Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 43.djvu/157

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THE

POPULAR SCIENCE

MONTHLY.

 

JUNE, 1893.


 

IRRIGATION IN THE ARID STATES.
By CHARLES HOWARD SHINN.

A MOST vital change is going on in the region west of central Kansas—a change which will in the near future profoundly affect many if not all classes of agriculturists in other American States, and incidentally in Europe also. I refer to the change that has been brought about by the success of private irrigation enterprises, by important alterations in the laws respecting irrigation, by district irrigation under such laws, and by the steady growth of a public sentiment favorable to the irrigator, even when his necessities override ancient precedent.

It is my purpose in this article to give, as far as may be, a faithful and conservative account of the present condition of arid land irrigation enterprises. My account will be statistical as far as acreage, flow of water, cost of construction, and similar items; it will be descriptive, and largely from personal knowledge, as regards practical methods and their results. The entire subject, it seems to me, possesses an immeasurable interest for farmers elsewhere, and for all who are in any way dependent upon the farming class. Successful irrigation upon a large scale introduces, it is true, a new kind of competition, but it also urges intelligent farmers to adopt improver! methods of farming in their own defense, and often leads them to apply the water of neglected streams upon their lands. Even the general reader is often interested in discussions upon farm mortgages, farm rents, wages of laborers, taxes on crops, cost of fertilizers, and similar agricultural problems of the present time, because he has learned that they affect his own welfare. Much broader is the application of arid-land irrigation to every occupation and industry. America