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other things besides the mercenary side of life. In the course of time, employers would naturally give the preference to stokers who could show certificates of having been trained by the body I suggest, and, having secured a reliable body of men, could generate a healthy emulation by offering bonuses to working staffs according to the reduction of the annual coal bill.

Having attended the annual congress of the Royal Sanitary Institute at Glasgow in 1905, the Lord Provost, Sir John Ure Primrose, was good enough to enlighten me upon the work he and other enthusiasts were doing in Glasgow to reduce the smoke nuisance and costs of working, and at the same time he assured me that his researches had proved so successful that he was having his whole installations and staff re-modelled, thus affording the public a practical proof of what can be done in justifying a firm insistence on the part of the authorities of his example being followed.





It may be taken for granted that most persons who have lived in South Africa, and that all who have made their homes in the sub-continent, desire her prosperity. The far-seeing leaders of men, who have been and who are still with us, have ever held that that prosperity can best be assured by co-operation which will weld her Colonies into one united whole, and fit her to take a prominent place in that still greater combination of varied countries with diverse races, but with one common centre, to which we give the proud title of Empire. The engineer, who, of all professional men, has had the leading share in making the Empire possible-by improving communications, . by developing even its most distant possessions, and by increasing the facilities for civilisation-may well feel that he can help forward the good work in South Africa. Each branch of engineering has its sphere of usefulness, and can aid its numerous other branches, so that a bare enumeration of the important matters in which the profession as a whole has played, and will play, a part in ensuring the progress of the Empire, would take up much space.

The author would therefore confine himself to that branch of engineering—irrigation—with which he has been connected throughout his professional career. He proposes shortly to describe the necessity that exists for irrigation ; how irrigation has been developed in other countries; the material advantages which can be secured by it in South Africa ; the objections raised to it and the answers to them; and how it will serve to weld together the dominant races in the sub-continent. Thereafter, he will discuss briefly the special utility of each of the main classes of irrigation works, and, finally, will deal with the way in which irrigation can best be developed by inter-colonial co-operation, to the mutual advantage of the different Colonies. His experience of South Africa has been limited to three years' service in the Transvaal, but he thinks that the conditions in the other Colonies are sufficiently similar to those which obtain in it, as to make general observations applicable to all. He feels that his remarks could not be addressed more fitly to any other Association than that which has for its object the advancement of science in South Africa, nor in any other place than Kimberley, where the three principal Colonies of the subcontinent may be said to meet.


In all tropical and sub-tropical countries where the rains are not regular and seasonable, irrigation is found to be a necessity. There is no reason why the case should be different in South Africa, where the rainfall on most of the area suitable for occupation by

white men is more or less precarious. Even when it is abundant there, a large portion falls in violent storms, of which the resulting flow rapidly runs off the ground and goes to waste, while frequently another large portion falls at unseasonable periods, and is evaporated or descends deep into the absorbent soil.

The only certainty the farmer has is that during four months of the year a very small amount of rain falls, which is speedily evaporated or absorbed, and for another four months practically none is precipitated. The general conditions are that when water is most wanted it is least available, and that the most valuable crops cannot be grown without artificial watering. During the period of good rainfall the cultivator has, moreover, to contend with special difficulties, such as hailstorms and locusts, which are absent during the rest of the year. So much is he handicapped by these conditions that in the south-western and central divisions of the Transvaal a fair crop is expected only once in five years; in its south-western division many experienced farmers have given up ploughing as a waste of money. It is the opinion of practically all farmers long resident in the Colony that without irrigation they cannot be successful with their crops. This is not a newly-formed idea, for, from the time of the earliest settlements, the riparian farms were always considered the most valuable, and were occupied first, the non-riparian farms being taken up merely as subsidiary to them for cattle grazing, etc. As evidence that the same value is still attached to water may be quoted the facts that its availability is always brought forward prominently at all sales of lands possessing it, and that irrigators are most tenacious of their rights to water. As cultivation increases, the existing natural sources of supply will not suffice for it, and this has already proved to be the case on streams where irrigation has been developed to a considerable extent.


The following figures will give some idea of the extent of irrigation in other countries :

India (average about 1901). State Works 18,588,000

Private Works... 25,510,000


44,098,000 Egypt (1)

5,750,000 United States of America (2)

7,600,000 Italy (2)

4,700,000 Spain (2)

2,800,000 France (2)

400,000 In India, it is comparatively of recent date since the British Government undertook irrigation on a large scale. By 1902-03 Government had expended about £28,500,000 on works for which capital accounts are kept, and were spending at the rate of about (1). “ Egyptian Irrigation," by Sir W. Willcocks (Spon, London, 1899). (2). Irrigation Engineering," by H. M. Wilson (Wiley, New York, 1903).


