Investigating the Irrigation Question
Col. R. J. Hinton and Prof. M. A. Downing of the United States Department of Agriculture, who are commissioned to investigate the whole subject of irrigation in that part of the United States west of the 97th degree of longitude, were recently at Phoenix, Ariz.
According to The Phoenix Herald their tour of inspection began May 4 at McPherson College, in the town of that name. Col. Hinton lectured on the subject of his pr. sent assignment. The students became deeply interested, as the possibility of practical irrigation for portions of Kansas is now considerably agitated.
Pecos Valley was next visited by Col. Hinton, who wondered greatly at the extens>vc progress already made there. Meanwhile Professor Downing studied the community system of irrigation as practiced at Greeley, Col.
Both members met again in Denver and attended the Trans. Mississippi Congress, Col. Hinton presenting his views on the great topic of water storage. At Pueblo the gravity system of collecting and distributing water engrossed the visitors attention. Where a gulch or valley narrows, tunnels are driven into the hills back toward their mountain source. The water thus gathered from seepage and from underground springs is delivered into reservoirs at the head of the valley to be irrigated.
Professor Downing went over to San Luis valley to examine the great water tunnel under a mountain and the extensive canals built by T. C. Henry and the Traveler’s Insurance Company. At the same time Col. Hinton was devoting himself to eastern New Mexico, particularly to the Maxwell Land Grant, where open storage on high plateaus is undergoing experimentation. If successful this system will reclaim 25,000,000 acres in the territory now the subject of investigation. At Col. Dorsey’s ranch. 8000 feet high, nectarines and other fruit trees were in a fine forward condition.
The two officials rejoined each other at Santa Fe and, after proper examination of the ground there, went on to Las Cruces and El Paso. In the latter place wells worked by windmill pumps are giving good results. At the Pridham orchard, near El Paso, ten acres of trees, two years old, on high mesas, were bearing fruit. They are irrigated from a well 100 feet or thereabouts deep, which carries fifty feet of water. This latter is delivered in carts to the trees. One well and a cart are sufficient for twenty-five acres.