the 1922 work was the ground water inventory as of 
that time. 

The 1922 San Jacinto investigations represent an illustration of 


desirable cooperation "between local and state agencies seeking a reason 
able solution to involved local conflicts. It was a very satisfying 
experience to myself. Its results were only secured by the combined 
efforts of all parties concerned. Mr. Hyatt, who presided at the meetings 
following the completion of my report, was a very patient and effective 
negotiator. He held the parties in open discussions without letting 
the proceedings get out of hand until agreements were reached. 

Nearly all of the individuals active in these proceedings are gone 
now. None were merely obstructive in their attitude although all of 
them were assertive of the interests of the area they represented. 



A-fter the completion of the San Jacinto Investigations just 
described, the state was seeking a site for a nev prison in Southern 
California. Numerous sites were offered for such use. The specifica 
tions of the state called for a site on which there could be from 500 
to 1500 acres of irrigated crops and a domestic requirement of 150 
G.F.D. per capita for a population o f 5,500. This represented a re 
quirement of about 1.1 second feet and 300 acre-feet per year. 

Tb - sites offered to the state were referred to the State Archi 
tect Tor a report on their water supply as well as their other fea 
tures. Because of my previous work in the San Jacintc area, Mr. George 
B. MacDougal, the State Architect, asked me to report on the wat^r 
supply of the proposed sites there. I made reports in September 
1930, Aucust 1932, December 1932, and March 1926, covering a total 
of 11 sites. 

These reports were relatively routine in character. None of the 
proposed sites was purchased by the state. Several o^ the areas were 
in the side valleys adjacent to the main valley and lacked an adequate 
water supply both in quantity and quality. 

The one site on which I reported favorably, proposed to use stock 
in the- Fruitvale Mutual Water Company as the source o^ its water supply. 
This was rejected on legal grounds. At that time the state cou3d not 
own assessable stock in corporations. This limitation has since been 
removed under some conditions. 

It was necessary to secure analyses of the ground water proposed 
to be used. In one case a report was required for the Selection Board 
immediately following my fieU work. I took the water samples to the 


Rubidoux laboratory of the state for analysis. They properly insisted 
on a detailed analysis which would take a week. On my urging they 
agreed to use more rapid procedures and have the results for me the 
next morning. The day having been hot, I had used the same water to 
quench my thirst. About midnight this water made its own report by 
intestional action. While I secured the results of the analysis the 
next doming, I already had reached my conclusions on the quality of 
the water -for prison use. 

The site finally selected was that at Chino. The selection board 
considered many sites before making this decision. 


In August, 1921, the grand jury in Mono County requested th^ 
state to make an investigation of conditions relating to the develop 
ment of Rush and LeeVining Creeks. This request was referred to W.F. 
McClure, the State Engineer. Mr. McClure, in turn, asked me to make 
the field investigations and to report on their results. The field 
work was done during the summer of 1922. Discussions with the federal 
agencies involved extended through the ensuing months and my report 
was not completed until December 12, 1922. 

There were two main issues involved. The Cain Irrigation Co. 
had secured rights of way grants on public land for the reservoir 
sites on Rush Creek under the March 3> 1891 act and amendments. This 
act granted such storage rights of way for irrigation use, but per 
mitted subsidiary use for power. These grants were permanent. Grants 
of rights of way for power purposes at the time these grants were 
secured were limited to 50 year revocable licenses. As the water 
stored in these reservoirs was used for power in the non-irrigation 


season, there was a question whether their use violated the terms 
under which they had been obtained. 

The power development on Rush and LeeVining Creeks was owned by 
the Nevada California Power Company, and was operated under lease by 
the Southern Sierras Power Co. The first company distributed and 
sold power in Nevada and the second served users in Southern California. 
The Cain Irrigation Company owned the irrigated lands, the canals, 
and the storage rights at Gem and Agnew Lakes. All three companies 
had a common ownership. The lands under the Cain Irrigation Company s 
canal were very porous pumice soil requiring the use of very large 
amounts of water for their irrigation. 

The second issue involved the use of stock in an irrigation 
company as proo f of the water supply for desert land entries. Such 
entrymen had been located in the Pumice Valley and a water company 
organized for their service. The U.S. Land Office had refused to 
accept ownership of such stock for desert entry proofs. 

A separate, but generally related matter was the withdrawal of 
public lands in this area by the U.S. Reclamation Service for irriga 
tion purposes, and the cooperative study made by the service with 
funds supplied by Los Angeles. 

My field work was delayed until July 1922, when access to this 
area was more easily secured. Copies of my reports and related 
material are combined in Item 31 in my Bibliographical File. All of 
these were filed with the State Engineer at the time they were made. 

On the issue of the rights of way grants for storage at Gem and 
Agnew Lakes, I recommended procedure to cancel these grants on the 
ground that they were not being used in accordance with the terms 
under which the grants had been made. This recommendation was not 

approved by the attorney for the U.S. Forest Service and was not acted 
upon by Mr. McClure. Nothing was done on this portion of my report. 
If the rights of way under the 1891 act had been cancelled, the 
power company could have secured a license under the procedure of 
the 1920 Federal Power Act. It would not have lost any of its expen 
ditures on these projects, but would have been brought into conformity 
with the terms under which such public lands could be used. 

The water rights on Rush and LeeVining Creeks had been adjudicated 
in 1915- The decision on Rush Creeks is Case No. 2091 in Mono County. 
The trial had been conducted and the decision made b.y Judge Hancock 
of the San Joaquin County Court who had been assigned to this case 
in place of the Mono County Judge. Judge Hancock left the bench and 

was attorney for the South San Joaquin irrigation district which makes 
his Rush Creek decree additionally hard to understand. 

This Rush Creek decree was a strange decision. The details are 
discussed in my report. It granted completed rights to uses in 1915 
which had not been put to use then or by 1922. There was a similar 
decree on LeeVining Creek. 

These decrees gave the Power Co. control of all of the waters of 
these tvo streams. Rights to the appropriation for the desert entrees 
were denied. These decrees were not appealed. It v^s claimed . >at 
the time for appeal was allowed to expire as a result if a misunder 
standing among the affected parties. A well supported appeal would, 
in my opinion, have resulted in a reversal of these decisions. 

The effort to secure title to the public lands south of Mono 
Lake followed the practice then commonly used. A mutual water company 
was formed to supply the water needed for proof on the entries. 
Prospective entrymen were sought and located on entries for a fee by 


the promoters. As residence on the land is not required under desert 
entries, this appealed to many as an opportunity to get land on favor 
able terms. 

^or areas having a feasible water supply, and cost for irrigation 
together with good land, such developments could and have been successful. 
In this area the mutual company lacked a water supply and the lands 
to be served were very porous pumice deposits. Records on similar ad 
jacent lands showed use of water of about ko acre feet per acre per 
season with very limited crop production. 

As fast as the proofs on these entries reached the U.S. Land Office 
they made investigations and rejected the proofs. This did not deter 
the promoters who then organized another mutual water company and 
re3.ocated other entryrren on the lands whose proof had been rejected. 
As it took the U.S. Land Office about six months to make its investi 
gations and decisions, there was time for this process to be followed. 

The earlier desert entry activity was largely handled by W.D. 
McPherson. Although he was not active in this matter at the time of 
my work, he had been the main source of the grand jury action. Mr. 
J.B. Clover operating from Los Angeles controlled the Rush Creek Mutual 
Ditch Co. and was still seeking to sell stock to entrymen. I had met 
Mr. Clover in Denver when I was working in that area in 1910. He was 
engaged in similar activities there then. 

I recommended rejection of desert entries on the area south of 
Mono Lake having such porous soils, on the basis that these lands 
were not irrigable practically, and that the use of water on them 
would not meet a reasonable standard of beneficial use. No specific 
action was taken on my recommendation on this matter. The withdrawal 
from entry of these lands by the U.S. Reclamation Service ended such 


entries during the per5 od of withdrawal. 

/mother matter discussed in my report which had not "been directly 
covered by the grand jury action vas the withdrawal of public lands 
in Mono Basin by the U.S. Reclamation Service ir :.Q20. These lands 
were withdrawn under the authority of the Reclamation Act. This with 
drawal removed the withdrawn lands from the jurisdiction of the other 
federal land agencies . 

Mr. Harold Conkling had been transferred from the U.S. Reclama 
tion Service Office in Denver to make the investigations of a proposed 
project to divert Mono Lake water to Owens Valley, presumably for use 
there for irrigation. The work was done in cooperation with the City 
of Los Angeles. Such cooperative investigations were usually made on 
a 50-50 division of the costs. In this case Los Angeles paid nil of 
the cost. 

Conkling s report estimated that 1^0,000 acre feet per year could 
be diverted through an eleven mile tunnel to Long Valley reservoir in 
the Owens Valley at a cost of about $8,000,000. It was estimated that 
the use of this water for irrigation could only meet one-fourth of this 
cost. The remainder would have been met from the use of this water 
for power. 

In my report I concluded that the U.S.R.S. withdrawal of public 
land in the M o no Basin was outside the proper purposes and function 
of the Reclamation Service and that it should be cancelled. No action 
was taken at that time on this recommendation. It was apparent that 
if Mono Basin water should be diverted to the Owens Valley it would 
continue on to Los Angeles for municipal use. The U.S.R.S. was being 
used to secure land withdrawals not related to an irrigation project. 

The reports in my bibliography file (No. 31) contain the detail 
supporting my final report. During this work Frederick H. Fowler 


was the engineer representing the Forest Service. Walter L. Huber 
had been the Forest Service engineerj he had entered private practice 
and was then consulting engineer for the Southern Sierra Power Co. 
Both were helpful in ray work but both were naturally watchful of the 
interests of their employers. 

The matters involved in Mono Basin are also discussed in my 
"Comments on Economic Evaluation of Water, Part II... 

Contribution No. ^2, Water Resources Center, University of Californ 
ia..." (p. 6-9-) The cooperative study with Los Angeles is discussed 
in the annual reports of the U.S.R.S. (19th pAl^, 20th p.UoO, 21st 
p. 120, and 22nd p. 138). 

While this investigation and report was an interesting assign 
ment, it was not productive of specific results. However it repre 
sents an introduction to the later record of developments in this area. 

The City of Los Angeles had been in litigation with the Southern 
Sierras Power Co. over its right to condemn the power Company s plant 
in the Owens River Gorge. The city wanted to build a reservoir there. 
The company claimed it was in public use and not subject to condemna 
tion. The company won. To block Los Angeles from diverting Mono 
Basin water to Owens Valley, the power crompany hurriedly built a power 
plant on lower LeeVining Creek on a section of school land to which 
it had fee title. The U.S.R.S. withdrawal prevented the power company 
from securing rights of way over public lands. Eventually the city 
negotiated the purchase of the power company s properties which it 
needed and built its Mono Basin project. The lower LeeVining Creek 
plant is now abandoned. 

The power company naturally resented the use by the U.S.R.S. of 
its land withdrawal powers as an aid to Los Angles in its controversy 


with the company. A. P. Davis was the director of the U. S.R.S. and 
responsible for the cooperative agreement with Los Angeles uoder which 
this was done. Senator Phipps of Colorado Springs was president of 
the power company and also a U.S. Senator from Colorado. Secretary 
of the Interior Work came from Colorado Springs and may have secured 
his appointment through the support of Senator Phipps. Secretary 
Work asked for Davis resignation. Davis offered to resign if he might 
include in his letter of resignation that he was resigning at the 
Secretary s request. Work objected to this and wanted the resignation 
to appear to be voluntary. After considerable hassle -f-he Secretary 
removed Davis. This action resulted in a protest by the engineering 
profession. Mr. Davis published a statement dated July 11, 1923 
giving his version of this situation. A copy of this statement is in 
the Water Resources Archives in Berkeley. Mr. Davis personal reputa 
tion was sufficiently high that his standing was not hurt by his dis 
missal. The facts of this situation have not been seriously questioned. 
He immediately found other employment and later became the chief engi 
neer of the East Bay Municipal Utility District and selected and con 
structed its Mokelumne River project. Later he was given Reclamation 1 
Hall of Fame nomination No. 6. These nominations were given by the 
U. S.R.S. as a reward to those of long and distinguished service in 
the service. This was an appropriate recognition by the Reclamation 
Service of the value of the services of Mr. Davis. This was awarded 
after the controversies regarding his dismissal had passed. Mr. A. P. 
Davis was succeeeed by D.W. Davisjformerly governor of Idaho. The 
latter did not last long. D.W. Davis was the first politician to 
become head of the U. S.R.S. 

I had met A. P. Davis while working for the U.S.R.S. in 1907-09- 


He vas highly regarded In the service for his straight forward approach 
to problems as they arose and his willingness to make decisions. I 
was a minor contributor to the defense fund raised among engineers in 
his behalf at the time of his dismissal. 

In 192^, a petition for the organization of the Indian Wells - 
Fremont Water Storage District was presented to the State Engineer. 
I was asked by the State Engineer to prepare the report on the feasi 
bility of the proposed district. This was done in September 192U. 
My report is Item 36 in my Bibliography file. A hearing on the peti 
tion was held at Mojave on July 25, 192^. 

John T. Whistler had made a report for the land owners on this 
proposed project. He planned to secure his water supply from the 
tributaries of Mono Lake and bring it to the District through the Oven?; 
Valley. It was obvious at that time that any such diversion from the 
Mono Basin, if made, would be used in Los Angeles. The plan proposed 
for this district was not feasible for the irrigation proposed, al 
though the lands to be included would be productive with a water 
sXipx>ly. I recommended against the approval of the organization of the 
Indian Wells- Prement W.S.D. This recommendation was approved by Mr. 
McClure and the petition was rejected. This procedure occurred prior 
to the purchase of the Power Co. rights in Mono Basin by Los Angeles. 
The proposed district would have had to acquire these rights in order 
to secure water for its project. These costs plus the high construc 
tion costs that would be required to divert and convey the water to 
the proposed district exceeded the value of its use for irrigation. 
There was no further activity on this proposed project after its re 
jection by the State Engineer. 

The City of Los Angeles in connection with its Mono Basin Project 


brought suit to condemn the rights of the riparian owners around Mono 
Lake who might be injured by the lowering of the lake which would re 
sult from its diversion. This case was tried in Placerville in 
about 193^- The jury desired to view the areas involved and were 
taken on a trip to Mono Lake during the later stages of the trial. 
As the trial had cost the city some $100,000 at this time, the jury 
was insured for this trip to cover the loss if injury to any of them 
should require a retrial. No injuries occurred. 

Later Los Angeles constructed its project to divert Mono Basin 
water into Lake Crowley ^or regulation and conveyance to Los Angeles. 
Diversion began in 19^0. The extent of this diversion and its effect 
on Mono Lake are described in my report on Mono Lake of August, 19^2. 
This report is a part of those I have made on the enclosed lakes in 
the Great Basin. 

The active issues in 1922 in the Mono Basin have now been resolved. 
The power company retains the use of Rush and LeeVlning Creeks for 
power development above the elevation of the diversion to Owens Valley 
by Los Angeles. The city has the use of the Mono Basin water supply 
that is divertible by its system. Additional irrigation in the Mono 
Basin has not been made. The present results represent the best uses 
of these water supplies. Irrigation in the Mono Basin, even on good 
lands, has very limited yields and returns due to the short growing 
season. On the Pumice Valley lands irrigation would not be a bene 
ficial use. 



By 1920 California had reached that stage in its water develop 
ment where storage vas needed to enable a larger part of the runoff 
to be used for irrigation. This need and the opportunities to satisfy 
: vere largely applicable to the Sierra, stream:? in I- he Sa.n Joa iuia 
Volley. While the snow storage in these streams Increased tue pro- 
port i. on of the annual runoff which occurred during the irrigation 
season, the snow wit produced more water than could be used directly 
during its recurrence from April to June with deficient flows in the 
later summer months. 

More economical storage could be secured i. f all of the diver- 
si :ns on any stream could combine in the construction of joint .stor 
age war* . Where all use -from a stream was under one system, as on 
the Merced River, such storage could be built by a Wright Act irri 
gation dist?- <:t . Where on]y two irrigation districts were involved, 
storage could be; developed on a contractual basis between the two 
districts. This was done by the Modesto and the Turlock Districts on 
the Tuolumne River and the Oakdale and South San Joaquin Districts on 
the Stanislaus. 

For streams in th- 3 southern San Joaquin Valley, more canal sys 
tems were involved and there was need for a form of district to con 
struct the storage and distribute the stored water among the partici 
pating systems on a wholesale basis without engaging in any activity 
within the areas served by the individual canal z. This need was 
greatest on the Kings and Kern Rivers. 

To meet this need, the legislature in 1915 passed an act providing 
for the organization of districts to construct storage. This act 
was found to contain unconstitutional features arid was repealed. It 


was succeeded by the water storage district act of 1921. In Tarpey 
vs. McClure 190 Cal 593 * the State Supreme Court sustained the con 
stitutionality of the 1921 act on March 13, 1923. Following this 
decision, action proceeded on the petitions for the organization of 
the vater storage districts which had been previously filed. It is 
the 1921 act with its later amendments which has been used for this 
form of district. 

Some o p the procedures under the water storage district act 
have been mentioned in the previous discussion of my work for the 
State Engineer from 1920 to 1930. The water storage act places all 
o^ the organizational procedure of such districts under the State 
Engineer (now the Director of Water Resources). The State Engineer 
passes on the sufficiency of the organization petition. He hears 
petitions for inclusion of additional lands and for exclusion of 
lands included in the organization petition. He passes on the engi 
neering feasibility and the susceptibility of the included lands to 
irrigation "from the proposed water supply. 

The costs of the investigations by the State Engineer are paid 
by the proponents o f the proposed district who are required to pro 
vide a bond to cover such costs when the petition for organization 
is filed. 

As previously described, I was appointed the consulting engineer 
for the State Engineer on water storage district matters. My accounts 
were submitted to the State Engineer and when approved were submitted 
to the proponents of the district who then paid me directly. No 
difficulties arose under this procedure in my work under this act. 
The State Engineer set the amount of the bond he would require from 
the proponents. This amount was based on the estimated costs for 
the individual district. 

There were four early water storage district procedures in the 
1920 s. The first was the Kern River W.S.D. covering lands served 
by the First Point rights on Kern River. fChe Buena Vista W.S.D. 
including lands served by the Second Point rights in the same river; 
the water storage district in the Tulare Lake Basin; and the San 
Joaquin water storage district including the lands served from the 
river by Miller and Lux and those planned to be served in the Madera 
I.D. were the other three. While the act was intended to be used on 
King s River, this area secured the passage of the Water Conservation 
District Act to meet their needs and proceeded later to use this act. 
Each of these districts is discussed separately later. 

I made the following general reports to the State Engineer on 
the water storage district act procedure: "Policy in Passing on 
Feasibility," 8 pages, 1922; "Adoption and Carrying Out of Plan," 
7 pages, 192^; "Basis of Voting," 10 pages, 1927; "Procedure of 
State Engineer," 32 pages, 1923. 

Copies of thes reports were filed with the office of the State 
Engineer. Copies were also included in my bibliographical file, 
Item 33. These reports should be consulted for a complete discussion 
of the matters covered. The following comments touch a few of the 
matters involved. 

Voting in water storage districts was on a property ownership 
basis. Each voter had one vote for each $100 of assessed land value 
on the county tax roll. Costs were to be distributed in accordance 
with the benefits received. It was expected that the amount of stor 
age required by each canal system in a water storage district would 
vary inversely with the extent of its direct flow supply. This would 
result In variable benefits which could be equalized most effectively 


by an assessment based on benefits rather than on land areas or values. 

The areas expected to be included in the proposed water storage 
districts included large land ownerships. Some areas had only a limited 
number of local residents. The property qualification basis of voting 
Cfi-ve s.1] land owners a voice in proportion to their land interest in 
the district. Both the method o r voting and the basis of assessment 
in t;ie water storage district act are the same as those that had been 
used for many years in the reclamation districts formed to reclaim 
overflow lands where residents within the unreclaimed areas were lack 
ing and where the size of the individual land ownership varied. 

The property qualification for voting appeared to be simple to 
apply. All that would be needed would be to secure a copy of the 
last county assessment for the included lands. This part was lengthy 
but not complex. However, the next group of questions involved who 
would be entitled to cast the vote. Corporations could vote by re 
solution of their boards authorizing someone to cast their vote, 
partnerships required agreement among all partners or a definition 
o r " the individual interest of each partner. Lands being purchased 
under contract on which title had not passed raised a question regard 
ing who could cast their vote. This was usually handled by the seller 
giving a proxy to the buyer. Ownerships under guardianships, trusts, 
etc., presented additional problems. The matters were more involved 
in the areas seeking organization as water storage districts than 
they had been in the reclamation districts as the number of owners 
was larger and colonization had preceded the organization of the 
water storage districts. 

To meet the district s financial needs until it could prepare 
arid adopt a plan for its proposed work in which assessments could be 


levied, the districts were given authority to levy a flat rate assess 
ment not to exceed $.50 per acre. A second assessment of $-50 per acre 
could be levied if approved by the State Engineer. The receipts under 
this assessment could also be used to reimburse the sponsors of the 
district for their pre- organization costs. 

As assessment based on benefits may be difficult to levy where 
many owners and variable degrees of benefit are involved. The water 
storage district act provides a board of three assessors to determine 
the assessment of each ownership. The report of the assessors is 
subject to equalization by the two executive directors under the water 
storage district act and the president of its district board. When 
it becomes final the levies by the district are expressed in terms of 
a percentage o p the total benefits. This assessment is the one levied 
to distribute the estimated total cost of the district plan after such 
a plan has been prepared and adopted. 

To assist the State Engineer in holding hearings, etc., the water 
storage district act provides for two appointed members to constitute 
a board of three. However, the board members do not have equal author 
ity. The final responsibility rests with the State Engineer. The 
conduct of hearings can be assigned to the associate members. Mr. 
McClure usually asked the other two members to sit with him when he 
conducted hearings. The two associate members appointed under the 
act were W.P. Boone of Fresno and D. Joseph Coyne of Los Angeles. Mr. 
Boone was chairman of the King s River Water Association and Mr. Cloyne 
was an attorney practicing in Los Angeles. 

The following discussion of water storage district procedure is 
applicable to the p orm of the act in effect up to and including 1928. 
It includes the amendments of 1927. My own active handling of these 


procedures covered the period to 1928. Some changes have been made 
by later amendments to the act. Any present procedures should be 
based on the present form of the water storage district act. 

The situations that rose in the State Engineer s administration 
in the 1920 s o^ the water storage districts then before him can best 
be described by individual districts. While there were similar mat 
ters involved, each of these districts also had individual problems. 



The history of this district to September 1, 1928, is covered 
in a report I made to the State Engineer on that date. This report 
is Item 2 in Binder 33 of my bibliographical ^ile. 

Tl:e Kern County Farm Bureau had been active in securing the 
investigations which resulted in Bulletin 9. It had been hoped that 
an adequate water supply was available for one large district includ 
ing the lands which were served under both the First Points and Second 
Point rights and additional lands as well. My conclusion in Bulletin 
9 was that the water supply was not adequate for a total area of more 
than 300,000 acres. Miller and Lux as the Second Point owners pre 
ferred to have a separate district. A petition was presented for a 
water storage district to use the First Point water under the recently 
enacted water storage district act. The hearings on the sufficiency 
of this petition extended through 1922. There were petitions for 
exclusion and for withdrawal pS names that had been signed on the 
petition. The water storage district act had some uncertainties in 
its provisions. The Tejon Ranch, too, had wanted to have some of 
their lands included and fought the procedure for the proposed district. 
Mr. McClure s order approving the petition for organization was approved 
on July 20, 1923- This put into effect the procedure for the election 
on the organization. 

This was the first election under the water storage district act. 
The vote was to be on a basis of a vote ^or each $100 of assessed 
value on the county assessment roll for land. This election was 
placed with the State Engineer. The State Engineer 3 office had not 
had any experience with the conduct of such elections. 


As I had done the work on the hearings on the organization 
petitions and was familiar with the area of the proposed district 
and acquainted with those active in the organization procedure, I 
was assigned the Job of conducting the election. It was also an 
entirely new experience for me. 

The organization of this district had become controversial in 
the areo.. Under the property basis of voting, the Kern County Land 
Company had h6% of the votes, enough votes to carry the election. 
As they were in favor of the organization of the district, the elec 
tion was sure to carry if it could be conducted so that it could not 
be successfully attacked on legal grounds. 

This le-^t me with the responsibility for avoiding any legal 
grounds for voiding the election in the face of known opposition by 
the attorney for the Tejon Ranch Company. I went to the County Clerk 
for help. He was very cordial, but explained that this election was 
political dynamite and he could not afford to take any active part 
in it. However , he offered to give me any informal advice he could 
and let me have a room from which to operate. 

The voting list required the preparation of a list of owners and 
their assessed valuation. I employed a local title company to prepare 
this voting list. I had to segregate it by precincts, arrange the 
voters list alphabetically and assemble each voter s total vote when 
more than one piece of land was owned in a precinct. The area of the 
proposed district was about 250,000 acres. In spite of the dominant 
ownership of the Kern County Land Company, there were about 5,000 
ownerships in the proposed district. Help was secured from Carlisle 
and Company of San Francisco on the form of the ballot, tally sheets, 
etc., which were printed by this company. 


The Kern County Land Company did not campaign for the district 
as they had the votes needed to carry the election. There was or 
ganized opposition which had a free field to accuse anyone of any 
thing. Although the State Engineer confined himself and his staff 
to their statutory duties under the act, he was accused of favoring 
the Land Company and other wrong actions. In the hopes of at least 
supplying correct factual information, I spoke to the joint meeting 
of the Bakersfield service clubs on October 26, 1923, discussing 
mainly the functions of the State Engineer under the water storage 
district act. 

The election was held on November 10, 1923- This was a Satur 
day. The act called for the polls to be open from 7 a.m. to 6 p.m. 
on the day of the elction. I was at the courthouse in Bakersfield, 
available by telephone to answer questions that might arise regarding 
voting. Such questions kept coming in regarding who could vote , 
property having various complications of ownership. Some specific 
answer had to be given on the spot as the voter was waiting to have 
it decided. I made more judicial rulings in one day than a court 
would make in six months. 

In the afternoon, a precinct near Wasco phoned in that many of 
their voters were Seventh Day Adventists and would not vote on Satur 
day until after 6 p.m. The polls were only scheduled to remain open 
then to 6 p.m. I told the election board to have the Adventists at 
the voting place before 6 p.m. and then to let them vote beginning 
at 6:01 p.m. under the provisions in the general election code that 
all voters at the polls at the time they closed were entitled to 
vote before the polls were finally closed. 

The election carried by a vote of 68,^65 to 21,929, an apparent 


ratio of over 3 to 1. However, if the vote of the Kern County Land 
Company is deducted, the remaining vote was 10,222 for and 21,929 
against, or a ratio against of 2.1 to 1. The total vote cast repre 
sented 73$ of the eligible voters and k-vtfo of the eligible vote of the 
voters other than the Land Company. Probably many small owners fore 
saw the result of the election and did not vote. 

In 192^ a suit was filed contesting the legality of the organi 
zation of the district. This was filed after the six-month period 
allowed for filing such a suit had expired, and it failed. I attended 
the hearing on this suit with the applicable records, but was not 
called on to testify. 

Thus ended an adventure on my part into a strange field outside 
of my previous experience. The work done was that prescribed by the 
statutes without fear or favor of either side. It was gratifying 
that the effort to overturn the election was not successful. I have 
always felt that it would have stood up even i^ the contest had been 
brought within the statutory period. As in all such matters, the 
experience I gained was mainly in a better understanding o^ human 
nature and what makes some people act the way they do. The conduct 
of this election was no place for anyone with a thin skin. 

