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Appendix to the Journals of the Senate and Assembly of the ... session of the Legislature of the State of California (Volume 1885v.1) online

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view the legitimate purpose of the work; namely, the promotion of
agricultural prosperity by irrigation in California.

It is believed that this is to be accomplished by the establishment
of a thorough general understanding of the problems of irrigation on
the part of those who have to do with its practice, and those who are
charged with the making of laws to foster and control its develop-

The subject is a great one, presenting many phases. It has its
legal, social, political, economic, physical, technical, and practical
problems. He w^ho would understand this subject must look well to
these, one and all.

There is a vast fund of experience had in other countries, that car-
ries its general lessons, which we cannot, with reason, neglect; but
these must be studied systematically, else we be led into errors by
overlooking some governing conditions not apparent to the less
thorough observer.

The literature holding these data is very voluminous, for the most
part in foreign languages, and itself far from sj'stematized. It is
simply a great labor to collect and go through with it, and cull out,
compare, judge of, and arrange its useful materials, and draw and
apply practical lessons from these.

In addition to the study of the irrigation questions as founded on
apparent conditions around us here, I have endeavored to bring to
our enlightenment, by the results of such labor, the legitimate out-
comes of irrigation experiences had elsewhere.

The ground which I have traversed has now been marked out in
the table of contents, and some of the results are embodied in final
form in the advance sheets, now published.


No attempt has been made to write a. text-book for lawyers, a
manual for engineers, or a complete guide to practice for irrigators,
nor a treatise for the scientist or the political economist. But each
will find in this report, when finished, very much which probably
would not otherwise come to his notice, and so linked with the phase
of the question of which he may make a special study, that he will
be profited by the reading and prepared to be less uncompromising
in his views.

Now, it is the eradication of uncompromising" and unreasonable
views of this irrigation question which is necessary to the attainment
of its solution. No mere local or class study of it can eS'ect this pur-
pose, and no one person, unless specially devoted to it, can go over it
all with the material scattered and undigested as it heretofore has

In undertaking this report I have believed that its cost could only
be returned to the people of the State by making it sufficiently thor-
ough to constitute a guide to the whole subject. A report only on
what might be called the practical or engineering problems of irriga-
tion in California, while probably of much use to a very few persons,
w^ould have been of little use to the State or the people at large.

This question will be a living one, growing in importance, and


pressing for legislative action in some form, for years to come; and
this report has been framed and carried forward with a view of facil-
itating this action.

It would have been an easy matter to have spent the money of the
State in surveying out special canal routes and other lines, to have
estimated on the cost of works thereon, and reported the results as
those of an investigation of the Problems of Irrigation; but such has
not been my conception of such an inquiry. The State has a great
social and political problem to deal with — that of the management
of her water-courses, the conservation of her waters, and the regula-
tion of their use. She will find, as other countries have, that these
matters are not to be pushed aside, and that she cannot neglect the
duty of guardianship over the common heritage of her people.

I have endeavored at least to lay the foundation for that "broad
and scientific treatment" of the whole question, which will be abso-
lutely necessary in the not distant future; and so far as I am permitted
to go in filling in the outline, I propose to be at least sufficiently
thorough to render the results of permanent value to the people of
the whole State.


I have printed about three fifths of Book One — Vie Laws of Waters,
and the Customs, Laws, and Policies with respect to Irrigation, in Civil
Laiu Countries — of the report, and have the balance of the manuscript
awaiting revision upon the basis of additional data expected from
Spain and Mexico.

The data for Book Two — The Laws of Waters, so far as these directly
affect irrigation questions, and the Customs, Laws, and Policies ivith re-
spect to Irrigation, in Common Law Countries — has been nearly all col-
lected in the form of notes and extracts, and first writings of some of
the chapters, but I have set the work aside with the view of getting
Books Three, Four, and Five ready for the press, as far as possible,
before the present appropriation is exhausted.

The data, as to details, for Book Three — The physical questions of
Water supply. Conservation, and Division for purposes of Irrigation in
California — is very far from complete for the whole State. I have
not contemplated or attempted the field work necessary to acquire it
elsewhere than in the Sacramento, San Joaquin, Tulare, Los Angeles,
and San Bernardino Valleys; but from collated general information
of interest and some value, I have attempted to treat the subject for
the whole State in a general way, besides making the more detailed
treatment of it based on the work of this department in the localities
above particularly specified.

The same notice applies to the conditien of the data for Book
Four — The existing Works, Practice, and Possibilities of Irrigatiori in
California. For a more definite statement as to the data at hand for
this work in the several localities of the State, attention is directed to
the Outline of Matter for the whole report, to be found in the first part
of the volume transmitted.

