Over 100 years of Colorado water history — more than 43,000 pages of primary source materials related to water use in the state — are now freely available online.
The Colorado State University Water Resources Archive recently scanned, digitized and posted the items that include reports, images, oral histories and data, thanks to a $50,000 grant from the Colorado Water Conservation Board (CWCB). This is the fourth such grant from the CWCB to the archive.
The unique project took just under a year to complete and added material from 15 previously undigitized collections and 24 total collections to the archive’s online offerings. Scanned materials relate to today’s water issues, and include groundwater research and administration, snow hydrology, agricultural water use, the 1976 Big Thompson flood and early water leaders. Digitization also preserved more than 200 rare glass-plate images of Colorado and several thousand slides of dams and waterways in the western United States.
The Water Resources Archive, part of the University Libraries, is Colorado’s only repository dedicated specifically to preserving the history of water in the state and the American West. Most of the documents in the archive are unique and unavailable elsewhere. Holdings, contained in nearly 2,000 boxes, cover more than a century of water history and provide access to the studies, debates and legislative deals that have shaped Colorado’s water legacy.
Browse the Water History Archive Digital Collection