Transcript for The Rio Grande, segment 04 of 9


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Southern New Mexico and the western tip of Texas were also settled early. The pioneers soon came to understand the magnitude of taming the Rio Grande. All too often their small dams were washed out by floods. Later, as more and more uses were made of Rio Grande water in upstream regions, the river began to go dry with increasing frequency. What water was in the river might actually be flowing very slowly underground.

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To solve this problem, the Bureau of Reclamation started construction in nineteen twelve of one of its first large dams to be called Elephant Butte Dam, about one hundred twenty-five miles north of El Paso. During the nineteen thirties, other features were added to the project to help store and deliver more water and even electric power to the people. This project on the Rio Grande was the first civil engineering work to affect international allocation of water between the United States and Mexico.