Introduction

Electric-powered well in Otero County, Colorado
Excessive groundwater well pumping in Colorado was one cause of the 1985 Supreme Court case Kansas v. Colorado.

Collection Citation: Arthur Littleworth Papers

In the first of his five reports during the 1985-2009 Kansas v. Colorado Supreme Court case, Special Master Arthur L. Littleworth wrote that the Arkansas River Compact of 1948 did not “achieve the lasting peace desired by those who negotiated that agreement.” Now, 110 years after the first Kansas v. Colorado suit started, we look back at the history of Arkansas River water law and litigation. Reflecting on the most recent case guides us to the question: what led to this interstate litigation?