399. Irrigation in the Humid States

In the truly arid States the work of irrigating crops and fruits is imperatively required. Hence the land brought under cultivation depends on the amount of water available from streams, wells, reservoirs, and other possible sources, and crops often suffer in the critical period when the usual supply falls short. In such extended districts the need of water is fully understood, and there is little need of arguments in favor of irrigation.

The present purpose is to urge the great promise of utilizing, at least in part, the immense volume of water that runs to the sea in the so-called humid States, where the midsummer rainfall is too often scanty for full crops of vegetables, farm crops, and fruits.

In the arid or nearly arid States and Territories a vast amount of water is required to carry crops through the season, as the period is long, the evaporation excessive on account of the dry air, the loss by seepage in open ditch is great, and quite generally the subsoil is sandy, involving great loss of water in running it across the orchard, small fruit plantation, or field. But in the humid States the rainfall of spring and early summer is usually abundant and only a brief period of watering is required as a rule.