Title: Indian Irrigation
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 Material Information
Title: Indian Irrigation
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Language: English
Publisher: President's Water Resources Policy
 Subjects
Spatial Coverage: North America -- United States of America -- Florida
 Notes
Abstract: Richard Hamann's Collections - Indian Irrigation
General Note: Box 12, Folder 9 ( Water Resources Law - Vol #3 - 1950 ), Item 26
Funding: Digitized by the Legal Technology Institute in the Levin College of Law at the University of Florida.
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Bibliographic ID: WL00003108
Volume ID: VID00001
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Bankhead-Jones Act Amendment.--Under this 1949 legis-
lation, provision was made for extending loan assistance to
homestead entrymen and purchasers of lands on reclamation
projects.'" Its purpose was to enable settlers to obtain addi-
tional capital needed for farm development and purchase.'~

Indian Irrigation

As we earlier noted, the Southwest bears testimony to the
practice of irrigation by Indians even in ancient times.8"
Acting through the Bureau of Indian Affairs of the Depart-
ment of the Interior, the Federal Government has long been
engaged in numerous activities connected with irrigation of
Indian lands."8 Confined to areas within Indian reservations
and primarily for the benefit of Indians, this activity is separate
from the irrigation responsibilities of the Bureau of Reclama-
tion, already discussed.V" The Government's "first venture
in irrigation construction" was provided for in 1867 by an
appropriation of funds for the construction of a canal for irri-
gating the Colorado River Reservation in Arizona." With

This program was designed to provide wells for stock, farmstead and farm.
garden use, and for irrigation of crops, stock ponds and stock tanks, diver-
sions and water spreaders, and small dams and reservoirs. Most of the
projects are on individual farms and ranches and cost less than $1,000
eah, although facilities for small groups are also provided. Hearings
before the House Committee on Irrigation and Reclamation on H. R. 10122,
76th Cong., 3d sess., p. 45 (1940).
Act of October 19, 1949, 63 Stat. 883, 7 U. S. C. 1006a-1006b (Supp.
III). See also 4nfra, p. 880. /
'" H Rep. No. 478, 81st Cong., 1st sess., p. 4 (1949).
mSee supra, pp. 175-176.
"Cohen, HANDBOOK or FUDENAL INDIAN LAw, p. 248 (1945); Hearings
before a Subcommittee of the Senate Committee on Appropriations on H.
I. 3123, 80th Cong., 1st sess., p. 637 (1948).
m Hearings before a Subcommittee of the Senate Committee on Appro-
priations on H. R. 3128, 80th Cong., 1st sess., p. 637 (1948). But see Hear-
ings before a Subcommittee of the House Committee on Appropriations on
Interior Department Appropriation Bill, 1936, 74th Cong., 1st sess., pp.
819-820 (1986).
Cohen, HANDBOOK or FEDERAL INDIAN LAW, p. 248 (1945) ; Act of March
2, 1867, 14 Stat. 492, 514-515; ANNuAL REPOT or THE SECBwEABY or THE
INnTERIB, p. 377 (1940).





