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Stream measurements in the Great Basin and Pacific Coast river basins
The water available for irrigation and domestic supply was the chief factor in the development of southern California, which then had a population of more than 1,000,000 people. The many mountain streams of California afforded abundant hydroelectric power, the utilization of which in manufacturing enterprises and in transportation had been made possible by the progress of electric-power transmission during the previous decade.
Information concerning the quantity of water carried by the streams had been and would continue to be an important factor in the development of these resources, for the fundamental importance of stream-flow data was so thoroughly recognized that it is almost impossible to finance any project depending on stream flow without presenting authentic records of flow covering a period of years. The measurements of the flow of streams in California was begun by the California State engineer in 1878, in accordance with the law requiring him "to investigate the problems of the irrigation of the plains, the condition and capacity of the great drainage lines of theState, and the improvement of the navigation of rivers." To make the information available six reports were prepared published as water-supply papers.
Department of the Interior, United States Geological Survey
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"1913 - Water Resources of California, Part III, Water-Supply Paper 300" (2019). Miscellaneous Documents and Reports. 84.