These books. Three and Four, outline the work of a physical survey
of the State, which should be carried in its details into every quarter
of the State, and completed, and filled in, under the headings of Arte-
rial Drainage, Reclamation, Land Drainage, and Sanitary Drainage,
as well as those of Rainfall, Water Supply, Lands and Soils, Forestry,
and Irrigation.

. 10

Book Five — 'Hie technical questions of Water Distribution and Use in
thei^ractice of Irrigation in, and as applied to, California — is of such a
nature in its arrangement that its chapters do not relate each to any-
special locality, but treat different branches of the subject broadly.
Hence, so far as the data goes, it is written to cover the whole ground,
but, as a matter of course, practical illustrations can only be drawn
from, and practical lessons can only be deduced for, those quarters of
the State where observations have been made.

These five books make up the report as I have attempted to write
it — much data for Books Six and Seven having only been collected
incidentally to the collation and working up of that for those pre-

I propose to complete and publish Book One, and put the data now
available for Books Three, Four, and Five, in condition for publica-
tion before the present appropriation is exhausted in June.

It will be impossible to finish Book Two within the time mentioned,
simply because the State Engineer will have as much. as he can possi-
bly do without undertaking it, and there is not money enough avail-
able to employ assistance competent for the task, and still get the other
books done. As stated above, I shall not attempt the writing of Books
Six and Seven at all, unless so instructed.


There are in this office the following named maps, the completion
and publication of which has been contemplated:

I — A general map of the State of California, on the scale of six
miles in the inch, covering a space of about ten feet square. It has
been the intention to make this a topographical and general land
map, showing land divisions down to the sections of the public land
surveys, and to publish it in a form suitable for a wall map in three
parts — Northern, Middle, and Southern California.

II — Twenty-five atlas sheet maps, on the scale of four miles in the
inch, each thirty-six inches long by twenty-three inches wnde, together
embracing the whole State, and accompanied by a map of the State,
in outline, on one sheet of the same size, and serving as a key to the
separate sheets.

These maps are prepared as land maps in detail, and show the
topography of the country in so far as lines of drainage and princi-
pal well-established features are concerned, but no attempt to make
them topographical maps in detail, as to mountain and hill repre-
sentation, will be made. ■ .

In the preparation of this set of maps it has been the intention to
publish them as outline maps and in the form of an atlas, and have
them serve as the basis of the future physical survey of the State
Avhich, now commenced, will doubtless be completed at some time in
the future.

The scale of these maps is sufficiently large, and the detail shown
is sufficiently minute, to render them desirable and valuable locally
as land maps.

Ill — A general drainage area map of the State of California, on the
scale of twelve miles in the inch and occupying a sheet fifty-four by
sixty inches.

This map* shows the lines of drainage for the entire State and the
outline of the chief physical features of the country, and is intended


as a genera illustration to accompany Book Three of the report on

It is the first attempt at a skeleton physical map of the State, and
will serve the purposes of such map until the State becomes well
settled, and the details of its physical geography are much better
known than they are now. This map would serve as the principal
illustration of a much more detailed and extended report than the
State Engineer is able to make now with the data at hands.

IV — A general topographical map of the Sacramento, San Joaquin,
and Tulare Vallej^s, and adjacent foothill regions, showing twenty-
foot contour curves — or lines of equal height on the ground's surface,
for each twenty feet above the level of low tide in the Bay of Suisun —
for all the valley lands, and hachured topography for the foothill

This map has been prepared as the general illustration of the
report on irrigation for the valley, as well as for the basis of a detail
exhibit of the general subject of the physical survey of the State.

It represents the result of a great amount of information acquired
by original field work of this department, and by private and other
surveys, now for the first time connected up and utilized to show,
approximately, the elevation, fall, and slope of the plains at every
point, and the outlining and form of the foothill topography.

It is on the scale of six miles in the inch, and may be published on
a sheet seventy-two inches long b}' twenty inches wide.

V — Four detail topographical and land maps, together embracing
the San Joaquin and Tulare \"alleys, including the Mokelumne and
Kern River regions at the extremes, and showing contour lines of loca-
tion for every ten feet in elevation, above low water in the bay, for the
valley lands, and showing the foothills and valleys outlined in detail.

These maps, so far as topography is concerned, are in large part
the results of original surveys or reconnoissances by the department,,
and otherwise are based on surveys of the United States Engineer
corps, various railroad and canal companies and private individuals,
which have been connected with by the State work, and thus made
available for our purposes.

They are on the scale of two miles in the inch, and each occupies
a sheet about sixty-six by thirty' inches in length and breadth.

They have been prepared as an exhibit in detail of the general
subject of irrigation in and for the region which they cover, and are
intended to accompany the report.

VI — A detail topographical map of each of the rivers: American,
Mokelumne, Stanislaus, Tuolumne, Merced, and Kings, from their
respective canon mouths to their points of flow through the open

These maps embrace their respective rivers and adjacent regions,
from the upper to the lower point, at which it is at all likely water
will ever be diverted from them for purposes of irrigation on the
plains, and have been prepared as detail exhibits of the subject of
diversion of waters for irrigation.

