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United States. Office of Indian Affairs / Annual report of the Commissioner of Indian Affairs, for the year 1904, Part I

Report of the Commissioner of Indian Affairs,   pp. 1-128 PDF (50.3 MB)

Page 12

July 16, 1900, the Department directed Inspector Graves to pro- 
ceed to the Pima Indian Reservation to 
ascertain the feasibility of a limited system of irrigation by the construction
of nec- 
essary ditches to take the water for the use of the Pima Indians from the
proposed by the Geological Survey on the San Carlos Reservation or elsewhere
the Gila River, in the event that Congress shall hereafter provide for its
tion, * * * and prepare plans and specifications, with ;stimates of cost,
of such 
ditches as may be necessary for limited irrigation, and can be built for
an expendi- 
ture not exceeding the sum stated. 
September 12, Inspector Graves reported that to prepare plans, 
specifications, and estimates of cost that would be in any way reliable 
and accurate for any system of ditches that would be extensive enough 
to cost $30,000, would require a very careful reconnoissance and an 
instrumental survey, which would consume several months and neces- 
sitate the services of a properly equipped party o f surveyors. He 
also stated that even if the reservoir proposed constructed 
it would be impracticable, except at enormous-cost, to convey the water 
from any one of the proposed reservoirs through a ditch to the reser- 
vation, and that it would be useless to construct any system of ditches 
that could not be put to immediate use, and that would not be main- 
tained and preserved by the vigilance and efforts 'of those dependent 
upon such ditches for their support. 
He gave it as his judgment that there was a more feasible plan for 
assisting the Pima Indians than by constructing a system of ditches 
that must remain idle and useless for an indefinite period and perhaps 
forever, and one that would without any question enable them tb secure 
a very considerable supply of water for irrigating their lands, and might
eventually afford them all the water necessary. This plan was to 
develop and bring to the surface the underground waters, of which he 
believed there was an inexhaustible supply. November 19, 1900, the 
Office recommended that Mr. Graves's plan be tested at once on a small 
scale and that he be authorized to make the necessary preliminary sur- 
veys and estimates and to exercise a supervision over the work. 
On the same date a report of the Director of the Geological-Survey, 
dated November 15, 1900, was referred to this Office, in which he 
stated that the project proposed by Inspector Graves for bringing to 
the surface the water percolating in or adjacent to the channel of the 
Gila River was one which had been considered at various times, but 
had not been considered feasible. Referring to investigations made 
by this Bureau, the Director said: 
This matter of obtaining a permanent s.upply for these Indians is one which
been before the Department in one form or another for fourteen years without
inite conclusion. This has been due largely to the fact that at no time in
the pro- 
ceedings has the whole matter been definitely committed to any one expert
for full 
consideration and report. 

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