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An appeal was taken to the Department of the Interior from the decision of the Commissioner of the Bureau of Reclamation rejecting a claim for damage alleged to have been sustained by seepage from a Government canal crossing the lands of the claimant. There was no evidence that the damage was occasioned by negligence or unskillfulness in constructing or operating the ditch. The Government had the unquestioned right to construct the ditch upon the land it occupied. The line of the ditch pursued the most practicable route, and it apparently was constructed in the usual manner and according to the best engineering practice. The United States, “because it did that which it had a right to do," is not liable for damages resulting to the land. The decision of the Bureau of Reclamation was upheld. (Department decision A-11253, Jan. 11, 1928, In re Trafton Dorr Co., Milk River project, citing Jackson v. U. S., 230 U. S. 1-22; Natron Soda Co. v. U. 8., 257 U. S. 138.)

Flood damages.—The United States in 1933 constructed the Alamo levee on the east side of the Rio Grande River. The landowners on the west side of the river claimed the construction of the Alamo levee had caused their lands to be flooded. The Under Secretary held that the alleged damaged lands, being a part of the flood plane of the Rio Grande River, would be flooded independently of the Alamo levee, and that the United States had a right to construct the levee to protect its property against floods in the river even if such construction resulted in damage to the lands on the opposite side of the river. (Decision of the Under Secretary, Aug. 29, 1935.)

Personal injury or death claims.--In the construction of the Echo Reservoir for the Salt Lake Basin project the Comptroller General was asked for a decision whether the contract with the Union Pacific Railroad for the removal of the track, etc., should provide for the reimbursement to the railroad of costs and expenses because of liability growing out of personal injuries or property damage incident to the work to be performed by the railroad. The Comptroller General ruled that property damages may be compromised, but unless and until Congress shall have authorized stipulations to indemnify payment of personal injury and death claims the Secretary is not authorized to enter into such a stipulation. (Comp. Gen. Dec. A-19031, July 13, 1927.)

The following circular letters refer to compromise of damages: No. 627. January 19, 1917; No. 836, July 28, 1919; No. 885, May 5, 1920 (printed at 47 L. D. 392); No. 1147, August 8, 1922; No. 1150, August 23, 1922; No. 1379, March 19, 1925, transmitting decision of Comptroller General (A-6633, Feb. 26, 1925, 4 Comp. Gen. 713), ante. C. L. 1522, printed at 5 Comp. Gen. 727.

Miscellaneous.-Spurrier v. Mitchell Irrigation District (Nebr., 1930), 229 N. W. 273. (Appeal to Sup. Ct. U. S. denied Apr. 20, 1931, for lack of jurisdiction, 283 U. S. 796.)

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[Obligations not to exceed appropriations or reclamation fund—Ten per cent of appropriations available interchangeably.)—Under the provisions of this act no greater sum shall be expended, nor shall the United States be obligated to expend during the fiscal year nineteen hundred and sixteen, on any reclamation project appropriated for herein an amount in excess of the sum herein appropriated therefor, nor shall the whole expenditures or obligations incurred for all of such projects for the fiscal year nineteen hundred and sixteen exceed the whole amount in the reclamation fund” for that fiscal year.

Ten per centum of the foregoing amounts shail be available interchangeably for expenditure on the reclamation projects named; but not more than ten per centum shall be added to the amount apppropriated for any one of said projects. (38 Stat. 860.)



See section 16, act of August 13, 1914 (38 Stat. 686).

Provisions similar to the above are now carried regularly in the annual appropriation acts.

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[No obligation increasing fixed construction charge permitted until agreement is made with water users. ]—No work shall be undertaken or expenditure made for any lands, for which the construction charge has been fixed by public notice, which work or expenditure shall, in the opinion of the Secretary of the Interior, increase the construction cost above the construction charge so fixed; unless and until valid and binding agreement to repay the cost thereof shall have been entered into between the Secretary of the Interior and the water-right applicants and entrymen affected by such increased cost, as provided by section four of the act of August thirteenth, nineteen hundred and fourteen, entitled "An act extending the period of payment under reclamation projects, and for other purposes. (38 Stat. 861.)

[Protection of property along Colorado River.]-For protecting lands and property in the Imperial Valley and elsewhere along the Colorado River, within the limits of the United States, against injury or destruction by reason of the changes in the channels of the Colorado River-and the Secretary of the Interior is authorized to expend any portion of such money within the limits of the Republic of Mexico as he may deem proper in accordance with such agreements for the purpose as may be made with the Republic of Mexico-$100,000, which sum shall be available for expenditure as soon as there shall have been paid into the Treasury, by contributions from the Imperial Valley irrigation district, an equivalent amount to the credit of the Secretary of the Interior, to constitute, with the amount hereby appropriated, the total sum of $200,000, to be expended by him for the purposes herein described. (38 Stat. 861.)


