hallmark of economic development, and indeed of civilization
itself, may be found in the rules men devise to order their
access to resources. When ambitious men began to develop the
West, they found English common law deficient in many respects.
It failed to provide workable rules among men as they struggled
to get, develop, and use water where water was relatively
scarce and often vital to life itself. So new laws and new
institutions had to be developed. They are still developing.
The crucial role of these laws and institutions led Wells
A. Hutchins to devote his professional life to their study and articulation.
Hutchins was born February 20, 1888, in Beatrice, Nebraska.
He graduated in 1906 from Lawrenceville Academy in New Jersey
and in 1909 he received a law degree, with highest honors,
from George Washington University, Washington, D.C. Mr. Hutchins
began his government career in 1908. Although in his long
career he served under a number of different bureaus in the
Department of Agriculture, his interests and field of work
remained steadfastly on water laws. Except for military service
as a 1st Lieutenant in the Infantry in World War I, he spent
most of his long government career in Berkeley, California.
Mr. Hutchins died September 19, 1970.
a leading authority on water rights laws in the Western States,
Mr. Hutchins wrote numerous books, reports, articles, and
papers on the subject. He also assisted many States in formulating
improved water laws. From 1942 to 1946, he served as chairman
of a committee of the National Reclamation Association (now
the National Water Resources Association) to formulate desirable
water law principles for the West. He also lectured on water
law and institutions at the University of California at Davis
and Berkeley. Mr. Hutchins received the Superior Service Award
from the Department of Agriculture, was made a life member
of the National Reclamation Association in 1958 for outstanding
services to the West, and received a number of other honors
for his knowledge and accomplishments.