Following its organization, the Kern River Water Storage District 
appointed A.L. Trowbridge as its engineer and proceeded with the 
preparation of its district plan. This was not completed until 1928. 
A draft of the proposed plan was submitted informally to the State 
Engineer in advance of its official adoption by the district. I 
reviewed the advance draft in a memorandum dated October 27, 1920. 
In this memorandum, I had misinterpreted a portion of the district s 


plan. When this came to the attention of the State Engineer, ray 
memoranaum of October 27, 1928, was recalled. My memorandum of 
December 10, 1928, is the corrected review o^ the proposed report 
of the district. 

I made a report to the State Engineer dated September 1, 1928, 
covering the history of the Kern River water storage district to that 
date. This included the pre- organization record and the earlier part 
of the district s activity prior to the preparation of its plan. 

Before the district plan had been completed, questions were 
raised regarding the application of the conflict-of-interest statutes 
to any purchase of the existing canal system by a district board of 
directors on which "ive of the seven members were employed by the 
Kern County Land Company whose systems were to be acquired. It was 
concluded that any such purchase would come within this statute and 
invalidate the purchase contract. The five Land Company directors 
resigned. Under the water storage district act, the State Engineer 
fills vacancies that occur between elections. 

I was assigned the job o" finding suitable and eligible successors. 
This required securing recommendations, interviewing prospective appoin 
tees, and, in some cases, trying to secure consent to be appointed 
and serve from some o r the more desirable ones that had been recom 
mended. There were 36 individuals specifically considered for these 
-five appointments. Additional names were suggested but not investigated. 
The problem was to secure directors qualified to serve by their past 
business experience who were not, in some way, involved with the Land 
Company or committed to opposition to the plan. Small land owners 
who had opposed the organization of the district and were recognized 
as anti-district arid anti-Land Company were not considered to be 


suitable for these appointments. It was felt that the appointees 
should be capable o f the business judgment required and neither 
strongly anti or pro district to an extent that would affect their 
conclusions on the proposed district plan. 

I made a 22-page report to the State Engineer dated November 30, 
1927, regarding "Appointments to Fill Vacancies on Board of Directors 
of Kern River Water Storage District". This report discussed both 
the criteria used in selecting recommended appointees and the indivi 
duals considered. It explained the reasons for not recommending some 
of those suggested and also for the selection of the n ive recommended 
appointees. The "ive recommended were appointed. 

On August 2h, 1928, the majority of the revised Board of Directors 
approved a report which it instructed the Chief Engineer of the 
District to prepare and file with the State Engineer. At the State 
Engineer s suggestion, this report was submitted informally in advance 
of" the official Ailing in order that the State Engineer might have 
additional time ^or its review. This was done on October 19, 1928. 
A copy of this report had been loaned for examination prior to this 

I was asked to review this proposed plan for the State Engineer. 
My report on "Proposed R -port of the Kern River Water Storage District" 
was dated December 10, 1928. 

In my report (31 pages) I discussed various features of the 
report and concluded that in its form it did not meet the require 
ments of Section 17 of the Water Storage District Act. Section 17 
contains the specifications regarding the standards which a district 
plan report is required to meet. The specific points on which tno 
proposed report was de r icient were discussed in some detail in my 


report. Revision of the proposed report before it was formally -filed 
was recommended. 

The objections made to the proposed district plan were largely 
based on its inadequacy for defining the individual land owners 
benefits resulting from the plan. The Water Storage District Act 
requires that the cost of the district works be assessed to the 
individual land areas in accordance with the benefits received. To 
enable such an assessment of benefits to be made on a basis which can 
stand up requires that the plan define the services to be received and 
their cost in specific and definite terms. It was my conclusion that 
this proposed plan did not meet this statutory standard. 

The State Engineer transmitted a copy of my report to the District. 
Having been submitted informally, he did not need to reject it offi 
cially. He indicated that an acceptable plan would need to meet my 

The Kern River Water Storage District objected to my report of 
December 10, 1928, but did not take official action on it. On further 
consideration of its program the District decided not to proceed 
under the Water Storage District Act. The District was later dissolved. 

My report of December 10, 1928, was my last extended work on 
this District. Events in the ensuing years have not altered the con 
clusions reached in 1928. Had the Kern River Water Storage District 
attempted to proceed under its 1928 proposed plan, in my opinion, 
difficulties and eventually litigation would have developed which 
would have hampered if not prevented its progress. The depression 
of the 1930 s, while not a ^actor in my report, would have made 
successful progress additionally difficult. 

When the Kern River Water Storage District was dissolved, the 


Kern County Land Company brought rate cases to increase the rates 
"or its public utility systems. Previously, the rate had been $0.75 
per second -foot per day. This vas recognized as being below the cost 
o^ service. The Land Company was a major consumer under its own sys 
tem. It did not seek a rate increase while the plan for a large dis 
trict was under active effort. w hen this plan failed it sought rate 

The program proposed by the Kern River Water Storage District 
included drainage in the general south side area, transfer of excess 
use there to lands having an inadequate water supply north of Kern 
River and the regulation of Kern River by storage at Isabella. The 
Land Company secured a substantial increase in its utility rates. 
Some consumers south of the river abandoned their utility service 
and put in wells. This helped provide local drainage and released 
water for transfer to other areas. To this extent, the purposes of 
the District plan were accomplished. 

When the 193^ v lood Control Act was passed and the Federal 
Government accepted the responsibility for flood control on a non 
reimbursable basis, the Kern River situation was materially changed. 
In 19^ storage at Isabella was authorized as a flood control project. 
This storage has been built as a multipurpose project. Recently 
agreements have been reached on the costs allocated to irrigation. 

The area north of Kern River under the Galloway and Lerdo Canals 
was later organized as the North Kern Water Storage District. It has 
contracted for much of the irrigation use of Isabella reservoir. 
General agreements have been reached on the operation of Isabella 
storage between the ^irst and Second Point users and the lower rights 
including Tulare Lake. 


Kern River has now reached what may be considered as the full 
development of its own water supply. Water is now being imported 
by the C.V.P. and will be imported by the State. The local ground 
water supply is generally in full use. Thus over more than forty 
years, the Kern River areas have accomplished their objective in the 
~ull use of their local water supplies. 

Looking back, it is probable that the conditions on Kern River 
today would have been reached without the State investigation in 1920 
and the lengthy water storage district procedure. The present re 
sults are th<- natural product of the physical conditions involved. 
They would have been reached by some process if the State had not 
participated in the 1920 s. 

The above conclusion, however, does not detract from the use ill 
ness of the State s work in this area. While the same results might 
have been secured by other means, the State supplied the basic in 
ventory of water supply and the area it could serve. It also, under 
the Water Storage District Act procedure, declined to approve a pro 
gram of development that was not adequately prepared. To this extent, 
the State helped the area avoid a form o^ 1 organization and a program 
that would probably have delayed the results- that have now been 

It is my opinion that the activities and actions of the State 
Engineer in Kern River matters is an example of the proper functioning 
of this office. It cooperated with local agencies in investigating 
the resources and outlining their development. It acted in the public 
interest in declining to approve a plan inadequately worked out. In 
;he 1920 s, the State had no program of its own to affect its local 
e. tionc and it could operate as a disinterested but informed agency. 



The Buena Vista Water Storage District was organized lay the 
owners of the Second Point water rights on Kern River. Miller and 
Lux owned nearly all of these water rights and also nearly all of 
the lands which they served. Water was stored in Buena Vista Lake 
below Second Point. It was anticipated that the Second Point rights 
might participate in the storage then being proposed at Isabella. A 
district form of organization would be in a better position to finance 
such participation. 

I made a report to the State Engineer dated July 1, 1928, entitled 
"History of Buena Vista Water Storage Project". I had handled all of 
trie procedural matters relating to this district for the State Engi 
neer and prepared this report to place these matters on record. A 
copy o^ this report and of other reports I have made relating to this 
district are in my bibliography file, Item 3^- 

T"ie petition for the Buena Vista Water Storage District was filed 
August 9, 1922. It then included 125,890 acres. In May, 1923, I made 
a report for the State Engineer on the "Feasibility of Proposed Buena 
Vista Water Storage District". I concluded that it was proposed to 
extend the available water supply over too large an area. Miller ana 
Lux had agreed to give a preference in service to the lands south of 
Wasco Road with only flood water service to the lands north of this 
road. It was concluded that the service that would be secured by the 
lands north o-" Wasco Road would be insufficient to support their in 
clusion in a district. I found that the District as proposed did not 
meet, a reasonable standard of -feasibility, practicality and utility. 
ily conclusion was supported by tde State Engineer. 

The recommendations in my May, 1923 report were not favorably 
received, by the proponents of the District and matters were dead 
locked until December, 19^3> when Miller and Lux expressed a desire 
to "ind a basis which the State Engineer would approve. 

There were two main points at issue. One was the adequacy of 
the available water supply for the areas it was proposed to serve. 
The second was the quality of much of the land proposed to be included 
north of asco Road. 

On January k, 192^.> & n inspection of these lands vas made with 
T.P. Wittscheri, attorney for Miller and Lux and J.F. Clyne, their 
superintendent. Mr. Clyne agreed on the ground that the alkali con 
tent (.>" the lands I had questioned made them non-irrigable. Based 
on this advice from their own superintendent, Miller and Lux agreed 
bo the exclusion o^ these lands. 

Miller and Lux had constructed a relatively large canal north 
from Tasco Road to remove surplus waters from the Goose Lake area. 
This canal had only limited usefulness at best and would have had 
less i f the lands north of Wasco Road were excluded ^rom the District. 
Mr. J. Leroy Nickel had been mainly responsible for the expenditures 
on this canal. He was Henry Miller s son-in-law and had become presi 
dent o^ Miller and Lux on Miller s death. Nickel was anxious to re 
tain some land north o^ Wasco Road in the District to furnish an 
appearance of usefulness for the canal. Largely to save fsice -"or 
him in this matter a row of sections in King s County at the north 
end o" 1 * this canal were allowed to remain in the District. These lands 
were of suitable quality. They were included in the District as organ- 
i.7^,].. Later, Miller and Lux recognized the difficulty of serving this 
isolated area and those lands were withdrawn from the District. 


The concession relating to these King s County lands resulted 
in the consent of Miller and Lux to the exclusion of the other lands 
north of Wasco Road. The organization of the amended District was 
approved by the State Engineer. Its organization election on June 
23, 192^, carried with no opposing vote. 

The District was not active in the earlier period after its 
organization as it waited to see what plans might be worked out for 
a joint storage with the Kern River Water Storage District. In 1925* 
there was a change in the control of Miller and Lux resulting from 
its refinancing of its own indebtedness. Mr. James T^ickett became 
manager and began the sale of Miller and Lux lands. This refinancing 
was more directly related to the San Joaquin River Water Storage 
District and is discussed in the comments on that district. In order 
to make its lands in the Buena Vista Water Storage District more 
readily saleable, it was essential that the irrigation system be in 
the ownership of some form of District organization. W.C. Hammltt 
prepared a valuation of the properties the EL strict proposed to acquire. 
His report was dated September 6, 1926. 

Hammitt s valuation was based on the usual estimated cost of 
reproduction of the works to be acquired. Miller and Lux had built 
large flood discharge canals which were also used for irrigation. 
The y -ardage in these canals at reasonable costs per cubic yard re 
sulted in a relatively high cost per acre for the lands in the District, 

As the water supply was subject to deficiencies, I reported to 
Paul Bailey, the State Engineer, that the system to be bought 
did not, in my opinion, have a value to the land of over $25 per 
acre. Bailey accepted this recommendation. The District was advised 
that this would be ac large fi bond issue for the purchase of 


these works as the State vould approve. 

Tills result was accepted by the District and the purchase price 
was reduced to this basis. As Miller and Lux owned about 90$ o*" the 
land and the irrigation system, this was largely a matter of book 
keeping for them. The lower bond issue made the lands more readily 
saleable at some increase in land price. 

Miller and Lux were also required to transfer title to the 
water rights to the district. This was finally done on a basis 
accepted by Attorney General U.S. Webb. The plan was approved, the 
election on its adoption carried unanimously and the district took 
over the irrigation system. 

The original directors of the Buena Vista .-later Storage District 
were Miller and Lux employees. These resigned and were replaced by 
others before the purchase of the irrigation system. The same pro 
cedure was used here as in the Kern River Water Storage District. 
I canvassed the available appointees and made recommendations regard 
ing the appointments to be made. These were followed. 

The next procedure relating to the Buenz Vista Water Storage 
District was the certification of its bonds. The amount was $9^2,000 
on 50,^00 acres o^ land to be assessed. The area in Buena Vista Lake 
was included in the District, but was not to receive water and was 
riot assessed. I made a report on this bond issue for the State Engi 
neer in June, 1929. Mr. Edward Hyatt was the State Engineer at this 

The Miller and Lux lands in the Buena Vista Water Storage Dis 
trict were included in the general trust deed securing the two issues 
of mortgage bonds on the Miller and Lux properties. It was necessary 
to secure waivers of this mortgage to give a prior lien to the District 


"bonds. My report recommended certification of the District bonds 
subject to the completion of these waivers. The waivers were secured 
and the bonds certified. 

Miller and Lux retained the District bonds which it received 
in payment for the irrigation system sold to tiie District. Miller 
and Lux paid most of the taxes in the earlier years of the District. 
The,-- received main3.y their own money back as interest on the bonds. 

In 1935* Miller and Lux arranged to sell the District bonds it 
held through Stone and Youngberg, a bond firm in San ^rancisco. I 
vas asked to prepare a report on these bonds b,y Stone and Youngberg. 
? V; r- port was dated April., 1935- A copy is in my bibliography file. 
I!, is report 2 in Item 3^> This report was p avorable. 

After making my April, 1935 report on the bonds, there were 
some: changes made in the lease of lands in Buena Vista Lake suggested 
by the legal advisors ofi the bond dealers. To include these changes, 
I nade a supplemental report in -July, 193^- This report, was made for 
two of the Los Angeles bond firms who were selling the bonds there 
for Stone and Youngberg. This report is also in my bibliography 
file. It is No. 1 in Item 3^- 

The July, 193^, report on its bond issue was my last work on 
the Buena Vista Water Storage District. In the ensuing years, the 
District has operated successfully, has met its bond payments and 
has joined in the general Kern River agreement relating to oturage 
at Isjjbella. It is now (August, 19^5) considering purchasing addi 
tional water from the Slate project. It is understood that no final 
decision on such a purchase has been made at this time. 

Among the more controversial matters relating to the "Buena 
Vista Water Storage .District was the refusal of the State Engineer 

to approve the inclusion of lands north of Wasco Road. This refusal 
was based both, on a lack of adequate water supply and the poor qual 
ity of the trough lands in this area. Even if the water supply had 
been adequate these lands were not considered to be susceptible o-f 
irrigation under a practical standard in which the land would need 
to be susceptible o* producing crops which could meet the costs o^ 
its Irrigation. The poorer of thes lands were of the type described 
as self-rising" in which the alkali, largely black alkali type, 
results in a loose, puffy surface. I have seen no reason to change 
ny conclusions in the years since the exclusion of these lands was . 

To the east of Buena Vista Water Storage District, the Semi- 
tropic Ridge includes ]ands o p somewhat higher elevation on which 
some areas have been reclaimed by the application o~" gypsum. These 
lands are not, in ay opinion, comparable with t he excluded trough 
lands north o"*" Wasco Road. 

In 195^j when the State water project appeared to be a reality, 
a District was proposed covering the Semitropic Ridge and adjacent 
areas. This district extended north of Wasco Road and included lands 
that had been excluded from the Buena Vista Water Storage District. 
A petition ^or the organization of the Semitropic Water Storage 
District was filed on April 28, 1958. A report on this proposed 
district was prepared by the Department of Water Resources in June, 
1958. This was published b.,, the Department as Report on Proposed 
Semitropic Water Storage District". 

About 225*000 acres were included in the proposed district. 
The State s land classification is stated to have been made in 
considerable detail" (p. 52). "All but about 1,UOO of the 22^,000 


acres within the proposed district are susceptible of irrigated 
agricultural development . The 1,UOO acres considered to be non- 
irrigable consist mainly o 4 * small stream channels. About 12,000 
acres oT the irrigable lands are of excellent quality and will pro 
duce a wide range o^ climatically adapted crops. Some 166,000 acres 
although having adequate soil depths, are limited in their crop adapt 
ability and productivity by excesses of soluble salts and exchange 
able sodium. The remaining ^5,000 acres, in addition to being 
affected by salts, also have shallow soil depths or very fine tex 
tures", (p. 53) 

The report continues (p.53~^)j "The degree to which the saline 
and alkali lands are affected by concentrations of salts varies from 
slight to very heavy. Conditions are such that some could be brought 
into production rather easily, while other areas would require ex 
tensive reclamation to make them productive. The more adversely 
affected lands would require large quantities of amendments and 
water for leaching purposes. In the areas of finer textured soils, 
very little crop production could be expected for several years. 
It is doubtful if any o^ 1 these seriously affected lands would ever 
be reclaimed beyond a point where they would produce any but medium 
or shallow-rooted crops". 

The report discusses the reclamation of these alkali lands by 
the addition of gypsum and leaching. One acre foot of water was estimated 
as the amount of water required to dissolve and to make effective one ton of 
the calcium- carrying amendment (p. 56). A total of 608 soil samples 
were analysed and the tons per acre of gypsum required to reclaim 
the top two feet of soil were computed. Twenty-eight individual 
categories, ranging -"rorn five to fifty-one tons of gypsum required 

were used. The average retirement was found to be 2k tons per acre 
with a total of 4,kOO,OGG tons for the entire area (p. 57). An acre 
of 63,850 acres was found to require thirty or more tons per area 
? gypsum (p- 59)- It was estimated that 195,970 acres would ulti 
mately be irrigated (p.fe). This is about 83$ of the gross area. 

A concrete pipe conveyance and distribution system was planned 
at an estimated cost o f about $50,000,000 (p. 78). This is about $2^0 
per acre. Total annual costs were estimated to be $13 per acre for 
the distribution system (p. 79)- 

Under land Reclamation" (p. Si), is the following statement: 

"Physically, practically all of the lands in the proposed dis 
trict, appear to reclaimable, although the time required and cost will 
vary considerably. Profitable levels of production have been reached 
in "rom three to five years on the lands developed in recent years, 
but five years or longer may be needed before this level is reached 
in the more seriously affected areas and on the lands having less 
desirable physical characteristics." 

The average cost of reclaiming the alkali lands was estimated 
to be $750 per acre including an average cost of $250 per acre Tor 
tlie raw land (p. 83) and $150 per acre for crop losses during the 
period of reclamation. 

The report recognizes that "reclamation and land development 
involves a sizeable investment", (p. 83)- However, other factor;:- are 
mentioned, such as income tax deductions for annually recurring costs 
associated with reclamation, and through cost sharing under the 
Agricultural Conservation Program (p.8^)j market values ^or developed 
land, as then understood, were $500 to $1,000 per acre. 

Payment capacities for we.tor were estimated on the basis o^ the 


crop yields in Kern County as shown by the reports o^ the 
County Agricultural Ccmaissioner. For V and VS lands comprising 
(VP the district, the payment capacity was estimated to "be $21.00 per 
acre -foot, ^or the poorer Vhs, Vis and Vps lands, the estimated 
payment capacity was $15.00 per acre (p. 80). Deducting $5-25 pe*" 
acre -foot for the cost o: r distribution leaves $9-75 to $15-75 P e r 
acre foot payment capacity at delivery from the State canal. The 
district, average would be $1^.75 per acre foot (p. 89). 

At the time this report was prepared, the cost of state water 
had not been announced. It was thought that this price would be 
within the payment capacity and tte report concluded that the district 
project, was feasible (p.89) 

It is, therefore, indicated that the proposed project, so "ar 
as it can "be defined at the present time, possesses this essential 
element of feasibility . June 30, 195&" (p. 9*0 - 

The maps included in report show the irrigated area in 
195^. These lands were in the eastern part of the district. Only 
a minor area was shown just north of Wasco Road in the area rejected 
for inclusion in the Buena Vista Water Storage District. The land 
classification map shows the lands rejected for the Buena Vista Water 
Storage District as having limited crop adaptability due to salts 
and cither fine texture or shallow depth. The map showing the esti 
mated gypsum requirements shows these lands generally in the one to 
-fourteen tons per acre. The largest requirements, thirty tons or 
more, are mainly in the northern part of the District. 

In its Bulletin No. 119-8, dated September, 19^3, the Department 
o p Water Resources estimated that the water toll, per acre foot at the 
California Aqueduct near Tupman where the Semi tropic Water Storage 


would receive its supply, will vary from $10.00 in 1968 to $12.00 
in 1990. Adding the estimated $5-25 per acre foot cost of distri 
bution gives an average cost at the -"arm delivery of $15.25 per acre 
foot in 19^8. This estimated cost can be compared with the the esti 
mated payment capacity in the 1958 report of $21.00 per acre foot 
"or tue better lands and $15.00 for the poorer lands. The average 
ability to pay For the entire Semitropic Water Storage District 
exceeds the estimated cost of state water, but the estimated costs 
exceed the ability to pay of about 20$ of the district land. 

This extended review of the Semitropic Water Storage District 
has been made in an effort to see what support might be presented 
*"or the reversal o^ the 1928 conclusions regarding the -feasibility 
of the irrigation o^ the trough lands north of Wasco Road. These 
lands wore rejected in 1923 for inclusion in a district which would 
have a relatively low cost of water. In 1958, they were found to 
be feasible for inclusion in the high cost Semitropic Water Storage 

These lands have not changed materially in the thirty years 
between these two results. Some advances have been made in alkali 
amendments although the costs of such reclamation may exceed the 
value of the reclaimed land. 

It is still my opinion that the action in 1928 was justified 
and that it was in the interests of the Buena Vista Water Storage 
District to have these lands excluded. It is also still my position 
that the best interests of the better lands in the Semitropic Water 
Storage District will be served by the exclusion from its area of 
the low quality land now in its boundaries including the trough lands 
north o^ Wasco Road. 



This District included the areas in the Madera Irrigation Dis 
trict and the Miller and Lux areas served from the Son Joaquin River. 
This account includes the earlier work I had done relating to the 
Madera Irrigation District prior to the water storage district work 
as well as the later San Joaquin River Water Storage District. 

My -"irst work relating to the Madera area was the preparation 
of a "Preliminary Office Report on the Possibilities of Forming an 
Irrigation District in Madera County, California", dated January 11, 
191^. This report was prepared for the irrigation investigations of 
the U.S.D.A. It discussed generally the lands, water supply and irri 
gation system relating to such a district. It was prepared for use 
by a local committee considering the organization of such a district. 
An irrigation district containing about 350,000 acres was organized 
in 1920. In 1921, this district voted $28,000,000 in bonds to con 
struct storage on the San Joaquin River at Millerton (now Friant). 

Storage on the San Joaquin River required the determination of 
the prior appropriations and the riparian rights on the river. Efforts 
to reach such a determination resulted in ai agreement to organize a 
water storage district to included both the Madera I.D. and other lands 
served by diversions ^rom the San Joaquin River. 

Prior to this agreement a petition had been presented for the 
organization o^ the San Joaquin Water Storage District, including 
about 550,000 acres under the Miller and Lux canals. This was pro 
tested by the Madera I.D. When the compromise was worked out, the 
Sun J ja iuin Water Storage District procedure was dropped and the San 
Joamiin River Water Storage District was started. 


The petition f or the larger district was filed on January 18, 
1923. Tiie engineering studies were actively undertaken by W.C. 
famine tt "or Miller and Lux, Harry Barnes for the Madera I.D. and my- 
sei" for the State Engineer. 

The proposed district included about 950,000 acres. The boun 
daries had been drawn in accordance with the compromise agreement and 
included much poor land. The poor lands were generally of two classes, 
a shallow hardpan area in the eastern portion of the Madera I.D. and 
the Miller and Lux grass ."lands or swamp pasture areas. 

The Water Storage District Acts required the State Engineer, in 
approving the petition for the organization or a water storage dis 
trict, to certify that the lands to be included were susceptible of 
irrigfition from a common source. This requirement was interpreted 
by Mr. McClure, the State Engineer, to mean more than physical suscepti 
bility o p being irrigated from the common source. He considered that 
"susceptible meant economically susceptible, and that the lands on 
which the District supply would be used had to be capable o p producing 
crops which would meet the costs. 

I prepared two reports on the history of the San Joaquin River 
"Trvter Storage District. One was a summary of this history to July 1, 
1923. A copy of this is No. 6 of Item 3Y of my bibliography -file. 
A more complete report was entitled Records of the Relation of the 
State Engineer s Office to the San Joaquin River Water Storage District 
This is No. 7 in Item 37- It consists o^ three parts. Part I covers 
matters prior -to organization; Part II from organization to presenta 
tion of Plan o" May 25, 1925: arid Part III from "Abandonment of Plun 
or May 72, 1925 to Reorganisation o p Board of Directors, September 7. 
h General Items to July 1, 192-3 1 . 


These reports describe the procedure relating to the District 
and the conflicts between the State Engineer s interpretation of his 
responsibilities under the Water Storage .X strict Act. It is not 
necessary to repeat all o r this history here. Basically, the Dis 
trict took the position that the authority o f the State Engineer was 
limited to checking names on the petition and other routine items 
wituout discretionary authority to modify the proposed boundaries 
or to pass on the merits o p the proposed plan. At the first hearing 
on the petition, ^or the San Joaquin Water Storage District, Edward 
Treadwell, the attorney for Miller and Lux, became quite emphatic in 
Ills accusations regarding the position a" the State ^ngine^-r. Mr. 
McClure maintained his position and dignity. Later, representatives 
r> f Miller and Lux apologized for Mr. Treadwell s conduct. Milton 
farmer, who was the attorney for the Madera I.D. and 3.ater r or the 
San Joaiuin River Water Storage District, also tried to coerce Mr. 
Me C lure to change his position. This did not work either. I was in 
the middle o r these controversies supplying Mr. McClure with the 
supporting material -for his position. 

When I first began to work -"or Mi 1 . McClure, I was told that I 
might not be able to count on his staying with a position under 
-ttack. I have seen him tested many times in the controversies re 
lating to the water storage district procedure. He never gave way 
under any of these attacks and always supported me in any actions I 
took which he had approved. It was a pleasure to tii - .e part in these 
matters with this kind o p support. 

When the State Engineer had advised the San Joaiuin Water Stor 
age District that he would not approve the organization o f the Dis- 
i-.rict as proposed because of the inclusion of poor lands, there was 


a heated reaction which gradually cooled off. Later, the District 
proposed that a board o*" three should be appointed to revise the 
boundaries. This was to consist of Mr. Hatnmatt for Miller and Lux, 
Harry Barnes or the Kadera I.D. and myself for the State Engineer, 
Mr. McClurs agreed to such a board. However, a^ter the agreement 
had been made, the District set a thirty-day limit on the completion 
of the land classification. I declined to be bound by this time limit 
and Kamnatt and Barnes proceeded, Hammatt covering the Miller and 
Lux lands and Barnes the Madera I.D. area. Later, I reviewed their 
results and we agreed on a revised district boundary. 

When this board was proposed and Mr. McClure had named me to 
represent him, Mr. Nickel of Miller and Lux proposed that he should 
also name me to represent them in order to save the expense o~f the 
third man. Mr. McClure pointed out the reasons why this would not 
be proper; if ae had not, I would have declined the double duty. 

