IRRIGATION IN ARIZONA.

IRRIGATION IN ARIZONA.

Under the auspices of the United States government very important irrigation projects have been carried out. Under private enterprise, also, the area subjected to irrigation has been greatly extended. There still remain, of course, large areas that can be irrigated by the storage of the spring and summer waters, which is the plan being adopted in the Federal government works, and the climate and soil are such that the crops produced on these lands will make the expensive irrigation works profitable in the end. The industrial art of irrigation in the United States began in Arizona, and indications are found throughout the valleys of the Gila and Salt’rivers that large areas now barren and forbidding were once occupied by a numerous prehistoric race. The canals now in use in many places follow quite closely the lines of those ancient systems. These early ditches reveal engineering skill of a high order, and must have required an immense expenditure of labor. Their origin is lost, even in tradition, for they were abandoned as early as 1542, when Coronado visited these valleys in search of the “Seven Cities of Cibola,” but ethnologists date their operation as early as the eighth or ninth century. Portions of the beds of these ancient ditches are today utilised in modern systems. As yet little more than 0.3 per cent, of the total area of the Territory has been reclaimed. In 1902 the total number of acres irrigated was 247,250, an increase of 61,854, or 334 per cent., since 1899. The 781 systems represent a total construction cost of $4,688,298—an average cost per irrigated acre of $18.96. In 1899 the average cost per irrigated acre was $23.94. The decrease in average cost per irrigated acre in 1902 from that of 1899 is explained by the fact that the 1899 report included several systems, costing $900,000, which were not in operation in 1902. The well systems are included in 1902, but 648 were stream systems, as compared with 519 in 1899. Of the total irrigated area, 242,079 acres received water through 648 systems heading in streams; 1,061 acres were irrigated by springs and 4,110 acres by wells. The total construction cost of the stream systems was $4,591,570, an average of $18.97 Per irrigated acre; of the twenty-five spring systems, $6,766, an average of $6.38, and of the 108 well systems, $89,962, an average of $21.89.

IRRIGATION IN ARIZONA.

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IRRIGATION IN ARIZONA.

The building of an immense storage reservoir and the culmination of the most ambitious irrigation plan that has ever been handled in the world, except that of the great reservoir on the Nile, is the object of the work now being done in Arizona by representatives of the government hydrographic survey, headed by Arthur P. Davis, chief of the department. It is planned to build an immense dam near the head of the Salt river and to hold in reserve the millions of gallons of flood-water which go to waste each winter. In the Tonto country, seventy miles north of Phamix, the Salt river breaks through a deep canyon and flows down through the Salt river valley. It serves to irrigate, by the system now in use, about 200,000 acres, and has created lands which are the most productive in the world, producing from one to five crops of hay, grain and fruit. The storage plan is expected to obtain enough water for provision against dry seasons on these lands,and on about 300,000 acres more of similar land, as well as to put water on the Gila Iudian reservation. The survey has just completed a part of its work. The party has been drilling and sounding for bedrock at the site of the proposed reservoir, and has found the rock at no great depth, so that the solidity of the dam is assured. They will now begin a survey of the great water bed which feeds the Salt river, and will make a final report just previous to the next session of congress. Great pressure will be brought to bear on that body to make the appropriation of $2,500,000 necessary to construct the reservoir. President McKinley aud Secretary Hitchcock and other cabinet members have signified their intention of backing up the appeal, because of their personal knowledge of the possibilities of this country if placed under a water supply. The Davis party has not only found the dam site a satisfactory one, but has found that the reservoir can be made of greater capacity than heretofore believed. The report of the preliminary reconnaissance on the reservoir site said that a dam 180 feet high and 650 feet across the top would creaW a lake covering eighteen square miles, an ample amount to irrigate 500,000 acres. Davis’s explorations have brought out the fact that the reservoir will be considerably larger, probably sufficient to hold a supply for 600,000 acres. The completion of the Tonto work will lay the foundation for similar reservoirs in all parts of the West, and for the consequent reclamation of many millions of acres of now worthless laud.