Guide to the Colorado Water Congress Collection

Prepared by Nicolai Kryloff; revised by Patricia J. Rettig and Clarissa J. Trapp
Colorado State University Water Resources Archive
A joint effort of the University Libraries and the Colorado Water Institute
Copyright 2018 Colorado State University. All rights reserved.
Finding aid encoded in EAD Version 2002 by Alicia Conrardy, 2008.
Creator: Colorado Water Congress
Title: Colorado Water Congress Collection
Dates: 1958-1970, 1982-2017
Quantity: 3.25 linear feet (4 document boxes, 1 flat box)
Identification: WCWC
Abstract: The Colorado Water Congress was established in 1958 to provide information about water-related issues affecting Colorado and the West. The organization's newsletters offer a broad overview of Colorado water debates and policy issues, as well as columns and commentary from some of the state's leading water experts. Materials include newsletters, VHS tapes, and conference materials.
Contact Information: Water Resources Archive
Archives and Special Collections
Morgan Library
Colorado State University
Fort Collins, Colorado 80523-1019 USA
Phone: 970-491-1844
Fax: 970-491-1195
Restrictions on Access
There are no access restrictions on this collection.
Restrictions on Use
Not all of the material in the collection is in the public domain. Researchers are responsible for addressing copyright issues.
This collection is indexed under the following headings in the Colorado State University Libraries online catalog. Researchers seeking materials about related subjects, persons, organizations, or places should search the catalog using these headings.
  • Water resources development -- Colorado.
  • Water-supply -- Government policy -- Colorado.
  • Water -- Law and legislation.
  • Colorado Water Congress.
Special Document Types:
  • Videotapes.
The Colorado Water Congress is an informational and lobbying organization that deals with water-related issues across the state. Founded in 1958, the Congress represents a wide range of water users, including agricultural, municipal, industrial, and recreational interests.
The idea to form a statewide water-users' organization originated in a factionalized climate. In 1957, when Colorado governor Steve McNichols proposed a general meeting of Colorado water users, the idea was initially greeted with skepticism. Nevertheless, a group of water authorities from across the state gathered in Denver later that year, with the goal of establishing a nonpartisan forum without regard to Colorado's geographic divisions. With the support of both state and private institutions, the Colorado Water Congress was formed in 1958 with the goal of providing a platform for all Colorado water users.
Prominent officers of the Congress have included Richard D. MacRavey, who was executive director from 1980 to 2005, and Charles C. Fisk, who edited the organization's newsletter during the 1960s.
The Colorado Water Congress Newsletter, later renamed Colorado Water Rights, was an important component of the organization's outreach mission. These newsletters, published to inform the public about water debates and policy in Colorado, provide a collective overview of state water issues for nearly half a century, with commentary from leading water experts on a range of topics. In addition to this informational medium, the Congress has also sponsored various educational programs and conferences, and has been active in shaping state water legislation.
The Colorado Water Congress Collection consists of documents dated 1958 to 1970 and 1982 to 2017. The collection consists primarily of the organization's newsletters, a partial set of which chronicles a variety of water debates, legislation, and policy issues facing Colorado and the West. Newsletters from 1964 to 1982 are not well represented, with only a few issues present. Prominent subject matter includes perspectives on Colorado water policy and legislation, issues related to administration of the Colorado River Compact, proposed in-state water development projects, groundwater management, and water quality issues. Also included in this collection are assorted conference presentations, agendas and brochures ranging from 2002 to 2017, annual water law summaries and directories, and VHS tapes concerning the state's water law and history.
Preferred Citation

Colorado Water Congress Collection, Water Resources Archive, Colorado State University.


The Colorado Water Congress Collection was compiled in 2008 from various sources, including the Colorado Water Congress, the Colorado Water Resources Research Institute, and the Papers of Charles C. Fisk. Additional materials from accession 2011049 were added in 2013. A videotape was added in 2017. Also, materials were gathered from conferences over the years.


Processing of this collection was completed in April 2008. Materials were placed in acid-free folders and stored in an acid-free box. Metal fasteners were removed and replaced with plastic clips. VHS tapes were placed in archival cases. Some additional items were incorporated in October 2011. Series 4 was added in May 2013, along with additions to Series 2 and 3. The videotape received in 2017 was added in 2018, as were materials from recent conferences.