When it had been agreed that the boundaries should be revised, 
Mr. Nickel wanted the board to start immediately. Mr. Hammatt ex 
plained that he was committed getting married the next week and tak 
ing a two-week honeymoon. Mr. Nickel commented that it only took 
on", day to get married and this was no excuse for delay. Mr. Hammatt 
took his honeymoon. This remark had particular interest coming p rom 
Mr. Nickel, as the one day in his life which determined his whole 
future was the day he married Henry Miller s daughter. 

The area in the San Joaquin River Water Storage District as 
MrLit proponed was about 933*000 acres. About 332,000 acres were 
excluded. This reduced the Madera T.D. area included in the-,- Water 
Storage District to about 200,000 from 375,000 acres. The remainder 


was nearly all. the exclusion of vhiat were called the Miller and Lux 
grass lands. This terra was used to distinguish these lands from the 
cropped lands. These grass lands were generally on the areas subject 
to overflow ^rom the San Joaquin River or from canals. They received 
whatever water might be available in excess of the demands of the 
crop lands. The grass lands had not been levelled and were -flooded 
to toe depths needed to submerge their areas. The forage produced 
was usually of poor quality and low value. 

In November, 1923> I prepared a report on "Feasibility of Pro 
posed San Joaquin River Water Storage District". This was prepared 
"or the State Engineer in compliance with Section 5 of the Water 
Storage District Act. A copy of this report is Item 35 in my bibli 
ography file. 

Tn tills report, I found the proposed district o^ 933*000 acres 
not to be feasible. At the time this report was made the revision 
of the boundaries had been completed. I p ound that the resulting 
55^,000 acre district was feasible if adequate agreements could be 
reached on matters of values and water rights a.nd recommended its 
approval for organization. 

The next question was how to exclude lands that were included 
in the organization petition. There was no question regarding th^ 
authority of the State Engineer to exclude lands if the owner peti 
tioned for exclusion. Securing such petitions ^rom all of the owners 
o f the lands to be excluded was recognized as impractical. Abandoning 
this district and starting a new district also meant delay and costs. 

The lawyers finally agreed that an exclusion bv the State Engi 
neer without petition by the owner would stand if th? owner did not 
protest prior to the District s organization. This was done. No 


owner protested. The District went to the organization 
election with the reduced area. The election carried and was not contested. 

Following its organization, the District established its of "Pice 
in Los Banos, appointed Harry Barnes its engineer and Milton Farmer 
Its attorney. Although the nine District directors divisions had 
been adjusted to give Miller and Lux four directors and the other 
land owners ^our with the ninth selected by the other eight, Miller 
and Lux took over the direction of District policy and action. 

The preparation of a District plan was undertaken. In April, 
192^.. the State Engineer had advised the District that, in his opin 
ion, the water storage district act required that a district plan 
be based on determined prices for works to be purchased rather than 
on estimates o* what the cost o" works to be purchased might be. 

In 1925, the District made available to the State Engineer 
the material it planned to use in its district plan and asked for 
comments regarding its adequacy. A brie review of this material 
was made in April, 1925- This indicated that the District did not 
have the material necessary to complete an adequate plan and the Dis 
trict was so advised. The District, however, attempted to present a 
plan dated May 22, 1925- This plan was authorized to be submitted 
by Resolution No. 7^ of the District board and to be "iled in compliance 
with Section 1? of the California Water Storage District Act. 

The May 22, 3925, plan was so obviously faulty in its omissions, 
inconsistencies and infeasible costs for some areas that it was 
rejected by the State Engineer. The District threatened action by 
attempting to secure a writ of mandate to force its acceptance. No 
legs] Hclvion, however, was taken. 

In rejecting the May 22, 1925, plan, Mr. McClure o^ferod to have me 


review the plan in detail and to point out its defects. This o-Pfer 
was accepted and resulted in my report o-f September 1, 1925, on the 
Proposed Plan of the San Joaquin River Water Storage District as 
Submitted Informally to the State Engineer by Resolution No. 76 of 
the Board o" Directors of the San Joaquin River Water Storage District". 
T~;ls is Item 37a o^ my bibliography file. This report reviewed the 
details o* the proposed plan. 

It was my conclusion, as expressed in the September 1, 1925, 
report, that tlie proposed plan lacked the required essentials o ** a 
statutory plan. Its defects would require correction before the 
requirements o^ the Storage District Act could be met. It was also 
concluded that i r a proper plan were completed based on the appraisals 
used in the proposed plan, it would result in an in^easible proj:--:t. 
The statement was made, "If matters of water rights are adjusted 
equitably snd if existing properties can be acquired at a price 
representing their reasonable value, this project is feasible. The 
general nature of the adjustments required and the costs are discussed 
at length in the report". 

My report contained 167 pages. This length enabled the proposed 
plan to be discussed in detail. 

Efforts to reach an equitable adjustment of the various issues 
involved outside o^ litigation were urged, ^or such a large and 
involved project, only a plan prepared with the full understanding 
and approval o^ the conflicting interest could expect to succeed. 

Prior to the completion of my report o^ September 1, 1925> there 
were discussions and correspondence between the District and the State 
Engineer. The State Engineer returned the proposed plan to the Dis 
trict. It had been submitted informally and McClure wanted to avoid 


any later claims that the sixty-day period for his review was running. 
On June 5, 1925, the District board voted to recall the May 22 plan 
and accepted Mr. McClure s offer of cooperation. 

The details of the actions relating to the May 22, 1925, proposed 
plan are included in my report of July 1, 1923, Part II on the relations 
o* the State Engineer to the District. 

Much of the controversy over the proposed plan related to the 
appraisal o" the Miller and Lux properties to "be acquired by the 
District. The District employed A. Kempkey to participate in these 
negotiations for them and Miller and Lux employed ^red H. Tibbetts 
bo repres e nt them. Mr. Nickel insisted that these two reach an agree 
ment on a purchase price. Such an agreement was reached. 

The proposed plan had a total estimated cost of $31,500,000. 
This was about equally divided between the purchase of existing works 
and water. rights and the construction of new vrrks . The purchase of 
properties was divided nearly $10,000,000 for water rights and nearly 
$6,000,000 r or physical properties. 

As a result of the objections to the proposed price of the Miller 
and Lux properties, the District appointed a board of review consist 
ing of Messrs. Haehl, Hermann and Etcheverry to report on these 
prices. The District attempted to make it appear that the selection 
of the members of this board had been approved by Mr. McClure. The 
details of this matter are contained in Part III of my July 1, 1923, 
report (Part III, No. 7 in Item 37 of my bibliography file). 

A^ter the rejection of the May 22, 1925, proposed plan, when 
it was planned that an effort would be made to prepare an acceptable 
plan, it was recognized that such a plan would require the withdrawal 
of the Miller arid Lux members of the District board. This was necessary 


to avoid the conflict o" interest statute. 

This was a similar situation to that which had arisen previously 
in the Kern River Water Storage Project. It was similarly handled. 
The Miller and Lux directors resigned, I drew the job of finding their 
successors and my recommendations were appointed. 

A factor in the prodeedings relating to the San Joaquin River 
Storage District was the financial position of Miller and Lux. When 
Henry Miller died in 19l6, Miller and Lux had no mortgage debt. His 
inheritance taxes were about $U, 000, 000. This was borrowed. J. 
Leroy Nickel replaced lenry Miller as president of Miller and Lux 
and attempted to operate the properties. These operations resulted 
in -further borrowing arid by 1925^ the indebtedness had increased to 
about $15,000,000. If the District plan had gone through, Miller 
and Lux would have received sufficient payment for the properties to 
bo sold to the District to have placed them in a much improved posi 
tion. When the plan for the District was not approved Filler and 
Lux negotiated two mortgage loans. These were in the form of bonds 
sold to the public. One was for $15,000,000 secured by their Cali- 
^ornia lands and the other was for $10,000,000 secured by their water 
rights and their lands in other states. These issues were approved 
by the Superintendent of Banks, although I had recommended that they 
should include a provision that if bonds were issued for which these 
lands were the security, when any of these lands were sold, the land 
bond should be retired, in an equal amount. This was unacceptable 
to those handling the Miller and Lux bond issue and was not required 
b c the Superintendent of Banks. 

The Miller and Lux bond issues included a provision that repre 
sentation of the bond holders should have a majority on the Miller 


and Lux board of directors. This was done and the liquidation 
of Miller and Lux properties to pay off the boixd issues was begun. 
James Fickett was placed in charge of this program. Eventually 
enough properties were sold to retire these bond issues. Miller 
and Lux still had substantial assets left after payment of these 
loans . 

A recent aftermath of the partial liquidation of the Miller 
and Lux properties has been the litigation among the present 
generation heirs over claimed fraud in sales which were made. 
The story of this litigation is outside of this account of the 
San Joaquin River Water Storage District and is available in the 
court records. It resulted in financial settlements and a very 
large legal fee to the attorney who worked up the case. My only 
comment is that I worked with Judge Woolley, then attorney for 
Miller and Lux, during the District procedures. In my opinion, 
if there were improper actions taken in selling Miller and Lux 
lands to favored buyers at too low prices, it was done without 
participation by Judge Woolley. Judge Woolley was a director 
of Miller and Lux during the period of these sales. 

Following the rejection of its proposed plan in 1926, the 
District continued some activity until 1929* when its board of 
directors resolved to request the attorney- general to bring 
dissolution proceedings. Provision for such action is included 
in the Water Storage District Act. This was done and the District 
was dissolved. Thus ended an unsuccessful effort to develop stor 
age on the San Joaquin River by a local organization for use on 
lands served from the River or the adjacent lands. 


The organization of the Madera Irrigation District had been 
maintained during the Water Storage District activities. When 
the Storage District was dissolved, the District resumed its 
efforts to secure water for its area. 

The State Engineer had been subject to extensive criticism 
for the position he had taken on the acceptance of the proposed 
plan of the San Joaquin River Water Storage District. As I was 
the author of the reports on which such actions were based, I 
had to meet similar attacks. It was then my opinion that the 
position taken was in accord with the terms of the Water Storage 
District Act and in the public interest. I have seen no reason 
to change this opinion in the forty years since these actions were 

While the actions of the State Engineer on the District plan 
were unpopular in the 1920 s, the attitude within the District 
area changed in the depression of the 1930 s. If the proposed 
plan had been carried out in the 1920 s, the District would have 
been subject to the same financial conditions which caused defaults 
in so many California irrigation districts having similar bond 
changes to meet. During the 1930 s, some of the more active oppo 
nents of the State Engineer s action in the 1920 s expressed their 
thanks for such actions which had prevented the proposed plan from 
being completed. The actions taken in the 1920 s were based entirely 
on the then conditions without foresight regarding what occurred 
in the 1930 s. These actions were supported by the conditions 
in the 1920 s alone. Looking back now, they are additionally 

If the proposed plan of the San Joaquin Water Storage District 


had been carried out, the conditions which the Central Valley 
Project would have had to meet would have been more difficult to 
work out. The grass land water rights would have been in use on 
crop lands and not available for purchase. Additional exchange 
water would have had to be pumped from the Delta. Storage at 
Priant would have been needed with a larger capacity than the San 
Joaquin River Water Storage District would have constructed. En 
largement of this storage would have been more complex than original 

Miller and Lux has sold its San Joaquin and King s River Canal 
System to a recently organized irrigation district in its area. The 
C. V. P. exhange agreement gives Miller and Lux a more favorable 
water supply than they had previously. The Madera I.D. area is now 
served by the C. V. P. under terms more favorable than it could 
have secured as a separate district financed by its own bonds. 

The present conditions in the former area of the San Joaquin 
Water Storage District are all more favorable than they would have 
been if the proposed plan of the 1920 s had been carried out. It 
is still my opinion that the actions of the State Engineer in the 
1920 s represents a realistic and courageous facing of the responsi 
bilities of the State Engineer as then defined by statute. 

My work on the San Joaquin River Water Storage District also 
brought me into contact with the general affairs of Miller and Lux. 
Some comments on their mortgage bond results have already been made, 
as it had relationship to District matters. Some of the items of 
bearing on the District include the following. These may have some 
general interest. 


Edward Treadwell was the attorney for Miller and Lux prior 
to the death of Henry Miller. His employment was under an annual 
contract for his services. When Henry Miller died, Treadwell 
handled the inheritance tax procedure for the estate. After this 
matter had been completed, Treadwell submitted a bill for his ser 
vices to the estate. Payment was refused on the ground that his 
services came within his annual contract with Miller and Lux. Tread- 
well brought suit and won. As I remember it, the fee was $300, OCX). 
The inheritance tax was about $U, 000, 000. It was reported that the 
jury expressed regret that Treadwell had only sued for $300,000; 
they would have like to have given him more. This reflects the attitude 
then prevailing toward Miller and Lux. Mr. Treadwell was replaced 
at this time as attorney for Miller and Lux. 

Another indication of the difficulty of Miller and Lux secur 
ing impartial juries is shown by their experience with cattle rust 
lers. Killing a Miller and Lux steer for meat was not locally con 
sidered to be a crime. When such rustlers were caught, convictions 
^y J U *T trial were almost impossible to secure. Miller and Lux are 
reported to have adopted the practice of prosecuting for trespass 
and securing injunctions against the individuals accused from fur 
ther trespass on Miller and Lux lands. This gave the accused 
individuals one free offense, but placed any later offenses within 
the discretion of the judge for contempt of court without jury trial. 

Henry Miller had a rule that no one should be refused food 
at his camps. Those seeking meals were required to wait until the 
employees had eaten when they could eat second table. As they ate 
off the dishes of the first table, the Miller and Lux camps came to 


be known as the Dirty Plate Route. The Miller and Lux lands vere 
sufficiently extensive that a tramp could almost eat his way the 
length of the San Joaquin Valley. 

In the 1920 s, I worked on a case involving the Montague 
Water Conservation District vs. Duke, tried at Yreka. Duke was 
a very interesting character of the pioneer type. He claimed to 
have been Henry Miller s body guard for many years. I do not know 
the actual history of such services by Mr. Duke, but the story 
lost nothing in his telling of his experiences. Duke was raising 
Hereford bulls at the time of the Montague case. 

Treadwell wrote a biography of Henry Miller entitled "The 
Cattle King," published in 1931 by the MacMillan Company. Treadwell 
called this a dramatized biography. It is well-written and gives 
a good insight into the character of Henry Miller and his accumula 
tion of the vast Miller and Lux properties. This was written after 
Treadwell s litigation with the heirs. It is evident that this 
later controversy did not affect Treadwell s admiration for his 
former employer. 



This material relates to the above named district through its 
organization period when my contacts with it were "based on my work 
for the State Engineer in his procedure under the Water Storage 
District Act. These matters were internal to this district. 

Later matters in which I represented the Tulare Lake Basin 
Water Storage District in procedures relating to its four tributary 
streams are discussed separately later. 

A petition for the organization of the Tulare Lake Water 
Storage District was filed on August 30, 1923- Hearings were held, 
the petition approved and an election on organization was held 
October 10, 192^. This District proposed to regulate the inflow 
to Tulare Lake in a sump reservoir within the lake area. About 
175>000 acres were included in this District. 

There had been conflicts of interest among some of the larger 
land interests in the Tulare Lake area. After the Tulare Lake Water 
Storage District was organized these conflicts were compromised and 
an agreement to organize a larger water storage district in the lake 
area was reached. The Tulare Lake Water Storage District was dissolved 
by court order on July 29, 1927. 

The petition for the enlarged Tulare Lake Basin Water Storage 
District was filed on October 7, 1925. A plan filed April 20, 1927, 
by the new district was rejected for lack of a definite basis of 
benefits and other details (Bull. 21, p. 38l). 

This first plan was revised, filed, accepted and proceeded 
to assessment in 1928. I was one of the three assessors. The other 
two were George A. Atherton of Stockton and Stanley Abel, a super 
visor in Kern County. There were no protests at the equalization 


hearing and the assessment became official. 

One of the terms in the lake agreement on which the organization 
of the Tulare Lake Basin Water Storage District was based was that 
there should be eleven directors divided as specified among the var 
ious interests. The State Engineer considered this number to be too 
large to be desirable but accepted it. It was considered that the 
advantages of the agreement outweighed the unwieldiness of the Board. 

The plan involved purchase of land in the lower lake area for 
use as a reservoir. An option to purchase this township (1/2 fee and 
1/2 easement) was completed prior to the adoption of the plan. As 
no such purchases recurred after the organization of the district, 
it was not considered that the conflict of interest statutes applied. 
The selling interests were represented on the compromise board. 

There were some points of difference between the State Engineer 
and the proponents of this district in the organization procedure. 
These were worked out by agreement. Among these were actions on 
petitions for inclusion and exclusion. Some boundary changes were 
made from those contained in the petition. 

In my work for Mr. McClure on the Tulare Lake Basin Water Storage 
District, I received the same full support that I received in all 
other matters. Following Mr. McClure s death on June 22, 1926, Paul 
Bailey became State Engineer for a short period. Bailey would meet 
with the proponents of the district and agree to actions without 
advising me of the results. Where such actions! represented changes 
in policy, I found myself trying to enfirce action which had been 
rescinded. This difficulty was removed when Edward Hyatt became 
State Engineer. I was on the point of quitting when this change 
occurred. As the proponents of the district were paying for my 


services for the State Engineer (as provided in the Water Storage Dis- 


trict Act) and as I had already done most of the organizational engi 
neering, I tried to stick it out and did. 

The record of all of the procedure relating to these two dis 

tricts was filed in the office of the State Engineer. When I retired 
from work for the District in 1953.> I turned over to the district my 
correspondence and other pertinent materials. I also gave Stanley 
Barnes of J.G. Boswell and Company copies of nearly all of the reports 
I had made, including those relating to its early procedure. Any 
detail items that may be needed should be ^cund in these sources. 
Boswell and Company is now the largest land owner in the Lake. 

Tulare Lake has had a long story in its reclamation. As early 
as diversions from its tributary streams began to diminish its inflow, 
reclamation around its margins began. This area was subject to wide 
variations in its inflow with similar wide variations in its area and 
crop opportunity. By the time of the organization of the water stor 
age district, the average inflow had been reduced to a point where 
submergence of crop land could be controlled except in years of ex 
cessive stream flow. The incentive behind the organization of the 
storage district was the desire to improve the frequency and extent 
to which these lands could be cropped. 

Early reclamation in Tulare Lake involved large risks and, when 
successful, large profits. This situation attracted individuals 
willing and able to take such chances for the chance that such pro 
fits could be made. Recognizing these conditions, they accepted the 
results when losses occurred. 

Reclamation in Tulare Lake was not practical on small areas. 
This necessarily led to the ownership of large tracts. Residence 


in Tulare Lake was also not practical in the early years due to the 
danger of becoming flooded. Equipment could be moved in and out but 
home improvements were not safe. The lack of underground water supply 
for domestic use was, and still is, a deterrent to local settlement. 

Early crops were mainly grain. This could be seeded in the fall 
and in some years harvested before the heavier runoff of the succeed 
ing year. Much grain was lost by submergence befor* it could be har 
vested. Crops were "mudded in" as the water receded being planted in 
the exposed areas and grown by the moisture retained from the pre 
ceding submergence. Only annual crops were suited to these conditions. 

The conditions in Tulare Lake required operators able to make 
decisions quickly. Word might be received that inflow was on the way. 
An immediate decision on whether to try to hold the levee, to abandon 
the area or to try to harvest ahead of the rising water had to be 
made without reference to some committee for debate. These condi 
tions naturally attracted individuals able to operate under these 
conditions. They were a hardy group that had the pioneer spirit and 
the pioneer opposition to restraint by others. 

The independence in their own operations resulted in the con 
flicts that arose in the lake. If another levee broke first, it 
might supply sufficient outlet that your own levee could be held. 
There are stories of breaks that may have been aided by competing 
interests. It is difficult to determine how much of this Is now folk 
lore and how much is fact. Placing guards on levees was practiced 
both for watching the water andto avoid trespass by others. 

No history of Tulare Lake would be complete without mentioning 
A.D. Schindler. Mr. Schindler had been an engineer for the Santa FP 
Railroad and had become acquainted with Tulare Lake in his work on 


their line in the valley. He left the railroad and secured backing 
for the development of lands in the Tulare Lake Basin. This backing 
was from a group which came to be known locally as the Santa Fe 
crowd. The King s County Development Company was formed and acquired 
lands in the lake largely in its northeast portion- 

Schindler was a good operator. He developed the early plans 
for the lake and undertook to carry them out. Others were also 
active in other portions of the lake. However, during the organiza 
tion period, Echindler was recognized as the general leader. 

Like similar pioneers, Schindler had his own ideas and was used 
to having his own way. In the organization of the District, various 
differences with the requirements of the State occurred. I repre 
sented the State Engineer and handled the detailed contacts with the 
proponents of the District. These included various sessions with 
Schindler, some of which reached the table thumping stage. No matter 
how emphatic he might become, Schindler was never personally abusive. 
I regard our acquaintance and I think our friendship as one of my valu 
able experiences. 

Early engineers working in the lake area included Max Enderlein 
and Harmon Bonte. Roy May came a little later. Enderlein wore out 
an auto showing the engineers of the State Reclamation Board over 
the lake area in 1916 and was appointed as a member of the Board of 
Assessors for the Board in assessing benefits for their projects in 
the Sacramento Valley. Etcheverry and Hermann were the other two 
members and dominated the Board. Bonte, in later years, was with 
the Irrigation District Securities Commission and Stone and Youngberg. 
Roy May was County Engineer of King s County as well as engineer of 
the Tulare Lake Basin Water Storage District at the time of his 


death on January 19, 19^7. 

In ray later work for the Tulare Lake Basin Water Storage District, 
I prepared a history of the water supply of Tulare Lake. This included 
what I could assemble on its past fluctuations and conditions. It 
is entitled, "Inflow to Tulare Lake from its Tributary Streams," August, 
19^9- It summarized the available records and reports with estimates 
of the inflow from 1850 to date (129 pages). It is Item 8U in my bib 
liographical file. 

The Tulare Lake Basin Water Storage District made some payments 
on its purchase of the sump lands and then allowed them to revert to 
their former owners. The district has operated to represent the lake 
area in its negotiations with the water rights on King : s River and its 
other tributaries. Its early plan has been superseded by later pro 
grams based on the storage that has been built on its four tributaries. 

The Tulare Lake Basin Water Storage District has performed a 
useful function for the lake area and for the entire South Fork of 
King s River from its organization. It has furnished a common meeting 
place in which local differences could be resolved and a united front 
presented for its area. It has not constructed internal works or oper 
ated the division of water which reached the sump. Its results, in my 
opinion, have well justified its organization and the costs for its 



In 1923 the legislature passed the Water Conservation District 
Act which enabled a group of other forms of public agencies to join 
in the construction of common works of benefit to all of the included 
units. This act was designed to fit the conditions on Kings River 
where about twenty different canals systems were considering joining 
in storage at the Pine Flat site. The number of separate units in 
volved made a stronger form of organization than a simple partnership 
desireable. Such storage could have been handled under the water 
storage district organized under the Water Storage District Act. 
However, in the water storage districts the costs are allocated to 
each individual land owner in accordance with the benefits secured 
from the district plan. On Kings River, the units desired to use 
their local units to distribute the costs to the individual land 
owners in accordance with the particular form of district act under 
which they were organized. 

The Water Conservation District Act provides that all of the 
included units shall be organized public agencies. On Kings River 
nearly all of the units were California irrigation districts. However, 
the three south Kings canals (Peoples, Last Chance and Lemoore) were 
mutual water companies. It was proposed that irrigation districts 
should be organized to take over these mutual water companies. 

The organization of a water conservation district is initiated 
by- a petition signed by at least three of the units so included. The 
act creates a Board of three members to conduct the district pre- 
organization procedure. This board consisted of the State Engineer 
as chairman and the two executive directors provided for in the Water 
Storage District Act. 


The Conservation District Act requires the election oft an organi 
zation to carry in all of the units to be included. The allotment of 
the costs are made by the Board prior to the election on organization. 
This makes it essential that there be a definite plan on which depend 
able cost estimates have been made and that there is an enforceable 
agreement on the service each unit will receive. 

A petition for the organization of the Kings River Water Conser 
vation District was filed on June 12, 192^. On this same date, the 
State Irrigation Board met and organized. W.F. McClure as State Engi 
neer was chairman and W.P. Boone of Fresno and D. Joseph Coyne of Los 
Angeles were the other two members. Mr. Boone was chairman of the 
Kings River Water Association and did not participate in the legal 
actions of the Board. As I was doing the engineering work for the 
State Engineer on this proposed project, I was appointed secretary 
of the board. 

A hearing was held at Fresno on July l6, 192^ and the sufficiency 
of the petition was approved. The Kings River Water Association under 
took the engineering studies required for the district plan. George 
L. Swendsen was the engineer and manager for the Fresno District, 
Harry Haehl represented the lower areas on the North side of Kings 
River and Max Enderlein the lower areas on the South side. Swendsen 
also represented the Alta and the Consolidated Districts. I repre 
sented the State Engineer and worked with these local engineers. I 
also handled the procedure matters as secretary of the board. 

From July l6, 192^ to May k, 1928, a total of eleven adjourned 
hearings were held. These generally were progress meetings. However, 
at the hearing on July 9, 1926, the proponents were advised that a permanent 

river schedule was a prerequisite to the organization of the district. 


The river was then being operated under a schedule dividing the first 
two thousand second feet of river flow. A schedule covering the total 
diversions was required if the storable flow was to "be defined. The 
Board also advised the proponents that it would be reluctant to hold 
further hearings unless progress on such a schedule could be shown. 

Four further hearings were held. At the hearing on May k, 1928, 
the Board closed its hearings and suspended its activities on the peti 
tion until the proponents were ready to proceed. I, as secretary and 
engineer, was instructed to assemble the records and file them in the 
State Engineer s office. This was done. 

This was the last heating held on this district. By the time the 
proponents were ready to proceed, they had decided not to use the 
Conservation District Act for their project. The project as proposed 
in the 1920 s has not been carried out as a Water Conservation District 
Act under the 1923 Act. Pine Flat was later constructed under the 19^- 
authorization as a flood control project. 

I prepared a report entitled "History of Kings River Water Conser 
vation District from Presentation of Organization Petition on June 
192U to May 1928". This report is No. U in Item U7 in my bibliographical 
file. In October, 192^, I had prepared a short report on the "Status 

of Water Rights on Kings River", which covered the schedule and 
progress on a more inclusive schedule. This report is No. 10 in Item 

Swendsen, Haehl and Enderlein made what became known as the Engi 
neer s Report of May 1926. This report recommended a schedule for 
this river. The schedule adopted in 1927 "by the main river and North 
Fork units was based on this report. The South Fork users did not 
accept their allotment under this schedule at that time and did not 


become a party to the 192? agreement. 

The procedure under the proposed Kings River Water Conservation 
District was not productive of an organization or the construction of 
storage at Pine ?iat. To this extent it failed to meet its objectives. 
This procedure was useful, however, in securing action on the Kings 
River Agreement of 1927 which defined the relative water rights of 
the parties to this agreement. By insisting that any storage at Pine 
Flat would have to be based on defined rights to the direct flow as a 
necessity for river operation, the Irrigation Board performed a useful 
service of sufficient value to the Kings River area to justify its 

The Water Conservation District Act of 1923 has not been used 
p or any other projects. It is not probable that conditions on any 
other California streams will result in its use. The Irrigation 
Board named in the Act was carried for several years in the directory 
of the State Organizations. My name as secretary was included in this 
list. I used to receive occasional mail as secretary from those who 
saw this listing and thought the Board might represent a prospective 
customer for their products. This listing was eventually dropped. 

