5
ESTABLISHING
PRIOR RIGHTS

An Arizona only approach to Colorado River development would create endless
litigation, and unless the opportunity is taken to settle the issue peaceably and fairly it
will take its place as the subject of controversy and conflict between the states for the next
twenty-five years…. There will be no Civil War over this issue but it will be a fine field
for demagogues’ oratory
.”

SECRETARY OF COMMERCE HERBERT HOOVER, ADDRESSING AN AUDIENCE OF 1,500 AT THE
COLUMBIA THEATER IN PHOENIX IN SUPPORT OF THE RECENTLY SIGNED COLORADO RIVER
COMPACT, DECEMBER 8, 1922.

My attitude on the Colorado pact seems to worry a good many people….
Herbert Hoover will run up against a brick wall—the plot thickens
.”

ARIZONA GOVERNOR GEORGE W. P. HUNT, DIARY ENTRY FOR NOVEMBER 28, 1922.

When Norton Jr. inherited his father’s home, land, and debt in 1923, the development of the Colorado River and its tributaries had become the public policy issue that dominated the politics of the American Southwest. Compared to the effort to bring federal reclamation and Roosevelt Dam to the Salt River Valley, development of the Colorado River, one hundred sixty miles to the west, posed far more complicated challenges for Arizona leaders. As the debate began to swirl in the late teens and early twenties, Norton Jr. realized that the problem of dividing the river’s resources among seven states and the Republic of Mexico might influence many of his future decisions.1

-106-

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The Norton Trilogy
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page iii
  • Contents v
  • Foreword - The Honorable Jon Kyl, United States Senator vii
  • Acknowledgments xi
  • Introduction 1
  • 1 - On the Edge of a Desert Empire 7
  • 2 - Corporate Water 29
  • 3 - Westward Tilt 55
  • 4 - John R. Norton Jr. and the Urban Oasis 93
  • 5 - Establishing Prior Rights 106
  • 6 - Depression to Empire 123
  • 7 - To the Other Side of the River 141
  • 8 - An Expatriate’s Dilemma- Arizona V. California 164
  • 9 - We Must Not Be Indecisive Lest We Be Ineffective 185
  • 10 - The Deputy Secretary of Agriculture 203
  • 11 - An Accurate Vision 219
  • Conclusion 239
  • Notes 244
  • Index 292
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