245
It should be noted that this legislation has not been con-
sidered to constitute an amendment of or a supplement to
Reclamation Law."83
Although operations of the WPA and CCC were terminated
in 1943,"' there was an increasing need for irrigation projects
for expansion of agricultural production to meet the wartime
food shortage."' A further amendment of the Act permitted
its application to the so-called "Great Plains Projects" for the
purpose of orderly administration and accounting.56 This
amendment also permitted the expenditure of appropriated
funds on projects on a nonreimbursable basis, in lieu of WPA
and CCC assistance theretofore available, upon a finding by
the Secretary of the Interior, after consultation with the Sec-
retary of Agriculture and approval by the President, that the
expenditure was justifiable as an aid in the production of
needed agricultural products."7 By its terms, this provision
became ineffective six months after the officially declared cessa-
tion of hostilities."8 After the lapse of that provision in 1947,
no new projects have been undertaken under the Water Conser-
vation and Utilization Act.
Water Facilities Act.-We shall refer later to the details of
this 1937 statute which is related to irrigation in that it is
designed "to assist" in providing facilities for water storage
and utilization in arid and semiarid areas.`
See unpublished Opinion of the Solicitor, Department of the Interior,
No. M-34062, dated August 9, 1945; see also LANDOWNERSHIP SunBVE ON
FEDEmAL RECLAMATION PEOJECTS, Department of the Interior, p. 51 (1946).
'As to CCC, see Act of July 2, 1942, 56 Stat. 562, 569, and Act of July
12, 1943, 57 Stat. 494, 498. As to WPA, see 45 C. F. R., ch. III, p. 10492
(1943 Cum. Supp.).
W Sen. Rep. No. 365, 78th Cong., 1st sess., p. 1 (1943).
SAct of July 16, 1943, 57 Stat. 566, 16 U. S. C. 590y, 590z-1, 590z-2, 590z-3;
Sen. Rep. No. 365, 78th Cong., 1st sess., p. 4. (1943).
Terminology adopted by the Bureau of Reclamation designates as "Great
Plains Projects" those constructed under the Interior Department Appro-
priation Act for 1940, and as "Water Conservation and Utilization Projects"
those constructed under the Act of August 11, 1939, as amended. Bureau
of Reclamation Circular Letter No. 2892, dated January 6, 1942.
5, 57 Stat. 567, 16 U. S. C. 590z-2.
SId.; Proclamation No. 2714, December 31, 1946, 61 Stat. 1048.
Act of August 28, 1937, 50 Stat. 869, as amended, 16 U. S. C. 590r-590x.
See also infra. un. .177-M79.







respect to the need for such federal activity, the Secretary has
stated:"
Permanent rehabilitation of the Indians on the Great
Plains, in fact almost everywhere west of the one hun-
dredth meridianf, requires that the productivity of the
relatively small amounts of land remain" g available
for their use be increased by providing irrigation facili-
ties.
.The irrigation activities of .the Bureau embrace about
838,000 acres of land, and include a dozen major projects to-
gether with a number of subsistence garden tracts."
INDIANS AND THE FEDERAL GOVERNMENT.-Before turning
to the details of federal activities respecting Indian irrigation,
we should take .preliminary note of the relationship between
the Indians and the Federal Governidint. The Supreme Court
of the United States has said that, "It is thoroughly established
that the Congress has plenary authority over the Indians and
all their tribal relations, and full power to legislate concerning
their tribal property." 8 As to the nature and origin of this
authority, the Court has observed that: ""

'* ANNUAi REP OBRT O SE T SO rAY or TIHE INTEBIon, p. 377 (1940).
"'ANnIUAL REPORT or THE SCBWTAREY OF 'HE INTtIOB, p. 350 (1949);
Cohen, HAtDoOK OFr FEJABAL INDIAN LAw, pp. 250-252 (1945) ; see 25 C. F. R.,
Part 130.
For reference to subsistence garden tracts, see Hearings before a Sub-
itee of the Houh e Ho Cimmittee on Appropriations on Interior Depart-
ment Appropriation Bill for 1941, 76th Cong, 3d sess., Part II, p. 291
(1940). See also Hearings before a Subcommittee of the Senate Com-
iittee on Appropriations on H. 6058, 75th Cong., 1st sess., p. 245 (1937).
For an indication of the broad and varied activities of the Government
directly connected with Indian irrigation, see, e. g., Act of June 29, 1948,
62 Stat. 1112, 1119; Ac of October 12,1949, 3 Stat. 765, -.
m Winton v. Amos, 255 U. S. 378,391 (1921).
m Board of Commissioners v. Heber, 318 U. S. 705, 715 (1943).
In connection withthhe last sentence of the quoted excerpt, see Act of
June 18, 1934, 48 Stat. 984, 25 U. S. 0. 461 et seq. That Act "provides that
each tribe, if it chooses, may establish the machinery to exercise all of its
inherent powers: the right to adopt a constitution, to operate its machinery
of government, to determine membership or citizenship in the tribe, to
levy taxes, to administer law and order, to regulate domestic relations,
to veto the disposition of tribal assets, and increasingly to assume a po-
litical and economic control over its internal affairs similar to that of an







