Irrigation District Act of 1916 (Smith Act)

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Irrigation District Act of 1916 (Smith Act)
Great Seal of the United States
Long titleAn Act to promote the reclamation of arid lands.
NicknamesReclamation and Irrigation Act of 1916
Enacted bythe 64th United States Congress
EffectiveAugust 11, 1916
Public law64-196
Statutes at Large39 Stat. 506a
Titles amended43 U.S.C.: Public Lands
U.S.C. sections created43 U.S.C. ch. 13 § 621 et seq.
Legislative history

The Irrigation District Act of 1916 ('Irrigation Smith Act) authorized the federal government to serve as the guarantor of debt obligations entered into by local governments to finance the acquisition, extension, or operation of irrigation, drainage, and flood control projects or to develop power generation facilities or water resources.

It was sponsored by Senator Hoke Smith, Democrat of Georgia, a former Secretary of the Interior.

States had served localities in a similar fashion and provided the model for the federal legislation. California's Irrigation District Act dated from 1887[1] and Colorado's from 1905.[2]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Harding, S.T. (October 1950). "Background of California Water and Power Problems". California Law Review. 38 (4): 595.
  2. ^ Knight, Oliver (October 1956). "Correcting Nature's Error: The Colorado-Big Thompson Project". Agricultural History. 30 (4): 162.