Early Attempts At Irrigation Projects near the Snake River & Salmon River in Southern Idaho
Wall map of Southern Idaho, illustrating the lands impacted by the project prosed by the Twin-Falls Bruneau Land & Water Company.
The map illustrates the lands of several competing projects:
- Bruneau Project
- Twin Falls-Bruneau Land and Water Co.
- Twin Falls-North Side Land & Water Co.
- Twin Falls-South Side Land & Water Co.
- Twin Falls-Salmon River Land & Water Co.
- Cedar Creek R. & L Co.
- Minedonka Gravity System
Twin Falls Bruneau Land & Water Company
In 1908, two companies made almost simultaneous proposals to develop lands in the Bruneau area . The first company, the Twin Falls Bruneau Land and Water Company, was represented by W. S. Kuhn , J . S. Kuhn, H. L. Hollister, J. H. Purdy, and I. B. Perrine . The other company making a proposal was the Twin Falls Land and Water Company . The lands to be irrigated and the water supply for each system was practically identical.
Twin Falls Bruneau Land and Water Comp y represented by W. S. Kuhn, et al, filed the first proposal on March 14, 1908. The source of water for this project was the Snake River with a point of diversion at the dam near Milner, Idaho . At the time this request was made the reliable surface flow of the Snake River had been appropriated, but by the use of a storage dam it was felt that the flood runoff could be developed . The estimated cost of the proposed works was placed at twenty million dollars, with water selling for forty-five dollars per acre . Their proposal was to embrace five to seven hundred thousand acres.
On June 3, 1908, the Twin Falls Land and Water Company filed a request for a project in the same area, involving only 380,000 acres . The estimated cost for this project was placed at ten million dollars, with water selling for fifty-five dollars per acre. A report made by the State Engineer in 1908 favored the Twin Falls Land and Water Company proposal because it seemed more feasible, the water rights were prior in time to those of the Bruneau Land and Water Company, and the cost was not so prohibitive.
Segregation list number 40 was granted the Twin Falls Land and Water Company Project and 283,933.02 acres were segregated by the Department of Interior for development.
In 1910 the company decided to include land on the north side of the Snake River in the project . This was estimated to cost another $12,000,000.00, bringing the total cost to $22,000,000.00. The project would then have one thousand miles of laterals, and one hundred and forty miles of main canal when completed. The segregation was approved for an additional 283,967.05 acres and designated list number 56 . After modifications to the list numbers, the total amount of acreage segregated for the project amounted to 527,040.87 acres.
After the segregations were allowed, problems developed over water supply for the project. Finally, after numerous extensions in time were granted, the project was abandoned because of lack of sufficient water to reclaim the land. Almost $40,000.00 had been expended by this time on financing and preliminary surveys. The project might have been successful on a smaller scale, but the company repeatedly resisted attempts to limit their segregations. By March 31, 1919, all the land in the lists had been relinquished and restored to the public domain. Apparently there was great potential in the project, as the State Engineer, Jas. Stephenson, Jr., stated in 1908, "the project in question is one of unusual merit and will prove a noteworthy success and a goodly increase of the irrigated area of the State.
A third attempt to irrigate and reclaim lands in the Bruneau area was made. After the T\vin Falls Land and Water Company had ceased their operations, the Twin Falls - Bruneau Land and Water Company again requested a segregation of land and an acceptance of their proposal. The request made by the company was very similar to the one they had made in 1908 which had been rejected in favor of the Twin Falls Land and Water Company's proposal 30 resulting in the Big Bruneau (First Effort) Project.
The estimated cost for the project was placed at sixty-five million dollars. The proposers planned on using the dam already constructed at Milner Idaho and using the Snake River as a natural channel for conveying water for the project.
In 1919 the company filed a request for segregation of land from the public domain, designated list number 76, totaling 251,359.45 acres in the Boise land district and 302,898.74 acres in the Hailey land district. In 1920 the General Land Office rejected the application for segregation on the grounds that most of the land in question had already been withdrawn from the public domain in 1902 by the United Stat es Reclamation Service for future development. In 1921 the company requested that the State Land Board no longer consider the company for the project. This was the last attempted project in the Bruneau area.
We locate no other examples of the map.