This power is not expressly granted in so many words
by the Constitution, except with respect to regulating
commerce with the Indian tribes, but its existence can-
not be doubted. In the exercise of the war and treaty
powers, the United States overcame the Indians and
took possession of their lands, sometimes by force, leav-
ing them an uneducated, helpless and dependent people,
needing protection against the selfishness of others and
their own improvidence. Of necessity, the United
States assumed the duty of furnishing that protection,
and with it the authority to do all that was required
to perform that obligation and to prepare the Indians
to take their place as independent, qualified members
of the modern body politic.
This obligation has led to a relationship of the United States
toward the Indians generally described as a "guardianship." mo
Under the direction of the Secretary of the Interior, and agree-
ably to such regulations as the President may prescribe, the
Commissioner of Indian Affairs has "the management of all
Indian affairs and of all matters arising out of Indian rela-
tions." I An important objective in the fulfillment of this
responsibility is the protection of Indian property and its de-
velopment to full utilization.5 And this extends to land and
water rights.53 Moreover, for the purpose of providing lands
for Indians, the Secretary is authorized to acquire interests
in lands, water rights, or surface rights to lands within or with-
incorporated municipality." ANNUAL REPORT OF THE SECRETARY OF THE
INTERIOR, p. 419 (1941). See also Act of April 16, 1934, 48 Stat. 596, as
amended, 25 U. S. C. 452-455.
m'"Congress alone has the right to determine the manner in which the
guardianship of the United States over the Indians shall be carried on."
United States v. McGowan, 302 U. S. 535 (1938). See also United States v.
Minnesota, 95 F. 2d 468, 470-471 (C. A. 8, 1938).
R. S. 463, from Act of July 9, 1832, 1, 4 Stat. 564, and Act of July
27, 1868, 1, 15 Stat. 228, 25 U. S. C. 2; R. S. 465, from Act of June 30,
1834, 17, 4 Stat. 735, 738, 25 U. S. C. 9; R. S. 441, from Act of March 3,
1849, 9 Stat. 395, as amended, 5 U. S. C. 485.
ANNUAL REPORT OF THE SECRETARY OF THE INTERIOR, p. 338 (1949).
Id. pp. 341, 351. See also Hearings before a Subcommittee of the Sen-
ate Committee on Appropriations on H. R. 9621, 75th Cong., 3d sess., pp.
214-211 (1938).






out existing reservations, title to such lands or rights to be
held by the United States in trust for the Indians or tribes
of Indians concerned.8'
WARTE RIGHTS.--trttection of Indian water rights as well
as encouragement of their use are integral parts of federal In-
dian irrigation activity.""
Upon establishment of certain Indian reservations from terri-
torial lands, the Supreme Court has held that rights to use of
water for the irrigation of the reservation lands have been
impliedly reserved.88 Moreover, the water right reserved
is not limited in quantity tothat necessary for irrigation at the
time the reservation wab established.87
Where tribal lands, the waters of which had been expressly
reserved for the benefit of the tribe, had been allotted and
waters distributed to individual Indians to whom fee patents
to the flds were later issued; conveyance of such land by an
indi~ owne pas ed the right to use reserved waters essential
to cultivation of the land.88
It shouiid also be noted that state law cannot be invoked to
limit rights in lands granted by the United States to Indians
except so far as the United States bhasgiven its consent.88
ore specifically, it hasei~ie held that neither state nor fed-
eral laws respecting appropriation of water for irrigating lands
has application where water is appropriated to a public use.by
the Federal Government in an exercise of its sovereign authority
over Indian tribes,"' Moreover, it has been held that a state
court hasno jurisdiction to adjudicate water rights for reserva-
tion lands held by the United States for allottees under trust

""Act of June 18, 1934, 5, 48 Stat. 984, 985, 25 U. S. C. 465
ANNUAiia REPORT OF THE SECrETARY OF THE INTERIOR, p. 351 (1949).
*Wintmers v. United States, 207 U. S. 564, 576-577 (1908). See United
States v. Walker River Irr. Dis9104 F. 2d3.384,86 (4C A. 9, 1939W.
*"Conrad Inv. Co. v. United laetes, 161 Fed; 829, 832 (0. A. 9, 1908);
Seem v. United States, 273 Fed. 93, 95-96 (C. A. 9, 1921); United States
v. Walker River Irr. Dist., 104 F. 2d 334, 40 (0. A. 9,1989).
"United States v. Powers; 305 U. S. 527 (19389).
United States v. Fornss, 125 F. 2d 928, 92 (C. A. 2, 1942). See also
Worcester v. Georgia, 6 Pet.515, 560 (U. S. 1882).
United States v. Morrison, 208 Fed. 364, 366 (C. C. Colo. 1901).






