Colorado Water History

A guide to finding and using historical information about water in Colorado and beyond

Tips: Water Resources Archive

There are hundreds if not thousands of stories waiting to be discovered in the Water Resources Archive.

Here are some tips to help you find documents for telling your story:

Also see:

If you need research assistance, contact the archivist using the link at the right. If you will be visiting, be sure to plan ahead.

See this guide for additional tips:

Tips: Before You Visit an Archives

Be ready! Here are some tips for visiting an archive:

1. Learn what you can about collections you want to use before visiting. Some repositories post finding aids or collection descriptions on their website.

2. Contact the archivist. This prevents you from arriving only to find the items you need are not available. Requesting specific items ahead of time can also cut down on time spent waiting for materials.

3. Check repository use guidelines and hours before going.

4. Check directions and parking availability and locations.

5. Note what materials you may bring into the archival reading room. Are laptops and cameras allowed?

6. Bring cash/change in case you need to pay for photocopies or scans.

Potential Research Topics: Water Resources Archive

Many of Colorado's and the West's water stories remain untold. And, every academic discipline has its own way of relating to water. This creates limitless research opportunities, especially in the Water Resources Archive's unique collections.

Here are some research topics ripe for exploration:

Effects of human recreation on rivers and reservoirs
Boating, rafting, and fishing are all popular recreational activities. How do these and other pastimes affect our waterways? How do recreation and reclamation intersect?

Effects of consumptive use on rivers
Agriculture, industries, and households use vast amounts of surface water. Each has a story, and each has an effect.

Political implications of water
Water resources have influenced local, interstate, and international politics throughout history. Conversely, politicians have influenced water resources development; the interaction flows both directions.

Water photography as rhetoric
Images of rivers, dams, reservoirs, canals, wildlife, and the people who worked with them.

Water and endangered species
Protection of whooping cranes, piping plovers, pallid sturgeon, and other endangered species has influenced water policy across the United States.

Connecting the land-grant mission with global water development
Land-grant institutions focus primarily on the study of agriculture, science, and engineering. Many institutions, including CSU, have extended this knowledge in other places through research activities and participation in international conferences.

Water conservation districts and water conservancy districts
Important management institutions for Colorado's water resources. They influence water use, development, protection, and taxation within their boundaries.

Storage controversies
Two Forks, Echo Park, and Glade reservoirs, to name a few. Proposed facilities have caused major social and political disagreement.

Women involved in water development
Work in water resources has been dominated by men. How have women left their mark, and how can we find them in the sources?

Your Archivist

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Patricia Rettig
Archives & Special Collections
Morgan Library
Colorado State University
Fort Collins, CO 80523-1019
Subjects: Water

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