The preceding discussion has been limited to the procedure in 
the 1920 s relating the proposed Kings River Water Conservation 
District. I had done work previously on Kings River in 1912 in the 
preparation of the Central California portion of the investigations 
of the irrigation resources of the state and during World War I for 
the War T^ood Administration in getting the injunction against 
diversion by the Lakelands Canal removed. I also did wcsrk on Kings 
River concurrently with the conservation district procedure in the 

1920 s as a part of the preparation of Bulletin 11, "Ground Water 


Resources of the Southern San Joaquin Valley" . This is discussed 
separately later. My work on the organization of the Tulare Lake 
Basin Water Storage District has already been discussed. 

After 1930, my work on Kings River was done as consulting engi 
neer for the Tulare Lake Basin Water Storage District. This is des 
cribed later. 


THE HERMINGHAUS CASE 200 Calif. 8l, 252 Pac. 607(1926), 275 U.S. 1*86(1927) 

When storage for power purposes was planned on the upper San 
Joaquin River, the power companies made contracts with Miller and Lux 
permitting such storage to be operated under the terms of these con 
tracts. The contracts included schedules under which the stored water 
was to be released as well as the conditions under which the reser 
voirs could be filled. This power development was made by different 
power companies and at different times. By the 1920 s all of the 
power development on the San Joaquin River, except on the North Fork 
and at the Kerckhoff plant, the lowest plant on the San Joaquin River, 
had come into the ownership of the Southern California Edison Company. 
The power company had also made contracts with some of the other 
riparian land owners on the San Joaquin River above the mouth of the 
Merced River. These contracts were needed under the interpreta 
tion of the rights of riparian owners to receive the natural flow of 
the streams to which they were riparian. 

The regulation of the stream flow for power use resulted in a 
net benefit to lower direct flow diversions . A larger part of the 
stream flow, as released after storage for power, occurred within 
the irrigation demand than the natural flow. While such power stor 
age represented a net benefit over-all, the riparian owner could en 
join the storage if it resulted in a detriment to him. The riparian 
owner was not required to offset other benefits under the inter 
pretation of riparian rights by the California court. 

The Herminghaus Ranch contained about 18,000 acres. It was on 
the south side of the San Joaquin River a short distance above Fresno 
Slough. It was used for overflow pasturage. It had been rented by 


Miller and Lux for $1 per acre per year. This represented a total 
net income after county taxes of about $12,000 per year. This repre 
sents a total value of $2^0,000 if capitalized at 5#. 

Herminghaus had no diversion works on the San Joaquin River. 
Some overflow channels that received water at the higher routes of 
river flow transversed the Herminghaus land and discharged their sur 
plus water into Fresno Slough or onto the lower San Joaquin river. 
This overflow had always occurred, as Lt. George H. Derby describes 
such southwesterly flowing channels in 1850. (Ex. Doc. 110 Sen. 
32d Cong. ) 

To maintain the Herminghaus overflow, it was necessary to have 
the higher rates of stream flow continue to come down the river. The 
inlets of the overflow channels required various rates of flow in the 
river before flow would occur in the overflow channels. A river flow 
of 5000 senond feet was required to enable substantial overflow to 

The Edison Company had not made any contract permitting their 
power storage with the owners of the Herminghaus lands. The title 
to these lands had passed to the daughters of the original Herminghaus. 
One of these daughters was married to P.H. Bottoms who was the active 
spokesman for their interests. 

The power company and Bottoms could not reach an agreement on 
a riparian contract and a suit to enjoin the power storage was filed 
on behalf of the Herminghaus owners. This suit was tried in the T resno 
County court before Judge J.E. Woolley. Judge Woolley s lower court 
decision was dated in 1926. It upheld the riparian claims of Herming 
haus to have the flow of the San Joaquin River reach their lands. This 
right was upheld regardless of the relative benefits that could be made 


of the water by the riparian owner in comparison with the benefits 
to the upper appropriation. 

While" Judge Woolley s decision had support under his interpreta 
tion of the decisions of the California Supreme Court, the re 
sults were so extreme that it could not be allowed to stand without 
an appeal to the Supreme Court. Such an appeal was made by the 
Power Company. 

This case involved such an extension of the rights of riparian 
owners that it attracted wide-spread attention. Following the decision 
in Lux v. Haggin in 1886 (69 Cal. 255) which recognized riparian rights 
in this state, the later court decisions had generally tended to es- 
pand the extent of riparian use that could be made under riparian 
rights, although there were a few cases that gave some hope that some 
measure of reasonableness would be required in the use by riparian 
owners. The lower court decision in the Herminghaus case, if upheld, 
would have eliminated paractically any standards of reasonableness in 
riparian use. 

In the appeal of the Herminghaus case, a considerable number of 
other parties filed briefs as amici curiae . This is where I became 
involved in the case as I represented the state engineer, Mr. McClure, 
in the discussions of the issues involved. My part was the supplying 
of factual material relating to the effect this decision would have on 
the beneficial use of water on non-riparian lands. 

The appeal of the Herminghaus case was first argued before the 
California Supreme Court on Jan. 15, 1926 and re-argued on July 29, 
1926. It was decided by the Court on Dec. 2U, 1926. The decision was 
written by Judge Richards. Petitions were filed for rehearing which 
were denied and this decision became final in the state court. The 


original decision of the Supreme Court was signed by the required 
four judges. Judge Shenk dissented. The decision denying the peti 
tion for rehearing was by a decision of k to 3 of the seven judged. 

Following the final decision in the California Supreme Court, 
the Rdison Company filed a petition for a hearing before the U.S. 
Supreme Court. This was granted and an argument was held October 6, 
1927- The arguments by Edward F. Treadwell for the Power Company were 
heard in the morning. The arguments by the attorneys for Herminghaus 
were to have been heard in the afternoon. On the opening of the 
afternoon session, Herminghaus was advised by the court that they 
would not need to present their arguments as the court had already 
decided against the Power Company. 

The account of this argument in the Fresno Bee of October 7 , 
1927 includes the following: 

"Edward F. Treadwell opened the argument for the company but 
encountered a constant flow of questions from members of the court, 
who expressed doubt whether questions were presented which the court 
had the right to review. 

"He consumed all the time allotted his side for argument trying 
to establish that federal questions were presented which brought the 
case within the jurisdiction of the court. 

"At the conclusion of his argument the court took recess for 
luncheon, and upon returning, notified riparian owners along the 
river, who had won in the state s court, that it would not be neces 
sary for their counsel to reply, indicating that it had concluded no 
federal question was presented upon which it should pass and that the 
case must be dismissed for want of jurisdiction." 

There were two main issues involving public interest in the 


Hermlnghaus case. There were first the standard of reasonableness, 
if any, applicable to use of water on riparian land, in contracts 
between riparian owners and appropriators, and second, the extent to 
which storage for future use was within the riparian right. 

On the -first issue there was wide-spread support for some res 
triction on riparian rights based on more than merely "The pleasure 
of its prospect" . Only some of the more favorably located riparian 
owners sought such an unlimited standard of use for riparian lands. 
If this had been the only general issue involved, support for the 
Power Company in its appeal of the Herminghaus case would have been 
widespread and emphatic. 

In an effort to -find a basis on which its storage could be judged 
on some degree of beneficial use in its contest with the lower riparian 
owner, the Edison Company attempted to claim it was also a riparian 
user. It based this claim on the actual ownership of a small area 
in its reservoir and its position as a licensee of the major owner, 
the United States. Not only did the Power Company need to prove that 
it was operating as a riparian right on riparian lands, but it also 
had to prove that its use came within recognized uses which riparian 
owners were entitled to make. 

Generation of power from the direct stream flow was early recog 
nized as within the riparian rights. Exercise of such a right by the 
early grist mills operated by water power was a usual practice. The 
mill pond storage used by such plants was also recognized as within 
the riparian right. Such ponds would be filled during the night to 
provide a larger power flow on the following day. This type of fore- 
bay storage has only a small capacity and the time of storage is short. 


The Edison Company sought to secure court approval of the expan 
sion of the previously recognized forebay type of storage to their 
large capacity reservoirs based on seasonal or future use. The large 
reservoirs involved in this case materially modified the seasonal 
flow of the river and had little relationship to the previously recog 
nized forebay storage. 

Based on the parties to the Herminghaus case alone the public 
interest would not have suffered if the position of the Power Company 
on future storage had been upheld. However, such a decision in this 
case would have become a precedent on other streams where its effect 
would have resulted in major losses. 

While the riparian owners had the right to prevent appropriative 
upstream diversions which would reduce the flow at their land, this 
right could be lost by failure to assert it and adverse use by the 
appropriator under conditions which would establish a prescriptive 
right. The major part of the irrigation diversions were made by canals 
diverting to non-riparian lands with their points of diversion above 
the main areas of riparian land. Many of these diversions had become 
prescriptive against the lower riparian owners. They would not be 
prescriptive, however, against upstream riparian rights and their 
priorities would not be effective aginst upstream use if such use was 
based on riparian rights. 

For these reasons, if the Power Company had been able to esta 
blish its storage for future use as a riparian right, they could have 
operated it without regard to the appropriative downstream rights. 
To prevent such results the irrigation interests participated in the 
appeal of the Herminghaus case in opposition to the Power Company in 
its position on storage for future use as a part of its claimed 


riparian rights. 

This position on the part of the irrigation interests vas taken 
only a-^ter extended discussion among the irrigation interests. Former 
Supreme Court Justice Warren Olney, Jr. presented the arguments for 
the power companies. By this time the other power companies were 
supporting the Edison Company in its position. The Irrigation District 
Association, through its committee of attorneys, spoke for the irri 
gation interests. Former Senator Harris of Fresno was the attorney 
for the Kings River Water Association and was a major participant. 
A.E. Chandler was attorney for the Corcoran I.D., which had a high 
schedule right on Kings River and could be materially affected by 
any upstream riparian storage . 

When the Power Company position had first been presented, I was 
working for the State Engineer OH matters on both the Kings and 
San Joaquin Rivers. Its effect could be foreseen on these streams. 
I prepared a report for the State Engineer, dated October 1, 1925, 
entitled "Effect Which Would Result From the Establishment of the 
Right to Store as part of the Rights of Riparian Owners on the Feasi 
bility of Proposed Irrigation Projects on San Joaquin and Kings Rivers". 
This 70 page report is no.l in Item 40 of my bibliographical file. 
In it I discussed both the principles involved and the effect of their 
adoption on the appropriative rights on those two streams. This re 
port was made available to the Kings River Water Association and the 
attorneys committee for the I.D.A. 

Having made this report and taken a position in opposition to 
that of the power companies, I participated in the meetings of these 
two groups in the defense of its conclusions. I was a non-lawyer 
arguing against a group of attorneys. Chandler was effective in 


arguing against the legal right of a riparian owner to store 
future use and I provided the physical effects of such a right. 
Olney had nearly succeeded in getting Harris to file a brief sup 
porting the power company position when a general meeting of the 
attorneys committee o* the I.D.A. was held in San Francisco on Octo 
ber 12, 1925. Much o p the time at this meeting was spent opposing 


my conclusions on the effect such a right would have. On this factual 
side I had an advantage over Judge Olney as a result of my familiarity 
with the runoff of the streams involved. 

After an extended discussion, the attorneys of the I.D.A. voted 
to oppose the extension o-f riparian rights to storage for future use. 
A subcommittee was appointed to prepare a brief for submission to the 
State Supreme Court for the I.D.A. 

Spencer Burroughs was then the attorney for the State Water 
Commission and had sat in on these meetings. He had supported my 
position. It was thought that a brief by the State would be helpful 
in opposition to a riparian right to future storage and Burroughs was 
asked to draft such a brief for submission to Attorney General Webb 
for his submission to the court. Burroughs agreed to do this. 

When the meeting adjourned, Burroughs asked me to prepare a draft 
of such a brief emphasizing the policy side of the effect of a right 
of a riparian owner to store for future use. I agreed to prepare such 
a draft. I did this and Burroughs accepted it and submitted it to 
General Webb as I had prepared it. General Webb read it and asked me 
over to discuss it with him. I went and he told me he had expected to 
have to rewrite my draft but that when he read it he could not find 
any place where anything needed to be changed. 

General Webb submitted the brief and argued in its support at 


the hearing. The power company attorneys attempted to argue against 
some of the points raised in the brief. On Jan. h, 1926, I prepared 
a discussion of the points raised by the opponents for General Webb. 
This is No. 3 of Item *K) in my bibliographical file. 

The brief -for the state had to be submitted by the Attorney 
General as the legal representative of the state. Not being admitted 
to the bar, my name could not be used as its author. This was fully 
understood and expected by me. I was glad to be of whatever assistance 
I could without regard to authorship credit. 

In later meetings where the Herminghaus case was discussed, Gen 
eral Webb was very generous in his acknowledgment of my assistance 
in preparing the brie f. It was a pleasure for me to have had this 
opportunity to work with him on this case. 

The I.D.A. brief was submitted by their legal committee. Like 
usual similar committee efforts, it was mainly the work of one author. 
In this case this was A.E. Chandler. It was a solid brief analysing 
the cases on which the claim for a riparian right to store for future 
use was based and showing them to be of minor forebay type rather than 
for future use. 

In its decision in the Herminghaus case, the Supreme Court up 
held the lower court decision. It denied the right of a riparian 
owner to store for future use but granted rights to the power company 
for storage in the forebays of its several plants. The portions of 
the lower court decision relating to the right of a riparian owner to 
use water without any restrictions of reasonableness as against an 
appropriator was upheld. 

The power companies did not accept the decision (relating to stor 
age for future using being outside of "the riparian rights) in the 


Herminghaus case as being final. The same position was argued in 
later cases. This portion of the Herminghaus case was reaffirmed in 
Senaca Consolidated Gold. Mines Co. v. Great Western Power Co., 209 
Calif. 208 (1930). It was made more explicit in Colorado Power Co. 
v. Paci-fic Gas and Electric Co. 218 Calif. 559 (1933). Such storage 
for future use can now be accepted as being outside of the right of 
riparian owners in California. 

The portions of the Herminghaus decision upholding the right of 
a. riparian owner to have the full flow of a stream continue in order 
that he might receive the benefit of the overflow of a small part of 
the total flow without requiring constructed diversion works, and the 
broad statement regarding the riparian owner not being limited by any 
rules of reasonableness in contests with an appropriator were so ex 
treme that there was extensive public alarm regarding the ability to 
make a reasonable use of the water of the state required for its dev 
elopment without having to pay excessive tribute to unreasonable ri 
parian owners. Much effort was expended in legislative hearings and 
other meetings in seeking a remedy for this situation. 

The testimony in the Herminghaus case was to the effect that a 
flow of 5000 second feet in the San Joaquin River was needed to result 
in flow in the Herminghaus sloughs and the flooding of their lands 
which the same extent of irrigation could be secured by a controlled 
diversion of 150 second feet. 

In the Herminghaus decision, the court had stated that the ri 
parian right, as they had recognized it in California, could only be 
changed under an exercise of the police power of the state, if this 
should be found to be required for the general welfare of the state. 
This expression was used as the basis for a constitutional amendment 


restricting all uses of water to reasonable and beneficial purposes. 
After much discussion over its detail wording, what has become known 
as the Constitutional Amendment of 1928 was drafted, passed by the 
legislature and adopted by the voters at the election of November 6, 

One of the amusing aftermaths of the successful accomplishment 
of the 1928 amendment was the surprisingly large number of persons 
who claimed to be its author. I was active enough in those proceed 
ings to know what was going on and to put in my two-bits worth on the 
wording to be used. In this I was only one of many. Actually the 
1928 amendment was the composite result of all of these efforts and 
no one individual can claim its authorship. Its benefits were large 
enough to include credit for all who participated. I also took a 
minor part in the election on its adoption. 

The first case to reach the State Supreme Court in which the 
interpretation of the 1928 amendment was at issue was Gin Chow v. 
Santa Barbara, 217 Calif. 673- I had been a factual expert witness 
in this case but had no part in its legal arguments. This was a good 
case in which to test the applications o^ the amendment and it was 
supported by the Supreme Court. The Gin Chow decision was amplified 
and made more definite on additional items in Peabody v. Vallejo, 2 
Calif. (2d) 351. I had no part in this latter case. The 1928 Con 
stitutional Amendment has also been recognized by the U.S. Supreme 
Court. (United States v. Qerlach Live Stock Co., 339 U.S. 725 (1950). 

Item ko in my bibliographical file includes a draft of the state s 
brief in the State Supreme Court, comments on the arguments raised 
against this brief and comments on the decision as well as my report 
on the effects that could result if a decision that a riparian owner 


Gould store for future use. Those have "been discussed in the pre 
ceding parts of this account. In addition I have included in Item 
ko, copies of some of the correspondence relating to the state s 
brief and other matters relating to the case. 

An interesting aftermath of the Herminghaus case was the liti 
gation over the legal fees of the attorneys for Herminghaus. These 
attorneys were John W. Preston, who later was a justice on the Cali 
fornia Supreme Court and James F. Peck, a veteran lof many suits 
against Miller and Lux. Peck had been attorney for the Stevinson lands 
near the mouth of the Merced River. 

Preston and Peck had the Herminghaus case on a contingency fee 
basis. While the suit was brought to secure an injunction against 
the operation of the parts of the Edison Co. projects for which public 
use had not intervened, it was recognized that its purpose was to 
secure compensation to Herminghaus for the alleged damages to his 
riparian rights . 

After the decision by Judge Wooley in the lower court, an in 
junction had been granted against the operation of the newer Edison 
Company works and the case was under appeal. The Edison Co. made a 
financial settlement with Herminghaus under which the injunction 
would be waived for one year during the appeal. The reported price 
was $160,000 for this waiver. As this payment had been secured as 
a result of the decision, Preston and Peck received their contingency 
percentage of its amount. The next year a similar agreement was made 
at a reported price of $100,000 and the attorneys received their 
percentage of this payment. 

When the Supreme Court upheld Judge Wooley 1 s decision and injunc- 

tion, the Edison Company negotiated a purchase of the Herminghaus 
lands at a reported cost of $50 per acre for 17,000 acres, making a 
total price of $850,000. This, at that time, was a liberal price 
for this grade of land having an annual net lease earning of $12,000 
per year. This price represented relief from the injunction rather 
than the value of the land acquired. 

The purchase of these lands was the result of the decision but 
was not a requirement of the decree. It was necessary on the part 
of the Edison Company in order to secure usefulness from their ex 
penditure in the enjoined works. 

The Herminghaus heirs did not pay their attorneys their contin 
gency fee on this $850,000 purchase price, contending it was a separ 
ate transaction from the case. In 1928 Preston and Peck brought suit 
for $259,000 as their fee on the purchase of $873,200. This repre 
sented a 33 1/3 1 contingency basis. 

This suit was tried and Preston and Peck won and collected their 
fee. They had not tried this case themselves. Theodore M. Stuart 
had represented them in this trial. 

In 1932 Stuart brought suit against Preston and Peck for $5^,^00 
attorneys fees for the trial of the case in which Preston and Peck 
were awarded a $273,23^.50 judgment against the Herminghaus heirs. 
This is a 18.5$ fee. 

Clippings relating to these suits are included in Item ho of my 
bibliographical file. I do not have a record of the outcome of Stuart s 
suit, but it is my recollection that he won. 

All that would be needed to make this method of collecting legal 
fees become a real comic opera performance would have been for Stuart 
to have used another attorney to try his case with this attorney suing 


for his fees and so on indefinitely. 

The Herminghaus case was renumerative to those who brought it to 
trial. Looking back, the public benefits exceed those costs. This 
case resulted in the 1928 constitutional amendment under which riparian 
rights were placed under reasonable control so that they could no lon 
ger extract tribute from other developments in excess of their reason 
able damages. 

The opposition to riparian rights on the part of the public as 
shown in the Herminghaus case, was not based on opposition to reason 
able use by riparian owners. The irrigation of riparian lands under 
their riparian rights represents an equal public benefit to the irri 
gation of an equal area of similar lands under appropriation rights. 
The opposition to riparian rights was based on the ability of riparian 
lands to block other uses of water not reasonably needed by the ripar 
ian lands. 



The legislature authorized investigations of the water resources 
of the state and preparation of a plan for their development in 1921. 
This work was undertaken by the state engineer. An organization was 
set up in his department, and the work was begun. Eventually these 
investigations resulted in what has become the Central Valley Project 
of the U.S. Bureau of Reclamation. 

The public support for these investigations came largely from the 
areas in the southern San Joaquin Valley where the rapidly increasing 
use of ground water was resulting in the overdraft on the locally 
available supplies. 

As previously discussed, I was in charge of investigations "or 
the state engineer in Kern and Tulare Counties before those general 
studies were authorized. When the reports on these two counties pro 
vided quantitative results relating to the ground water overdraft, 
the state asked me to prepare a report on what was then known relating 
to the ground water resources of the whole southern San Joaquin Valley. 

I undertook this assignment. The result is Bulletin 11 of the 
Divisions of Engineering and Irrigation and of Water Rights, "Ground water 
resources of the Southern San Joaquin Valley", 192?. 

For the purposes of Bulletin 11, the southern San Joaquin Valley 
was defined as the area from the San Joaquin River south. I had 
covered the east side of this area in my previous work in Kern and 
Tulare Counties and on Kings River in the procedure of the Kings River 
Water Conservation District. For the east side of the valley, Bulletin 

II represents mainly bringing these results to the date of the report. 

Bulletin 11 was prepared in 1925 and 1926. At that time information 


on the ground water conditions on the vest side was meager. Some 
development had been made in the Mendota area. 

Bulletin 11 represents an inventory of what was then known re 
garding the ground water resources of the area covered. It should 
be judged on the basis of the time at which it was prepared. It 
served its purpose in the general investigations then being made by 
the state. Quantitative results were derived which indicated what 
could be expected to occur with increasing ground water draft depen 
dent on the local supplies alone. 

In 1925 quantitative studies of ground water supplies in Cali- 
fornia were relatively new. Conkling was working on his San Gabriel 
investigations. The U.S. Geological Survey s Ground Water Research 
was being expanded under Meinzer. The U.S.G.S. had had work underway 
for some years in the Santa Clara Valley, but the slowness with which 
their results had been made available resulted in the demands for local 
area studies being met by the state. 

When local interest in its ground water supply was aroused by 
reports of ground water lowering about 1920, the first result had 
been to select observation wells so that the amount of change could 
be recorded. This had been done by Mr. Haehl in Kern County for the 
Kern County Land Company in 1919- It had also been done by some of 
the Kings River systems a year or two later. The state s investiga 
tions in Kern and Tulare counties followed the same practice. 

While such well records were initiated as the natural first step 
in the ground water investigations not so much thought had been given 
at that time to the ways in which such records could be used in deter 
mining whether an overdraft existed,and if so, its amount. When I 
began the work for the state, I asked each agency collecting well 


records what use they had made of the results and how they planned to 
use them in preparing an estimate of the amount of the overdraft. I 
^ound little attention had been given to this use of the results. 

This is not a criticism of those collecting the records. It is a 
reflection of the youth of this branch of water supply engineering. 
When I began this work for the state, the state did not have a program 
relating to use of well records. Such well records have 

obvious usefulness in showing whether the ground water is going up or 
down and how much the changes were in vertical elevation. The tran 
slation of these results into the volumes of water represented by such 
fluctuations and the amounts of overdraft had to be worked out as we 

went along. 

In studying the well records , I found that there were areas -for 
which the surface water supply was being measured so that this supply 
could be compared with the resulting ground water fluctuation. As the 
water supply varied from year to year, the annual ground water fluctua 
tion could be compared with the water supply. Trials of this procedure 
indicated reasonably consistent results and it was used in Bulletin 1.1. 

It was recognized that a given water supply for an area only 
half irrigated would produce different ground water fluctuations than 
if the entire area was served. The water supply was expressed in terms 
of the acre feet per acre for the area it served. This could then be 
plotted against the mean change in the ground water elevation for the 
period covered by the water supply. 

Some well readings were made on a monthly basis but many wells 
were measured only in the Spring and in the Fall. It was found that 
the Fall records gave more consistent results. The year ending after 
the close of the irrigation draft came before the season of the re- 


charge from the winter water supply. It also included the period of 
use o* 1 the runoff of the preceding season. The best results were 
received where the available records included years in which the 
ground water both rose and fell. In 192^ the runoff was very defi 
cient and the water supply in nearly all areas lowered naturally. 
The year 1922 had a better water supply and many areas showed a ground 
water rise. 

When the annual rise or fall of the ground water was plotted 
against the supply received in acre feet per acre irrigated, the 
points for each year usually fell near enough along a straight line 
so that a trend line could be drawn. Where such a line crossed the 
point of zero ground water fluctuation indicated the amount o" water 
supply required to maintain the ground water. This also represented 
the consumptive use of the crops grown in the area. The slope of the 
trend line indicated the specific yield of the ground water volume 
drained or filled. 

As an illustration if the trend line crossed the zero of the 
ground water fluctuation at a supply of 2 acre feet per acre, such a 
supply would be required to maintain the ground water. In a year in 
which the supply exceeded 2 acre-feet per acre, the ground water would 
be expected to rise and conversely in a year having a smaller supply 
it would be expected to lower. 

If the trend line indicated that in such an area in a year when 
the supply was only 1 acre foot per acre, the ground water would lower 
(> feet, the indicated specific yeild of the area drained would be 
\C 2/3 per cent. 

This method is sound where the total water supply is known. For 
the areas used, the surface supply reaching the area was measured. 

The ground and ground vater slopes vere relatively small and the rate 
of movement appeared to be slow. Areas of overdraft did not appear to 
be materially aided by inflov from higher areas induced by the ground 
water lowering. On the Kaweah Delta lowering in the outer portion 
prior to 1925 had occurred without drawing out the higher portions. 
This method of analysis would be most effective in areas where the 
ground water inflow and outflow were relatively small or where they 
were nearly equal in amount. 

This method would also be effective only in areas where the ground 
water reflects the use on its overlying area. Areas pumping from be 
neath confining strata fed from a distant source would not respond to 
surface use on the area. The method works best on open delta forma 
tions where the ground water reflects the surface use directly and 
quickly. Areas having ground water at a relatively shallow depth are 
best suited to this method. 

The years used should have about the same extent of irri 
gation. It is not essential that all of the area is irrigated. If an 
area has a consumptive use of 2 acre feet per acre and only one-half 
of the area is irrigated, in a year in which the supply is only 1.5 
acre feet per acre the ground water will lower by an amount required 
to supply the remaining 0.5 acre feet per acre from the entire area. 
This lowering would be only one-half the amount of ground water lower 
ing that would be required for the same rate of surface supply if all 
of the land was irrigated. The extent of the area irrigated with a 
given supply expressed in terms of acre feet per acre will change the 
slope of the trend line but will not affect the point of its inter 
section with the line of zero ground water fluctuation. 

The years which were used in the preparation of Bulletin 

11 were those in which the ground water was relatively shallow in the 
method of estimating the water supply required to maintain the ground 
water elevation. There were areas having a surface 

water supply so that material ground water lowering had not occurred. 
The percolation losses resulting from irrigation reached the ground 
water directly and quickly and was reflected in the ground water ele 
vation within the annual time periods used. 

In an area where the ground water inflow from higher areas might 
be limited to its natural supply and where draft on its lower side 
might have resulted in ground water lowering, increased ground water 
slope and outflow, the method used would not take into account such 
outflow. Indications that this condition existed was -found in only 
one area. The lands under the Galloway and Beardsley canals north 
of Kern River received a variable water supply in the years used in 
Bulletin 11. The ground water draft in the Shafter Wasco area was 
steepening the outflow slope. Some ground water outflow to the Shafter 
Wasco area might be taking place under the then conditions. 

