United States Code
USC most recently checked for updates: Jan 31, 2023
No water shall be delivered upon the completion of any new project or new division of a project until a contract or contracts in form approved by the Secretary of the Interior shall have been made with an irrigation district or irrigation districts organized under State law providing for payment by the district or districts of the cost of constructing, operating, and maintaining the works during the time they are in control of the United States, such cost of constructing to be repaid within such terms of years as the Secretary may find to be necessary, in any event not more than forty years from the date of public notice hereinafter referred to, and the execution of said contract or contracts shall have been confirmed by a decree of a court of competent jurisdiction. Prior to or in connection with the settlement and development of each of these projects, the Secretary of the Interior is authorized in his discretion to enter into agreement with the proper authorities of the State or States wherein said projects or divisions are located whereby such State or States shall cooperate with the United States in promoting the settlement of the projects or divisions after completion and in the securing and selecting of settlers. Such contract or contracts with irrigation districts hereinbefore referred to shall further provide that all irrigable land held in private ownership by any one owner in excess of one hundred and sixty irrigable acres shall be appraised in a manner to be prescribed by the Secretary of the Interior and the sale prices thereof fixed by the Secretary on the basis of its actual bona fide value at the date of appraisal without reference to the proposed construction of the irrigation works; and that no such excess lands so held shall receive water from any project or division if the owners thereof shall refuse to execute valid recordable contracts for the sale of such lands under terms and conditions satisfactory to the Secretary of the Interior and at prices not to exceed those fixed by the Secretary of the Interior; and that until one-half the construction charges against said lands shall have been fully paid no sale of any such lands shall carry the right to receive water unless and until the purchase price involved in such sale is approved by the Secretary of the Interior and that upon proof of fraudulent representation as to the true consideration involved in such sales the Secretary of the Interior is authorized to cancel the water right attaching to the land involved in such fraudulent sales: Provided, however, That if excess land is acquired by foreclosure or other process of law, by conveyance in satisfaction of mortgages, by inheritance, or by devise, water therefor may be furnished temporarily for a period not exceeding five years from the effective date of such acquisition, delivery of water thereafter ceasing until the transfer thereof to a landowner duly qualified to secure water therefor: Provided further, That the operation and maintenance charges on account of lands in said projects and divisions shall be paid annually in advance not later than March 1. It shall be the duty of the Secretary of the Interior to give public notice when water is actually available, and the operation and maintenance charges payable to the United States for the first year after such public notice shall be transferred to and paid as a part of the construction payment.