O. W. Israelsen

Document Type

Full Issue

Publication Date



The proper utilization of the agricultural resources of the West is today of greater importance than ever before. It is estimated that not more than 10 per cent of the total area of the West can be irrigated when every drop of available water is economically utilized. In Utah alone there are approximately twelve million acres of arable land, only one million acres of which are now irrigated. Moreover, it is likely that the fullest development that can be made through the most economical use of the total water supply in Utah, will make possible the irrigation of only three to four million acres, or about one-third of the area which could be irrigated if there were plenty of water. That the supply of water is, therefore, the limiting factor of Utah's development is obvious. The immediate future is likely to witness a great increase in the demand for water, both ·for irrigation and for other purposes. Storage of the flood waters, pumping from underground water sources, driving of artesian wells, improving canal systems, and better preparation. of lands for irrigation are some of the important ways in which the demand for a larger water supply will be met. It is particularly significant that all of these ways of increasing our water supply, and also many others, involve water-rights. There is in reality no one factor in irrigation which will have greater influence in future development than that of water-rights.

Men are reluctant to construct reservoirs and canal systems because of the present uncertainty concerning titles to water. They may properly look to the public (1) to advise them definitely as to the amount of unappropriated water, if any, which may be available for use, and (2) for protection against wrongful diversion of properly appropriated water. The growing appreciation of the responsibility of the public in this connection, and the keen interest now manifest in these problems in Utah, have led to the preparation of this circular.