For the conditions at the time Bulletin 11 was prepared, it was 
^ound that the indicated consumptive use was about 1 2/3 acre feet per 
acre for areas mainly in trees and vines and 2 to 2 1/U acre feet per 
acre for forage crops. Similar values were used in the early state 
reports on the Central Valley Project. 

At present larger values are in use in this area for the amount 
of consumptive use. The actual amounts being used are shown in the 
various state and U.S.B.R. reports on the proposed units of their pro 
jects. This does not mean that either the Bulletin 11 or the present 
results are in error. The difference, in my opinion, is in the differ 
ence between the 1925 and the present conditions. 


In 1925 an average alfalfa yield of 3 1/2 to U tons per acre was 
as large as could be counted on. In recent years the Agricultural 
Commission of Kern County reports an average county-wide yield of 
7 tons. This increased yield is the result of additional fertiliza 
tion and other improved practices. It requires increased use of water 
to provide the increase in yield. Similar factors enter for some 
other crops such as the increase in present cotton yields. 

Another factor affecting the Upper Kings River areas is the 
general change in their ground water conditions. In 1925 much of 
this area needed drainage. The lands under the older Kings River 
rights received enough water to maintain this condition. In the last 
30 years the increased pumping west of Fresno Slough has lowered the 
deeper ground water pressure sufficiently to increase the ground water 
gradient from its recharge area on the upper Kings River delta. This 
increase in grade has resulted in ground water movement from the re 
charge area which did not occur in 1925- The U.S.G.S. in W.S.P. s 
1360G "Ground Water Conditions in the Mendota-Huron Area, Fresno 
and Kings Counties, California", discusses these conditions. 

In W.S.P. 1360G it is estimated that this induced ground water 
inflow to the Mendota-Huron area in 1951 was of the order of 200,000 
acre-feet per year. This represents an increased demand on the ground 
water in the east side areas of recharge and an increase in the supply 
now available in the west side area. The water supply of the Fresno 
I.D. which was generally equal to its 1925 demand is now, 
under these induced conditions, inadequate to meet botn the require 
ments of the District area and this recently created ground water outflow. 
In recent years trie ground water in the ^resno I.D. has lowered gener 
ally from a deptn of about five feet in 1925 to about 50 feet at present. 


Bulletin 11, at the time it was prepared, represented what was 
then known relating to the ground water conditions in the area covered. 
As such a summary it served a useful purpose in the . planning of 
projects to relieve the water shortage on the east side of the valley. 

Now, forty years later, Bulletin 11 has remaining usefulness 
mainly as an inventory of 1925 conditions from which the changes 
that have occurred since 1925 can be determined. It also is useful 
in indicating the extent to which the technology of ground water in 
vestigations has advanced since 1925- 

In addition to the continued observation of ground water eleva 
tions on a generally expanded scale since 1925* there have been major 
advances in the knowledge of the underground formations and the condi 
tions under which ground water is confined and moves within the 
area. In 1925 the available well logs were usually in general terms 
as the well driller had noted changes during the drilling of the well. 
The Corcoran clay, or the diatomaceous clay as it is called in W.S.P. 
lU69, had not been identified in 1925> although it was recognized that 
some confining material was required to create the artesian conditions 
in the valley trough. 

In 1925 there was much concern regarding the length of time 
i overdrafts could continue without depletion of the ground water 
supply. This concern was both physical and economic. It was physical 
in that pumping equipment available made lifts of 300 feet about 
the limit that would be considered mechanically feasible. It was 
economic in that costs of pumping made such lifts unprofitable 
for general crops. There was recognition that the ground water supplies 
usually extended to greater depths than it would be feasible to pump 
them and physical exhaustion of the supply was not expected to occur. 

Another matter of concern in 1925 was the changes that might 
occur in the quality of the ground water as overdraft continued. The 
experience in the Lindsay-Strathmore I.D. had shown one area in which 
deterioration in the quality of the local ground water had occurred. 

Looking back now forty years later we can review the extent 
to which anticipations have been realized. 

The improvement in the mechanical equipment used in ground water 
pumping, both in dependability and in economy together with increased 
yields and crop prices^ have enabled ground water pumping to be contin 
ued to depths that would not have been 
attempted in 1925- Some abandonment of crop production resulting 
from increased costs has occurred on lower yielding soils or for crops 
of lower return. Overall the present extent of pumping under condi 
tions of high lift is much greater than was anticipated in 1925- 

Problems relating to the quality of the water pumped as the ground 
water has lowered have not been as severe as it was thought might 
occur. Such deterioration in quality is an ever present threat, how 
ever, where strata of good quality may become exhausted and the draft 
has to come from the poorer remaining strata. 

Although imported water was not received through the Friant Kern 
Canal for about 25 years after 1925, no efforts were made to restrict 
new irrigation using the ground waters of the areas of overdraft. The 
rate of ground water lowering could have been reduced if the draft had 
been limited to supplying the area irrigated in 1925- The results 
that could be served by restricting the area irrigated were known and 
the desirability of such restriction as a means of maintaining this 
draft until imported water could be secured was recognized. The 

failure to attempt such restrictions was the result of the system of 
title to the use of percolating ground vater which had become esta 
blished in California. The correlative rights of overlying oweners 
gave each such owner a right to use his share of the available ground 
water supply. The complications of attempting to enforce legal re 
strictions on owner use and the uncertainties of securing legal re 
strictions on use prevented any attempt to adjudicate the ground water 
use between individual users. The Raymond Basin decision came a^ter 
Friant Kern canal water was being delivered into this area. 

Attempts by the state to secure control over the ground waters 
in this area have not, as yet, been successful. Investigations have 
shown the large volume of ground water that is stored underground. 
This volume is several times the surface storage capacity it is Va- 
sible to construct on the tributary streams. The coordinated use o^ 
the surface and underground storage could enable larger deliveries to 
be made during periods of deficient stream flow. These overall physi 
cal advantages of coordinated operation are recognized. The economic 
advantages have not been fully investigated but to some extent there 
may be economy in coordinated use. 

Plans to coordinate the use of surface and ground water supplies 
have made only limited progress to date. This has been the result of 
the natural desire of each area to retain control of its own use of 
water. The U.S.B.R. sells its C.V.P. water to local units without 
trying to control its use within the unit except that the amount sold 
is based on the needs of the unit for the supplemental water and in 
cludes consideration of the units existing supplies. The state s 
activities in investigating the extent of ground water storage and its 
coordinated use have resulted in a feeling in some areas that the 

state was seeking to secure control of its use for coordination with 
its overall state plan. This feeling, to date, has prevented progress 
in this matter. 

When the demands -for water in the state approach its available 
supply there will be an increased demand for the full use of all parts 
of the supply. Areas having available ground water storage can draw 
on this source in periods of deficiency in surface sources and release 
some of their surface supplies for other use. Physically such coordina 
tion can be beneficial. 

The problems in this field, to date, have been largely related to 
the control of the operation of such coordination. The local areas 
naturally want to retain control of their own une of water. They do 
not consider that they should be required to incur added costs for 
pumping and to furnish ground water storage capacity without compensation. 
The present Director of Water Resources has not lessened the concern 
of the local areas in his statement that eventually water rights wiil 
be rights to a given quantity of water regardless of its source. 

At present there is not sufficient need ^or the coordinated use 
of the ground storage of the southern San Joaquin Valley to supply the 
incentive needed to overcome the problems that are involved. If the 
advantages of such coordination become sufficiently great to provide 
such an incentive, some practical working basis for its accomplishment 
may be found. The chances for finding such a basis will, in my opinion, 
be improved if the right and desirability of leaving a maximum of local 
control are recognized. 



There were two precedures relating to irrigation in the Sierra 
foothills in which I was involved in the 1920 s. The principal point 
at issue in both of these cases was the extent to which such foothill 
lands were irrigable. The earlier case involved the Nevada Irrigation 
District. The second case related to the Utica Mining Company, which 
served lands around Angels Camp. In both of these areas former mining 
ditches had served some irrigation uses. When mining declined the 
irrigation demand was insufficient to provide revenue with which to 
maintain the canal systems. The Nevada District sought to provide 
Increased irrigation. The Utica Mining Company, a public utility, 
sought to abandon its irrigation services. Both cases involved, the 
practicability of serving foothill areas where the percentage of land 
that was feasibly irrigable was small and the cost of distribution was 
relatively large. 

Both of these matters have now been determined and the issues 
involved are no longer pending. The results relating to the general 
question of the feasibility of irrigation in this type of land are 
pertinent to the general issues now active relative to the water re 
quirements of the areas of origin and the preferences in serving a 
water supply which such areas may claim. The physical conditions 
have not changed during the last Uo years materially. There have 
been material changes, however, in the political and economic conditions. 


In 1922 the recently organized Nevada Irrigation District 

had an application pending for a license to develop power. The Federal 
Power Commission held hearings on the application which was contested 


by other claimants to the water the K evada Irrigation District pro 
posed to use. 

The Empire Mine was located within the Nevada I.D. It sought to 
have its lands excluded from the District on the grounds that if de 
fault should occur on the District lands, their mineral rights would 
require them to meet the District s default as a tax sale would in 
clude both surface and subsurface title. 

This issue was eventually settled by the exclusion of the lands 
of the Empire mine from the Nevada I.D. before the District bonds were 
voted. I prepared some material ^or use by the Empire Mining Company 
in support of their petition for exclusion. 

The owners of the Empire Mining Company also owned lands on San 
Juan Ridge including the Malikoff area which had been heavily hydrau- 
liked prior to the injunction against such mining. There were exten 
sive gold bearing gravels remaining which could be mined if a water 
supply remained available for such use and a means of storing the 
debris could be found. The proposed plans of the Nevada I.D. would 
divert to the District water from the sources formerly used on San 
Juan Ridge. I prepared a report on those water supplies and on the 
Nevada I.D. for the owners of San Juan Ridge. I testified in the 
Federal Power Commission hearing on February 1922. The Excelsior 
Water and Power Company was also a protestant against the Nevada I.D. 

The Federal Power Act requires that in contests for licenses 
the Commission shall give preference to the applicant who proposes 
to make the most complete use of the resources involved. It is also 
required to give preference to public forms of organization. The 
Nevada I.D. qualified as a public agency; the other contestants did 

not. The contestants, however, claimed that they would make a more 
complete use of the resources, power and water, than the Nevada I.D. 

In this contest I was asked to report on the extent of the land 
in the Nevada I.D. which it was feasible to irrigate. This required 
a classification of the District of about 200,000 

acres. Similar classifications were made by the District and other 
contestants. The District s results gave a higher irrigable area than 
the others. My results were among the lower ones. 

The Power Commission decided in favor of the Nevada I.D. It sold 
bonds and built its upper power system including Bowman Lake storage. 
It conveyed its upper water to the power plants of P.G.&E. The 
P.G.&E. paid the District for the use of this water based on the power 
it could generate from it on its way to the District. These payments 
were expected to meet the bond payment charges as it was realized the 
extent and character of the irrigated lands could not meet more than 
their own internal irrigation costs. The history of the Nevada Irri 
gation District to 1928 is in Bulletin 21, "Irrigation Districts in 

The Nevada I.D. became in default on its bonds in the depression 
of the 1930 s. Adjustments were made with its bond holders reducing 
the interest rate on the bonds. At present the District is construct 
ing additional water supply and power facilities under a new bond 
issue and contract with the P.G.&E. During the depression I purchased 
3 bonds of the Nevada I.D. at a price of about $40. The reduction of 
the interest rate to 3$ on the face value leaves a favorable rate on 
the price at which I purchased these bonds. Under the readjustment 
now scheduled to be made, on the completion of the present program, I 
will receive face value for these bonds when they are called or 


exchanged for new bonds. Like other properties such as lands, etc. 
there were good opportunities for purchases at depression prices by 
those able to finance them- 

The history of the Nevada I.D. to 1928 is well described in 
Bulletin 21. Two results justify comment in relation to the irrigability 
of this type of foothill lands. One of these is the slow rate at which 
the area actually irrigated has increased and the small percentage 
of the gross area of the original Nevada I.D. which is now irrigated 
after over 30 years of District operation. The second is the small 
costs for delivery of water to the district boundary to oe met witnout 
assessments on the land. It was found that assessments on the land to 
meet costs for the improvement of the distribution system resulted in 
large delinquencies. This result occurred in an area where the cost 
of the original ditches had been met from their early use for mining. 
The prices paid by the District for these mining systems were relatively 

The record of the Nevada I.D. since the 1920 s has not been as 
favorable in regard to the increase in its irrigated area as the Dis 
trict anticipated in its earlier reports. In my opinion this record 
is characteristic of what can reasonably be expected in the develop 
ment of this type of foothill land. 

The preceding discussion relates to the area of the original 
Nevada I.D. In 1926 the original area of the District of about 200,000 
acres was increased by the addition of nearly 70,000 acres in Placer 
County. This annexed area had been served by the P.G.&E. The Placer 
County area is also foothill land but it had a greater extent of actual 
irrigation than the original area of the Nevada I.D. This annexation 
occurred after the completion of the work I had done in this area, and It 


did not have a part in it. In general the ridges in the Placer County 
area are more rounded and have lesser slopes than those in the original 
area of the Nevada I.D. They were more extensively developed at the 
time of their inclusion in the Nevada I.D. 

The experience of the Nevada I.D. in its ^0 years of activity 
illustrates the difficulties of developing irrigation in the foothill 
type of land. Much of the area is steep or has shallow soil over 
hardpan. Th part of the cost of a distribution system extending OV er 

a whole area which the small part of the land which is actually irrigated can 
meet is limited. 

prior to the operation of the Nevada I.D. the 
areas irrigated under the old mining ditches were small and had not 
been increasing materially. The improvements in the distribution sys 
tem made by the Nevada I.D. have not resulted in a rate of increase 
in the irrigated area large enough to meet distribution charges. 

While the conditions in the original area of the Nevada I.D. are 
not as favorable generally as those in the Placer County lands which 
it included later, the original area is fully equal to similar foot 
hill lands further north. The Placer County area includes the foot 
hill deciduous fruit areas which produce the green fruits marketed in 
the summer season. 

The overall interests of the state will not be harmed by the pro 
vision of a water supply for the foothill areas which can be practically 
and profitably irrigated. Unlimited reservations of water for such 
areas where the probabilities of such future use are remote arid un 
certain will prevent more economic uses of the reserved water, in the 
generation of power and in the irrigation of equally desirable crops 
in the lower main Central Valley floor or elsewhere. 



The Utica Mining Company (Hobart Estate, Owner) owned old company 
ditches in the vicinity of Angels Camp. Water was diverted from tri 
butaries of the Stanislaus River and used for power, irrigation and 
domestic purposes in the 1920 s. The power was sold for general use 
after the closing of its mine at Angels Camp. 

This property had been built for mining purposes. Some irrigation 
use was supplied to lands adjacent to its main canals or on short 
branches. The extent of the irrigation use which the Company had been 
able to secure was insufficient to provide enough reserve to meet the 
operating costs. The Company operated as a public utility. The Com 
pany could see no prospect that its irrigation service could earn a 
return and brought proceedings before the Railroad Commission 
seeking permission to abandon the irrigation part of its operations. 
It did not seek to abandon its municipal service to Angels Camp or its 
power plants. 

The land owners in the area of service opposed this application 
and contended that there was sufficient irrigable land under the ditches 
to make their service profitable if efforts to serve these lands were 
made by the Company. 

I was employed by the Utica Mining Company in 192? to investigate 
and classify the area of service and to report on the feasibility of 
expanding their irrigated area. In May 1927 I made a report on Fea 
sibility of Increasing the Area Irrigated by the Ditches of the Utica 
Mining Company". In June 1930 I made a report entitled, Conditions 
in Other Foothill Irrigated Areas". Both of these reports are in Item 
Ul of my bibliographical file. I also testified in the hearings before 
the R.R.C. My work was mainly on the land classification. Mr. Harry 


Haehl did the engineering relating to the valuation of the properties 
used in the irrigation service. Mr. James Ballard did the engineering 
work for the Utica Mining Company needed to provide both Mr. Haehl and 
myself with our "basis data. 

The areas available for irrigation in the service area of this 
utility were found to be scattered and limited in extent. Any rate 
for water which would provide a return for the company would be greater 
than the value of the service to these lands. The small scattered 
areas being served were not paying water charges which would meet the 
costs of their own service without any costs for the use of the main 
canals. On this basis it was my opinion that the company was entitled 
to abandon this part of their utility obligation. 

To compare the conditions under the Utica Mining Company system 
with those in other foothill areas, I investigated the foothill area 
from Tuolumne County to the Brown s Valley I.D. The results are in 
my June 1930 report and do not need to be repeated here. I found 
generally that only limited increases in the areas being irrigated 
were being made in these foothill systems and that the returns from 
the service to the lands being served were not meeting the costs. 

A similar report made today on these other systems would find 
only limited changes in the 1930 conditions except in a few cases 
where additional storage and distribution works have been materially 
subsidized. There have been some improvements in the systems having 
municipal demands. 

The Utica system offered to give its irrigation canals to its 
users with water from the main canal to meet their irrigation use. 
Those owners recognized that they could not maintain and operate this 
service at a reasonable cost and declined to accept the offer. The 

3.R.C. did not approve tae abandonment of the irrigation service of 
the Utica Mining Company in these proceedings. 

Since these cases ended the situation has been worked out locally. 
The P.G.&E. has acquired the power plants and appurtenant canals. 
Irrigation has not increased materially in this area in the ensuing 
30 years a^ter the effort to abandon the utility obligation. Adjust- 
tnusts have been made with the land owners on some of the areas of 

Both the Nevada I.D. and the Utica Mining Company have worked 
out their local problems in the years since the work I did 
in these areas was completed. In neither area are the present pro 
blems relating to public policies affecting the areas of origin o^ 
particular di^iculty. Each area has existing water supplies for 
its probable irrigation demand under water rights that have a suffi 
ciently early priority to be established or under later dates which 
will probably not be subject to serious attack. 

For these areas, the results that have been presented may have 
some historical interest. They do represent examples of the actual 
results of efforts to expand irrigation in the foothill area . This 
is useful in the general discussions of the ultimate water demands 
o f these foothill areas of origin, and the reservations of water which 
Should be made to meet such future needs. 

The area o f origin problem ^or the Sierra foothill areas includes 
both the legal or policy standards that should be used in reserving 
water r or their -future use and also its practical applications in 
terms of how much o!* the foothill areas will actually use water and 
what will be the extent of its water requirement. I have discussed 


the legal and policy standards of the area of origin preferences in 
"Water in California" which I published in 1960. This discussion 
does not need to be repeated here. The comments made in this book 
are, in my opinion, ft ill applicable. 

Looking at the practical side it is my opinion that the extent of 
the future demand for water for irrigation in the Sierra foothills 
has been overestimated. This area has had extensive ditch systems 
built for mining widely distributed within the areas considered to 
be climatically adapted to orchard irrigation for some 100 years. 
In this time these areas have made only a limited use of 
such supplies for irrigation. Economic conditions may change but 
the physical handicaps of these areas wiil remain. It is not to be 
expected that extensive irrigation development will occur. The 
recent increases in water supply and canals for irrigation have been 
limited in extent and substantially subsidized in cost. 

Si so far as the area o^ origin reservation relates to the Sierra 
foothill areas, it is my opinion that quantitatively it has been over 
emphasized. The sound and the fury of its discussion have exceeded 
its importance as a factor in the total use of the state s water 
supply, ^urther discussion of this subject is included later in my 
comments on Bulletin 58 "The Northeastern Counties Investigation". 

The preceding comments relating to the area of origin reservation 
have been restricted to the Sierra Foothill areas where there have 
been opportunities during the last 100 years to develop irrigation 
from available systems constructed for mining. For the North Coastal 
Areas, where the area of origin preference is also an active issue, 
the physical and historical conditions differ and the results of an 
area of origin preference may be different. 



The Montague Water Conservation District is located in the Shasta 
Valley adjacent to the town of Montague. It used the optional pro 
vision in the irrigation district act permitting it to call itself a 
water conservation district. This provision was placed in the law and 
was used by the Montague district in the hope that the name Conserva 
tion District would receive a more favorable reaction in the bond mar 
ket than the term Irrigation District. There had been defaults in the 
bonds of some California irrigation districts. Otherwise the conserva 
tion district functions under the same statutes as the irrigation 

I participated in two procedures for the Montague W.C.D. The 
first related to a law suit seeking to secure additional water from 
Parks Creek mainly for storage in the district reservoir on Shasta 
River and the second was testimony for the District in opposition to 
the_protestfl against the adjudication of the rights to the water of 
Shasta River made by the State Division of Water Rights. Both pro 
cedures may have some historical interest . The issues in both cases 
are now closed. 

The sponsor of the Montague W.C.D. was Dr. Dwinell. Without his 
leadership and persistence the district would probably not have been 
organized and its works constructed. Dr. Dwinell was very highly re 
garded both locally and among others who knew him. He was a good 
friend of Mr. McClure and of people prominent in San Francisco s legal 
and financial activities. His standing enabled him to promote the 
district and finance its works. Dr. Dwinell was a man of high principles 
with a desire to help his community. While the project did not realize 
his hopes, in my opinion, this was the result of the physical condi- 


tions rather than the fault of Dr. Dwlnell. 

The history of the Montague District to 1928 is described in Bulle 
tin 21, Irrigation Districts in California, p. 56. I began work on the 
Parks Creek case in 192J and testified during 1928. Further procedure 
resulted in additional work on this case in 1931. The contests on the 
adjudication by the state were heard in the superior court in November, 

The stream flow of the Shasta River at the district reservoir site 
was insufficient for the district s needs. Parks Creek is adjacent to 
Shasta River near the reservoir. There was a ditch between the two 
streams through which water from Parks Creek could be diverted to the 
reservoir. Below this point of diversion, Parks Creek was used to 
irrigate the Duke Ranch. W.D. Duke raised bulls and pastured the lands 
he irrigated. Much of his land was riparian to Parks Creek and he based 
his claims on his riparian rights. On this basis, under prevailing 
decisions, Duke could claim title to all of the flow of Parks Creek 
which might be of any value to him. Duke was not, at that time, 
limited by any standard of reasonableness in contests with an appro- 
priator. The 1928 constitutional amendment had not been passed when 
Duke filed his suit to enjoin the proposed diversion by the Montague W.C.D. 

My part in this case for the Montague District was to prepare 
testimony on the reasonable needs of Duke s land which he could bene 
ficially use. Any surplus flow of Parks Creek would be divertable by 
the district without any injury to Duke. 

My work on this case was mainly directed to a determiniation of 
the reasonable requirements of the Duke lands from which the surplus 
could be defined. I went over the lands and prepared conclusions on 
on this issue. The results are contained in my report, "Water Require 
ments of Lends of W.D. Duke Supplied From Parks Creek." This report is 


Item k2 in my bibliographical file. It is dated March 1928. 

Duke was an interesting character. He claimed to have been 
Henry Miller s bodyguard for many years. Whatever his background may 
have been, it lost nothing in the telling. During the trial, the 
evenings were usually regaled with Duke s reminiscences. 

In my testimony in 1928 I described the areas and conditions under 
each of Duke s diversions. For one area he had testified regarding 
irrigation. I had found the flume down and the irrigation abandoned. 
Duke was probably sincere in his testimony, but he aid not spend 
much time on his land and was not as familiar with the actual 
conditions as I had become in my field work. 

Duke resented my contradiction of his testimony. In 1931 in 
further procedure in this matter he refused to let me go on his land 
for additional field work. This is the only case in my experience 
where the attorney with whom I was working had to get a court order 
permitting me to examine lands at issue in litigation. Such refusal 
by a land owner will usually react against him if it is brought out 
in the trial. Duke raised bulls, and I did my field work on foot. 
My main problems were to get over the lands without argument with the 
bulls. The fields were large and the fences far apart. There was 
only one instance where I had to best a bull to the fence. The herd 
of bulls generally paid no attention to me unless there were cows in 
sight. This was another case of showing off before the women. 

Duke secured an injunction in the 1928 case. In 1931 the district 
sued to condemn the right to divert the surplus flow of Parks Creek. 
I also testified in this case. It was this later case in which the 
attorney secured the court order permitting me to go on Duke s land. 

The State Division of Water Rights completed its findings in the 


adjudication of Shasta River in 1928. These were made available to 
the claimants and a period of time in which protests could be filed 
was allowed. A number of protests were filed, mainly to increase 
their own rights with some objections that the finding for others 
were too liberal in area or rate of use. These contests were heard 
by the superior court of the county. Some of the protests, if allowed, 
would have increased the diversions which were adverse to the Montague 
District. I was asked to prepare rebuttal testimony to those protests 
for the district and did so. In this I appeared as a witness for the 
district. Actually I was practically appearing as a supporting wit 
ness for the Division of Water Rights. The court upheld the findings 
of the Division. 

The lands in the Montague W.C.D. consist largely of separated 
areas in which alluvial material has been deposited on the underlying 
lava. The canals which were excavated through this alluvial material 
were subject to leakage. Much work and cost were required to reduce 
these losses in the district s main canal. 

The dam at its reservoir on Shasta River is a hydraulic fill. 
This is one of the last of this type and size built in California. 
D.C. Henny of Portland, Oregon was the consulting engineer and John 
Beemer was the resident engineer. The dam has fulfilled its purpose. 
However, when storage began and the water rose in the reservoir, leakage 
occurred through the lava rock abutments. After considerable grouting, 
much of this leakage was checked. I have not had contact with the district 
in recent years but in the earlier years of reservoir operation it was 
only partly filled in order to avoid excessive leakage. 

The lava rock ridge between the reservoir and Duke s land on 


Parks Creek was relatively narrow. When storage in this reservoir 
began leakage to Duke s land also occurred. Duke secured the return 
of some of the water which the District had condemned. 

The runoff of Shasta River at the reservoir site is subject to 
wide variations in different years. The State Division of Water Rights 
was adjudicating the water rights on Shasta River when the District was 
being organized and developing its plan. The state made a report on 
the water supply it considered would be available to the district. As 
this report was more optimistic than that of the engineer of the Dis 
trict, F.H. Tibbetts, ne u sed the state s estimate. When the District 
applied for certification of its bonds, it could show that its esti 
mates of its water supply were those of the state. The District Se 
curities Commission did not have much of a basis on which to question 
these results. This illustrates what may occur where the state is both 
engineer and judge of the feasibility of projects. A similar situation 
will now occur when the District Securities Commission passes on bond 
issues of irrigation districts which will purchase water from the 
state project under contracts which will have been made with the Direc 
tor of the Department of Water Resources who is also a member of the 
Irrigation District Securities Commission. 

The Mhntague W.C.D. has not occupied a major position in the deve 
lopment of the water resources of the state. It has had its own local 
problems. Their handling by this district can have usefulness in other 
projects having similar conditions. While my work for the District 
was a minor factor in its development, it had its interesting features 
which I enjoyed. 



This association was formed as the result of a meeting in Denver 
in 1927 which was attended by seven of the vestern state engineers. They 
recognized the common interests of their duties and the advantages 
which could result from cooperative actions. Such actions required 
meetings for discussions ofi the policies involved in order that agree 
ments could be reached on the positions to be taken. 

A second meeting was called in Salt Lake City on October 29-31, 
1928. The seventeen western state engineers completed the organiza 
tion and held their First Annual Meeting. A constitution was adopted 
and officers for the ensuing year elected. The proceedings of this 
f irst meeting were published by the Association. This organization 
has continued to date. Its annual proceedings represent a file of the 
subjects that were of active concern to the members, over the years 
since 1928. 