They each occupy a sheet about twenty-four by forty-eight inches
in area, are on the scale of 3,000 feet in the inch, and are intended to
accompany the report on irrigation. Maps of the San Joaquin, Kern,
and other rivers on this scale have not been attempted.

VII — A general topographical and land map of the basins and val-
leys of the Santa Ana, San Gabriel, and Los Angeles Rivers, embracing


all the territory of Los Angeles and San Bernardino Counties draining
into the ocean from the headland above Santa Monica to that next
below the mouth of the Santa Ana River.

This map includes the thickly settled and irrigated regions of South-
ern California and is intended as a general illustration for the report
on irrigation for that region. It is on the scale of two miles in the
inch and occupies a sheet about five feet by three feet in area.

VIII — Detail maps of each township or part of township, on a scale
of half a mile in the inch, of the irrigated valley lands of Los Angeles

These are the detail exhibits as to irrigation in the region named,
and should be published on about half their present scale, to accom-
pany the report.


I — The general topographical State map is nearly finished as a
compiled outline map, so far as data is available for it; but the topo-
graphical hachures have not been drawn upon it. No attempt will
be made under present circumstances, to finish it up as other than
an outline map.

II — Sixteen of the atlas sheet maps are well towards completion as
compiled outline maps, and as such will be ready for the lithographer
by the end of the present fiscal year. But much important data is still
wanting, which can only be acquired by personal reconnoissances in
many parts of the State. The remaining nine are far from complete.

Ill — The general State drainage area map will be in readiness for
lithographing, so far as data is available.

For all of the general maps above described, new and additional
data is constantly being acquired, as the United States land and geo-
graphical surveys, and coast and geodetic, railroad, county, and pri-
vate surveys are being made and extended.

IV — The topographical map of the Sacramento, San Joaquin, and
Tulare Valleys will be ready for the lithographer by the end of the
present fiscal year.

V — The same may be said of the larger scale topographical maps of
the San Joaquin and Tulare Valleys.

VI — The detail maps of the irrigation rivers in the San Joaquin
Valley, heretofore mentioned, cannot be completed in details as they
should be, but will be worth lithographing at the time mentioned.

VII — The general topographical map of the Los Angeles and San
Bernardino irrigation region is now ready for the lithographer.

VIII — The detail maps of the Los Angeles irrigation districts,
having been made four years ago, are far behind the improvements
there now, and should be brought up to date before publication, but
I have not the means with which to do it.

The department had maps corresponding to these for the San
Bernardino Valley, and an assistant engineer was sent to that region
to acquire information for posting them up to date, in May of 1884
but unfortunately, by the overturning of a vehicle in the Santa Ana
River, the maps were lost.

It had been the intention to bring the work in all the region of •
San Bernardino and Los Angeles up to date, before putting it into
the form of a report; but this loss was so great and irreparable, with
the means at command, that the attempt was given up.

The detail local maps and illustrations for the text of the report


are far from being completed as they should be; nevertheless, such
as are in hands will be in readiness for the press before the expiration
of the term for which the present appropriation was made.


It has never been the intention that the State should publish
the volumes and maps heretofore described, and distribute them
gratuitously as State departmental reports are distributed. The vol-
umes are not mere reports of routine business or progress of depart-
mental duties, but are works which have cost the State much money,
and are of value to every person who desires to possess measurably
exact data concerning this State and its resources, and especially
concerning irrigation here, and, generally, everywhere.

Such books would sell in the book trade for three to five dollars
per volume — according to the style in which they were published ;
and the State should publish them, in good substantial style, for sale,
and not to give away. At the same time the State might with good
grace put the price low, so as to little more than cover the cost of
publication. These volumes will find sale over the country from
California to the Mississippi, and from British Columbia to Mexico,
for over all that region the irrigation question is now a living issue,
attracting much attention and growing in importance, and there is a
constant demand from this region for such reports of this office, con-
cerning irrigation, as have already been issued.

As to the maps, these will find a wider field of demand, and will
have the whole country as a market. These, too, should be published
only for sale at an advance on the cost of lithographing.

When a book or map is given away as a public document, the act,
with nine people out of ten who receive the gift, stamps the article as
valueless; apparently because the presumption is that if the copy
received is lost another can be had by asking for it. This belief is the
result of personal experience in distributing many thousand public
documents, and the experience of others, so far as I am able to
learn, coincides with it.

But when a work is sold, if only at cost price, the purchaser values
it, reads it, and saves it.