patents, when the United States is not a party, since the right
to use the water appurtenant to these lands is the property of
the United States.591 And the state court has no jurisdiction
in the case of water rights of former allotted reservation lands
to which fee patents had been issued and later conveyed to non-
Indians, where the title to other reservation lands riparian to
the same stream was still in the United States.92
In practice, the Bureau of Indian Affairs files with offices
of state engineers statements of what Indian rights are, not as
applications but merely to record the facts in such offices.593
FEDERAL PROJECrs.-The Secretary is authorized to regulate
use of waters for irrigation to secure a "just and equal distribu-
tion" among Indians residing upon a reservation.' In addi-
tion, where he deems it in the best interests of the Indians, the
Secretary may include allotted nonreservation Indian lands
within an irrigation project, but no lien or construction, opera-
tion, or maintenance charge may be created thereby against
such land."
Authorization.-The major Indian irrigation projects have
been developed under several series of legislative acts for par-
ticular projects.'8 In addition to general appropriations for
irrigation in 1884 and 1892, Congress beginning in 1893 annu-
ally made general appropriations under the heading "Irriga-
tion, Indian Reservations"' for such purposes as were not
provided foi by specific appropriation.' Since 1910, however,
no new irrigation project may be constructed on Indian lands
without the specific authorization of Congress if the cost ex-
ceeds $35,000." Nor may any such :project be undertaken
until surveys and maximum cost estimates have been made and

'Anderson v. Spear-Morgan Livestock Co., 107 Mont. 18, 26-27, 79 P.
2d 667, 669 (1988).
Ibid.
"Hearings before a Subommittee of the Senate Committee on Appro-
priations on H. R. 9621, 75th Cong., 3d sess., p. 211 (1988).
""Act of February 8, 1887, 7, 24 Stat. 888, 390, 25 U. 8. C. 381.
Act of March 3, 1909, 35 Stat. 798-799, see 25 U. S. C. 382.
Cohen, HANDBOOK OF FFDEmA INDIAN LAw, p. 250 et seq. (1945).
'p."Act of Ferur -s, *0, 2: 7, 24' t. m, 3.- s. c. -
Act of ail4 ,1,^l 3 rat. LS, O. s. C..3S,,,







approved by the Commissioner of Indian Affairs and the Sec-
retary." In 1921, Congress authorized expenditure of moneys
appropriated for extension, improvement, operation, and main-
tenance: f existing projects and for development of water
supplies. 00
Repayment of Costs.--The provisions applicable here differ
widely from those obtaining in connection with projects of the
Bureau of Reclamation.i
Until 1914, costs of irrigation works on Indian reservations
were borne by the United States.; In that year, however,
Congress inade both maintenance and construction charges
reimbursable in accordance with regulations of the Secretary.0
This statute made reimbursement of all moneys expended de-
pendent upon the ability of the Indians to pay assessmenitsti
By a 1920 statute, the Secretary was directed to require'the
beginning of partial reimbursement of construction charges."
Nevertheless, practically all assessments collected under the
1914 and 1920 legislation were paid by non-Indian landowners
on Indian projects.0
'Under the 1932 Leavitt Act, the Secretary was directed to
adjust or eliminate reimbursable charges then existingas debts
against individual Indians or tribes." Moreover, this statute
contained a significant proviso requiring that future construc-
tion-cost assessments against any Indian-owned lands within
any government irrigation project be deferred so long as the
Indian retained title."9
While the Leavitt Act relieved the Indian of liability for
construction costs, current assessments for operation and main-
tenance remained chargeable under the 1914 statute with re-

"ACt of November 2, 1921, 42 Stat. 208, 25 U. S. C. 13.
See supra, pp. 202-214, 237-239.
SCohen, HANDBOOK Of F EDEP A INDIAN LAW, p. 249 (1945).
Act of August 1, 1914 88 Stat. 582, 583, as amended, 25 U. S. 0. 385.
For the present departmental regulations, see 25 C. F. R. 130.1 et seq.
*Id.
*Act of February 14, 1920, 4 1, 41 Stat. 408, 409, 25 U. S. C. 886.
SCohen, HANDBOOK OF FDEDLI INDIAN LAW, p. 249 (1945).
m Act of July 1, 192, 47 Stat. 564, 25 U. S. C. 388a.
Id.







