Utah Water Research Laboratory: Celebrating 50 Years

The UWRL is celebrating the Year of Water 2015 by looking back at the 50 Years gone by since our building was dedicated and looking forward to anticipate the water resources management needs of the future.

1856-10-01 00:00:00

Canals Built in the Logan Area

Ongoing settlement in Utah's Cache Valley created the need for irrigation canals to carry water for agriculture. Canal construction began in 1856.

1859-10-01 00:00:00

Logan City Founded

The City of Logan was founded in 1859 along the Logan River. Thirty years later it became the home of Utah State University and, about a century later, the Utah Water Research Laboratory.

1863-10-01 00:00:00

Dry Farming in Utah

In 1863, a type of commercial agriculture called dry farming began in northern Utah. Farmers discovered that they could raise certain crops without irrigation, even in this semi-arid climate.

1869-05-10 00:00:00

Transcontinental Railway Completed

On May 10, 1869, the driving of the final spike at Promontory Point, Utah, marked the completion of the transcontinental railroad, which facilitated the settlement of the western United States.

1873-10-01 00:00:00

Utah Northern Railroad

In February 1873, the Utah Northern Railroad line was completed to Logan, Utah. This rail line connected the communities in Cache Valley with the Central Pacific Railway at Ogden, Utah.

1881-01-01 00:00:00

Panama Canal Construction Begins

January 1, 1881 marked the beginning of the construction of the Panama Canal. Civil engineering is always about finding solutions to practical and sometimes political problems. The Panama Canal is an example experiments in both.

1888-07-10 00:00:00

Founding of Agricultural College of Utah

In 1888, the Agricultural College of Utah was founded as the state’s land-grant institution.

1890-10-01 00:00:00

USU Old Main Building

USU's iconic Old Main building was built in 1890. Photo courtesy of USU Special Collections.

1892-10-01 00:00:00

Experiment Station Building

c. 1892. Photo courtesy of USU Special Collections.

1894-10-01 00:00:00

Experiment Station Laboratory

c. 1890s. Photo courtesy of USU Special Collections

1896-01-04 00:00:00

Utah Becomes the 45th State

On January 4, 1896, Utah became the 45th state in the Union.

1897-09-01 00:00:00

Mechanic Arts Building Constructed

In 1897, a new Mechanic Arts building was constructed at the Agricultural College of Utah. This building served as a laboratory for engineering students and faculty.

1900-10-01 00:00:00

Civil Engineering Class

c. 1900. Photo of a civil engineering class with surveying equipment, courtesy of USU Special Collections.

1905-10-01 00:00:00


c. 1900s. Photo of men watching water flow into an irrigation system, courtesy of USU Special Collections.

1908-10-01 00:00:00

Irrigation Techniques

c. 1908. Photo of an Experiment Station investigation of irrigation techniques, courtesy of USU Special Collections.

1908-10-01 00:00:00

Controlled Irrigation

c. 1908. Photo of a controlled application of irrigation water, courtesy of USU Special Collections.

1911-07-10 06:27:29

Logan's 'First Dam' Constructed

First Dam, built between 1911 and 1914, retains water from the Logan River as it emerges from the mouth of Logan Canyon. This dam is owned by Utah State University and currently provides electrical power worth approximately $100,000.

1915-01-05 00:00:00

Widtsoe's Principles of Irrigation

In 1915, Dr. John A. Widtsoe, President of The Utah Agricultural College, published "The Principles of Irrigation Practice" through the McMillan Company. This text became one of the foundational reference books on the subject of modern irrigation in America.

1916-10-01 00:00:00

Orson W. Israelson

1916. Orson W. Israelson, Professor of Irrigation and Drainage. Photo courtesy of USU Special Collections.

1920-10-01 00:00:00

Soil Sampling Method

c. 1920s. Photo courtesy of USU Special Collections.

1927-10-01 00:00:00

Cutler Reservoir Built

Cutler Reservoir, located in Cache Valley, Utah, is an impoundment of the Bear River. It was built in 1927 for irrigation, flood control, and water supply. Several ongoing UWRL research projects continue to address the goal of restoring and maintaining the water quality in Cutler Reservoir.

1935-10-01 00:00:00

Man by an Irrigation Ditch

c. 1930s. Photo courtesy USU Special Collections

1938-10-01 00:00:00

Students in a Laboratory

c. 1930s. Photo courtesy USU Special Collections

1945-06-13 16:29:38

River Research Laboratory

c. 1940s. Photo courtestty of USU Special Collections.

1950-10-01 00:00:00

Man Surveying a Lake

c. 1950. Photo courtesy USU Special Collections

1953-10-01 00:00:00

Discussing a Hydraulics Exhibit

c. 1950s. Photo courtesy of USU Special Collections

1954-10-01 00:00:00

Woman Working in a Laboratory

c. 1950s. Photo courtesy of USU Special Collections

1956-09-01 00:00:00

House Bill HR10663 Introduced

In 1956, Congressman H. Aldous Dixon (former president of USU) introduced the bill, which proposed that the Secretary of Agriculture be “...authorized and directed to establish, maintain, and operate at such location as he deems desirable a regional water laboratory for the purpose of conducting research and study with respect to the physical laws, principles, and dominant variables affecting the source, supply and use of water…”

1956-09-01 00:00:00

Colorado River Storage Project

In 1956, Congress created the Colorado River Storage Project.

