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Inventory of the Harry Barnes Papers, 1872-1963 (bulk 1920-1960)
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Collection Details
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  • Descriptive Summary
  • Administrative Information
  • Access Points
  • Biography
  • Scope and Content
  • Related Collections

  • Descriptive Summary

    Title: Harry Barnes Papers,
    Date (inclusive): 1872-1963 (bulk 1920-1960)
    Collection number: BARNES
    Creator: Harry Barnes, 1883-1962
    Extent: 14 linear ft. (29 boxes)
    Repository: Water Resources Collections and Archives
    Riverside, CA 92517-5900
    Shelf location: This collection is stored off-campus at NRLF. Please contact the Water Resources Collections and Archives staff for access to the materials.
    Language: English.

    Administrative Information


    Gift of Mrs. Lucille Barnes, 1963


    Collection is open for research.

    Publication Rights

    Copyright has not been assigned to the Water Resources Collections and Archives. All requests for permission to publish or quote from manuscripts must be submitted in writing to the Head of Archives. Permission for publication is given on behalf of the Water Resources Collections and Archives as the owner of the physical items and is not intended to include or imply permission of the copyright holder, which must also be obtained by the reader.

    Preferred Citation

    [Identification of item], Harry Barnes Papers, BARNES, Water Resources Collections and Archives, University of California, Riverside.

    Access Points

    Madera Irrigation District (Calif.)
    Madera Canal and Irrigation Company.
    San Joaquin River Water Storage District (Calif.)
    Miller & Lux.
    Central Valley Project (Calif.)
    Water rights--California--San Joaquin Valley.
    Water-supply--California--San Joaquin Valley.
    Groundwater--California--San Joaquin Valley.
    Irrigation--California--San Joaquin Valley.
    Irrigation districts--California--San Joaquin Valley.
    Water resources development--California--San Joaquin Valley.
    Madera Canal (Calif.)
    San Joaquin River (Calif.)--Water rights.
    Kings River (Calif.)--Water rights.
    Fresno River (Calif.)--Water rights.
    Flood control--California--Calaveras River.