Related Collections

Materials in the Water Resources Archive related to this collection include the Papers of Charles C. Fisk, who served as editor of the Colorado Water Congress newsletter during the 1960s. Also related is the Richard D. MacRavey collection; MacRavey served the Congress for 26 years after becoming the organization's executive director in 1979. Also related is the Papers of Tom Pitts, who worked extensively on the Colorado Water Congress Special Project on Threatened and Endangered Species. Additionally, the University of Colorado Boulder has a collection of Colorado Water Congress records.

Online Materials

Several videos and all of the newsletters in this collection, as well as additional issues not in the collection, have been scanned and are available through the Colorado State University Libraries website. In the electronic version of this document, direct links appear in context.

Note: Title information supplied by the archivist is bracketed. Estimated pagination is preceded by an "e." Two identical copies of the same item are indicated by the phrase "2 copies" at the end of the entry, following the number of pages of each copy.

Series 1: Newsletters, 1958-1970 and 1982-2007 (1.5 linear feet) VIEW newsletters

This series consists of newsletters published by the Colorado Water Congress. Over the years, the newsletter has addressed a variety of critical Colorado water issues, including interstate water debates such as the administration of the Colorado River Compact and the management of reservoirs along this river, disputed in-state water development proposals such as Two Forks Reservoir and Narrows Dam, groundwater use and management, as well as water-quality and environmental issues. During the 1960s, the newsletter was edited by Charles C. Fisk, a prominent Denver water engineer.
In 1982, the title of the newsletter was changed from Colorado Water Congress Newsletter to Colorado Water Rights. At that time, the format was converted to tabloid style, issues were published quarterly or biannually instead of monthly, and the volume and issue numbers were restarted at 1. Volumes between the years 1971 and 1981 are not included in this collection. Missing or incomplete issues are indicated in the item inventory. The newsletters are arranged in chronological order.
Box Folder
1 1 Colorado Water Congress Newsletter, volume 1. 1958. e30pp.
1 2 Colorado Water Congress Newsletter, volume 2 [no. 6 missing]. 1959. e50pp.
1 3 Colorado Water Congress Newsletter, volume 3. 1960. e50pp.
1 4 Colorado Water Congress Newsletter, volume 4. 1961. e50pp.
1 5 Colorado Water Congress Newsletter, volume 5 [no. 4 incomplete]. 1962. e50pp.
1 6 Colorado Water Congress Newsletter, volume 6 [no. 6 missing]. 1963. e50pp.
1 7 Colorado Water Congress Newsletter, volume 7 [no. 1-3 only]. 1964. e20pp.
1 8 Colorado Water Congress Newsletter, volume 10 [no. 2 only]. 1967. 12pp.
1 10 Colorado Water Congress Newsletter, volume 11 [no. 8, 10-12]. 1968. 41pp.
1 11 Colorado Water Congress Newsletter, volume 12 [no. 1-3]. 1969. 30pp.
1 9 Colorado Water Congress Newsletter, volume 13 [no. 4, 6, 7]. 1970. 24pp.
Colorado Water Congress Newsletter, volumes 14-23. 1971-1980.
2 1 Colorado Water Rights, volume 1 [no. 1 only, 2 copies]. 1982. 8pp.
2 2 Colorado Water Rights, volume 2. 1983. e20pp.
2 3 Colorado Water Rights, volume 3 [no. 1-2 only]. 1984. e20pp.
2 4 Colorado Water Rights, volume 4 [no. 2-3 only]. 1985. e20pp.
2 5 Colorado Water Rights, volume 5. 1986. e20pp.
2 6 Colorado Water Rights, volume 6. 1987. e20pp.
2 7 Colorado Water Rights, volume 7. 1988. e20pp.
2 8 Colorado Water Rights, volume 8. 1989. e20pp.
2 9 Colorado Water Rights, volume 9 [2 copies of no. 1]. 1990. e20pp.
2 10 Colorado Water Rights, volume 10. 1991. e20pp.
2 11 Colorado Water Rights, volume 11. 1992. e20pp.
2 12 Colorado Water Rights, volume 12. 1993. e20pp.
2 13 Colorado Water Rights, volume 13. 1994. e20pp.
2 14 Colorado Water Rights, volume 14. 1994-1995. e20pp.
2 15 Colorado Water Rights, volume 15. 1996. e20pp.
2 16 Colorado Water Rights, volume 16. 1997. e20pp.
2 17 Colorado Water Rights, volume 17. 1998. e20pp.
2 18 Colorado Water Rights, volume 18. 1999. e20pp.
2 19 Colorado Water Rights, volume 19. 2000. e20pp.
2 20 Colorado Water Rights, volume 20. 2001. e20pp.
2 21 Colorado Water Rights, volume 21. 2002. e20pp.
2 22 Colorado Water Rights, volume 22 [2 copies of no. 1]. 2003. e20pp.
2 23 Colorado Water Rights, volume 23. 2004. e20pp.
2 24 Colorado Water Rights, volume 24. 2005. e20pp.
2 25 Colorado Water Rights, volume 25 [no. 1 only]. 2006. 20pp.
2 26 Colorado Water Congress, January 2007 Newsletter [volume number not indicated]. 2007. e10pp.

