The Wyoming Irrigation Laws.
It is likely, remarks an exchange, that the agriculture of the future will depend more on artificial watering and less on natural rainfall. It has been found that even in States where the rainfall is normal, the productiveness of the soil can be increased threefold by a good system of subsurface irrigation.
In several of the richest of the new Western States irrigation is a prime necessity. Such difficulties, lawsuits and even fist fights over water rights have arisen, however, that at length the States have been obliged to take the matter in hand and pass laws distributing the water supply as justly as might be among claimants. Wyoming is so far believed to have the best irrigation laws of any of the new States that have been obliged to legislate on this question, without any precedent to guide them, for the older States never needed any irrigation laws.
Wyoming’s new law divides the State into four great water districts that follow the natural lines of hydrographic basins. The districts are put in charge of the State engineer, who takes care of the water distribution. Inspectors watch constantly that no man in any of the four basins gets more than the fixed water supply, which is rated at the amount of one second foot to seventy acres. All individual rights are determined by the State board of control. Thus a long and vexed question in Wyoming has been satisfactorily settled.