    J. W. Harry Barnes was born September 16, 1883 in London, England, the son of H. H. and E. M. Barnes. He came to California in 1894 and graduated from the University of California in 1906 with a B.S. degree from the College of Engineering. Prior to his graduation, he gained experience in field work in railroad location and land surveying. In July 1914, he married Lucille Lawrence in Alameda, California. They had three daughters: Ruth, Patricia, and Dorothy.
    Employment History
    May 1906-April 1909: Construction, etc., with Northern Electric Railway and Shattuck-Edinger Construction Co.
    April 1909-April 1910: Engineer for Los Molinos Land Co.; construction work, canals and levees, etc.
    May 1910-January 1913: Office of Irrigation Investigation, U.S. Department of Agriculture; field work, investigations of water supplies, use of water, etc., on projects in California. During this time, in the season of 1912, Barnes made a detailed investigation of use of water of the San Joaquin River from Friant to the mouth of the Tuolumne River. The results were published in: Irrigation Resources of California and Their Utilization, by Frank Adams. Washington: G.P.O., 1913 (Bulletin (Office of Experiment Stations, U.S. Dept. of Agriculture) ; no. 254). (WRCA G200 Y-2 no. 254).
    January 1914-January 1918: Engineer, Madera Canal & Irrigation Company. At the time, the Company irrigated 15,000 acres in the vicinity of Madera with water from the Fresno River. Barnes was in charge of operation and maintenance of the Company's canals. He made an inventory and appraisal of Company properties for rate-making purposes and made investigations into use of water, etc. for the proceedings before the California State Railroad Commission. He also collected data for the lawsuit with Miller & Lux on use of water on Fresno River (see 155 Cal.).
    January 1918-September 1918: Again with the Office of Irrigation Investigation; made a study of use of Kings River water, water rights, and water right litigation, which was published as: Use of Water from Kings River, California, 1918, by Harry Barnes. Sacramento: California State Printing Office, 1920 (Bulletin (California Dept. of Engineering) ; no. 7). (WRCA G400 XE2 no. 7).
    October 1918-April 1919: Office of State Water Commission in San Francisco.
    April 1919-November 1919: State Department of Engineering; made a study of Calaveras River and investigation of Valley Springs Reservoir and Dam site. Report published as: Flood Problems of Calaveras River, by Harry Barnes. Sacramento: California State Printing Office, 1919 (Bulletin (California Dept. of Engineering) ; no. 8). (WRCA G400 XE2 no. 8).
    January 1920-December 1920: State Department of Engineering, located in Bakersfield; conducted a study on use of water of Kern River under S. T. Harding. Involved studies of groundwater, irrigation use, crops, irrigated areas, etc.
    Madera Irrigation District
    In December 1920, Barnes joined Madera Irrigation District as Engineer engaged in the investigations in connection with litigation with Miller & Lux over water rights on the San Joaquin River. These investigations included studies of the use of water by Miller & Lux, water requirements, water supply, seepage losses, land classification, alkali reclamation, silt investigation, groundwater, etc. Litigation continued until an armistice was signed by the litigants in September 1922.
    As Chief Engineer, Barnes represented Madera Irrigation District in investigations and negotiations preliminary to the formation of the San Joaquin River Water Storage District in February 1924. This District comprised 555,000 acres, including Madera Irrigation District and lands of Miller & Lux and Stevinson along the San Joaquin River. Barnes then joined the San Joaquin River Water Storage District as Chief Engineer. During that time his work included creating an inventory of Miller & Lux canal systems and other properties, surveys of additional canals, investigations of water supply, storage, groundwater, drainage, land classification, and water rights. He remained in that position until the District dissolved in March 1929 when parties could not agree as to terms of transfer of Miller & Lux properties. He then returned to Madera Irrigation District as Chief Engineer, as extensive litigation with Miller & Lux was revived, eventually resulting in the "Haines Decree," covering waters of the San Joaquin River.
    He also was involved in investigations and negotiations with the California Water Project Authority, and later the U.S. Bureau of Reclamation, on all matters pertaining to the final inclusion of Madera Irrigation District in the Central Valley Project. After that, he was involved in negotiations with the Bureau on water requirements and water supply, and on the construction of a distribution system.
    Barnes left Madera Irrigation District in November 1950 and began a private practice on consulting work. In the early 1950s, he was retained by the Water Protective League of Kings County as a consulting engineer. In this capacity Barnes was instrumental in bringing into being the Kings County Water District, which, for the first time, gave farmers of that area a public agency with which to work for the protection of underground water, importation of water, and for a program to conserve local supplies.
    Harry Barnes died on November 23, 1962.
    Biographical Sources:
    Who's Who in Engineering. 5th ed. New York: Lewis Historical Publishing Co., 1941.
    Western Water News. Vol. 15, no. 3 (March 1963).
    "Experience & Qualifications," compiled by Barnes, ca. 1952 (see Folder 162).

    Scope and Content

    Correspondence, reports, subject files, news clippings, maps, and other papers, pertaining to: groundwater; surface water supply; water rights; litigation involving Miller & Lux and others; irrigation works; water costs; and, irrigation districts in the San Joaquin Valley, particularly San Joaquin River Water Storage District,Madera Irrigation District, and Madera Canal & Irrigation Company.
    Collection described in: Dictionary Catalog of the Water Resources Collections and Archives, University of California, Riverside (G.K. Hall and Company, 1970).
    Library has unpublished subject and author indexes to individual items in collection.
    Note: No folders numbered 25, 33, 86, 89, 101, 102, 113, 197, 198

    Related Collections

    Title: Bernard A. Etcheverry Papers.
    Identifier/Call Number: ETCH,
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    Title: Sidney T. Harding Papers.
    Identifier/Call Number: HARDG,
    Contributing Institution: Water Resources Collections and Archives