Colorado Water History: Water Resources Archive

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

Find Materials in the Water Resources Archive


WRA logoThe Colorado State University Water Resources Archive consists of collections from individuals and organizations instrumental to the development of water resources in Colorado and the U.S. West.

Start your search with "Collections Suggestions" below. For more options, conduct a keyword search in the Archive's finding aids.


Collection Suggestions

Need archival materials for a specific river basin in the Water Resources Archive? Unsure where to start? Try these selected collections.

Location Collections
  • Delph E. Carpenter and Family
    • Arkansas River Compact
  • Frank Milenski
    • Ditch companies, groundwater, ag-urban exchange, law & legislation, Purgatoire River, Arkansas Valley Ditch Association, Southeastern Colorado Water Conservancy District
  • Arthur L. Littleworth
    • Kansas v. Colorado (No. 105, Orig.)
  • Ray Nixon
    • Southeastern Colorado Water Conservancy District, ag-urban exchange, Colorado Springs Utilities, Purgatoire River
  • ​Wright Water Engineers
    • Southeastern Colorado Water Conservancy District
 Rio Grande
 Colorado  Main stem
San Miguel/Dolores
 San Juan/Animas
  • Ival V. Goslin
    • development planning studies for Animas-La Plata and Lemon Dam/Turkey 
 North Platte
 South  Platte  Main stem
 St. Vrain
 Big Thompson
 Cache la  Poudre

The Water Resources Archive's collections include materials related to water in other states and countries. See these selected collections.

Geographic Region Collections

 Missouri River Basin

 Main stem

 Platte River Basin: 

 Nebraska, Wyoming

 Arkansas River Basin:

 Arkansas, Kansas

 Rio Grande Basin:

 New Mexico, Texas

Colorado River Basin:

 Arizona, California, Nevada, New Mexico, Utah, Wyoming

 Pacific Northwest:

 Washington, Oregon, Idaho

 Central California:

 San Joaquin, Sacramento, Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta

 Egypt/Middle East
 Australia/New Zealand
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Subject Guide

Patricia Rettig's picture
Patricia Rettig
Archives & Special Collections
Morgan Library
Colorado State University
Fort Collins, CO 80523-1019

What is a Finding Aid?

finding aid serves as a guide to an archival collection. It provides an overview of the collection, as well as a description of its contents. Finding aids vary from collection to collection, but most include:

  • a collection summary
  • a history or biography of the creator
  • a description of the size, composition, and organization of the collection
  • a list of containers (boxes, folders, etc.) and their contents divided into series (groups) by material type or subject.

Tips: When keyword searching, also try synonyms and abbreviations. Archivists often retain the folder titles assigned by the collection's creator, so expect quirkiness and inconsistency within and across finding aids. Also remember that specific information may be within folders with general titles (e.g., "Correspondence" or "Meeting minutes").

Online finding aids enable you to get started on your own, but never hesitate to ask an archivist for assistance!