Cliff Smith excerpt from Pioneer Voices 2013
CS: It (irrigation) just changed this country. Old Jimmy Gardiner was in at that time; he knew he had to do something. He was a good old premier. He decided we needed to do something for this country; a lot of it was still grassland. We could have had the cattle, but we didn’t have anything for them to eat, so that’s when the irrigation got started. He decided to build those two dams on each side of the lake [Cypress].
To start with all they had was dump wagons [pulled by horses]. They were giving all the farmers work and that’s why they had dump wagons. All they had was a Cat and an elevator scraper. They elevated the dirt into the dump wagon and then they’d pull that old gumbo, a chunk the size of that and then climbing over that with horses. It was terrible. I don’t know how long the horses stayed with it, but they finally ended up doing it with Cats. They had great big tents and there’d be a hundred teams. I never worked on it, but Everett Blakley did and different ones around. The east end was the same. All the people from Robsart and Vidora that’s where they got work, and they never got much. Wages were poor, but it was something. You know in the thirties they had no money, so anything was something. It was hard on horses.