imbursement dependent upon his ability to pay."6 Moreover,
Congress in 1928 provided that reimbursable charges for opera-
tion, and maintenance be apportioned on a per-acre basis, with
unpaid charges to be designated as a first lien against the
lands."
Since 1936, the Secretary may adjust, defer, or cancel con-
struction and operation and maintenance charges against non-
Indian landowners on Indian projects."6 And he may de-
clare such lands permanently nonirrigable, or temporarily non-
irrigable with no assessment of charges for limited periods.6
But the foregoing proceedings become effective only upon ap-
proval by Congress.'
In practice, operation and maintenance charges are assessed
against lands on Indian projects on a per-acre basis.6l
Where water users do not have ready cash to pay these
charges, they have been permitted to receive water upon cer-
tification by the project superintendent of their inability to
pay, their unpaid assessments being entered on the books as a
lien against their lands."' As regards land in a tribal status,
the project officials look to the tribe for all operation and main-
tenance assessments, and it is presumed that the tribe is finan-
cially able to pay.16
The line of distinction between "construction costs" and
other types of costs such as "operation and maintenance" or
"repair and rehabilitation" costs has been said to be artificial,

Cohen, HANDBOOK OF FEDERAL INDIAN LAW, p. 250 (1945).
Act of March 7, 1928, 45 Stat. 200, 210, see 25 U. S. C. 387 note follow-
ing. See also 25 C. F. R. 130.6.
m Act of June 22, 1936, 1, 49 Stat. 1803, 25 U. S. C. 389.
5 2, 49 Stat. 1804, 25 U. S. C. 389b, 389a.
*s 6, 49 Stat. 1804, 25 U. S. C. 389e.
Office of Indian Affairs, Circular Letter, Irrigation 9001-36-F, June 6,
1941. See 25 C. F. R. 130.1 et seq.
SId. With respect to performance of labor in lieu of collection, see
Hearings before a Subcommittee of the House Committee on Appropriations
on Interior Department Appropriation Bill, 1939, 75th Cong., 3d sess., Part
II, p. 226 (1938). See also Hearings before a Subcommittee of the House
Committee on Appropriations on Interior Department Appropriation Bill,
1945, 78th Cong., 2d sess., Part II, p. 94 (1944).
18o Office of Indian Affairs, Circular Letter, Irrigation 9090-36-F, October
11, 1939.







and even arbitrary."7 This, it seems to be the practice during
the period of construction to carry even operation and main-
tenance charges into construction costs, and this was expressly
provided for in legislation governing the Flathead Irrigation
Project."
Miscellanous.-Except where treaty or statute provides
otherwise, allotted reservation lands are subject to acreage
limitations, with differing limitations for irrigable and nonir-
rigable land."
Another aspect of federal activity in connection with Indian
irrigation projects is the performance of so-called "subjuga-
tion" work, the preparation of raw land for agricultural use."
A 1921 statute has been construed to provide the necessary
authority."
The foregoing summary reflects basic differences underlying
legislation for Indian irrigation projects. Numerous others
might be mentioned beyond the scope of our survey. For
example, Indians frequently have lacked equipment or re-
sources to clear the brush and level the land, or build farm
ditches for irrigation." Likewise, they are generally not com-
mercial farmers, usually raising only subsistence crops.' In
addition, Indian lands are often extremely poor.4" And it has
been deemed wiser to assist the Indians to raise their own sub-
sistence instead of furnishing them rations.a6 Finally, Indians

