What was the Newlands Reclamation Act?

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pohnpei397 eNotes educator| Certified Educator

The Newlands Reclamation Act (also known simply as the Reclamation Act of 1902) was a law that allowed the federal government to get involved in creating massive irrigation projects in the Western United States.  The law created an entity that would come to be known as the Bureau of Reclamation.  This entity was responsible for creating the huge irrigation projects, using water from dammed rivers, which have changed the face of the West.

The Newlands Reclamation Act has impacted the West in many ways.  The most obvious is that it helped to create the huge dams that have irrigated what used to be desert and have allowed farms and cities to exist in such places.  At the same time, the Act has given the federal government a huge role in administering the resources of the West.