Search for Water in Sulphur Spring Valley
Carrying out its policy of investigating the underground water resources of western valleys with fertile but arid lands, where the surface water supply is inadequate for agricultural or industrial development, the United States geological survey has just published, as water-supply paper 320, the results of a comprehensive study of the geology and water resources of Sulphur Spring Valley, Arizona, by O. E. Meinzer, F. C. Kelton and R. H. Forbes. The investigation was conducted bv the federal survey in co-operation with the Arizona agricultural experiment station. The valley proper and the basins draining into it comprise an area of about 2,800 square miles, supporting a population of about 00,000 people. Ranching development in Sttlnhur Spring Valley has proved the existence of water under the valley but has not demonstrated the fact that this water occurs in large quantities. The smelters built in the copper-mining center at Douglas created the first demand for really large supplies and consequently led to the drilling of deep wells. The largest vield is obtained from the 296-foot well at the Calumet & Arizona smelter, which, in a 21-day test, averaged 1,106 gallons a minute. Large supplies have also been developed at Douglas in wells drilled for the Copper Queen smelter, the railroad and the citv water works. At Willcox the Southern Pacific Company sunk a shallow well, which yields generously. The settlers who within the last few years have located in this valley have come intending to make a livelihood by cultivating the soil, and the great value of irrigation water tor this purpose has become manifest to all who have attempted dry farming. As a result scores of pumping plants have been installed, most of which consist of centrifugal pumps and gasoline engines and have a capacity of a few hundred gallons a minute. The agriculturists who come to this valley are forced to apply methods of irrigation and desire information and advice oil the subject that concerns them so vitally. In view of these conditions the United States geological survey and the Arizona agricultural experiment station in 1910 undertook a co-operative investigation of the ground waters and the possibilities of irrigation in this valley. The volume and the depth of water below the surface throughout the valley in the minor rock basins, the artesian conditions, the quality of the waters with reference to their industrial and irrigation uses, as well as pumping plants, etc., are discussed by Messrs., Meinzer and Kelton. The early history of the agriculture of the valley is traced by Dr. Forbes, who discusses also the character of the soil, methods of dry farming, flood-water farming, supplementary irrigation with pumped water and its agricultural possibilities. The report is well illustrated with photographs, diagrams and sketch maps, and includes a number of water analyses and soil analyses.
A copy of water-supply paper 320 may be obtained free on application to the director, geolog ical survey, Washington. D. C.