The 1928 Texas Almanac and State Industrial Guide Page: 92
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THE TEXAS ALMANAC.
rainfall is less than in the eastern part of
the State, where the lands are generally
wooded, the drainage less rapid and
evaporation slower. This leads to two dis-
tinct types of conservation problems in
Texas' First that of conserving the great
surplus supply of water for use on the
lands of the arid and semi-arid sections
of the State, and secondly, that of con-
serving and reclaiming lands from sur-
plus of water
There has been much agitation for in-
auguration and execution of the various
problems of land and water conservation
in Texas, vet it must be said thit this
work is in its infancy in Texas to0av.
The principal agencies in charge of this
work are the two State governmental
bodies, the State Board of Water Engi-
neers, and the Stat- Reclamation De-
partment The former has general super-
vision of all efforts directed at conserving
the water sunoly, the latter has charge of
reclamation work where the chief purpose
is the reclamation of land from overflow.
However. the work of stream gauging
throughout the State is in the hands of
the State Board of Water Engineers As
the resu't of the above indicated division
of jurisdiction of the two State bodies,
the State Board of Water Engineers has
direction of work as a rule in the central
and western parts of the State. and the
Reclamation Department has supervision
of surveys in the eastern part of the
State, being engaged primarily in making
topographic survevs in the alluvial "bot-
toms" of Texas rivers
Lack of Surveys.
The thing that has always held con-
servation and reclamation work in check
in Texas has been the lack of general in-
formation in the form of surveys that
were sufficiently Definite to be the basis
for serious investigation on the part of
communities or private organizations.
Over a long period of years the United
States Geological Survey has been carry-
ing on topographic survey work in Texas
as in other States, and possibly one-
fourth of the area of the State has been
covered, but much of the earlier work is
not in sufficient detail even for prelimi-
Recent Survey Work.
In co-operation with the United States
Geological Survey, the two State bodies
operated on small scale in so far as topo-
graphic and hydrographic work was con-
cerned until 1922. In some respects the
two fiscal years ended Aug. 31, 1923, and
Aug. 31, 1924, will stand as a landmark in
conservation work in Texas. For this
biennium the Thirty-Eighth Legislature
appropriated out of the general funds of
the State $600,000, allotting $200,000 each
to the State Reclamation Department and
the Board of Water Engineers for topo-
graphic surveys, and, in addition, $200,000
to the Board of Water Engineers for
stream measurement. Many of the more
promising locations throughout the State
were surveyed during these two years.
Since this biennium the State Legisla-
ture has reverted to its former policy of
smaller approximations for these two de-
partments, yet providing for steady in-
crease in the area of topographically
surveyed territory, and for the continu-
ance of stream measurement stations on
most of the important rivers, bayous and
Much to Be Done.
There has been done an appreciable
amount of conservation and reclamation
work in Texas as a result of the efforts
of the two State bodies mentioned above,
hacked by a generally prevailing favor-
able public sentiment and such definitely
organized movements as that of the
Texas Conservation Association. Yet it
may be said that Texas is on the threshold
of the conservation and reclamation work
that must be accomplished.
There are millions of acres of Texas
lands that could be made very much
more productive by irrigation, yet it is
estimated that 33,000,000 acre-feet of wa-
ter flow into the Gulf annually from the
surface of Texas. At present less than
half a million acres of bottom lands
have been reclaimed by levee construc-
tion, but it is estimated by the State
Reclamation Engineer that there are
1,800,000 more acres susceptible of prof-
itable reclamation. An inappreciable
amount of the great coastal plain has
been drained, vet there is an estimated
area of 5,00.0.000 acres susceptible of prof-
itable reclamation through drainage in
Texas Waters-Surface and Underground Supply-Consumption.
Due to the fact that Texas is an agri-
cultural State and that about half of it
lies In a semi-arid climate, the problem
of water conservation is particularly
pressing. Unfortunately the eastern part
of the State, where the rainfall is heav-
iest, is also the recipient of the run-off
waters from West Texas. Granting that
Nature was under some obligation to dis-
tribute the rainfall unequally over the
surface of the State. she could neverthe-
less have partly solved the problem by
making the run-off flow from the re-
gions of great precipitation into the drier
areas. But Nature did not choose to do
so; hence Texas conservation and recla-
mation problems pyramid.
A large part of the water utilized for
all purposes comes from the flowing
channels of streams. In the upper por-
tions of the State many reservoirs have
been built to conserve the flood waters.
What has been of greatest benefit to hu-
vanity in the settlement of Texas and the
development of its less essential re-
sources has been the great natural reser-
voirs of underground waters. Shallow
and deep strata of water-bearing sands
are found in nearly all parts of Texas.
Value of Texas' Waters.
In 1925 The Texas Almanac addressed
questionnaires to all of the principal
cities and towns of Texas relative to wa-
ter supply and received replies from 322,
-including nearly all of the places of 1,500
population and a large number under that
population. Of this number 84 took their
water supply primarily from streams and
lakes and 238 received their water supply
from wells, nearly all of which were deep
wells. Of the 238 cities and towns get-
ting their water supply from wells, 170
answered the query as to average daily
consumption. The total figure for these
170 cities and towns was 97,637,000 gallons
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The 1928 Texas Almanac and State Industrial Guide, book, 1928~; Dallas, Texas. (texashistory.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metapth123786/m1/95/: accessed April 19, 2018), University of North Texas Libraries, The Portal to Texas History, texashistory.unt.edu; crediting Texas State Historical Association.