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J hulaniski prof 17 pierce and countless other unnamed

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Unformatted text preview: the Mining Act of 1866, spoke of the nature of water resources in Colorado. The court ruled that prior appropriation was an "imperative necessity" not based on law but based on natural circumstances. The Court stated: The climate is dry, and the soil, when moistened only by the usual rainfall, is arid and unproductive; except in a few favored sections, artificial irrigation for agriculture is an absolute necessity. Water in the various streams thus acquires a value unknown in moister climates. Instead of being a mere incident to the soil, it rises when appropriated, to the dignity of a distinct usufructuary estate, or right of property… The common law doctrine giving the riparian owner a right to the flow of water in its natural channel upon and over his lands, even though he makes no beneficial use thereof, is inapplicable to Colorado. Imperative necessity, unknown to the countries which gave it birth, compels the recognition of another doctrine in conflict therewith.42 Thus, the court essentially argued that because water was both scarce and an "absolute necessity" for economic growth, there was an "imperative necessity" to develop institutions which would manage the resource based on its actual, physical condition. Thinking back to the vast technological feats accomplished in the diversion of water; were those not the direct result of water's scarcity? To the hand drill which a child would be able to use; might it have been that the rock surrounding the ore was weak, thus mandating narrow tunnels which in turn produced a small drill? Might it also be true that the seeming abundance of timber, i.e. the nature of the resource – however misunderstood – might have given the false impression that no institution was needed to shape its future? Might it be, as the Boulder News and Courier opined, that given Colorado's mineral resources "all the conditions warranted a craze" in gold and that "the enormous aggregations of 15 capital" from both Wall Street and London which collected in opaque stock exchanges should have been "no surprise"?43 The obvious point is that there was feedback between these three forces; technologies, resources and institutions alike all took turns shaping the other. Yet implicit in their interactions was another force, a cultural, ideological force, which...
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