The membership consists of the state official in charge of the 
water activities of the state. The titles of these officers vary in 
the different states, but in 1928 the more usual title was state 
engineer. At present the engineering work of the statec is more 
generally divided between separate branches of engineering such as 
water and highways and the titles designate the duties of each agency. 

While not covered in its constitution, it was agreed at the first 
meeting that the Association would avoid discussion and action on 
matters which were controversial between the states. This was perti 
nent in 1928 as Colorado River controversies, particularly between 
Arizona and California, at that time were pending. The general 
observance of this rule over the years has been a main factor in the 


continued maintenance of this organization. There have been enough 
matters of common interest to justify the organization. The voting 
in the association is limited to the one member for each state. To 
enable each member to have others from his state available to assist 
him on matters vhich might arise, provision was made for tvo associate 
but non-voting members from each state. This is where I came into 
the picture as Hyatt appointed me as one of the two charter associate 
members from California. I continued as an associate member through 
the periods of tenure of Hyatt and Edmonston until 1955- I attended 
the first meeting and nearly all of the meetings while I was an associ 
ate member. 

The charter members are listed in the Proceedings of the First 
Meeting. None now hold their positions. Of the 17 all but 
three are known (to me) to have died anlmy information on these three 
is not up to date. Of the associate members I remained a member longer 
than any of the other associates. I may now be the last surviving 
charter associate member. 

Over the years the association of Western State Engineers has 
been affected by the changes that have taken place in water policies 
and activities. In 1928, federal activity was mainly limited to the 
Bureau of Reclamation and it was limited in its funds to certain re 
ceipts of the federal government from its land sales and oil leasing 
activities. The state engineers were mainly concerned with the pro 
cedural practices of their offices and the earlier meetings included 
discussions of such matters. 

The members were cooperating with the U.S.G.S. on stream mea 
surements and in the earlier years of the Association were concerned 
about the delays in the publication of the annual results. A considerable 


part of one early meeting was devoted to putting N.C. Grover, then 

head of the Surface Water Branch of the U.S.G.S.,on the grill over 

the delay. The annual water supply papers were then three or more years 

overdue. This discussion resulted in improvement in the time of 


Another question then active was the extent to which federal 
agencies should comply w^-fch state procedures in the acquisition of 
water rights for federal projects. The U.S.B.R. had its Sec. B. 
requirement. The federal government had used its control over rights- 
of-way over public lands to block some developments adverse to federal 
projects. I was asked to prepare a paper assembling instances when 
failure by the federal agencies to conform with state water rights 
law was claimed. I asked each state engineer to supply me with the 
record for his state. I compiled these results in a paper presented 
at the fourth meeting in Sacramento in 1931. It is in the proceedings 
of that meeting and was reprinted in 195?" in the "Conference on Legal 
Problems in Water Resources" sponsored by the University of California 
School of Law at Berkeley. This reprint was an appendix to a paper 
on the "Western Water Rights Settlement Bill of 1957"by Charles E. 
Corker. A copy of this report is No. 1 in Item 87 of my bibliographical 

I presented a talk on the "Probabilities of the Drought Cycle" at 
the 1926 meeting of the association in Santa Fe. This is included in 
the Proceedings of the Ninth Meeting in that year. It is also No. 2 
in Item 86 of my bibliographical file. The drought of the early 1930 s 
had resulted in much interest in the probability of its recurrence 
and whether it could be predicted on some cyclic basis. 

Beginning in 1937, the Association adopted a practice of having 


each state present a ten minute talk on the current matters in the 
state. These were presented by the state engineer or some one repre 
senting him. In some years these talks were assigned a general topic 
to be emphasized, such as ground water. In 19^8 I prepared and pre 
sented the statement for California at Flagstaff. This is in the 
Proceedings for this year. A copy is No. h in Item 87 of my biblio 
graphical file. 

During the 19^0 s when Strauss was Commissioner of Reclamation, 
the engineers in the Bureau of Reclamation had been down- graded in 
policy matters. The older engineers in the Bureau were being pushed 
aside. The politicians who had taken over did not dare to interfere 
with the design and construction of the project works as a failure of 
Bureau structures would have reacted against the whole organization. 

This situation was particularly bad in California while Richard 
Boke was regional director here. I tried to help some of the former 
graduates of the Irrigation Department of the University who were work 
ing for the Bureau to hold their jobs and still retain their 
engineering integrity until changes in the Bureau might be secured. 

I was going to the 20th Annual Meeting of the Association of 
Western State Engineers at Boise in September 19^7 On the way to 
the meeting I tried to phrase a resolution which would call attention 
to this situation and not be so strong that the state engineers would 
be afraid to pass it. I worked up a draft and on arrival took it up 
with Hyatt. He agreed with the draft but did not offer much hope 
that it would pass. He offered to present it to the resolutions 
committee, however, and he did. 

Alfred M. (Long Tom) Smith of Nevada was chairman of the resolu 
tion committee. My draft did not receive the approval of the resolu- 


tions committee when first presented. Smith offered to report it 
vithout recommendation and let the Association as a whole vote on it. 
The chances did not look good but this was all I could expect to get 
from the resolutions committee. 

The second night of the meeting, members of the House Committee 
on Public Lands were in Boise on their usual annual tour of federal 
projects. There was a joint dinner of the committee and the association. 
Congressman Miller of Nebraska, in his talk at the dinner, stressed the 
difficulty Congress was having getting reliable information from the 
present Bureau of Reclamation witnesses. 

The next day the congressional committee went on a trip to see 
Anderson Dam. Some state engineers, including Hyatt, went along. 
Hyatt left me his proxy for the Association meeting when the resolu 
tions were to be considered. This entitled me to speak in support of 
the resolution I had drafted. 

The Bureau was represented by Asst. Com. Kenneth W. Markwell. 
Markwell had been an engineer in one of the depression agencies but 
was not a previous Bureau engineer. After the resolutions approved 
by the resolutions committee had been reported and passed, Smith re 
ported roy resolution without a committee recommendation. I used the 
comments of Congressman Miller to support my position. Markwell 
argued against me. 

The state engineers were familiar with the situation in the Bureau 
and recognized the merits of the resolution. However, Bureau funds 
had become such a large factor in many of the western states that the 
engineers were afraid of the reactions through their governors if they 
took any critical action relating to the Bureau. 

After the discussion of the resolution was ended a vote was taken. 


It carried 10 to 6. Mark Kulp of Idaho was the president of the Associa 
tion that year, as well as State Reclamation Engineer. As soon as the 
meeting was over, he gave the resolution to the A. P. who put it on the 
news wire. This blocked any "cold feet reactions and the resolution 

Like mast similar resolutions this one did not produce any world 
shaking results. It was a satisfying expression of the feeling, then 
wide-spread among the engineers, of their dislike for the political 
control of the Bureau. It was reprinted in the Western Construction 
News for October 

The resolution is as follows. Anyone familiar with the situation 
in 19^7 will recognize the balancing of commendation o f the work of 
the Bureau and condemnation of those responsible for its loss of 

No. 3 

WHEREAS, the Bureau, of Reclamation has established an out 
standing reputation as an efficient and economical Federal Agency, 
devoted to the development of the West; and, 

WHEREAS, the welfare of the Western States requires that the 
agency representing the Federal government in its reclamation 
work be experienced in such work, and loyal to the purposes 
and policies on which the accomplishments and reputation of the 
Bureau of Reclamation have been established; and, 

WHEREAS, changes during recent years in the personnel of 
the directing staff of the Bureau of Reclamation have resulted in 
replacements of experienced men and the introduction of debatable 
policies, based on questionable social theories; and, 


WIJERSAS, the loss of confidence by Congress in the present 
administration of the Bureau of Reclamation was apparent in recent 
Congressional hearings and action on appropriations for the Bureau: 

NOW THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED, by the Association of Western 
State Engineers at its twentieth annual meeting, in Boise, Idaho, on 
September 11, 19^7, that the direction and control of the Bureau 
of Reclamation be returned to those experienced and qualified for 
such work, in order that the standing of this organization may not 
further deteriorate, t > the great detriment of the Western States, 
which have such a vitsl interest in the work of the Bureau. 

AND BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED, that the President o^ the United 
States be urged to restore the Bureau of Reclamation to the management 
and direction of those capable of maintaining the high standing of the 
Bureau and the confidence formerly held in it by Congress and the 
people of the Western States. 

On October 21, 19^7j Secretary of the Interior Krug wrote to 
Mark Kulp objecting to Resolution No. 8 as passed at the Boise 
meeting and asking Kulp to specjfy details regarding what the 
association meant in the several clauses of the resolution. On 
November 28, 19^7., Kulp replied, sending copies of his answer to 
the members of the association. Kulp s answer is worth including 
here . It follows : 


Boise, Idaho, November 28, 

Hon. J.A. Krug 

Secretary of the Interior 

Washington, D. C. 

Dear Mr. Krug: 

I have your letter of October 21st, 19^7, addressed to me 
as President of the Association of Western State Engineers, and 
requesting my advice and counsel as to your interpretation of the 
general references in Resolution No. 8 as passed by the Association 
in its 20th Annual Meeting in Boise, Idaho. 

Resolution No. 8 must be considered as an expression of the 
composite reaction of a majority of the members of the Association 
to existing conditions. I have no information as to the individual 
reactions of the various members. Some may have been thinking in 
terms of personalities, some of particular incidents of policies, 
and others may have been influenced by successions or accumulations 
of unsatisfactory situations. 

We must assume that your staff and subordinates are loyal tc 
you and carry out your policies. Any policy that threatens the 
rights of the states to administer and control their water resources 
is unsatisfactory to the members of this Association, although the 
individual members of the Association may have divergent ideas as to 
the specific policies as they interpret them. 

Very truly yours, 



I had another interesting time at the 19*^8 meeting of the 
association in Flagstaff, Arizona. Governor Warren had requested that 
neither Hyatt nor Zander attend for California. I was paying my own 
way and not subject to the Governor s approval of out of state travel. 
This was the year Warren was hopeful of presidential consideration. 

Hyatt gave me his proxy for the Flagstaff meeting to help 
insure that there would be a quorum for any official actions. I 
arrived in Flagstaff for the meeting and found an urgent phone call 


from Hyatt. The Governor did not warn; a California vote to be 
cast by anyone representing California on any controversial subject. 
What this meant was that no such vote should lose any votes for 
Warren in any of the other states. I agreed to refrain on any 
such issues. 

The main controversial matters were those relating to the 
Colorado River. The association had avoided dividing its members 
on such matters . To try to avoid any controversy in the program I 
went to the Arizona members and proposed that we agree that neither 
Arizona nor California would make any reference to Colorado River 
matters during the meeting. They agreed. I then went to the 
other Calif ornians at the meeting and told them of this agreement. 
Mike Dowd and Ray Matthews were there from the California Colorado 
River Board. They were itching for a fight but agreed that they 
would not start it. I think they hoped that Arizona would break 
the agreement. All went well until the breakfast on the final day 
when some Arizona publicity agent placed material at each place 
presenting Arizona s position. The responsible Arizona representatives 
hustled around and collected these before they caused trouble. 
I have always been grateful for the attitude and action of the 
Arizonans in this matter. 

In 1950> there was great interest in national water policy. My 
part in the activities of the Engineers Joint Council is discussed 

National water policy was a natural subject on which the association 
of Western State Engineers could speak with background and authority. 
By 1950, the amount of federal money being made available in the 
western states for water development had resulted in the desire to 


continue to receive such funds outweighing the principles relating 
to the policies being used. The Association took no active part in 
this widespread discussion. 

I was asked to discuss the activities of Engineers Joint 
Council relating to national water policy and the president 1 s temporary 
water resources policy commission at the 23rd Meeting of the Associa 
tion in Santa Fe in 1950. I did this, reviewing the development of 
the demand for definite and consistent policy standards for all of 
the federal agencies. My paper is published in the Proceedings for 
this year of the Association, pp. 55-6l. A copy of my talk is No. 5 
in Item 8? of my bibliographical file. 

The Association at its 1950 meeting passed a resolution asking 
the President s Water Resources Policy Commission to give primary 
consideration to a uniform policy and procedure for all federal 
water development agencies. It did not specify any details of 
policy except general recognition of state laws, compact procedure 
and local management. This resolution was a "safe" one which would 
not get the Association into any controversial difficulties. Neither 
was it specific enough to be of much help to the President s Commission. 
In my opinion, the Association defaulted where it could have been 
positively helpful. 

During the depression in the 1930 s, the members had difficulty 
securing travel costs from their states to separate meetings of the 
Association of Western State Engineers. To keep the Association 
alive it was necessary to hold the annual meetings at the same place 
as the National Reclamation Association, usually on the day preceding 
the NRA meeting. As many members were on NRA committees these meetings 
were usually poorly attended and without much program. In these years 


the interests of the western states were largely in securing federal 
funds and the NRA was more effective in this than the Association 
of Western State Engineers. Later the Association was able to go 
"oack to separate meetings with a better organized program. 

The Association has been organized and operating long enough 
now to enable its accomplishments to be appraised. I have not 
attended any of the meetings since 1960, but have been in general 
touch with its later results. 

In my opinion the most effective years of the Association were 
from its organization until the Depression restricted its activity. 
Its activities in those earlier years were directed to the specific 
duties of their offices such as water right procedure and their 
cooperative work with federal agencies such as the U.S.G.S. In 
the depression the emphasis politically in the western states was 
on securing increased emergency relief funds for irrigation projects. 
Efforts by the state engineers to secure better procedures in project 
investigations were not favorably received by the federal agencies. 
Usually the governors were not inclined to support any efforts to 
improve the project engineering if it involved any risk of reduced 
federal allotments. At present the individual state water engineers 
have had their influences reduced by the preponderance of federal 
projects. The western states, other than California, have not had the 
resources to make adequate investigations of their own water development. 

The Association of Western State Engineers can perform useful 
functions if they can secure political support in their individual 
states so that they can speak with weight. To do this will require 
filling the positions of state engineer with individuals having the 
standing needed to secure such authority and influence. In the 


eleven Colorado River and Pacific Coast states there is now increased 
activity in inventorying their own resources and needs. This 
should lead to increased stature for those in charge of such work. 

I thoroughly enjoyed the over 25 years of my associate 
membership and activity in the Association of Western State Engineers. 
I found it an effective means of keeping in touch with legislation 
in the other states and their water right practices. This was directly 
useful in my teaching of Irrigation 101 and 106, the water rights and 
organization courses. The personal associations were also very 
pleasant as I had contacts with many of the members in my own 
practice in their states. The state engineers, particularly in the 
earlier years of the Association, were an interesting group. Those 
earlier members would be lost in this era of unlimited funds. 



The earlier investigations by the state, which led to the plan 
for the Central Valley Project, had not included a classification of 
the lands in the areas to be served. When the investigations o^ a 
state program were underway in the 1920 s, Paul Bailey had an 
engineer traverse the valley east to west on the township lines 
and estimate the percentage of poor lands for which water would not 
be needed. 

In 1929 the state had drawn a line around the upper edge of the 
valley land in the southern San Joaquin Valley and planimetered 
the gross area included. This area was being used as the basis for 
the estimated water requirements of this part of the Valley. 
In my work for the state engineer in the 1920 ! s, I had 
classified the lands in the proposed water storage districts and 
on Kings River. From these results it was apparent that there 
were sizeable areas which could not meet the cost of imported 
water due to the poor quality of their soils. 

I called Hyatt s attention to this condition and recommended 
that the state s program should not attempt to serve such lands. 
This naturally led to a need for a definition of where such lands 
were and their extent. A classification of the valley lands was 
needed. This in turn led to the question of who should make the 
classification. The program of the state s investigations required 
that the results of such a classification should be available in 
early 1930. 

There was no time for a detailed soil classification. Much of 
the area was already covered by U.E.D.A. Soil Surveys. What was needed 
was a reconaissance type of classification of irrigability. The main 

factors which would eliminate land from a state project would be 
depth of soil, topography and alkali. 

As I had raised this question and had already classified a 
substantial part of the Southern San Joaquin Valley , I was asked to 
make this classification. I agreed to do this and began work in June, 
1929. The standards to be used were first adopted. I then started 
to cover the area from the San Joaquin River south, using the 
results of my former work and filling in the remainder. 

As I was due to resume my teaching when the University opened 
in August, time was short. The greater need was for results on the 
lands on the east side in the valley trough. These were the lands 
then under consideration for service from the Central Valley Project. 
I covered these by the middle of August. This required my working 
long days, 7 days a week. 

The classification was made by auto, driving all roads and other 
entries to the land. As the work was done in the summer, the growing 
crops furnished an index of the land quality particularly where alkali 
was involved. The report on this area was completed in September, 
1929. A copy is Item ^8 in my bibliographical file. The resulting 
map is also included in this item. 

The September, 1929 report covers lands south of the San Joaquin 
River except for some west side lands which were covered during the 
1929-30 Christmas recess. Harry Barnes made the classification of the 
lands which had been included in the proposed San Joaquin Water Storage 
District. I later covered the valley lands north of the Merced River. 
I also later covered the east side foothill lands north of the San 
Joaquin River. The later supplemental reports are in Item ^9 of my 
bilbiographical file. 


The several reports on the valley floor lands in the different 
parts of the San Joaquin River Basin were combined in Appendix A of 
Bulletin 29 of the State Division of Water Resources. A copy 
of Appendix A of Bulletin 29 is Item U8a in my bibliographical file. 
Bulletin 29 is item 62. The results were also included under Land 
Classification, p. 101 of Bulletin 29. Plate V is a map of the San 
Joaquin Valley showing the areas of each land class ^rom one to five. 

In this classification, five classes of lands were used starting 
with Class 1 for lands without defects that materially reduced 
their value under irrigation and ending with Class 5 "for lands of 
such poor quality that the probability of any future use was regarded 
ar^ too remote to justify consideration. Letter symbols were used 
with the class numbers to indicate the basis for the classification 
in Classes 2 to 5- The letters used were (l) a for shallow hard- 
pan areas, (2) b for high alkali content, (3) c was a special class 
to cover the slough and channel cut lands in the valley trough, 
(U) d for roughness and (5) e was for general deficiencies usually 
for soil other than or in addition to alkali or hardpan. 

This 1929 land classification served a useful purpose in the 
preparation of the state s plan for the Central Valley Project. Its 
specific use was to eliminate from the service planned under this project 
those lands which could not be expected to be able to pay the cost. of 
imported water. At that time, and in the adopted plan of the state 
for its Central Valley Project, all types and areas of service were 
expected to pay their allocated costs in full. The Central Valley 
Project Act provided for financing the project with revenue bonds 
and it was specifically stated that there was not state liability 
for costs. For such conditions only lands able to meet their full 


costs should be included, in the service area. 

This 1929-1930 land, classification recognized similar elements 
to those used in later classifications by the state and the U. S. 
Bureau of Reclamation. It was obviously made on a much less detailed 
scale than has been used in recent work. It was adapted to the time 
available for its completion and met its time schedule. 

During the past fifty years, I have been involved in land class 
ifications of irrigable lands in numerous western areas. I was a 
member of the advisory board on the Northeastern Counties Investigation 
for the state. The board reviewed the standards of land classifi 
cation then being used by the state. I was also a member of two 
consulting boards of the U. S. Reclamation Service on large projects 
in North and South Dakota. These will be discussed separately 
later. I think that I can properly claim familiarity with^ and a 
part in the development of the practice of classification o? 
irrigated and irrigable lands over the period of my activity. 
It is my opinion that, while it has now been superseded by more 
detailed classification, the 1929-30 work had a usefulness well in 
excess Q-P its cost. The standards used were similar to the 
practice of the U. S. Bureau of Reclamation on its proposed 
projects. Full use was made of the U. S. Soil Surveys then available. 
However, a land classification for irrigation goes beyond the soil 
inventory of the U. S. Soil Survey and interprets the physical texture 
findings of the Soil Survey in terms of the economic feasibility of 

I had an opportunity to review my 1929-30 land classification 
in the San Joaquin Valley in 1955 while acting as one of the consult 
ants for Bechtel in their review of the State Water Plan. I went 


over the areas which in 1929-30 had been questionable to see what 
development had occurred since 1930- While the area irrigated from 
ground water had increased materially since 1930, there had been only 
limited increases in the areas having a ground water supply where the 
land had been classified in Classes 3 or lower in 1929- The area of 
the largest increased use on lower quality land was on S .onitropic 
Ridge in Kern County. 3y heavy applications of gypsum some of 
these lands on slight ridges with better drainage had been reclaimed 
and were producing satisfactory crops. Financial accounts from which 
the economy of such results could be appraised were not secured and 
have not been included in the state s later reports on these areas. 
The advantage of the low price at which these lands had been acquired 
could well be more than offset by the costs of reclamation and the 
period of reduced yield until reclamation had been accomplished. 

Even with large subsidies for the cost of irrigation now usual 
in projects of the U. S. Bureau of Reclamation, the charges for water 
in our remaining projects are becoming more than any but the best 
lands with good crop adaptability can expect to meet. A rigid 
classification to eliminate the lands which cannot meet such stand 
ards is an essential in these projects. From contacts in 1965 with 
some of the units expecting to receive water from the present state 
project, it appears to me that this standard has not been enforced in 
"fixing the boundaries of some units. 



Bulletin 29, San Joaquin River Basin, (1933) of the State 
Division of Water Resources was a more detailed follow-up to 
Bulletin 25 covering the State Water Plan. Its purpose was 
to present results which had "been condensed in Bulletin 25- 

Included in Bulletin 29 as Appendix A was my land classification 
of the San Joaquin Valley. In addition I prepared drafts of 
shorter discussions of land classification to be included in the 
main text. 

During the preparation of Bulletin 29, I was also asked to 
comment on the drafts being prepared for other portions of the 
report. Many of these were verbal. When a draft of the whole bulletin 
had been prepared I was asked to review it and comment on its 
contents. I did this in a rather detailed report with specific 
suggestions for changes. 

The materials relating to my work on Bulletin 29, other than 
Appendix A, are in Items 51 and 1^9 of my bibliographical file. 

My comments on Bulletin 29, other than those relating to land 
classification questioned some of its general tone. It was my 
opinion that some less favorable features of the plan had not been 
covered as fully as those that were more favorable. The details of 
these matters are in Item 1^9. Hyatt s letter thanking me for the 
thoroughness of my review is also included. 

During the preparation of Bulletin 29 there was much discussion 
regarding whether the irrigated areas in the southern San Joaquin Valley 
to be served by the proposed state plan could meet the costs of such 


service. An office report had been prepared for the state 
engineer by P. H. Van Etten, dated March 25, 1931 entitled, 
"Economics for Initial Development as it affects the Individual 
Land Owner in the Upper San Joaquin Valley." I had been assenting 
material on my own in t lis field during 1930 and completed a 
memorandum on "What can San Joaquin Valley Lands Afford to Pay for 
Water," in March, 1931- I was asked to comment on Van Etten s 
report and did so in a report on "Price Land Owners can Afford to Pay 
for Direct Benefits of Service from Proposed Immediate Initial Unit 
in the San Joaquin Valley of the Comprehensive Plan." This report 
was datedMay, 1931- Both of these reports are in Item 51 of my 
bibliographical file. 

Frank Adams had also prepared Bulletin 3^ for the Department 
of Water Resources entitled "Permissible Annual Charge for Irrigation 
Water in Upper San Joaquin Valley." He used the difference between 
all costs except water and the gross return to derive the net return 
available to use in paying for water. 

At that time 

average gross crop returns were about $100 per acre and costs, 
except water, about $90 per acre, leaving about $10 per acre available 
for what is now called the "repayment capacity." 

Crop prices varied materially in the late 1920 s. A variation 
of 10$ in the gross returns could make 100$ difference in the 
repayment capacity. 

I based my conclusions largely on the costs of water which 
were being incurred and met by the existing uses. This included the 
costs that were being incurred for ground water pumping. It was 
recognized that citrus could pay a higher rate than other crops 


but }. price differential based on the crop on which the water 
was used was not considered to "be workable. 

The resulting prices that could be paid -for water varied with 
the assumptions that were made. In general $3-00 per acre foot 
canal side appeared to be as high as could be secured ^or the 
dependable supply. A lower rate for recharge and of * season 
water w:.:s also discussed. 

Some years later when the USBR fixed its rate -for CVP 
water it used $3-50 per acre foot -for Class 1 or dependable 
service water and $1-50 per acre foot -for Class 2 or irregularly 
available water. This somewhat higher rate is consistent with 
the improvement in economic conditions which had occurred when 
the US3R rate was set. 

These 1931 rates discussed in Bulletin 29 have been made 
obsolete by the inflation and other factors since the 1930 s. 
They are in marked contrast to the ability to pay rates now in 
use by both the USBR and the state. T ie method of using the 
di^-ference between the average gross crop returns and all costs 
except water is still in general use. The state derives its 
results by adopting a crop pattern -for the area being considered 
and deriving the costs and returns for each crop in this pattern. 
T". C USBR is using a similar general basis except that it is 
applied to ^arm units selected to be typical of the expected 
practice in the area. In general the USBR .results are somewhat 
lover than those jf the state. T -iis is to be expected as t : .e USB/? 
necessarily bases its p arm programs on units not exceeding 1^0 
ecres and loses the economic benefits that result from larger farm units 
"or many crop conditions. 


217 Calif. 673 (1933) 

This case was brought "by a group of riparian owners on the 
Santa Ynez River to en.join the proposed enlargement o^ the Gibraltar 
Reservoir which was above their riparian lands. The original 
storage at Gibraltar bad become prescriptive against these owners. 
Santa Barbara proposed to increase the storage capacity at Gibraltar; 
such increase storage had not been built or used. 

These owners sued to enjoin its use before public use had 
occurred. Such public use would have limited the recovery o^ the 
lower riparian owners to damages. 

James Peck was the attorney for the riparian owners. H.H. 
Henderson o f Stockton was his engineer. Peck and Henderson had 
secured contingency fee contracts with some forty riparian land 
owners who were joined as plaintiffs. The contract provided that 
peck would pay the costs o^ the trial to be reimbursed ^rom the first 
awards that might be secured. He was also to receive a percentage 
of any excess of the awards over the costs. To protect themselves 
in their collection under these contracts P w ck had recorded them, 
rhnderson was named to share in the awards also. 

James Irving of Riverside was the principal attorney for Santa 
Barbara and Raymond Hill was the directing engineer. The case went 
to trial in 1929- The witness who prepared the testimony on the 
character of the riparian lands did not present an adequate 
classification o^ their irrigability and I was risked to examine 
each ownership of these lands and testify regarding the value of 
the "low o r th- Santa Ynez River for their irrigation. This involved 


a classification of what part o p these riparian lands was 
irrigable and the feasibility of its irrigation with the available 
stream "low. Much of these lands were on mesas or terraces above 
the stream and the feasibility of pumping to the necessary elevations 
was a ^actor in their irrigability. 

The flow of the Santa Ynez River then available to these lands 
consisted of that remaining after the past diversions by Santa 
Barbara. Gibraltar Reservoir controlled all of the flow at its 
dam except some excess winter run- off not useful for direct 

The trial vas under way in October, 1929 when I began the field 
work. I was teaching in the University. I had to commute on week ends 
for field work going down on the night train to Surf, being met there 
about 5 A.M., working Saturday and Sunday in the field and coming home 
on the Sunday night train. 