Series 2: Conference materials, 2002-2017 (0.25 linear feet)

This series consists of assorted Colorado Water Congress conference materials, including agendas, presentation materials, and brochures. Materials are arranged alphabetically by folder title.
Box Folder
1 12 [45th Annual Convention]. 2002-2003. e20pp.
1 13 [49th Annual Convention]. 2007. e30pp.
1 14 [50th Annual Convention]. 2008. e10pp.
1 15 [51st Annual Convention]. 2009. e20pp.
Includes 2008 annual report
5 1 [53rd Annual Convention]. 2011. 20pp.
5 2 [54th Annual Convention]. 2012. 20pp.
5 3 [55th Annual Convention]. 2013. 27pp.
5 9 [Annual conventions]. 2014-2017. e50pp.
1 16 [Summer Convention]. 2006. e20pp.
1 17 [Summer Convention]. 2008. 2pp.
5 10 [Summer conferences]. 2010-2016. e30pp.

Series 3: Videotapes, 1988, 1996-2005 (1 linear foot)

This series consists of VHS tapes concerning Colorado water law and history. Videos were filmed at CWC annual conferences or workshops and cover topics such as transmountain diversions, law and legislation, water conservation and ethics, and water leaders. Researchers might find talks by or about Aspinall Award recipients Ralph Adkins, Sam Maynes, Bill Miller, W. D. Farr, John Sayre, John Fetcher, Ralph Curtis, and Gale Norton particularly interesting. Materials are arranged alphabetically by title. Four DVDs containing digital versions of most VHS tapes in this series are stored in Box 3.
Box Folder
4 Cooperative Conservation at Work in the West. 2005. 1 VHS video cassette VIEW
4 Co. Water Congress: the Federal Process - Lobbying the Congress. 1996. 1 VHS video cassette VIEW
4 A Dialogue on Transferring Water from West Slope to East Slope and Rural to Urban - What are the Solutions?, parts 1 and 2. 2005. 2 VHS video cassettes Part 1 Part 2
3 Historical Perspective by Aspinall Recipients, featuring Ralph Adkins, Sam Maynes, and Bill Miller. 2005. 1 VHS video cassette
4 Historical Perspective by Aspinall Recipients: W.D. Farr, J.R. Fetcher and J. Sayre. 1998. 1 VHS video cassette VIEW
3 Historical Water Law in an Ocean of New Technology - Glenn G. Saunders. 1988. 1 VHS video cassette VIEW
4 Perspectives on the Colorado River, parts 1 and 2. 1995. 2 VHS video cassette Part 1 Part 2
3 Colorado Water Congress - Revisiting Colorado Water Law Issues (The School of Hard Knocks in Water Law, 11/03), parts 1 and 2. 2003. 2 VHS video cassettes
4 Should the Water Buffalo Be Listed as an Endangered Species?. 1993. 1 VHS video cassette VIEW
4 Tribute to Sam Maynes. 2005. 1 video cassette VIEW
4 Water and Citizenship: Ethics and Ethos for the 21st Century. 2005. 1 video cassette VIEW

Series 4: Publications, 1983-1994 (0.5 linear feet)

Two annual compilations of laws pertinent to water and three CWC member directories comprise this series. Materials are arranged chronologically.
Box Folder
5 4 Colorado laws enacted in 1983 of interest to water users. 1983. 155pp.
5 5 Colorado laws enacted in 1984 of interest to water users. 1984. 190pp.
5 6 1989 directory for Colorado water users. 1989. 76pp.
5 7 Colorado water almanac and directory, 1992-1993 edition. 1992-1993. 106pp.
5 8 Colorado water almanac and directory, 1993-1994 edition. 1993-1994. 107pp.