In this lesson, students have learned about how the Bureau of Reclamation transformed the valley of the Rio Grande by creating Elephant Butte Dam and the Rio Grande irrigation project, and about some of the problems they encountered along the way. Those interested in learning more will find much useful information on the internet. Some sources are:
Project Details for the Rio Grande Project
Bureau of Reclamation History
The full text of the 1902 Reclamation Act can be found on a website maintained by the Center for Columbia River History.
National Park ServiceThe Bureau of Reclamation Historic Dams and Water Projects travel itinerary includes Elephant Butte, Leasburg, and Percha dams, as well as useful essays on water in the West, the mission of the Bureau of Reclamation, and Reclamation’s engineering achievements.
The Teaching with Historic Places lesson plan, "The Greatest Dam in the World": Building Hoover Dam, discusses why and how Hoover Dam was constructed, in the context of the changing focus of the Bureau of Reclamation in the late 1920s and 30s.
The Adeline Hornbek and the Homestead Act: A Colorado Success Story Teaching with Historic Places lesson plan tells how a single mother of four defied traditional gender roles to become the owner of a successful ranch under the Homestead Act.
The website of the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations has a link to a chapter of a book that provides simple explanations of how an irrigation system works, with graphics. Other chapters in the same book, published by the FAO in 1985, cover soils, topography, etc.
The Bureau of Reclamation’s Mid-Pacific Region has developed a website that contains educational materials that use an idealized farm to explain the three basic irrigation methods, how each one works, when it works best, and what the costs and benefits are. The site also includes lesson plans.
The U.S. Geological Survey has created a Water Science for Schools website that answers every question you are likely to have about water, including information about how wet your state is.
Water in the West
This website contains the full text of the Bureau of Reclamation's report on global climate mentioned in “Putting It All Together.”
Historical population data for El Paso, Texas, can be found at this website.
Historical population data for Las Cruces, New Mexico, can be found at this website.