The Irrigation Congress.
To the Editor of FIRE AND WATER:
W. E. Smythe, chairman of National Excutive committee of the Irrigation congress and editor of the Irrigation Age is in the city a guest of the Windsor hotel. Mr. Smythe is here for the purpose of meeting the state local committees and to aid in the perfections of the plans for the coming irrigation congress which will meet in the Broadway Sept. 3.
Mr. Smythe took an active part in the last congress in Los Angeles, so that Denver might be selected as the location of this year’s congress. It was mainly through his exertion that Denver secured the congress, beating her most formidable opponent, Carson City, Nev., by two votes.
It is expected that not less than 1,000 delegates will come to the congress, besides several hundred others who are interested in the purposes and progress of irrigation. The Congress will sit two days in Denver, and then visit Greeley, Fort Collins, Longmont, Boulder and the Arkansas valley, and will then return and resume its session in Denver for another two days.
A visit will then be paid to the San Luis valley and the important irrigated districts on the Western Slope. The committees will transact business en route and some of the most interesting debates are likely to occur during the sessions of the convention in distant portions of the state.
Mr. Smythe believes that the congress will be the most important in the history of irrigation in this country. The local committees are taking hold of the matter with energy and intelligence, and Mr. Smythe is hopeful that their efforts will be crowned with the largest measure of success.
Speaking of the prospects of national and state legislation in behalf of irrigation, Mr. Smythe said yesterday :
“For ten years we have had agitations ami conventions and futile attempts at national legislation looking to some comprehensive plan for the reclamation of arid lands. The Denver congress will mark the culmination of these years of effort. It promises to be an event of extraordinary importance for two reasons.
“First, because the last irrigation congress in Los Angeles In October, 1893, created irrigation commissions in seventeen states and territories charged with the duty of studying the irrigation problem in their localities and ascertaining the opinion of their constituents concerning national and state legislation. The commissions will report to the Denver congress and It Is expected that their reports will furnish the material from which a national policy and a code of local laws can be created.
“Second, the congress gains importance from the fact that the prevailing industrial conditions are such as to render absolutely necessary the opening of the arid public lands to home seekers. We are sharply reminded this time of Macauley’s prophecy that the real test of our institutions will come when the public domain is exhausted.
“We reached the end of the old homestead era with the settlement of the Cherokee xtrip, We stand now upon the threshold of a new era of small irrigated farms and Major Bowell. who is the most conservative in his estimate of the limitations of our water supplies, says that we can sustain in Western America, under a proper system of irrigation, a population as large as the present total of the United States.
“To formulate a policy under which the nation or the state either by public or private enterprise may transform these deserts into farms for millions of free men is the great work of the Denver congress. The state commissions will furnish the material and the prevailing conditions the opportunity. I therefore confidently predict that the congress at Denver will be an event of national importance. To Colorado it offers a phenomenal opportunity to direct national attention to its lands open for Settlement.
“ Georgia asked permission of the national committee to name an irrigation commission and has chosen one consisting of her most eminent scientific men. They say that the amount lost by drought in Georgia last year would have built a fine system of irrigation. They hold out the promise of the support of the solid South and say it can be readily obtained fora reasonable policy looking to the reclamation and settlement of arid lands.”
Mr. Smythe will remain in Denver a few days and hold conferences with the Colorado irrigation commission, for the arrangement of the details of the congress.
W. J. R.
DENVER, Col., July 9.
A fire company has been organized at Nepara Bark, N. V., The officers are: J. C. Truman, jr. foreman: F. G. Boutelle. assistant: William Emry, secretary; E. S. Jones, treasurer. The headquarters arc in Truman’s Hall,