An act for the relief of homestead entrymen under the reclamation projects of the United

States. (Act March 4, 1915, ch. 182, 38 Stat. 1215)

[Sec. 1. Relinquishment of homestead entries under reclamation act if land not irrigable_Selection of farm unit in lieu—Residence on original entry credited.]—That any person who has made homestead entry under the act of June seventeenth, nineteen hundred and two (Thirty-second Statutes at Large, page three hundred and eightyeight), for land believed to be susceptible of irrigation which at the time of said entry was withdrawn for any contemplated irrigation project, may relinquish the same provided that it has since been determined that the land embraced in such entry or all thereof in excess of twenty acres is not or will not be irrigable under the project, and in lieu thereof may select and make entry for any farm unit included within such irrigation project as finally established, notwithstanding the provisions of section five of the act of June twentyfifth, nineteen hundred and ten, entitled "An act to authorize advances to the reclamation fund," and so forth, and acts amendatory thereof: Provided, That such entrymen shall be given credit on the new entry for the time of bona fide residence maintained on the original entry. (38 Stat. 1215.) Textual note.The substance of this act is codified as section 447, title 43, United States Code.


Assignment of lieu farm unit.-Where, prior to an exchange of reclamation farm units under this act the entryman has, in connection with the original unit, fulfilled the ordinary homestead requirements and submitted proper proof thereof, the lieu farm unit may be assigned, under the act of June 23, 1910 (36 Stat. 592), subject to compliance with the requirements of the reclamation law as to payment, reclamation, and cultivation. (Sarah E. Lewellen, 46 L. D. 385.)

Exchange of patented farm unit.-In decision of March 22, 1934, the First Assistant Secretary of the Interior refused to approve an exchange of patented lands in the Frannie division for an unpatented unit in the Willwood division, Shoshone project.

Miscellaneous.—General Land Office circular of April 29, 1915, under this act. (44 L. D. 87.)

General Land Office circular of September 25, 1915, amending paragraphs 2 and 3 of circular of April 29, 1915. (44 L. D. 377.)

Reclamation Service instructions of December 20, 1915, governing credit for water-right payments in cases of lieu selection under said act. (44 L. D. 544.)

Circular letter No. 536, January 26, 1916, in reference to credit on new entries under this act.



An act to amend the act of June 23, 1910, entitled "An act providing that entrymen for

homesteads within the reclamation projects may assign their entries upon satisfactory proof of residence, improvement, and cultivation for five years, the same as though said entry had been made under the original homestead act.' (Act May 8, 1916, ch. 114, 39 Stat. 65)

[Sec. 1. Assignment of homestead entries within reclamation projects Confirmation of certain assignments made between June 23, 1910, and January 1, 1913.]—That the act of June twenty-third, nineteen hundred and ten (Public, Two hundred and forty-three, Thirty-six Statutes, page five hundred and ninety-two), entitled "An act providing that entrymen for homesteads within reclamation projects may assign their entries upon satisfactory proof of residence, improvement, and cultivation for five years, the same as though said entry had been made under the original homestead act,” is hereby amended by adding the following proviso:

"Provided, That in the absence of any intervening valid adverse interests any assignment made between June twenty-third, nineteen hundred and ten,

and January first, nineteen hundred and thirteen, of land upon which the assignor has submitted satisfactory final proof and the assignee purchased with the belief that the assignment was valid and under the act of June twenty-third, nineteen hundred and ten, is hereby confirmed, and the assignee shall be entitled to the land assigned as under the act of June twenty-third, nineteen hundred and ten, notwithstanding that said original entry was conformed to farm units and that the part assigned was canceled and eliminated from said entry prior to the date of final proof: Provided further, That all entries so assigned shall be subject to the limitations, terms, and conditions of the reclamation act and acts amendatory thereof or supplemental thereto, and all of said assignees whose entries are hereby confirmed shall, as a condition to receiving patent, make the proof heretofore required of assignees.” (39 Stat. 65.)

Textual note.-The substance of this act is codified as section 442, title 43, United
States Code.

Cross reference.-See notes under act June 23, 1910. (36 Stat. 592.)


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(Extract from) An act making appropriations for the current and contingent expenses of the Bureau of Indian Affairs, for fulfilling treaty stipulations with various Indian tribes, and for other purposes, for the fiscal year ending June 30, 1917. (Act May 18, 1916, ch. 125, 39 Stat. 123)

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[Perpetual water rights from Salt River project for Salt River Indians Reimbursement-Initial charges.]—That the Secretary of the Interior is hereby authorized and directed to provide for water rights in perpetuity for the irrigation of six hundred and thirty-one Salt River Indian allotments of ten acres each, to be designated by the Commissioner of Indian Affairs, water from works constructed under the provision of the reclamation act and acts amendatory thereof or supplemental thereto: Provided, That the reclamation fund shall be reimbursed therefor upon terms the same as those provided in said act or acts for reimbursement by entrymen on lands irrigated by said works, and there is hereby appropriated $20,000, or so much thereof as may be necessary to pay the initial installment of the charges when made for said water. (39 Stat. 130.)


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