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43 U.S. Code § 423e - Completion of new projects or new division; execution of contract with district as condition precedent to delivery of water; contents of contract; cooperation of States with United States; limitations on sale of land

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.

(May 25, 1926, ch. 383, § 46, 44 Stat. 649; July 11, 1956, ch. 563, § 1, 70 Stat. 524.)
Editorial Notes

1956—Act July 11, 1956, authorized delivery of water for not more than five years to excess lands acquired by foreclosure or other process of law, by conveyance in satisfaction of mortgages, by inheritance, or by devise.

Statutory Notes and Related Subsidiaries
Imperial Irrigation District of California; Nonapplicability of Federal Reclamation Laws

Pub. L. 96–570, § 4, Dec. 22, 1980, 94 Stat. 3340, provided that:

“The following provisions of the Federal reclamation laws shall not apply to lands within the Imperial Irrigation District of California after the date of enactment of this Act [Dec. 22, 1980]:
section 5 of the Act entitled ‘An Act appropriating the receipts from the sale and disposal of public lands in certain States and Territories to the construction of irrigation works for the reclamation of arid lands’, approved June 17, 1902 (43 U.S.C. 431);
section 46 of the Act entitled ‘An Act to adjust water-right charges, to grant certain other relief on the Federal irrigation projects, and for other purposes’, approved May 25, 1926 (42 U.S.C. 423e) [this section]; and
any other provision of law amendatory or supplementary to either of such sections.”
Amendment of Existing Contracts

Act July 11, 1956, ch. 563, § 3, 70 Stat. 524, provided that:

“The Secretary of the Interior is authorized, upon request of any holder of an existing contract under the Federal reclamation laws (Act of June 17, 1902, 32 Stat. 388, and Acts amendatory thereof or supplementary thereto), to amend the contract to conform to the provisions of sections 1 and 2 of this Act [amending sections 423e and 544 of this title].”