Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 43.djvu/165

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153
IRRIGATION IN THE ARID STATES.

to the process of uniting land and water in a permanent union. No less than thirty-eight districts have been organized already, and they include a total of about two and a half million acres, upon which bonds to the extent of twelve million dollars have been voted. About three million dollars in bonds have been actually issued and sold; seven districts have some of their ditches constructed and full of water; one has completed its entire irrigation system and is in successful operation. It will take a considerable time to obtain the desired capital and complete all the districts organized. Some of them are very large, and will greatly add to the irrigated area. The following table shows the acreage and estimated cost of water supply in the ten largest districts:

Irrigation Districts.

Name. Acreage. Estimated cost.
Sunset 36,300 $2,000,000
Madera 308,000 850,000
Selma 271,000 1,000,000
Turlock 176,000 1,200,000
Central 156,000 750,000
Alta 129,000 675,000
Colusa 100,000 600,000
Kern and Tulare 84,000 70,000
Modesto 80,000 1,400,000
Palmdale
 
150,000 175,000
Total 1,717,000 $9,350,000

The bulk of the district acreage is included in these ten districts, nine of which are situated in the San Joaquin and Sacramento Valleys. The lowest estimate of cost in any of the thirty-eight districts is $2.56 per acre, and the highest is $83. The last is in the famous orange colony of Riverside, where the water is piped to the land, and where the science of irrigation is perhaps better understood than in any other colony in America. The average first cost of water per acre is a little over eight dollars. Bonds issued are a lien upon all the real estate within the boundaries of the district, as well as upon the irrigation system itself, and are considered by conservative bankers as excellent security.

Beyond doubt the irrigation district laws of California are full of suggestion for cheap and effective work by the land-owners themselves. They are best adapted to communities that have learned something of the value of irrigation and can work together. There are many places where no irrigation will be done until the Government or some private corporation takes hold with the required skill and capital to secure the water and distribute it to the land; then the scattered settlers will use it, and others will come in and buy the land and water. Some of the irrigation dis-