The Public Lands History Center at Colorado State University received funding from the Colorado Agricultural Research Station to create an educational website that will describe the history of agricultural water organizations along the Cache La Poudre River. The website will incorporate primary sources from the CSU Morgan Library’s Water Resources Archive.
Using information and sources gathered from local experts, agricultural and water-related organizations and archives, the website will offer detailed historical information and research pertaining to the shift of water from rural-agricultural to urban and industrial uses in northern Colorado.
“This educational website has the potential to elevate the quality of debate about local water use by improving community understanding of the historical and ongoing interdependence of agricultural and urban communities in the region,” said Maren Bzdek, website project manager.
In the late 19th and early 20th centuries, irrigation development on the Cache La Poudre River was a model for the development of legal administration of water rights in the American West and contributed to Colorado’s prominence in the advancement of agricultural water rights and regulation. More recently, northern Colorado has been recognized as a main location for negotiations associated with the pressure of urbanization on agricultural water supplies, drought and water quality problems and the search for the most equitable and efficient technologies, organizational forms and conservation practices.
In addition to primary documents obtained from CSU’s Morgan Library, the website will also include historical narratives, biographical sketches, timelines, bibliographies and maps. The Public Lands History Center hopes that the development of this website will raise historical literacy about the complex connections between agriculture, urban-industrial development and population growth in this semi-arid region.
For more information about CSU’s Public Lands History Center, visit www.publiclands.colostate.edu.