Transcript for The Miracle of Water, segment 03 of 11


It was Major John Wesley Powell, adventurer, explorer, and a natural scientist, who alerted the nation to the problems and the promise of the West. In eighteen sixty-nine, Powell bolted down the unknown Colorado River and became a national hero. And Major Powell said, "The West is an arid land, hostile to farming, and will never be settled, opening up its great resources to America, even with irrigation, unless the government dams the rivers, saves up the winter and spring runoff in artificial lakes and reservoirs." People talked about it for thirty years. Then Teddy Roosevelt, around nineteen hundred, turned talk into action.

President Roosevelt said to Congress, "If we could save the waters running now to waste, the western part of this country could sustain a population greater than even the legendary Major Powell dreamed." Congress agreed. Roosevelt signed the law in nineteen oh-two, and Reclamation began.