£2,000,000 a year on all classes of irrigation. That year the net revenue return on the first-named works was nearly 7 per cent., and the value of the crops matured by their means was estimated at about 88 per cent of their total cost. The Government of India in 1901 appointed an influential Irrigation Commission to tour all over the empire to ascertain how irrigation could be developed, and this Commission recommended a further capital expenditure of not less than £29,000,000 on new works for the irrigation of 6.500.000 acres. The private works in India consist of wells and small channels and reservoirs.

In Egypt, practically the entire financial position depends upon irrigation The British engineers employed in its development have raised that country in a comparatively short time from poverty to affluence. It is common knowledge that large works have been constructed there within the last few years. Here, again, investigations have recently been carried out for greatly increased irrigation development, both in Egypt and in the Soudan, upon which it is estimated £22,000,000 can be spent. * The gross yield of the produce from irrigated land in Egypt is estimated at £7 an acre.

In America, irrigation is being extensively developed, principally in the Western States, which, like many parts of South Africa, are arid. This subject there engages the attention of a highly scientific staff, and the result of its work has been to enable the country to export agricultural produce in large amount, despite the high cost of labour.

Mr. Hitchcock says :---" There is no one question now before the people of the United States of greater importance than the conservation of the water supply and the reclamation of the arid lands of the West, and their settlement by men who will actually build homes and create communities."

In Canada, with a climate much more rigorous than that of South Africa, irrigation is successfully practised, and, recently, the Canadian Pacific Railway Authorities have been furthering new schemes which will bring about 1,000,000 acres under water. Government has given that Railway a large block of land for this purpose, one-quarter of which will be irrigated ; already 500,000 acres of this block have been sold.

In the dry parts of old countries of Europe, such as Italy, Spain, and France, which all have colder climates than South Africa, irrigation has been found a necessity for agricultural development, and many fine works have recently been constructed.

Coming to South Africa itself, Cape Colony is inaugurating a more scientific and extensive irrigation policy, Natal has just constructed the Winterton irrigation scheme, the Transvaal has established an irrigation department, and the Orange River Colony, with its limited means, has been starting irrigation schemes as relief works.

Sir William Garstin's Report on the Upper Nile, Cairo, 1904. 4 " Irrigation in the United States,” by F. H. Newell.

From the above short account, it may be seen that, although irrigation has attained its greatest development in tropical countries, the white man, in arid countries like parts of South Africa, has found it a necessity, and is rapidly increasing the irrigated area. It would be remarkable if in South Africa alone, where water is badly wanted, where the price of agricultural produce is probably higher than it is anywhere else, and where so great a proportion of it is imported, that irrigation should not be a success.

In some countries irrigation is a vital necessity; in others, it is eminently desirable; while in others it is not wanted. The Colonies of South Africa fall under the second description, and in them irrigation is much appreciated. They can accept with confidence as a guide the experience of similarly situated countries, such as the Western States of America, where irrigation has been a great success and is rapidly extending. It is not necessary that the similitude should be exact ; the underlying general principles can be followed, the general results intelligently applied, and development more quickly obtained by avoiding the mistakes which have elsewhere been committed through inexperience.


The following may be stated as some of the advantages of irrigation :

(a) Without it the success of agriculture cannot be assured in the arid parts of South Africa.

(b) It will permit more stock to be raised, as by it fodder (such as oat hay) can be produced at a cheaper rate than it can be imported, owing to its bulky nature; moreover, green fodder, such as lucerne, cannot be imported in a succulent state. In its turn, stock raising will help irrigation by the manure produced by it.

(c) It will cheapen the cost of living by reducing the amount of imported produce.

(d) It will afford congenial employment to the rural population, which has never taken to mining.

(e) Intense cultivation will mitigate the effects of the present law of inheritance, by which estates are being gradually subdivided into otherwise unremunerative small holdings. It will thus tend to prevent the formation of a poor white population.

(f) It will permit of the formation of settlements with common aims and objects, which will lead to the fusion of the white


(g) Irrigation in India and Egypt brings in to the State a large return on the expenditure incurred upon it. It should, at least, be self-supporting in this country, and will probably be directly remunerative.

(h) In India and Egypt it is recognised that the indirect advantages of irrigation in increasing the wealth of agriculturists conduce greatly to the advantage of the State, and thus justify the

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