Now, the least that ought to be done in bringing the irrigation
investigation to a close is :

First — Complete and publish Books One and Two — Irrigation Leg-
islation, Civil Law Countries, and Common Law Countries. These
two volumes will be a compendium of, as well as a concise treatise
on, the laws, customs, and policies, with respect to irrigation, of such
countries as we might look to with much expectation of finding use-
ful lessons, either of a positive or negative character, for our guidance
in the formation of an irrigation code for California; and the prac-
tical application will be made of these lessons, in closing volume two,
by a review of our own laws, and the presentation of an outline for
a full code of water-right and irrigation laws for adoption here.

Attention is asked to the form in which the matter is being pre-
sented, as shown in the published volume, and especially to the fact
that specific references are preserved throughout, to the authorities
upon which the work is based, thus making it a key to the literature
of the subject. I respectfully represent that the preparation of these
volumes is a work of great labor. The mere reading of the authori-


ties upon which Book One, if all in a language perfectly familiar to
the reader, would occupy one person well on to a year, during ordi-
nary business hours for each day; and the labor on Book Two is not
much less.

The special utility of this treatise on Irrigation Legislation and
Administration, will become apparent in the future popular and leg-
islative discussions of irrigation questions. As elsewhere remarked,
it has not been the intention to attempt to write a legal text-book, or
to instruct lawyers on the law of this country; but I have endeavored
to show them the connection between legal theory and irrigation sys-
tem — a connection which is pretty generally lost sight of — and fur-
thermore that there is no system of law now in this country under
which irrigation can be developed, and that there is very much for
them to learn in the laws of other countries which will have in some
way to be engrafted upon our own system for our irrigation purposes.

Second — Provide for one season's reconnoissance in those parts of
the State where the operations of the department have not yet been
carried, for the purpose of acquiring the needed data for the general
State maps, and also the information upon which to base a general
report on irrigation for those quarters, outside of the main central
and southern valleys, which require it.

In general terms, the region to be reconnoitred would embrace
Napa, Marin, Sonoma, and the coast counties north; together with
Siskiyou, Shasta, Modoc, and Lassen, where irrigation is being quite
rapidly extended; Mono and Inyo, where irrigation is much needed
and being practiced to some extent; Santa Clara, with its artesian
well system to be studied; San Benito, Monterey, and other southern
coast counties to and including Ventura, and also San Diego, which
certainly ought to have the benefit at least of a general outlining of
their capabilities for irrigation development, and a fair representa-
tion on the general maps.

Third— 'Proxide for the replacing of the maps and data for the San
Bernardino Valley which were lost, as heretofore explained, by the
accident in the Santa Ana River; and for bringing the information
concerning irrigation practice and works in Los Angeles and San
Bernardino up to date, from 1880, when the last examinations were
made there.

With the results of provisions Second and Third, the Books Three,
Four, and Five, can be completed and published in a fairly satisfac-
tory form; and the general maps can, at small additional expense, be
made fairly and evenly full as to information for the whole State.

The report and map work are just in that condition where a com-
paratively small additional outlay on them will greatly increase their

The estimates below presented in accordance with the foregoing
suggestions, contemplate an expenditure on this work of only $2,500
more than estimated two years ago, and an expenditure of $2,500 on
the county boundaries and descriptions work in addition.


The maps and data lost by the accident in Santa Ana River were
worth to this department fully one thousand dollars, and cannot be
replaced for a less amount.

The county boundaries work attempted during the past two years.


not included in the estimate of two years ago, but ordered by the
terms of the appropriation, has cost the department full fifteen hun-
dred dollars.

The attention to official duties, other than that of the report,
required of the State Engineer, has cost the fund, indirectly, full
twenty-five hundred dollars.

These items make, in all. five thousand dollars which the work
has unavoidably ran short of completion under the estimate of two
years ago.

I ask that this sum be appropriated for use during the next fiscal
year, to recoup the irrigation report fund for its losses, and the drafts
made upon it, directly and indirectly, for the other purposes.

I recommend that the sum of twenty-five hundred dollars be
appropriated for the acquirement of data for and the making of a
correct outline map of each county in the State, and the revision of
the legal descriptions of county boundaries to correspond therewith.

And I recommend that the sum of twenty-five hundred dollars be
appropriated for the purpose of reconnoisances in the counties of the
State not yet worked in by the department, as set forth in the Second
provision preceding these recommendations.

These estimates cover the expense of acquirement of all the data
for and the completion of all the maps heretofore mentioned for pub-
lication, except the hachureing of the main State map (No. 1), w^hich
I recommend not to be attempted at present.

They also cover the completion of the first five books of the report,
and of the maps and illustrations for them.

Tliey do not include cost of printing, binding, and lithographing.

I recommend that a sufficient sum be added to the regular appro-

Online LibraryCalifornia. LegislatureAppendix to the Journals of the Senate and Assembly of the ... session of the Legislature of the State of California (Volume 1885v.1) → online text (page 76 of 83)