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ow Holtville, where a diversion dam will be constructed, and will

follow the general course of the Rose .Lateral in district No. 1 to the
southwest corner of No. 4. There is a possibility of the territory
northeast of this canal, which is the country around Mesquit Lake,
being separated from district No. 1 and added to district No. 4.
It is the intention to replace all wooden structures at important
points on the main canals with cement structures of the most permanent character and to greatly improve the smaller wooden structures. Structures for the accurate measurement of water are to be
E laced at all points of delivery where automatic registers of gage
eights are to be installed. It is the intention to make the system
second to none, either public or private.
The channels cut in New and Alamo rivers by the flood are of
inestimable value as drainage mains for the valley. The flow of the
rivers increases materially through the valley and the salty water is
an indication of the effect they will have on the lands in removing
alkali.
SUBJECTS FOB INVESTIGATION.
Imperial Valley offers a most interesting field for the study of the
problems of irrigation. Its importance lies in the fact that the
country is large and is still in a stage of development, in its having

$6 # IRRIGATION IN IMPERIAL VALLEY, CALIFORNIA.


conditions peculiar to itself, in the possibility of growing a great
variety of crops, and in the present lack of data. The growing
season is practically twelve months in duration and this, together
with the fertile soil and hot climate, is conducive to exceptional
jields. It has already been proved that an unusually large variety
of crops and industries are profitable in the valley, and that a few
crops are unsuited to it, but the limitations are not known.
Irrigation in a country like the valley is such a large factor in the
growing of crops that nearly all problems are largely, if not entirely,
ones ot irrigation. The problems are not those of contention with
objectionable features, but rather of the improvement of already
satisfying results. The conditions in the valley are unlike those of
^tny other irrigated district in this country. The only places with
problems in any degree similar are in Arizona. It follows that the
results of studies elsewhere can not be applied to the valley. The
data on all subjects pertaining to the use of water are yet meager.
When the companies were organized it was necessary to assume what
the requirements for water would be as a basis for contracts. There
"was no knowledge of what the loss by seepage and evaporation
would be, and there is practically no reliable data on this subject yet
Aside from the results of measurements made in 1903.
The subject of the proper quantity of water to apply in growing
any crops is one of importance. The tendency is to use more water
than is necessary because it is cheap and plentiful. It is believed
that often as good or better results would be obtained if less water
were used, and continued overirrigation can in the long run only be
disastrous. Even though no effect is shown on the plant from overirrigation, it may be harmful to the soil.

There is not yet any well-defined practice in the methods of applying water. A certain amount of water applied in the proper manner
and at the right time may be more beneficial than many times that
^amount improperly applied. Closely connected with the quantity
of water to use and the methods of applying it is the study of soil
moisture. It too often happens that irrigators do not study the
condition of the soil enough as regards the moisture contained.
Water is sometimes applied when the appearances on the surface
indicating its necessity are misleading. Water should be applied in
such a manner that the moisture is conserved and it should be put
in the proper place. The effect on crop production of applying
different amounts of water by the different methods should be
studied, together with a study of the action of the water in the soil.
The amount of silt deposited on lands in the valley by the water
used in irrigation should be determined. Some data is available
^showing the percentage carried by the Colorado River, but the
-amount reaching lands in the valley should be known. The silt
may not be beneficial on land that is never cultivated, but if it is
mixed with the soil it should be valuable as a fertilizer. This value
. .should be ascertained. There is another phase of the silt problem.
^There is need for improved methods in removing the deposits of silt
from the ditches, together with vegetable growth which it promotes.
The water companies are now maKing considerable advance in this
direction.
Any light that can be thrown on the question of the most practical
and accurate method of water measurement for the valley should
be of value.
O

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Irrigation In imperial Valley, Calf


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