I testified in this case on November lU and 15, 1929- On 
cross examination Peck asked questions regarding the character of 
the land of each o* 1 the plaintiffs. I had my notebook at hand and 
could glance at it before answering. The judge had the aerial 
photos of each piece before him as I testified and checked my 
answers as I made them. This worked well until I had covered all 
but k or 5 of the areas. Then Peck insisted that I answer from 
memory without referring to my notes. Irving protested and the 
lawyers argued for some time before the judge ruled that if Peck 
insisted on a memory answer he was entitled to it. If my memory 
was incomplete or in error it could be taken care of on re -direct 

While the lawyers were arguing this matter T was busy 


memorizing the descriptions of the remaining ownerships so I did 
not care - .lich way the judge ruled. It was not necessary to use 
re-direct examination on the descriptions. 

When Henderson undertook to testify both as a direct witness 
on his field work and as an expert in expressing opinions, he was 
challenged as "being an interested party as a result of his interest 
in the contingency contracts. He WES disqualified as an impartial 
expert "but was perraited to testify on ^actual matters without 

The account of the testimony in this case is interesting rather 
than important. This was a contested trial that lasted over 6 weeks. 
Peel; did not pay his share of the court reporters charges. The 
reporter sued the plaintiffs and collected. Peck should have paid those 
charges under the terms of the contingency contracts. This result 
caused the expected dissension between the plaintiffs and their 

The lower court judge decided in favor of Santa Barbara and 
denied the injunction against raising Gibraltar. The plaintiffs 
appealed. The decision of the California Supreme Court on the 
appeal in 1933 sustained the lower court. 

The trial in this case occurred after the 1928 constitution 
ammendment had been passed but before it had been construed by 
the supreme court. This case was the first to reach the Supreme 
Court in which the 1928 ammendment was at issue. The court 
sustained the ammendment holding that all use of water in 
California was subject to reasonable standards o~f use. The 
plaintiffs in the Gin Chow case were found not to meet such a 
standard in the riparian usage they could make of the available 
flow of the Santa Ynez River. 


Later cases have fully established the 1928 constitutional 
amendment as applicable to all types of use. This has effectually 
met the previous disadvantage of appropriators in contests with 
riparian owners . 



The plaintiffs in the Gin Chow case owned lands above 
Robinson s Bridge. Another separate suit was brought by land 
owners in the Lompoc Valley. The Union Sugar Company was the first 
named plaintiff in this suit. The cause of action was the reduction 
in the recharge of the ground water in the Lompoc Valley that it was 
claimed would result from additional storage of the run-off of 
the Santa Ynez River. 

In July, 1930 I made a classification of the lands involved 
and prepared a report in November, 1930 entitled "Progress Report 
on Irrigable Area and Water Requirements for Consumptive Use for 
Lands on Santa Ynez River and Tributaries." T : iis is Item 1*4-8 in 
my bibliographical file. The field work for this report was done 
in the summer of 1930 when I could devote more nearly continuous 
time to it and did not involve the commuting of the Gin Chow case. 

This case never reached trial. In the construction o^ the 
Cachuma Project the U.S. Bureau of Reclamation agreed to a 
schedule of releases for recharge in the Lompoc: Valley which should 
remove the cause o r action of this suit. This is a commendable 
result. The re should be no further use for my 1930 results in 
litigation. They may supply a useful inventory as of 1930 for 
use in comparison with the development at later dates. 



When Elwood Mead returned from his work in Australia and 
became Professor o 4 * Rural Institutions at the University of California, 
he proposed that California should undertake land settlement colonies 
similar to those he had administered in Australia. As a result 
of his energy and influence, California established a Land 
Settlement Board in 191? and bonds to provide funds were voted. 
Mead became Cnairman of the Board. 

A search was made for suitable areas -for colonies and a part 
o f tne Stanford Rancn near Chico was selected for t;ne first. This 
became known as tne Durham Colony as Durham was tne nearest, town 
to tne area. 

When the Durham colony was opened ^or settlement in 191ti there 
was an active demand for land. Tne states program had been widely 
publicized and the units sold quickly. The progress at Durham resulted 
in an additional bond issue and a search for a second colony. Delhi 
war; selected and opened for settlement in 1920. The land demand had 
slackened and only part of the units sold readily. The rest moved 
slowly and the class of settlers accepted was not equal to that at 

Progress at Durham was generally good during the 1920 s. These 
were good lands secured at favorable costs for land and water. At 
Delhi the lands were sandy and more difficult to subdue. The Delhi 
lands had been purchased at what was then a relatively high price 
for this type of land. A concrete pipe distribution had been 
constructed, also at a relatively high cost. The Delhi settlers 
were faced with these high total costs with similarly high annual 


costs. The production of these lands in the early years of operation 
did not provide sufficient net income to meet the annual payments. 

By 1925 the Delhi Colony was in financial difficulties. It 
had become evident that some adjustment was required. The Legislature 
in 1925 approved a partial write-off. This helped but did not 
remedy the basic difficulties of the colony. 

The State Land Settlement Board had consisted of members 
not otherwise employed by the state. This type of Board was used 
in the earlier years o" colony purchase and establishment. Later 
the Board was changed to consist of the State Directors of Pub?.! a 
Works, Agriculture, and Finance. Administrative control was 
placed in a Division of Land Settlement in the Department of 
Agriculture. Chas. W. Cleary was Chief o p this Division. He 
had been a member of the Legislature. Cleary was capable and 
conscientious and did all that anyone could do to bring the 
colonies out of thrir troubles. 

In 1923 the members of the Land Settlement Board were Bert B. 
Meek, G. H. Hecke and Alex R. Heron. 

When the problems relating to Delhi and Durham became acute in 
1923 it soon became evident that the members of the 
Land Settlement Board did not have time to give them the attention 
which they needed. This condition is inherent in any attempt to 
get additional service from existing state officers who are already 
fully occupied with their main functions. 

Cleary being in the Department of Agriculture had a direct 
contact, with Mr. Hecke and could keep him more fully advised 
regarding his work. The other two members o r the Land Settlement Board 
felt the need for a closer contact than they had time for themselves 


and desired someone reporting to them to participate in the details 
o f any plans that might be proposed. Mr. Meek first used the State 
Engineer, Edward Hyatt, for this. Hyatt asked me to help him. 
Gradually I came to report more directly to Mr. Meek and eventually 
practically to hold his proxy on the Board for matters leading up 
to official action by the Board. Mr. Heron used one of his accountants, 
Mr. Rouble, in a similar capacity for the Department of Finance. Mr. 
Rouble limited his activities mainly to auditing accounts. Cleary 
and I had the main work to do on developing proposals for adjustment. 

I had followed the activities of the state in these two colonies 
fairly closely and with much interest from their beginning but had 
not had any direct part in them. Elwood Mead was responsible for the 
program arid dominated its execution. As he was on the University 
faculty, use was made of other faculty members. Charles Shaw made 
reports on the soils of tracts proposed for purchase. Frank Adams was 
active in assistance to Mead. David Weeks came to California because 
of his interest in aiding such settlements and worked on the program. 
Weeks later joined the faculty. 

These colonies received wide publicity and were hailed as the 
answer to giving settlers of limited means a chance to secure a 
farm of their own. They were expected to set a model in this field 
which would be compared with the results that were being secured in 
land development under private practices. 

When I began active work on these colonies in January, 1929, 
it was apparent that the main problem was at Delhi . Durham was 
insisting on a reduction in their indebtedness to the state if 
adjustments were granted to Delhi but the Durham settlers were not 
in the distress 0? many of those at Delhi. All o^ these procedxires 


took place prior to the adoption of the extensive relief practices 
of the federal government which were inaugurated in the Depression 
of the 1930 s. Settlers unable to meet their state payments had no 
alternate except to become delinquent. The state had not enforced 
foreclosure although some settlers who could see no chance of 
becoming solvent had moved to other areas. 

It soon became evident that adjustments could not be made 
equitably on a uniform basis using average conditions. Each 
settler was a separate case. To have reduced the remaining indebted 
ness by some uniform percentage for all settlers would have 
penalized the individuals who had struggled to maintain their 
payments. All proposals for adjustment had to be worked out 
individually to determine what their effect would be. As there were 
about 230 active accounts at Delhi this was quite a burdensome job. 
The work of making those individual studies fell to me. The 
proposed plans were given letters to designate them. We worked 
our way down the alphabet. The final settlement was based mainly 
on Plan W. 

The state had provided agricultural advice which was carried 
to the point of approaching agricultural management of the individual 
settlers farm plan. The planting of peaches was recommended and 
there was a substantial acreage of this crop. It was found that 
those trees on the sandy soils of Delhi were subject to little leaf. 
The settlers claimed that the state should repay them for the costs 
they had incurred on these orchards as they had been planted on the 
state s advice. Cleary and I rejected this claim and were supported 
by He eke and Meek. 

Among the settlers at Delhi were a group of disabled veterans. 


These were able to operate their -farms. One was reported to 
have won the county wrestling champion shir ..<f his weight. This 
group claimed that they should receive special consideration. 
This was a touchy subject politically. When It was under discussion 
Kr-cke told me that any plan that did not give this group what 
they asked for would be political suicide. Not being subject to 
political pressure, the disabled veterans were treated the same as 
other settlers in all of the plans on which I worked. 

E. G. Adams of Merced was the assemblyman from the Delhi 
area. He was active in seeking adjustments for the Delhi settlers. 
As any settlement resulting in loss to the state would be brought 
before the legislature for review and possible change, it was 
necessary to consider the legislative reaction to any plan that 
might be proposed. It was considered that the best chance of 
legislative approach would be secured if any plan proposed was 
equitable as between individual settlers and could be supported, on 
its merits. There was no legislative interference in the work 
preparing the plans for settlement of the indebtedness to toe 
state. The first work which I did on Delhi and Durham was to 
make a preliminary study on the overall conditions in each colony. 
Based on my conclusions from this work I was asked to undertake 
-"urther work. This began Jan. lU, 1929 and was actively pursued 
until May, 1929- Matters then became dormant until September, 1929, 
when negotiations with the settlers became active. Work on my part 
was iritcrmittant from September, 1929 to April, 1930. By this time 
the negotiations had become political and I dropped out as my work 
was no longer useful and I had no desire to participate further. 
The final terms were worked out by the B .o .rd. 


I made no formal reports in my work on Delhi and. Durham. Some 
memoranda were prepared -for my own use which have not been typed. 
Conclusions are stated in some of the correspondence. These with 
some other pertinent materials are collected in It<;m 150 of my 
bibliographical file. This item differs "rom nearly all of the 
items in this p ile in that it does not contain a p orrnal statement 
or report. There was no need of a complete report during my work 
as we proceeded on a day to day basis seeking an acceptable form of 
settlement. Also a^ter settlement had been accomplished the terms 
o f settlement spoke for themselves. 

The published material relating to these two colonies is 
extensive. Their history has been the subject o*" a doctoral thesis 
at the University. There is no no>ed of repeating such available 
material here. The -following discussion relates mainly to ray own 
part in getting the state out from under its obligations to the 
settlers in these two colonies. Instead o^ the usual adjustment 
o p indebtedness where the debtor seeks a compromise representing what 
he can afford to pay, the adjustments became a matter of the best 
terms for the state which the settlers would accept for their 
remaining obligations to the state. 

The difference in the conditions in the two colonies makes their 
separate discussion desirable. Trtis had been done. 

Although this was the second colony it determined the policies 
relating to state action and is more readily discussed first. 

When the Land Settlement Board sought an area for its second 
colony some 80 locations were offered. The Board narrowed this list 
to our for final decision. One o p these was Miller & Lux lands at 


Buttonwillow, now largely the Buena Vista Water Storage District. This 
was rejected because Miller & Lux. wanted to sell a larger acreage than 
the Board was able or willing to buy. Another site was in the Holland 
tract in the Dolta. This was rejected reportedly because one member 
of the Board objected to putting a colony behind a reclamation levee 
with its possibility of a break. The third tract in the -final list 
does not come to mind, I think that it was another delta area. The 
Wilson land in the Turlock Irrigation District was finally purchased. 

The results in seeking the second colony site illustrate 
the general land situation in California in 1920. While some 80 
tracts were offered, the Board found only four that met their needs 
to the extent that involved final consideration. By 1920, 
attractive areas of U,000 to 8,000 acres in one ownership 
having good soil and available water were generally developed 
and in use. The Board indicated that it would like to place its 
second colony in southern California but -found no tracts there 
suited to its needs. Much of the land development in California 
had been aided by the availability of tracts in one ownership 
resulting from the land grants of the Spanish and Mexican governments. 
The attractive land grants were generally in use by 1920. The effort 
of the State to find a site for the second land settlement colony 
in 1920 practically marked the end of the colony land development 
practice -for irrigated land in California. 

The State bought 8,600 acres at Delhi at an average price o*" 
$96 per acre. The Report of the State Land Settlement Board of 
Sept. 30, 1920, states (p. 26) 

"The soil experts of the University reported that 


this area is suited to intense cultivation both p or farm 
and orchard products. Its lack of development and the 
price at which purchased was due to the sandy and broken 
character of t \e land, making it difficult to prepare 
for irrigation and hard at the start to grow crops. The 
Board s initial difficulties illustrate this." 

In my work for the state I went into the early reports and 
records. I found that the soil report of Pro"f. Shaw and his rec 
ommendations were based on the purchase of somewhat better soils 
than those in the area -finally acquired. 

The Delhi colony was located on an area in the Turlock Irrigation 
District, which had had water available for many years. While 
other areas in the District had developed, this area had remained 
unused. There was some development on similar soils around Ballico 
near Delhi. This had been settled by Japanese. They had succeeded 
there by low initial investment, hard work and a restricted standard 
of living during the development period. 

There had been other areas in which the irrigation of similar 
lands had been undertaken prior to 1920 from which much could 
have been learned. Such areas included the Umatilla, Minidoka, 
and Sunny side Projects of the U.S. Reclamation Service. The results 
on sandy lands in these areas, if known and used, would have caused 
caution to have been used in undertaking a colony at Delhi. 

Experience prior to 1920 and since ha.s shown that sandy lands 
can be successfully irrigated under proper conditions. A period o f 
reduced yield is usual while the soils are being built up. Initial 
investment must be relatively low to keep annual costs down during 

the early years. Delhi invested the cost of full development 
before the land was sold to the settlers and the high fixed charges 
in the early years were in excess of what could be made from the 
land. There was experience available in 1920 from which the later 
results at Delhi could have been predicted. 

Another factor at Delhi was the pipe distribution system. 
The irregular elevations of the land made a pipe system desirable. 
One was planned with adequate sizes for good service. As a result 
of the shortage o f "funds the concrete pipe system built had reduced 
sizes and could not deliver efficient sizes of irrigation heads in 
much of the area. 

A -factor contributing to the failure at Delhi was the extent o f 
advisory services supplied to the settlers. This service approached 
the control of the decisions which should remain with the land owner. 
The state could exercise such controls as a condition in loans 
that were needed. In 1920 -farmers generally had been pioneers and 
above the average in their self-reliance. Many of the settlers 
lacked farming experience and needed advice. By the late 1920 s 
many of the settlers had lost their own initiative and expected 
the state to solve their problems. 

The Durham colony was generally good land with an adequate 
water supply. Some hardpan land which it had been necessary to 
acquire in order to secure the area desired for the colony was 
sold in large farm sizes and was not a part of the colony. The colony 
made good progress until 1929- It had been widely hailed as the 
answer to the problem of close settlement where owners of limited 
financial resources could secure a farm under -favorable payment terms 


with helpful guidance and advice by the state. The colony was 
visited b.: many from other states and countries having land settle 
ment problems. In its earlier years, Durham lived up to its adver 
tised standing as a model colony. 

Durham started under the local management of Geo. Kreutzer. 
He had gone to Australia with Mead and had returned to the United 
States to take part in his land settlement projects here. Kreutzer 
had established himself in this field and had a reputation of his 
own in it. He was one of the few and perhaps the only one who 
had acquired standing for himself while working for Mead. Mead 
was inclined to take credit for the accomplishments o^ those 
working under him. It was a complaint by those who had worked p or the 
Irrigation Investigations o^ the U.S.D.A. while Mead was its chief, 
that Mead received the recognition resulting from their work. Tnis 
was not the case, however, where Mead desired public standing 
r or the reports such as Bulletin 100 on Irrigation in California. 
In Bulletin 100 each area covered was reported under the authorship 
of some one having recognized standing here. It was also not the 
case when Mead became Commissioner of Reclamation and inherited 
a staff which included many already having established reputations 
of their own. 

Walker Case 

One of the settlers at Durham had bought a released unit 
sometime after the first settlement of the colony. This unit 
had been sold to him by Kreutzer. This settler, H.M Walker, later 
brought suit to recover his expenditures and also damages from 
the state on the grounds that there had been fraud in the 
representations made to him by the state s agents. This case 


came to trial while I was working on the adjustment of payments 
and I was asked to prepare testimony for the state on the merits 
of this case. 

I made an examination o^ the Walker unit, reviewed what had 
occurred in the sale and prepared expert testimony in the case. The 
plaintiff s case came first. Walker testified making bitter 
charges against Kreutzer and his honesty. Mrs, Walker also testified, 
fainting while on the stand. At the time I regarded this as a stunt 
designed to influence the jury. Several of Walker s neighbors also 
testified charging Kreutzer with having known facts about Walker s 
unit which he did not disclose at the time of sale. The trial 
lasted about two weeks. I sat through most of it. It was 
pitiful to have to sit there and watch its effect on Kreutzer. He 
had put in some o* the best years of his life trying to help 
these same people who now turned on him in an effort to help one 
of them secure damages from the state. Kreutzer was so depressed 
that he would hardly talk to anyone during the time out of court. 
He died shortly afterward. His case represents the nearest to 
dying of a broken heart of any that I have encountered. 

The Walker land had some drainage problems which could have 
been solved. These were explained to Walker before he bought. I 
testified regarding his land, supporting the value at which it was 
sold to Walker. I had expected an attack on my testimony in the 
cross-examination and was prepared to meet it. Instead, Peters, 
Walker s attorney, tried to get me to agree that I was the leading 
authority in this field in the United States. I contended that I 
was qualified, as I had to do to support my testimony, but refused 
to say I was the best. This is the only time in my experience where 


an opposing attorney tried to increase my qualifications. 

When the case reached argument to the jury, Peters reviewed 
his fulsome praise of my qualifications. Walker had had no expert 
witness. Peters pointed out this difference and began his arm 
waving. Here was the great and rich state able to afford to bring 
the greatest living authority into the case in their support while 
the poor settler could only afford to rely on the voluntary testimony 
of his neighbors. Needless to say I did not become elated at his 
praise. Peters probably had the case on a contingency basis and 
did not want to incur the cost for experts on his side . 

As expected the jury gave Walker a substantial award. The case 
was appealed and reversed. It was not retried. 

The results of the State s experience in its venture into 
supervised land settlement are reviewed and analyzed in the Final 
Report of the Division of Land Settlement dated June 30, 1931 by 
Chas. W. Cleary, its chief. It is not essential that these details 
be repeated here as this report is generally available. The 
accepted loss to the state in 1931 on an investment of almost 
$3,100,000 was about $2,500,000. This represents a loss of almost 
80$> of the investment. 

Mr. Cleary s conclusions regarding the practicability of state 
sponsored land settlements such as those at Delhi and Durham are 
well expressed in his final report (p. 18, 19). He states: 

"The land settlement venture has apparently well 
demonstrated that anything that offers a substitute for or 


that tends to weaken individual effort and initiative 
to that extent promotes failure in individual enterprise 
and dissatisfaction in community activity. The 
conclusion is unavoidable that few human beings 
are fashioned from sufficiently rugged fiber to 
withstand the weakening influences of paternalism; 
that few can resist the temptation to lean too heavily 
on a paternal government where the opportunity 
offers. Strong personalities were manifestly 
weakened by the years under State land settlement 

This statement was made in 1931 based on his experience in 
managing the Delhi and Durham colonies during the period of their 
liquidation. This was prior to the extensive forms of general 
relief established during the Depression and now rampant in the Great 
Society and the War on Poverty. Human nature does not change 
basically and Cleary s comments in 1931 are applicable today. 

Delhi and Durham have been on their own now for over thirty 
years and the record to date enables comparison of results under the colony 
system of the State with those upon operating on their own respon 

After the 1931 adjustments had been completed the further 
administration of the colonies was placed with the Division of 
State Lands, Department of Finance. This office handled all state 
lands at that time. Taere were some unsold lands and the state 
held some mortgages. Where the mortgages remaining on the settlers 


units qualified for Federal Land Bank loans, such loans vere 
placed on the land and the State received payment. 

The largest area remaining in the title of the state vas the 
part of the Delhi Colony which had not been subdivided or sold. 
An office was maintained in Delhi to dispose of this and other 
lands there. Governor Rolph appointed the father of his daughter- 
in-law to have charge of this office. 

I have not seen any final accounting for these two state colonies 
after all accounts had been closed. All indebtedness to the state 
that remained in 1931 should now have been fully paid. Such a 
final accounting would show the extent to which the state actually 
realized the assets remaining after the 1931 adjustments. The 
gross returns less the continued cost of administration may have 
been relatively small. 

At Delhi, a local improvement district had been organized to 
take over the distribution system of the colony. Such local 
districts within the Turlock Irrigation District were numerous. 
The Turlock Irrigation District put in some irrigation wells in 
the colony area to augment the limited capacity of the state s 
concrete pipe system. The Turlock Irrigation District also treated 
the land owners in the colony the same as any others. They met 
their charges and district taxes or suffered the same penalties 
as other landowners. R.V. Meikle was the manager of the Turlock 
Irrigation District and gave the colony the same service that other 
areas received. Meikle has told me on several occasions that the 
colony area was required to meet and has met the same rules that 
apply throughout the district and has not caused any special problems 
in district operation. 


At Durham, a mutual vater company was organized and each settler 
received stocks for use on his land. This company has also operated 
without unusual difficulties since 1931- 

Over the years since 1931 I have occasionally driven around 
in the colony areas for general observations. I drove over both 
areas in 1965. In general appearance both areas are not different 
from adjacent similar lands. The present buildings in the former 
colonies are as modern and as well kept as in other areas. Overall 
both areas indicate a degree of prosperity fully as great as other 
areas in their vicinity. 

The settlers at both Delhi and Durham have benefitted by 
getting out from too close control by the state of the matters 
which the individuals should decide for themselves. When their 
responsibilities were returned to the settlers they have shown 
the same ability to meet them that is shown by farmers generally. 

The preceding discussion has covered my participation in the 
adjustments at Delhi and Durham with some general comments. My 
part in working out the results of various plans that were 
proposed was primarily directed toward advising Mr. Meek regarding 
policy decisions he needed to make as a member of the Land 
Settlement Board. I worked closely with Mr Cleary but participated 
to only a limited extent in the actual meetings with the settlers 
committees. Mr. Cleary did not mention my part in the final results 
in his final report. Such mention was not essential to the purposes 
of his report. 

When I began my work for Mr. Meek it was recognized that major 
losses to the state at Delhi vere unavoidable. It was hoped that 


such losses at Durham could be kept within reason. My function was 
to advise Meek whether the various plans proposed were equitable 
to the state and between the individual settlers. It was recognized 
that to be successful any plan would have to have the approval of a 
high percentage of the settlers. It was also hoped that a plan 
could be secured under which the state could recover such part of 
its investment as the settlers could afford to pay. 

I had the full support of Meek during all of my work on 
these colonies. He stood for the above basis in the meetings of 
the Board. The recognition of the other two members of the Board 
that Meek would not agree to an inequitable adjustment between indivi 
dual settlers or for the state probably aided in securing more 
equitable terms for all parties in the final agreement than would 
otherwise have been obtained. 

Mr. Hecke generally followed Cleary s recommendations but 
was inclined to regard getting a final settlement as being more 
important than holding the settlers for what they could reasonably 
pay. Mr. Heron appears to have had political plans for himself, sncl to have 
been more interested in the publicity he could secure. At some 
meetings he proposed some newsworthy plan that might occur to 
him just before the reporters had to leave to make their afternoon 
editions. This would be used in the papers and credited to Heron, 
altuough it might have been something that had been considered and 
discarded by the rest of those representing the state. Heron was 
not available for the pre-meeting sessions at which policies to 
be followed were worked out . 

The settlements Anally made at both De] hi and Durham were the 
result of the ideas and work of many individuals. No one individual 


was responsible for it all. Mr. Cleary deserves the largest amount 
of credit for the results. He worked long, ably, and patiently 
on the settlement finally achieved. I would give Mr. Meek the 
second place in credit for the results. An assist should be 
given to Governor Young who stood behind the Board and resisted 
pressure to write-off all indebtedness to the state. Elwood 
Mead who was responsible for the settlement program was not around 
when the going got tough. 

My part in this work may have hid some effect in securing 
somewhat more favorable terms for the state in the final settlement. 
The procedures were kept from getting out of hand until the final 
negotiations were reached. When Plan W had been accepted at Delhi 
and was ready to be submitted to the Legislature some further 
concessions were made to secure favorable action. These were 
political in which I did not care to be a party and I terminated my 
work prior to the final terms. 

The 1931 adjustment of the finances at Delhi and Durham represents 
the penalty the state paid in order to be relieved of further 
obligations to these colonies. The price paid by the state was 
high. The price paid by many of the settlers in lost savings, lost 
years, and lost ideals was also high. An adjustment on any terms 
was better than further effort to operate on the colony basis. It 
is my opinion that both the state and the settlers gained by the 
state s purchase of release of its obligations in the 1931 adjustment 
although the terms were relatively liberal to the settlers. 

The 1931 adjustment of these colonies was based, as it had to 
be, on judgment reached at that time. At present hind sight can 
be applied to its terms. This adjustment was made at the start of 


the depression of the 1930 s but before its relief measures had 
been put into effect. If Delhi and Durham had remained a state 
responsibility in the 1930 s there would have been a demand for 
major relief for the support of the settlers. The cost to the 
state of such relief would have been high. Wnile the extent of 
the coming depression was not realized in 1931, the state was 
immensely fortunate in being able to complete these adjustments 
before the full impact of the depression was felt. 

The 1920 s were regarded as less favorable to agriculture than 
previous periods. Crop prices declined after World War I. Looking 
back now, the conditions in the 1920 s were not so bad for 
agriculture as they have been at some times since. If Delhi and 
Durham failed in the 1920 s, colonies operated on similar theories 
could not have been expected to succeed at any later times. 

Various explanations have been offered regarding why Delhi 
-;>d Durham failed as supervised colonies. Some have said that it 
was due to Mead s having gone to Australia again in the 1920 s 
and to his successors not being able to manage the colonies 
successfully. Others have claimed that it was the result of the 
unfavorable attitude of C.M. Wooster while he was chairman of 
the Land Settlement Board. It is my opinion that the failure 
of these colonies was not the fault of any individual and that 
no one could have made them & success. Additional state funds to 
pour into the colonies would huve prolonged their life, but would 
not have resulted in their success. 

It is my opinion that the failure of Delhi and Durham was the 
result of attempting to replace the individual initiative of the 
settlers by managed direction. Such controls replace the responsi- 

bility of the individual and lead to his loss of ability and interest. 
The American type of settler was not adapted to this practice 50 
years ago. It is my hope that he will never become adapted to it. 

It is my opinion that Delhi and Durham would have failed 
sooner or later regardless of the individuals in charge in the 
Land Settlement Board or on the colonies and regardless of their 
physical advantages in soils or crop adaptability. While the poor 
land at Delhi accelerated it failure, the good land at Durham only 
postponed its fate. 

