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March 3, 1877 Act to provide for the sale of desert lands in certain States and Territories.
The Act provided that desert land could be purchased for $.25 per acre upon the filing of a declaration indicating that the purchaser intended to reclaim a tract of desert land not exceeding one section by conducting water upon the same within a period of three years. The right to the use of water on or to any tract of desert land of six hundred and forty acres depended on a bona fide prior appropriation. Such right could not exceed the amount of water actually appropriated and necessarily used for the purpose of irrigation and reclamation. All surplus water over and above actual appropriation and use, together with water of all lakes, rivers and other sources of water supply upon the public lands and not navigable, were to remain and be held free for the appropriation and use of the public for irrigation, mining and manufacturing purposes subject to existing rights. No person permitted to enter more than one tract of land not to exceed 640 acres in compact form.
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"1877, March 3 - 19 Stat. 377, Act for Sale of Desert Lands" (2016). US Government Legislation and Statutes. 18.