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Golden RulesThe Origins of California Water Law in the Gold Rush$
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Mark Kanazawa

Print publication date: 2015

Print ISBN-13: 9780226258676

Published to Chicago Scholarship Online: January 2016

DOI: 10.7208/chicago/9780226258706.001.0001

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Watering the Diggings

Watering the Diggings

The Development of the Ditch Industry

(p.89) Chapter Four Watering the Diggings
Golden Rules

Mark Kanazawa

University of Chicago Press

Chapter 4 describes the origins of an independent water supply industry, which developed in order to supply miners with water for mining. The growth of this industry was spurred by growing demand for water as miners adopted more water-intensive technologies and increasingly located at diggings remote from surface water sources. The resulting water supply systems, including dams, reservoirs, and trunk- and lateral diversion ditches, required major up-front investments. The discussion also examines the technology, financing, and management and operations of ditch systems, including a discussion of issues of water pricing and the relationship between miners and ditch companies. It concludes with an overview of the main sorts of legal disputes in which ditch companies came to be embroiled.

Keywords:   ditch industry, water supply, water pricing, ditching technology, surveying, diggings

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