The experience of the State in its two land settlement 
colonies in the 1920 s has had at least one benefit. It has been 
effective in preventing the state from again undertaking similar 
projects. If the type of settlement in these two colonies could 
not succeed in the 1920 s when self-reliance was still the American 
tradition it could not be expected to succeed today under the 
present policies of free assistance. If Delhi and Durham can 
continue to keep the State from undertaking similar ventures in them, 
the losses o." the State in these colonies will have been well repaid. 

In the concluding paragraph of his final report, Cleary has 
expressed the above thought very clearly. He states: 

"If because of the lessors learned in State land 
settlement the citizens of California are led to scru 
tinize more carefully in the future idealistic theories 
proposed before adopting them as functions of govern 
ment the expense involved in the land settlement 
venture will have proven a good investment." 



In August, 1931, I began an investigation for an irrigation 
district in the Peach Bowl area of Sutter County. This district 
would have extended from the area served by the Sutter-Butte Canal 
on the north to the Tudor area on the south and from the Feather 
River on the east to the ricr* lands on the west. About 26,000 
acres were canvassed for their use of water and their crops. 
The source of water supply was the underlying ground water. 

At this time, B.B. Meek was the head of the California Lands 
Co. which had been organized to handle the lands owned by the Bank 
of America. The bank had acquired much land by foreclosure and had 
established a separate company to handle it. Mr. Meek had urged 
that such an investigation be made. A committee of the land 
owners had been formed to sponsor this work. On Meek s recommenda 
tion T vas employed to make the investigation. Some previous 
promotional work had been done in this area by Milo Williams but 
no action had been taken. 

The Bank of America paid half the cost and the other land 
owners raised the other half by voluntary contributions. Mr. Dunning 
Rideout of the Rideout Branch of the Bank of America in Marysville 
was chairman of the committee and all funds passed through his hands. 

I went over the area on August, 1931 > and named a lump sum price 
at which I would do the work. This was accepted and am agreement 
drawn. I employed C.R. Loucks to make the field canvass of the 
existing pumping plants and crops. Loucks had worked for Harry Barnes of 
the Madera Irrigation District and for the San Joaquin River W.S.D. 
My report was completed in November, 1931- Some field work was also 


done by W.A. Laflin. 

This work represented a standard type investigation of 
sources of supplemental water supply for an area that was concerned 
with the effect of its draft on itB underlying ground water. 
There were alternate sources of water supply that might be secured. 
Distinctive local features were the relatively flat slope of the 
land so that some booster on a concrete pipe systems would have been 
needed to provide adequate grade. Below a depth of about 200 feet 
salty water was encountered in some areas. This appeared to be 
residual water retained when this area was a part of the ocean. 

As the result of these investigations I recommended the 
organization of a 22,000 acre irrigation district with local 
improvement districts to meet the conditions in the different 
parts of the district. This would have met the estimated 
-v^rdraft at relatively low costs. Nothing was done toward the 
organization of such a district. 

My main report was dated November, 1931- This is Item no. 53 
in my bibliographical file. A summary of this report was prepared 
Dec. 15, 1931- The state read the ground water elevations in 1932 
and I prepared a memorandum on these results in February, 1933- 
These two items are in Item 5^ of my bibliographical file. In 
19^-8, when the state was making its investigations for a state 
water plan, I made available all of my results for their use. This 
gave the state the records in 1931 "to compare with conditions in 1948. 

Am imterestimg and to me an amusing part of my agreement 
covering this report was the insistence of the committee that I 
should prepare the report in terms that were understandable by 
laymen. This was a clause in the agreement. I did not know how 


this provision would be enforced as I knew of no standards by 
which the ability of laymen to understand could be defined. 
However I was not concerned over this clause as the members of 
the committee were all intelligent operators and if ray report 
had not been understandable by them the fault would have been 
with my writing of the report. 

This area has continued since 1931 with only limited local 
additions to its water supply. The water rights on Feather River 
in this area were not well defined and shortages in diversion 
would probably have occurred in some years. At present with 
Oroville Dam under construction and the preference to areas of 
origin, adequate water should be available for this area. It can 
participate in the state project if it desires to secure additional 

The work I did in 1931 for the area was one of the earlier 
studies of ground water conditions for areas in the Sacramento 
Valle.v . The problems here were not critical and the areas have 
operated successfully since 1931 without undertaking any major 
works. The report in 1931 had value in excess of its costs to 
the landowners in supplying them with detailed results regarding 
their conditions and needs although it did not lead to any specific 
actions in securing additional water. 


In May, 1931, I made a report for the State Bond Certifi 
cation Commission on a proposed bond refunding program for this 
District. This report is Item 52 in my bibliographical file. 

The Oakdale Irrigation District with the South San Joaquin 
Irrigation District were the first larger districts to be organ 
ized and built under the revised irrigation district act. They 
both diverted from the Stanislaus River. Their distribution 
systems were built about 1915 and later they built joint storage 
at Melones. Under the Irrigation District Act, the bond issues 
of these districts were subject to approval by the Bond Certification 
Commission. In 1931, the Oakdale District had sold general bond 
issues totaling $2,^-00,000 and an issue of $1,100,000 of storage 
bonds to which the net income from power produced at Melones was 

The first maturities on these bonds began in 1931- The district 
had met its interest charges to date but was concerned regarding its 
ability to meet its approaching bond retirement schedule. It 
proposed to refund its earlier issues so as to postpone maturities. 
My report related to the ability of the district to meet its 
prospective costs. 

The Oakdale Irrigation District contained about 72,000 acres. 
Only about 30$ of this area was irrigated in 1931. About 60$ of 
the district consisted of hardpan lands, generally rolling with 
shallow soil. Ladino clover was being tried in a preliminary way 
on some of these lands. The main irrigation was on the other 
district lands which were of good quality. 


The principal problem of the District related to its hardpan 
lands. Taxes on these lands through che 1920 s had been met although 
only limited irrigation had been developed. By 1931j the speculative 
conditions of the 1920 s were over and, many of these land owners, even 
if willing, would not have been able to continue to meet the district 

I went over the District s program and policies and worked out 
a basis on which I concluded it might meet its outstanding bond 
requirements. This included increased taxation in Oakdale which 
was included in the district, postponement of some improvements, 
and higher relative taxes on the better soils. 

At the time of my report the extensive program later adopted 
by the Reconstruction Finance Corporation for refinancing irrigation 
districts was being discussed but had not become operative. Also 
at that time, the preference of the Malones storage bonds on the 
power earnings was in effect and this income could not be used 
to meet charges on the earlier bond issues. 

My report was not favorably received by the district. By 
the time it was available, refunding district bonds at a lower 
rate of interest and reduced principal had become a hope. The Oakdale 
District became in default on its bonds and was later refinanced 
by the B.F.C. Also later the courts found the preference of 
power bonds on power revenue invalid. 

My report on the Oakdale Irrigation District represents one 
of the last efforts to maintain the integrity of the out 
standing irrigation district bonds. It failed in the face O F prevai 
ling conditions. In my opinion, the will to meet their bond charges 
was largely lost when relief became available. Undoubtedly many 


districts could not have met their bond payments under the later 
extended period of depression. This depression also created the 
desire of the bond holders to get a quick settlement on whatever 
terms they could secure rather than to hold unproductive securities 
for a long period of recovery. 



The following account of my experience with the Berkeley Olive 
Association s procedures before the California Railroad Commi 
ssion has little historical interest or importance. It represents 
the results of an engineer in proceedings 

usually performed by the lawyer. The results approach 
a comic opera situation. I enjoyed the experience and accomplished 
some results useful to the Association. 

The Berkeley Olive Association was formed by a group of 
owners of olive orchards west of Oroville. The tract had been 
promoted and the land sold by B. B. Meek. The owners were largely 
faculty members at the University of California and the University 
of Nevada. Among Berkeley members were Etcheverry,Hyde, Minor, 
Plehn, Leuschner, and Hatfield. I had known about their property 
but had had nothing to do with it until after the 1931 dry season. 

In 1931> the deficiency in run-off had resulted in limitations 
on the irrigation supply received by the Association. They were 
a contract user under the Powers Canal which also supplied 
municipal service to Oroville. The Powers Canal was a public 
utility which had been owned by the PG&E and sold to the California 
Water Service Co. in 192?. This canal received its supply from 
the Miocene Ditch. 

When the B.O.A. could not secure satisfactory results in 
their complaints over their service, they asked me to make an 
investigation and report on their water supply and water rights. 
I started this work in November, 1931> ar *d my report was completed 
in February, 1932. It is Item 55 in my bibliographical file. 


The canals in this area had been built for mining purposes. 
Water was diverted from the West Branch of the North Fork of the 
Feather River. The Hendricks Ditch diverted to Butte Creek to 
supply the De Sabli and Centerville power plants on Butte Creek. 
The Miocene Ditch supplied the Lime Saddle and Coal Canyon power 
plants. The Powers Canal received the discharge of the Coal 
Canyon power plant. It served a few irrigation users, including 
B.O.A. in route to Oroville for municipal use. 

All of these systems had been owned and operatedby the PG&E. 
In 1927j the PG&E sold a group of the municipal water systems which 
it owned to the California Water Service Co. The Oroville system was 
included in this group. This sale included the entire Powers 
Canal and all service from it. 

In my report I recommended seeking to settle the differences 
involved first by negotiations, second by procedure before the 
California Railroad Commission and third, if necessary, by 
litigation in court. I also recommended submitting my report 
to the attorney of the B.O.A. for an opinion on the legal issues 
involved. This was done. The attorney was Stephen Downey of 

No settlement by negotiations was reached and the attorney 
was directed to prepare a complaint to bring the controversy 
before the R.R.C. As this complaint would be based primarily 
on the facts regarding the water supply and service I was asked to 
make the preliminary draft. I did this, it was reviewed by Downey, 
rephrased and filed on July 1, 1932. It became Case 3292, the B.O.A. 
vs. the California Water Service Co. and PG&E. 

In the usual course of such procedure it was set for hearing 


on Sept. 20, 1932 at Orcville. I continued my preparation of 
testimony for this hearing. 

Shortly before the date set for the hearing Downey fell from a 
horse and received a severe bump on his head. He could not conduct 
the case at the date set. I was asked to appear both as the 
representative of the B.O.A. and to testify in the hearing. It is 
not necessary to be a member of the bar to appear before the R.R.C. 
although it is a big advantage in most cases. 

I had little choice except to accept. It had been set before 
an examiner along with three other matters. The examiner had told 
me that the B.O.A. matter would come up last. I was sitting in the 
hearing room not expecting to be reached until noon when the hearing 
was called to order at 10 a.m. To my surprise the B.O.A. case was 
called first. Before I could start my presentation the attorneys 
for the PG&E and the California Water Service Co. got the floor 
and made a motion to dismiss the B.O.A. case on the grounds that 
its complaint was defective. These claimed grounds were mainly 
procedural. I had only general knowledge in this field and was 
not sure whether they were giving me the works or whether they 
had merit in their claims. When I got a chance I argued against 
the motion the best I could, keeping going in an effort to prolong 
the argument until noon when I could get some legal help. 

The PG&E had induced several other attorneys to appear in 
support of their position. These included the San Francisco 
attorney of the U.S. Power Commission who appeared in behalf of 
the water supply of the Plant Introduction Garden at Chico. This 
Garden used s >me West Branch water that had been diverted to Butte 
Creek. I silenced him by asking him for his authority to appear. 

He had not secured authority from any federal higher ups. Attorneys 
-for other land owners on Butte Creek also made appearances and 
argued in support of the motion. There vere seven lawyers who 
spoke against the B.O.A. In between I argued using anything I 
could tnink of in opposing the motion. We kept going until the 
noon recess. 

By noon I had concluded that the worst that could happen, if 
the examiner granted the motion to dismiss, would be that the B.O.A. 
would have to start over with a new complaint which could be 
drawn to avoid the grounds on which the original complaint had 
"been dismissed. I decided that there was a good chance the motion 
would be denied. 

When the hearing resumed after lunch, I got the floor and 
demanded a decision on the motion claiming that too much time had 
been spent arguing it and I wanted to get on with the case. This 
was a little rough on the examiner as I had been the one who had 
dragged the argument out in the morning. The opponents also were 
ready for a ruling on the motion. The examiner denied the motion to 
dismiss and we proceeded with the hearing. 

This detail has been related here because this procedure 
took me by surprise. To this day I am not sure whether the 
attorneys were spoofing me for not being a lawyer or whether they 
thought they had real grounds for dismissal. The fact that they 
had secured the attendance of so many other attorneys inclines me 
to the opinion that they thought they could get the case dismissed. 

The ^un was not all over wnen testimony began. I called a 
preliminary witness to identify some documents I needed to use in 
my testimony and then put myself on the stand. To preserve the 
form o r the record, I asked myself a general question regarding the 


issues of the case, ask-d if I had made an investigation of the 
properties and operations involved and to state the conclusions 
I had reached. I then started on the presentation of my material 
without further questions. 

All went well for a while until one of the opposing lawyers 
objected to my testimony using the usual grounds, irrelevant, 
immaterial, and not within the issues. I had to argue against 
his motion to strike. Tie examiner ruled in my favor a couple of 
times and I proceeded. Fianlly one of the opposing attorneys 
attacked my testimony on the ground that he could not tell when 
I was testifying and when I was arguing. I countered this by 
offering to have everything I had said considered to be under oath 
if the attorneys would accept the same rule for their arguments. 
This was rejected by the opposing attorneys. I then offered to 
rise from the witness chair when I was arguing and to be seated 
when I was testifying. This also was rejected. I managed to 
get in all of my exhibits and testimony. The testimony of the 
B.O.A. was completed at this first hearing on Sept. 20 and 21, 1932. 
The opposing attorneys then asked for the usual time to prepare 
their testimony. Later hearings were held. 

The principal issues in this case were the extent of the 
water supply dedicated to public use throught the Powers Ditch 
and the omission of the agricultural users from the transfer 
proceedings in 1927- 

The testimony showed that during the water shortage in 1931, 
the PG&E had diverted water to Butte Creek that should have been used 
to supply the Powers Canal. I secured the records of the PG&E 
to support this claim. When Paul Downing was testifying for the 


PG&E he admitted that it had been "embarassing" to the PG&E when it 
had found out that this had been done. 

When the PG&E sold several of its municipal water supply 
systems to the Calif ornia Water Service Co. there had been the 
usual hearing on the transfer. This was a consolidated hearing 
for all of the systems that were involved. Notices of this 
procedure had been sent to the cities whose systems were being 
transferred. However, no notice was sent to the consumers outside 
of these cities such as the B.O.A. I contended that the B.O.A. was 
entitled to a reopening of the transfer proceedings to present a 
showing on how its service would be affected by the transfer. The 
transfer case, Application 13^29, was reopened and combined with 
Case Wo. 322. 

There were a number of adjournments in Case 3292. It was 
finally submitted. I filed the opening brief for the B.O.A. on 
June 29, 193^ and the closing brief later in 193^. The Commission 
made its Decision 28l62 on Aug. 6, 1935- 

My opening brief is Item 66 and my closing brief is Item 65 
in my bibliographical file. 

I felt that the R.R.C. decision did not give consideration 
to all of the matters raised in these cases and I asked for an 
argument in bane before the full membership of the Commission. 
This can be done only where one member of the Comission may have 
heard the case. This request was granted and the argument was 
held on Nov. U, 1935- 

Decision 29398 dated Dec. 21, 1936 was the close of Application 
13^29 and Case 3292. In this decision, the Commission denied my 
application ^or a rehearing on Decision 23l62. It made one minor 


correction in Decision 28l62 but turned me down on the other points 
I had raised. 

In spite of my very eloquent (?) and just (?) argument to 
the Commission in bane, I got nowhere in reopening the issues 
involved. The closure of this case came five years after the 1931 
shortage . 

During the procedure on Case 3292 I had found that the 
contract for service o f the B.O.A. was expressed in terms of 
miners inches with a 6 inch pressure (1/^0 second foot) and the 
B.O.A. was being billed in terms of k inch pressure (1/50 second 
foot). I filed a rate case to correct this. I limited this to a 
general rate case for the irrigation service from the Powers Canal 
in order not to get involved in municipal water rates in Oroville. 

The B.O.A. rate complaint became case No. 3558- In order 
to remove any question relating to the form of procedure the 
Commission on its own motion made its own case (No. 3612) in the 
rates involved. These two cases were consolidated for hearing. 
Case 3558 was filed April 10, 1933. Hearings were held in Oroville 
June 22 and July 13, 1933- The Commission s Case 36l2 was filed 
between these two hearings. Both cases were submitted without 
briefs on July 13, 1933- Decision 26351 was dated Sept. 18, 1933- 
A rehearing was granted on petition of the B.O.A. and held on Feb. 
l^j 193^ These cases were then resubmitted. 

Briefs were filed under the resubmission. I prepared the 
opening brief of the B.O.A. dated Feb. 23, 1934. It is Item 6k 
in my bibliographical file. I also prepared the reply brief for 
the B.O.A. dated March l6, 193^- This is Item 63 in my bibliographical 
file. On September 11, 193^ the Commission in Decision 273^6 affirmed 

2l8 v 

its Decision 26351. This ended this case. 

I made the following statement at the Annual Meeting of the 

B.O.A. in February, 1937- 

"On December 21, 1936, the Railroad Commission 
made its final decision in the case filed in 1932 
covering the shortage in service in 1931- This 
case has been submitted for over a year. No essential 
change was made in the earlier decision on which 
argument had been granted. The Commission refused 
to find a dedication of additional water but stated 
it would supervise service should similar shortages 
arise in the future. The Berkeley Olive Association 
has been held to have equal service rights with other 
irrigation users and it has also been held that the 
California Water Service Company should operate its 
pump in Oroville at such periods. Under these 
rulings it is felt that serious shortages in the service 
to the Association will not arise and that the water 
supply available to the Association is adequate and 
dependable for its needs." 

In these procedures I encountered what I considered to be 
inertia or indifference on the part of the engineering staff of 
the R.R.C. Murray Mackall was then in charge of the hydraulic 
engineering section. Bill Stava was the next in line. Mackall 
opposed the rate case. I had been negotiating a voluntary 
adjustment of the B.O.A. rates with the California Water Service 
Co. and thought I was making progress. When the California Water 


Service lost interest in these negotiations I found Mackall had 
advised the president o? the company that the B.O.A. could not 
qualify to "bring a rate case. At that time I felt he was trying 
to avoid the work he would have to undertake if such a rate case 
was tried. 

I learned a side of R.R.C. procedure in these cases which 
engineers seldom get to see. The result did not enhance ray 
opinion of the Commission and its staff. When the R.R.C. was 
given expanded duties in 1911 the first members appointed by 
Gov. Hiram Johnson represented a very high type of individual. 
Over the years the appointments, in my opinion, have not maintained 
this high standard. It happens that the terms of members of the 
Commission expire a few days before the end of the Governor s term. 
This gives an opportunity for an outgoing governor to appoint members 
to the Commission just before he leaves office. In some cases it 
appears that such appointments may have been based on preceding 
political service rather than the value of the appointee s service 
on the Commission. 

While the B.O.A. was not successful in securing a decision 
supporting its claims regarding its rights of service, the extent 
to which it pressed these issues and the character of the operations 
in 1931 which was brought out in the hearing were sufficient so 
that the conditions in 1931 have not been repeated in later equally 
dry years. The reduction in rates has also been helpful. All in all, 
in my opinion, it was worth while to have made the effort. 



In 1933, the terms of federal land bank loans were modified 
to permit shorter term loans on less permanent security. The 
previous farm mortgages had usually been for forty years. This 
required that the mortgaged land have a dependable water supply for 
this period. The federal land bank, in its western branches, had 
established engineer-appraisers who made investigations and reports 
on the water supplies offered as security for land bank loans. 

The engineer-appraisers were started soon after World War I. 
J hn T. Wliistler was the first chief of this group. He had been 
project manager of the Truckee Carson I.D. when I had been working 
on its water right adjudication and asked me to suggest engineers 
for positions in the regional banks. I suggested G.H. Russell, who 
became engineer-appriser in Texas and J. Winter Smith who went 
to Montana. 

Later when the constitutionality of the Federal Land Bank Act 
was in court these positions were discontinued. I secured Russell 
to handle the field work for the state in northern Tulare County 
in 1920, and Smith returned to California and later became manager of 
the state s Delhi land settlement colony. 

When the so-called commissioner s * emergency loans were 
authorized in 1933 as a depression measure, the engineer-appraisers 
had been re-established. Russell was chief for the Berkeley banks. 
The volume of work required to meet the demands for these loans 
exceeded what the regular staff could do. It was decided to use 
outside engineers to make general reports on local areas having 
similar water supply conditions. 


Most of the problems of the banks relative to the new loans 
vere in areas where ground water was used as the source of the 
irrigation supply. Overdraft was occurring in many of those areas. 
The bank needed advice on whether the existing sources of supply 
represented a safe risk for 20-year loans. 

I was asked to make reports for the land bank in 1933 on the 
relation of local water supply to the security of federal land bank 
loans. I spend much of the summer of 1933 on the field work involved 
and made five reports which are in my bibliographical file. These are: 

No. 57 Water Supply of Ventura County in Relation to Federal 
Land Bank Loan, Sept. 1933. 

No. 58 Water Supply of Orange County in Relation to Federal Land 
Bank Loans, Sept. 1933. 

No. 59 Water Supply of Santa Clara Valley Water Conservation 

District in Relation to Federal Land Bank Loans, Nov. 1933- 

No. 60 Water Supply of Hollister and San Juan Valleys in 
Relation to Federal Land Bank Loans, Dec. 1933- 

No. 6l Water Supply of Morgan Hill-Gilroy Area in Relation 
to Federal Land Bank Loans, Dec. 1933- 

For Item 59> I also made a supplemental report in May, 193^ 
using the ground water records for 1933 which had then become 
available. It is included in Item No. 59- 

In these reports I estimated the rate of change in the elevation 
of the ground water that could be expected to occur under the 
probable pumping draft of the next 20 years. Consideration was 
also given to the quality of the ground water. Recommendations 
were made on the basis that should be used in making loans in 
these areas. 


As the ground water conditions varied in the different parts 
of these areas, my recommendations also varied. In a few areas 
I advised against loans, but generally the ground water supplies 
appeared to be adequate for the next 2p years without an extent 
of lowering or change in quality to endanger the security of 20 
year loans. 

The period of the loans made on the basis of these reports has 
now elapsed. In some cases supplemental sources of water supply have 
been secured. I know of no cases in which the water supply became 
exhausted within the period of these loans. 

These reports served a useful purpose at the time they were 
made. They may have some interest as a basis for comparison of 
conditions then with these in later years. These reports were 
based on the record secured by others as time was not available 
to make independent observations. These reports did, however, 
bring together , available information in a more complete 
form for each area than had been done at that time by other 

The commissioner loans made in the 1930 s were a material 
aid to many land owners in increasing their borrowing so that 
they could hold on until better times. 



In 1934, the case brought by the State O~P Washington against 
the State of Oregon ^or an equitable apportionment of the waters 
of the Walla Walla River came to trial in Walla Walla. Being a 
case between sovereign states it was heard by a master appointed 
by the U.S. Supreme Court. Will W. Ray of Salt Lake City was the 

I was asked to prepare testimony for Oregon in this case on 
March 12, 193 1 *. I flew to Portland on March 28. It was a rough 
flight. The pilot got off course and flew over Honey Lake. 
However, we missed Mt. Shasta and made Medford. I worked on the 
report and in the field until April 5 when I testified. 

Geo. T. Cochran and C. Ci. Randall were the attorneys for 
Oregon. I had known the State Engineer, Chas. F. Stricklin, in 
the: Assoc. of Western State Engineers and had been asked to work 
on the case on his recommendation. John Cunningham was the attorney 
for Washington. James G. Woodburn, then on the faculty of the 
Agricultural College at Pullman, was the engineer for Washington. 
O.W. Powers of the Oregon Agricultural College at Corvallis and 
A.M. Piper of the U.S.G.S. were also witnesses for Oregon. 

This was a very pleasantly handled Controversy. The hearing 
was very dignified and polite. The cross-examination was courteous. 
I had been used to some pretty rough cross-examination and had to 
adjust myself to the change. 

I spent the few days I had available for preparation in 
analysing the facts and issues. To expedite the trial, the two 


states had stipulated to the uncontested facts. These stipulations 
were binding on both sides and I could accept them as proven in 
my testimony. 

The main issue was the amount of water reasonably needed for the 
irrigation of the orchards near Milton, Oregon. These were very coarse 
soils requiring very frequent irrigations. The parties had 
stipulated to the need of irrigation on these lands at seven day 
intervals. I used this result with the length o 4 the irrigation 
season to derive the necessary number of irrigations and multiplied 
this by the minimum reasonable depth per irrigation with which these 
lands could be irrigated to derive the seasonal acre-feet per acre 
reasonably needed. This result supported the previous local 
adjudication in Oregon and was used by the master to support his 
finding taat use in Oregon was reasonable. 

Oregon won the case in a decision in 193^ holding Washington 
was not entitled to restrict existing uses in Oregon. 

I did not have time to prepare any report on my work on this 
case before testifying. I did, however, prepare an outline of my 
testimony with the supporting notes. This file is Item No. 151 
in my bibliographical file. 

Tne master Will W. Ray was the attorney for one of the Associated 
Canals pumping from Utah Lake. In J.93Y, on his recommendation, I was 
engaged to prepare testimony in a general adjudication case then 
pending on Utah Lake. This is described in a later portion of 
these memoirs. 

This case was the beginning for me uf some very pleasant 
acquaintanceships. T formed a ^riendship with Judge Cochran 
which continued r or many years. He had made many of the adjudications 


for Oregon, under its 1909 water right code. He became a member in 
1939 of the commission to review conditions on the USER projects. 
The report of this commission formed the basis p or the Reclamation 
Act of 1939. In Aug- 1965, I stopped in La Grande, Oregon and saw 
his life long -law partner, Colon R. Eberhart. Judge Cochran died 
in 19^U. He had been a very useful citizen. 

After this case was over, Cunningham, the attorney for 
Washington, and I used to meet cordially at N.R.A. conventions. 
He later asked me to review Washington state legislation he was 
preparing. Woodburn later went to the University of Wisconsin where 
he is now (19^5) dean o^ the civil engineering department. 

This case was a model in decorum. 
I enjoyed all of my work on it. 

This case involved damages resulting fr.-m a break in a levee 
on Klamath Lake. The defendant was the S.P. Co. and the plaintiffs 
the State 0? Oregon and others. I was asked by Oregon to work on it 
- n or the state. I began in May, 19^2 and made trips there into 19^3. 
The case was settled by negotiation. I did not make any formal 
reports and did not testify. 

The S.P. crosses an eastern arm of Klamath Lake on a fill to 
save distance. To prevent flooding behind this fill, a local 
tributary stream was channeled to the Lake betwen levees and through 
an opening in the R.R. fill. The S.P. load become responsible for 
the maintenance of these levees. A break occurred which flooded the 
state highway. Oregon sought to recover for its repair. 

The issue was one of negligence in maintenance. I collected 
what information I could and concluded the S.P. had been negligent. 


When it looked as if the case might go to trial, the attorney 
for the S.P., who had not been told I was already working on the 
case for Oregon, called me up to see if I would work on it for the 
S.P. T told him I was already on the case and suggested that the 
S.P. might find a negotiated settlement advisable. The case was 
settled shortly after our talk. The extent to which my talk with 
the S.P. attorney may have influenced the settlemeat remains 
unknown to me. I^y chief recollection of this case is the cold 
wind that blew during some o^ my winter ^ield work. I worked mainly 
with the engineers o r the Highway Department. 

5 75^9