Speeches delivered by Pat M. Neff, Governor of Texas, discussing certain phases of contemplated legislation Page: 51 of 61
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of this twelve million acres of rich, dry land by getting it
wet, and the reclamation of the four million acres of rich wet land by
getting it dry, constitutes in a large measure, the present flood-prevention
and land reclamation problem of this State. This water that
proves the destructive element to the wet land originates upon and runs
off from the dry land. What we want to do is to work out a plan that
will hold the water for use on the high, dry land and keep it away from
the low, wet land. The importance of this problem cannot be overstated.
A nation robbed of its freedom may regain it; a State divided
may re-unite, but a country that will not conserve its waters for
the continuing beneficial use of the people and preserve its lands in the
interest of the unborn generations, will be poor forever.
Two PROJECTS IN ONE.
It is clearly seen, therefore, that the conservation of our flood waters
and the preservation of our overflow lands are linked together and constitute
two projects in one. They are interdependent. When we keep
the water from flowing from the dry land where it is needed, we will protect
the low land where it is not wanted. The need for the conservation
of flood waters begins in north, west and northwest Texas, diminishes
in central Texas and disappears in south and east Texas. The water
that should be impounded in north and west Texas is the same water
that destroys the land in south and east Texas. This water, therefore,
should be impounded in central, north and northeast Texas and used
for irrigation and other purposes instead of being permitted to overflow
and destroy the usefulness of the lands of south and east Texas.
The place to begin to prevent overflows is not the lower but the upper
part of the rivers. It is the second half of the flood that does the
WE HAVE ENOUGH WATER FOR ALL PURPOSES.
Water is a necessary public resource, its conservation is in the interest
of the permanent welfare of all the people. Enough water falls
within the broad borders of Texas, if properly conserved and wisely
used, for all our domestic, stock, agricultural, and industrial purposes.
We have, therefore, a sufficient rainfall. It is our water; we need it;
it is valuable; we can keep it; then why permit it to run in woeful
waste to the sea?
Texas rivers discharge thirty million acre-feet of water a year into
the Gulf of Mexico. This would irrigate for agricultural purposes an
area of land larger than the State of New Jersey. We use only five per
cent of this vast amount of water. The remaining ninety-five Per cent
is unappropriated for any purpose. The torrential waters of this State
are now its greatest liability. They can be made its greatest asset.
A few years ago the overflow waters of California were a menace.
The waters were impounded. As a consequence where floods were once
known, vineyards, and groves and orchards and gardens and fields make
California's fame nation-wide. What California has done, Texas can
do on a grander and more magnificent scale. We have twice the land
and twice the waterflow of California. By proper storage and utilization
of our waters, floods can be reduced, irrigation. advanced, water
Here’s what’s next.
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Neff, Pat M. Speeches delivered by Pat M. Neff, Governor of Texas, discussing certain phases of contemplated legislation, book, 1923; Austin, Texas. (texashistory.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metapth5835/m1/51/: accessed May 27, 2017), University of North Texas Libraries, The Portal to Texas History, texashistory.unt.edu; .