The term dugout is mostly used in Canada and by people on the prairies in the United States. Equivalent to the farm pond or a rancher’s tank, a dugout is a small, on-farm reservoir dug into the ground and located in a particular watershed area. Prairie farmers look for land with sufficient drainage area that slopes toward a central point in a field: this is a perfect place to build a dugout. The water held there is for farm maintenance— livestock or crop—and is usually sufficient (an average size is two hundred by seventy feet on the surface, with a twelve- to sixteen-foot depth) to withstand drought conditions. In parts of the West and Southwest, dugout refers to a half-house, half-basement residence; Dugout Ranch, open to tourists in south-central Utah, features an example.

Antonya Nelson