Colorado Water History
Colorado is the Headwaters State. Four major rivers begin in its Rocky Mountains: the Colorado, the Rio Grande, the Arkansas, and the Platte. Because all of these flow out of Colorado to other equally arid states, competition for this limited supply occurs both within the state and across its borders.
The development and use of water, and the politics and law that accompany it--not to mention people and organizations with diverse needs that use it--have created a complex history. That history touches on agriculture, engineering, wildlife, recreation, and much more.
Researching Colorado's complex water history can be daunting! The resources presented in this guide will help you navigate water history from Colorado's headwaters to the state's borders--and beyond.
This guide is brought to you by the Water Resources Archive, the best place in the state to begin learning about the history of Colorado's most precious resource.
On June 23, 1980, Ival Goslin, executive secretary for the Upper Colorado River Commission from 1955 to 1979, watched Lake Powell overflow the Glen Canyon Dam gates. Find more images and historical information in the Water Resources Archive Digital Collections.