"Heatings before a Subcommittee of the Senate Committee on Appro-
priations on H. R. 6335, 79th Cong., 2d sess., pp. 914, 916 (1946).
SIbid.
Act of February 8, 1887, 1, 24 Stat. 388, as amended, 25 U. S. C. 331.
ISee Hearings before a Subcommittee of the Senate Committee on
Appropriations on H. R. 6335, 79th Cong., 2d sess., pp. 913-918 (1946).
mIbid.; Act of November 2, 1921, 42 Stat. 208, 25 U. S. C. 13. See also
supra, p. 251.
See Hearings before a Subcommittee of the House Committee on Appro-
priations on Interior Department Appropriation Bill, 1946, 79th Cong., 1st
sess., Part II, p. 116 (1945).
See Hearings before a Subcommittee of the House Committee on Ap-
propriations on Interior Department Appropriation Bill, 1945, 78th Cong.,
2d seas., Part II, p. 95 (1944).
See Coolidge, THE RBANMAKEBS, p. 44 (1929).
w Id. See also ANNUAL REPORT OF THE SECBETARY OF THE INTERIOR, p. 378
(1940) ; H. Doc. No. 673, 75th Cong., 3d sess., p. 27 (1938).






such as the Navajos possess a deep attachment for tribal lands,
no matter how poor these may be.'2

Summary
Irrigation is the artificial application of water to soil for
the purpose of supplying the water essential to plant growth.
Of the total land irrigated in the United States, nearly 95%
lies in the 17 Western States. Federal responsibility for and
participation in irrigation undertakings has assumed increas-
ingly larger proportions since passage of the Reclamation Act
in 1902.
WATER RIGHTS.-A :water right is a right to the use of water,
not to the corpus of the water itself. There are two funda-
mentally divergent doctrines of state water law which sepa-
rately or in varying combination govern the rights to use water.
The English or common-law riparian doctrine, prevailing in
the East, recognizes the right of ariparian owner to make rea-
sonable use of a stream's waters, but only on his riparian lands.
And all riparian owners are entitled, to the continued natural
flow of the stream. Rights under the riparian doctrine are not
lost by failure to uis the water.
On the other hand,-the appropriation doctrine rests on the
proposition that beneficial use of the water is the basis, .measure,
and limit of the appropriative right. The first in time is prior
in right. Water rights are not limited to land riparian to a
stream and may be lost by abandonment. The appropriation
doctrine is recognized in all 17 of the Western States, some-
times in combination~ with various aspects of the riparian
doctrine.
Rights to the use of ground water have received increasing
attention as the quantity of unappropriated waters has dimin-
ished. There are indications of a trend toward conservation
of ground water on a reasonable-use basis and toward apply-
ing to ground water the principles of use and administration
applicable to surface waters.
*"See THE NAVAJO, Report of the Secretary of the Interior, p. VII
(March 1948); Arizona Hightwaya, p. [81 (December 1949).






Another increasingly important aspect of water law concerns
the right to return flow, the right of the original diverter of
waters to reuse them. There is a considerable lack of uni-
formity in the law respecting return flow. But the trend is
toward its widest practicable use.
IRRIGATION WATM COMPANIES AND IRRIGATION DisTrCI .--
As the opportunities for use of simpler irrigation structures
were exhausted, larger and more complex works were built
to take water farther from the stream. The larger dost in-
volved was often met through the formation of irrigation
companies.' The earlier companies were usually either mu-
tiialirrigatioin companies or quasi-public companies organized
for profit. These types were largely superseded by the irri-
gation districts. Each of the 17 Western States has an irriga-
tion district statute. The powers and liabilities of such
districts differ from state to state, an important feature fre-
quently being the permission to part of the residents of an
area to incur indebtedness for which all lands therein would
be liable. ,
EARLY IRRIGATION IN INTHB WEST.-The early practices of
miners, Moqmons, and, Spanish missionaries contributed to
the formation and development of the modern appropriation
doctrine. Ir any event, nature suggests that the dominant
factor was theaiditygenerally prevailing in the West, together
with quantitatively disproportionate, highly irregular, and mal-
distributed stream flows. Thus, judicial opinions have said
that the riparianj doctrine was net suited to the conditions
and needs of the Western States.
The impact of the appropriation doctrine was early reflected
in federal legislation in 1866, 1870, and 1877. Another early
statute of importance to irrigation was the Carey Act of 1894.
It provided for grants to each public-land state of up to a maxi-
mum of one million acres of desert land to aid the states in
the reclamation of the land and in its sale in small tracts to
actual settlers.
RECLAMATION LAW.-By the passage of the Reclamation
Act in 1902, Congress established irrigation in the West as a
911611---1--18







