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Report on cooperative irrigation, drainage, and water control educational work in Moapa and Virgin Valleys, October 10, 1945






Discussion of the necessity of public education in the Moapa and Virgin valleys in regards to irrigation, drainage, water storage, domestic water, and flood control. Report was written October 10, 1945, attached application was dated February 3, 1945.

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Box 4 Folder 49 Irrigation Project for Southern Nevada - Moapa and Virgin Valleys 1927-1945


hln000613. John Wittwer Collection on Agriculture in Nevada, 1898-1972. MS-00181. Special Collections and Archives, University Libraries, University of Nevada, Las Vegas. Las Vegas, Nevada.


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COOPERATIVE IRRIGATION, DRAINAGE, AND WATER CONTROL EDUCATIONAL WORK IN MOAPA AND VIRGIN VALLEYS by O. W. Israelsen and J. H. Wittwer Objectives: The objectives of the educational work concerning irrigation and related problems by the Farm Bureau, the Church, civic leaders, irrigation companies, landowners and water users, in the Moapa and Virgin Valleys are to formulate sound methods of procedure and to develop safe, reasonable and sound satisfactory financing for the storage, control and efficient use for irrigation and domestic-culinary purposes all of the water resources of valleys indicated, for the perpetuation of water rights, for permanent soil productivity, and for promotion and maintenance of the health of all people concerned. Procedure: Recommended procedure toward the achievement of the objectives includes: 1. A comprehensive investigation of the needs of both the Moapa and the Virgin Valleys with respect to irrigation system improvement, drainage system improvement, water storage needs, land development, domestic water supply facilities, and flood control. The first essential step in the procedure for Moapa Valley was accomplished in March, 1945, when the Bureau of Reclamation approved the application of Moapa Valley Water Users of Clark County, which was authorized by the Board of Directors of the Muddy Valley Irrigation Company, and others, on February 3 at the annual stockholders meeting at Overton. 2. The second essential step in procedure toward accomplishing the objectives is the development of a common clear and genuine understanding of the needs, objectives, and procedure among all water users and citizens of both valleys. To obtain favorable and sound public cooperation from government and state agencies, it is absolutely essential to have active and genuine support of a large proportion of the landowners, irrigators, and citizens in each valley. 3. As a means of securing and maintaining this active and genuine support, there must be no confusing of issues to the point, wherein facts are misconstrued. Personal opinions without information based upon investigations carefully conducted by those having the necessary facilities with which to delve into technical factors, can be very misleading, and all too often leads to misjudgements and action that is not only wrong but harmful and even irreparably damaging to the best interests of a community at large as well as to the individuals that make up a community. Moapa Valley: The needs of Moapa Valley were outlined fully in the summary statement and explanatory notes attached to the water users application to the Bureau of Reclamation of February 3. These needs are not repeated here. Frequent reference should be made to the application in order that these needs are clearly understood. The major and dominant factors toward which Moapa Valley has agreed to work include: A. Stabilization of economic and health conditions for the present population. B. Providing much-needed farm-home opportunities for returning service men. C. Maintaining and enlarging the valley facilities for production of plant and vegetable seed for use in the several Western States, and for expansion of the highly and vitally important market milk supply and other staple products for the Las Vegas trade area. D. Providing ways and means of securing permanent rightful use to all potential water supplies of the Moapa Valley Area. Virgin Valley: The needs in Virgin Valley are somewhat different from those of Moapa Valley. A dominant need is to develop a permanent diversion weir in order to increase safety, assurance and economy of continuous water diversion during the irrigation season. Procedure in this direction recognizes the probable need for resorting to pumping for supplemental supplies of irrigation water for certain seasons of the year. Close cooperative effort by irrigators in Mesquite and Bunkerville is very much needed. Serious consideration should be given to the advisabil-lty of the consolidation of the two companies, and to the advantages in the management of all irrigation works by one consolidated company. The advantages of such consolidation require not only careful, painstaking study, but also comprehensive educational effort of the valley leadership. A detailed