1957-07-10 06:27:29

First Research at the UWRL Site

The first research at the future UWRL site was conducted by Cy Lauritzen in 1957. He installed a pipe outlet to bring water from First Dam and conducted experiments on the hydraulics of flexible tubing.

1957-07-10 06:27:29

Change to Utah State University

On March 8, 1957 the Agricultural College of Utah officially became Utah State University.

1958-09-01 00:00:00

Flume Studies at the UWRL Site

In 1958, Dean F. Peterson, Dean of the College of Engineering at USU, and P.K. Mahonty, a student, initiated flume studies using large bed elements at the present laboratory site with hopes that continuing research at the site would increase the chances of getting a funded water research laboratory at Utah State University.

1958-10-14 00:00:00

Proposal to USDA

Dean F. Peterson, Dean of the College of Engineering at USU, presented a university proposal for a federal water research laboratory to be located in Cache Valley, to USDA at a public hearing on Soil and Water Research Facilities, held in Salt Lake City. The result was that the USDA put an irrigation hydraulics laboratory on their list of desired facilities.

1959-09-01 00:00:00

Utah Legislature Authorizes UWRL

In 1959, The Utah legislature authorized the establishment of a water resources research laboratory at USU and initiated architectural planning for the building that would become the Utah Water Research Laboratory.

1959-09-01 00:00:00

New Engineering and Physical Sciences Building

Construction of the new engineering and physical sciences building began in 1959.

1960-10-01 00:00:00

Man Examining a Pipe

c. 1960. Photo courtesy of USU Special Collections.

1961-04-01 00:00:00

Utah Appropriates $ toward the UWRL

The Utah legislature entertained a bill legislation providing that there be: “...appropriated to the State Building Board $1,200,000.00 or so much thereof, as may be necessary, from the General Fund for constructing the Utah Water Research Laboratory, on the Logan River, on property already acquired by the State of Utah for such purpose, the preliminary plans for which Research Laboratory have already been prepared by the Building Board..”. Subsequently, the building appropriation for USU for the 1961-63 biennium included $200,000 for a “Hydraulics Laboratory”.

1961-04-01 00:00:00

Initial Bill to the US Senate

U.S. Senator Wallace F. Bennett introduced a bill to authorize the Secretary of Agriculture to: ‘...establish, equip, and maintain a regional research laboratory to be located at or near the Utah State University…”. Nothing came of the bill at the time, but further legislation was introduced a year later.

1962-09-01 00:00:00

Water Resources Research Center Bill

In 1962, a bill was drafted and introduced by Senator Clinton Anderson of New Mexico to establish water resources research centers at selected universities. Then in 1963, the bill was revised and introduced again. The legislation was enacted the following year and became known as the Water Resources Research Act of 1964. The program was administered by the Office of Water Resources Research (OWRR), U.S. Department of the Interior.

1963-11-01 06:27:29

Groundbreaking for UWRL

Groundbreaking ceremonies were held in November 1963, and the building of the Utah “hydraulics” laboratory began.

1964-07-12 06:27:29

Vaughn E. Hansen 1st UWRL Director

On July 12, 1964, the USU Board of Trustees approved the appointment of Vaughn E. Hansen as the first Director of the Utah Water Research Laboratory.

1964-07-17 00:00:00

Water Resources Research Act

On July 17, 1964, The Water Resource Research Act was signed into law by President Lyndon B. Johnson, establishing a water resources institute for each U.S. state.

1964-11-21 00:00:00

Official UCWRR Charter Approved

On November 21, 1964, an official Charter for the Utah Center for Water Resources Research at Utah State University was approved by the Board of Trustees of Utah State University to coordinate the Utah portion of the OWRR program.

1965-02-02 00:00:00

Utah Center for Water Resources Research

On February 2, 1965, the UCWRR responsibility for the Utah water research program was officially designated to the Office of Water Resources Research.

1965-12-06 09:20:37

UWRL Building Dedication

On December 6-7, 1965 numerous professional and government dignitaries, including Governor George Dewey Clyde, along with USU personnel and many others, gathered to celebrate the completion of the new Utah Water Research Laboratory building.

1966-06-30 02:14:28

Jay M. Bagley 2nd Director

1966-12-01 00:00:00

Water Engineers

c. 1960s. Photo courtesy of USU Special Collections.

1967-10-01 00:00:00

Water Diverted for Experiments

c. mid-1960s. Water was diverted from the Logan River to support research experiments at the Utah Water Research Laboratory. Photo courtesy of USU Special Collections

1968-03-01 00:00:00

Fish and Virus Studies

c. 1960s. Photo courtesy of USU Special Collections.

1968-10-01 00:00:00

Weather Modification Research

Weather Modification. “The ultimate goal of the program is to be able to increase the amount of snow that falls in the mountains in wintertime so that water supplies during the summer will be adequate.”

Utah Water Research Laboratory: Celebrating 50 Years

Copy this timeline Login to copy this timeline 3d

Contact us

We'd love to hear from you. Please send questions or feedback to the below email addresses.

Before contacting us, you may wish to visit our FAQs page which has lots of useful info on Tiki-Toki.

We can be contacted by email at: hello@tiki-toki.com.

You can also follow us on twitter at twitter.com/tiki_toki.

If you are having any problems with Tiki-Toki, please contact us as at: help@tiki-toki.com


Edit this timeline

Enter your name and the secret word given to you by the timeline's owner.

3-40 true Name must be at least three characters
3-40 true You need a secret word to edit this timeline

Checking details

Please check details and try again