national policy. With its many supplements and amend-
ments, this Act constitutes Reclamation Law. Under the su-
pervision of the Secretary of the Interior, activities under Rec-
lamation Law are performed by the Bureau of Reclamation.
By the 1902 Act, the Secretary is directed to make exami-
nations and surveys for the location of irrigation works. The
scope of these investigations was broadened from time to time
and especially by the 1939 Reclamation Project Act. Today,
facts are collected concerning project feasibility, including cost
estimates and cost allocations, and general economic and en-
gineering matters. Provision is made for cooperation with
international and interstate agencies, federal and state agencies,
and interdepartmental and intradepartmental agencies. It
has been provided since. 1902 that reports on surveys and
examinations be submitted to Congress.
In the 1939 Act, provision is made for the automatic authori-
zation of projects upon submission of a report and prescribed
findings to the President and Congress. Such authorization
was made contingent, in 1944, on approval of plans and pro-
posals by "affected" states and the Secretary of the Army.
It was originally considered that the revolving Reclamation
Fund would finance new irrigation works. The Fund was es-
tablished by the 1902 Act by reserving, setting aside, and ap-
propriating moneys received from the disposal of public lands
in the 16 Western States and Territories named in the Act. It
has since been augmented by income from various other
sources.
Repayment of construction costs into the Reclamation Fund
was a basic principle of the 1902 Act. With modifications, it
has persisted ever since. In recent years, some project costs
have been made nonreimbursable. These include allocations
to navigation, flood control, and preservation and propagation
of fish and wildlife. Power revenues are used to return part
of the irrigation costs. Under the 1939 Act, the irrigation
water-users' obligation is limited to whatever part of the con-
struction costs may be allocated to irrigation and assigned for
repayment by them.
Under the 1939 Act, there must be a repayment contract with
an organization satisfactory in form and powers -to the Secre-






ta~y. Over the years, the original 10-year repayment period
has been increased until today when a 40-year period plus
a 10-year development period is provided. Still longer periods
have been provided for particular projects. In general, Recla-
mation Law requires that water-user repayment contracts be
executed in advance of delivery of water, The Bureau's usual
practice has been to consummate contracts in advance of proj-
ect construction.
Congress has enacted many lawsgoverning various aspects
of operation of irrigation projects. The Bureau supervises
development and set element of project lands, screens applicants
for settlement t, and advises project settlers concerning improved
farming techniques.
SThe "primary objective" of the 1902 Act has been described as
the establishment of farm homes. The Act limited entry of
irrigated lands to a maximum of 160 acres. In 1912, it was
required that any water-right applicant dispose of holdings in
excess of 160 acres as a condition precedent to the securing
of water. The acreage limitation has been construed, how-
ever, to permit 320 acres to be held jointly by man and wife.
Moreover, the law does not preclude combined farming en-
deavor by any number of owners, members of a family or
otherwise, so long as each owns no more than the acreage limit
for any one owner.
In addition to acreage limitations, Congress has enacted
various provisions designed to curb speculation in irrigated
lands. Under a 1926 statute applicable today, the irrigation
district withholds project water from land "in excess of 160
irrigable acres" unless the owner agrees in a "recordable con-
tract" to sell the excess land under terms and conditions satis-
factory to the Secretary. In addition, there are special acts
which seek to prevent speculation in particular areas.
Operation and maintenance charges are assessed against irri-
gated lands during the period of government operation.
In addition to irrigation, permissible multiple purposes of
reclamation projects include power, navigation, flood control,
preservation and propagation of fish and wildlife, and municipal
water supply and other miscellaneous purposes.





258
A number of statutes are related to but are not a part of Ree-
lamation Law. For example, under the Water Conservation
and Utilization Act, the Bureau of Reclamation has constructed
small reclamation projects, primarily as a means of assisting
and rehabilitating people and land. Provision is made for par-
ticipation in this program by the Secretary of Agriculture, the
Bureau of Indian Affairs, and other federal and state and local
agencies. Other statutes relating to irrigation activities in-
clude the Water Facilities Act and the amended Bankhead-
Jones Act.
INDIAN IRRIGATION.-As one aspect of its special relationship
to Indians, the Federal Government has long aided in irrigation
operations on Indian lands. The nature of that'relationship
has led to many provisions of law concerning irrigation under-
takings which differ widely from those summarized above,




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