comprehensive investigation by the U. S. Bureau of Reclamation, and, later, construction of major structures like the diversion weir, and modification of the main canal system to meet needs of communities concerned, would be helpful. Undoubtedly these things could be most likely obtained if the entire Virgin Valley were represented by one strong, united, efficient irrigation company. As with the Moapa Valley area, so with the Virgin Valley area, financing based strictly on people's ability to pay in accordance with service rendered, and without interest over long periods of time is quite possible, and should be given most serious consideration. Summary concerning both valleys: The goals of first and major importance for advancement of both valleys are development of confidence and overcoming of fear. Every landowner, every irrigator, and every citizen of both valleys is vitally con- cerned in the perpetuation of profitable agriculture and of satisfactory and favorable living conditions in these valleys. The unfortunate tendency of some people to oppose advancement and to perpetuate existing, unsatisfactory conditions, and to restrict production and home opportunities through misrepresentation whether ignorantly or willfully must be relegated to the past and supplanted by a strong determination to be governed by factual data from which a program can be developed to the end of improving conditions for all, not only as a temporary expediency, but for permanency. To develop confidence in the objectives already set up and generously supported for Moapa and Virgin Valleys, and to realize the objectives, all of the people of these valleys must lay aside any and all remaining jealousies and envies and desires for selfish maintenance of the existing conditions. In the language of the late President, Franklin D. Roosevelt, "the only thing to fear" for Moapa and Virgin Valleys "is fear itself." Fear must be abolished. In all of the dealings of the United States Bureau of Reclamation on its numerous projects throughout the West, it has never dealt harshly with "the man on the land." The welfare of every citizen is the concern of the United States Government; including the Bureau of Reclamation, and of the Department of Agriculture. A substantial, sound, profitable agriculture is known to be absolutely essential to the perpetuation of democracy. The U. S. Bureau of Reclamation and the Soil Conservation Service will assist Moapa and Virgin Valleys to develop that much-desired kind of agriculture and thus to accomplish their objectives, if the people most concerned will do their part well. These federal agencies, and also the interested state agencies, must have the confidence and the genuine moral support of the people in order to achieve the desired objective. But let it be understood, emphatically so, that for any individual, any group of individuals or a community of interests to proceed without all the facts humanly possible of assembling and interpreting correctly, is like unto following the blind, ? and "there are none so poor as those who are led by the blind!" October 10, 1945 - 4 - ENGINEERS AND PUBLIC AGE?JCIES THAT HAVE MADE INVESTIGATIONS CONCERNING IRRIGATION, DRAINAGE, AND FLOOD CONTROL PROBLEMS IN THE MOAPA VALLEY AREA. (WITH APPROXIMATE DATES) 1. U. S. Bureau of Agricultural Engineering, Berkeley, California Alkali Studies. 1922-1925 2. U. S. Bureau of Soils - Soil Survey 1923-1928 3. Nevada State Experiment Station, Reno, Nevada, Economic Survey of Moapa Valley - 1927 4. King and Malone, Engineers, Reno, Nevada. Flood Control and Water Storage, Moapa area 1927-1928 5. U. S. Forest Service, Ogden, Utah. Flood Control Moapa and Virgin Valleys in Clark County, Nevada - 1934 6. Soil Conservation Service, ? Caliente and Overton, Nevada a. Flood Control - Pine and Mathews Canyons 1937-1939 b. Work program - Moapa Valley 1936-1937 c. Virgin River Basin. Study Agricultural Development 1939 d. Preliminary Report on Flood Control, Drainage and Supplementary phases of Land Utilization for the Moapa Valley - 1939 e. Alkali tests for Moapa Valley 1944 f. Land Utilization Lower Moapa Valley 1944 7. Clark County Land Use Planning Committee. Progress report 1942 8. Farm Security Administration, Denver, Colorado. Economic Study, Moapa Valley 1942 9. U. S. Engineer's Office, Los Angeles, Calif. Virgin River Watershed Flood Control Survey, 1939 - 1943 10. U. S. Bureau of Indian Affairs, San Francisco, California. Flood Control and Water Storage at White Narrows 1938 -1944. AN APPLICATION FROM: Moapa Valley Water Users of Clark County, Nevada TO: United States Bureau of Reclamation, Department of the Interior. FOR: A comprehensive detailed investigation of irrigation, drainage, and culinary water supply facilities needed for complete control, development, and efficient use of all of the water and land resources of the valley. DATED: February 3, 1945. The Directors of the Muddy Valley Irrigation Company, by order and request of the Company stockholders; the owners and managers of the large ranches on the river not a part of the Muddy