Crude irrigation systems, drawing water from San Felipe Springs and Creek, were first devised by Indian and Spanish inhabitants of this area. Anglo-American settlers also saw the need for irrigation in this arid region, and about 1869 a group of landowners formed the San Felipe Agricultural, Manufacturing & Irrigation Company. Among early stockholders were W. C. Adams, Donald Jackson, Joseph Ney, Randolph Pafford, James H. Taylor, and A. O. Strickland. They dammed San Felipe Creek just below the Springs, and by 1871 had built canals diverting water to 1,500 acres of land. Under an 1875 irrigation law, the company received a 99-year state charter which authorized the digging of two canals: five-mile-long "Madre Ditch" and mile long "San Felipe Ditch", plus lateral canals. In 1876 the state inspector reported that the San Felipe Company had irrigated about 3,000 acres. Land grant provisions of an 1876 law awarded the company 5,000 acres of state land for the total mileage of its canals. In addition to promoting agricultural development, the work of the San Felipe Company stimulated the growth of Del Rio, since the irrigation canals provided water to the city as well. Today this vital water supply system is still in operation.