Hydrographic Branch of the Geological Survey. With the acquisition of facts concerning the rivers of the west, their fluctuations, the opportunities for storage and for diverting the waters upon arid land, came a more definite appreciation of the importance of the whole subject. The people of the United States, stimulated by the irrigation congresses and Irrigation Association, urged upon their representatives in congress the enactment of a law recognizing the conditions.
One of the first acts of President Roosevelt was to recommend the passage of a national irrigation law, and the intelligent interest shown by the president in directing and furthering the efforts of other public men culminated finally in the passage of the Reclamation Act. This
places at the disposal of the secretary of the interior a fund which now amounts to nearly $25,000,000 and is steadily growing.
Immediately upon the passage of the Reclamation Act the secretary of the interior authorized the director of the Geological Survey to utilize the services of the men who had been studying the subject, and to add to their number from time to time other experienced men, selection being made from competitive civil service examination. By these means the Reclamation Service has been gradually built up in the Hydrographic Branch of the Geological Survey, until now it includes about 250 engineers of various grades and classes, including men of wide experience in constructing and consulting capacities.