Valley Irrigation Company, and others concerned?all these herein designated the Moapa Valley Water Users of Clark County, Nevada hereby make application to the U. S. Bureau of Recla-mation, through Mr. E. A. Moritz, Director, Region No. 3, in which the Moapa Valley Lands are situated, for a comprehensive and detailed investigation of the following problems and needs: (1) Irrigation system improvement (2) Drainage system improvement (3) Water storage for irrigation (4) Land development (5) Domestic Water supply facilities, and (6) Flood control. A brief statement of the present irrigation, drainage, water storage, land development, domestic water supply and flood control conditions in the Moapa Valley Area is attached hereto and submitted as a part of this application. Several agencies have made preliminary investigations of various problems connected with irrigation water development, flood control, use of water and drainage in the Moapa Valley Area. Representatives of the U. S. Forest Service, U. S. Engineers, Office of Indian Affairs, Bureau of Agricultural Engineering, Soil Conservation Service, Farm Security Administration, Nevada Experiment Station, Nevada State Engineer, and others have given considerable attention to these problems during the past decade or more, with increased emphasis in recent years and months. All these now seem to be agreed of the necessity for a thorough, comprehensive investigation of all factors pertinent to the development of a coordinated plan of procedure. The undersigned representatives of the Moapa Valley Area water users therefore urgently request that you, under authority of the Wheeler-Case Act, or other pertinent legislation, and through the facilities of the U. S. Bureau of Reclamation proceed with such investigations as are deemed appropriate and necessary for complete development of the water and soil resources of the area, including plans for procedure, organization, financing, construction, operation and management of essential facilities in accordance with the findings and approval of all concerned. Respectfully submitted: MUDDY VALLEY IRRIGATION COMPANY WEISER RANCH Logandale, Nevada Moapa, Nevada W. J. Moore, Co-owner and Mgr Moapa, Nevada MOAPA VALLEY AREA WATER USERS' SUPPLEMENTARY STATEMENT EXPLANATORY NOTES (1) Irrigation System Improvement. (2) Drainage System Improvement. (3) Water Storage for Irrigation. (4) Land Development. - 2 - foot the area could be increased to an additional 2,500 to 3,000 acres or more. When it is realized that these lands are at an elevation above sea level of only 1200 to 1800 feet, and that climatic conditions provide 235 frost-free days which permit practically an all-year growing period for some of the hardier pasture and vegetable crops, it can be readily seen that the area merits very careful consideration. The Moapa Valley Area for several years past has shipped from 20 to 40 million field-grown tomato plants to the eleven western states. A trade is also being developed for field-grown celery and other vegetable plants and seed for distribution to other states. (5) Domestic Water Supply Facilities. The present domestic water supply facilities arc entirely unsatisfactory. Very few people have water conveyed to their homes in pressure pipe systems; most of them depend upon water supplies which are hauled on railroad facilities in tank cars from Las Vegas, a distance of 55 to 70 miles from the consumers. The quality of local water supplies makes them unsafe for culinary use. In view of the development of the dairy industry in recent years and with the increasing population in the market milk trade area concerned, it is evident that an improved domestic water supply is an unquestionable necessity. The recognition of this necessity comes as a result of the importance of maintaining the health of not only the residents of the Moapa Valley but also the health of the entire Las Vegas trade area. Approximately one-third of the present supply of market milk is furnished by the Moapa Valley area, and as development occurs, this commodity will become increasingly important. Also, economic and social conditions in addition to sanitary aspects, make the development of satisfactory domestic water supplies important to the entire Moapa Valley Area, including the Moapa Indian Reservation, Moapa Railroad Station, Glendale Service and Highway Stations, industrial plants, schools, and all ranch operating units and community homos in Logandale, Overton, Nepac, and Moapa. Successful development and use of Moapa Valley water resources for irrigation is therefore vitally dependent on improved domestic water supply facilities. (6) Flood Control. The flood menace has been evident since the days of early settlement of the Moapa Valley area. In order for the residents and participants of a program of financing the irrigation water development and drainage improvements indicated in the foregoing, the hazards of the flood menace should be reduced, to insure safety of farms and homes and the repayment of long-time obligations incurred for full agricultural development.