Preserving the Source
May 2022, issue #59
A Steady Stream of Water News
Some days it seems like keeping up with the western water news could be a full-time job. A steady stream of news is flowing these days, caused in part by the very real lack of water.
Information about low reservoirs, supply cutbacks, and water deals in the Colorado River Basin is at a constant trickle. At the same time, Nebraska is keeping things interesting on the South Platte River. And many other water issues around the state are getting media attention.
The Water Resources Archive is making its own news, as is our campus partner, the Colorado Water Center, along with Water ’22. Departing a bit from newsiness, this issue’s puzzler provides a big dam to think about.
If you feel a drought of water news in your life, we can recommend some good news feeds and sources. Feel free to contact us at any time for water information sources, past or present!
(Photo above: Yampa River by Bill Green)
–Patty Rettig, Archivist, Water Resources Archive
Compact History Makes News
Though the Colorado River and its 1922 compact dominate western water news, the South Platte River and its 1923 compact have received increasing attention this year. The Water Resources Archive has contributed historical background about both compacts, through an article in The Conversation: “Western River Compacts Were Innovative in the 1920s, But Couldn’t Foresee Today’s Water Challenges.”
Decision makers and the media alike are taking a look at relevant archival materials. The Water Resources Archive has an abundance of compact drafts, correspondence, and reports, and even some data, maps, and photographs. (The one above shows what is being revived by Nebraska, the Perkins County Canal on June 24, 1918.)
We have compiled historical resources related to interstate river compacts to help people dive into the documents. We are also happy to help anyone navigate our collections, remotely or in person, and maintain patron confidentiality.
Water Resources Archive News
The Water Resources Archive has had a productive spring! We have two new interfaces for accessing our materials. One is for collection finding aids (shown above) and the other is for digital objects. These home pages start at the top level, so if you need assistance drilling down to search or browse water materials, contact us at any time.
More archive news:
- We announced the inaugural Water Scholar, Ryan Hearty, whose research is focused on the history of water quality management.
- We hosted undergraduate intern Terrie Farley, whose time with us provided a hands-on education making two of our collections accessible.
- We contributed to the story of “How Colorado Water History Shapes the Science of Snow”.
As the U.S. Bureau of Reclamation approaches its 120th anniversary, we recognize Robert Glover, who helped the agency build some big dams. Glover was a civil engineer with the Bureau from 1920 to 1954 and later a professor emeritus at Colorado State University. During the Great Depression, Glover worked with the Bureau in the Columbia-Pacific Northwest Region. It was here, specifically near Adrian, Oregon, where he and the Bureau soared to new heights to build a concrete arch-gravity dam, once the world’s tallest dam at 417 feet tall. Completed in 1932, this dam (pictured above) gets its name from the river it impounds, which is a tributary to the Snake River. Glover was an expert in concrete cooling, which enabled the Bureau to build taller and taller dams, including this one, paving the way for Hoover and other western dams.
Which dam is this?
Campus Water News
Our campus partner, the Colorado Water Center, will be welcoming a new director this summer. John Tracy, currently the director of the Texas Water Resources Institute, brings extensive knowledge of western water along with leadership experience. We look forward to working with him!
In the meantime, we are working with interim director Jennifer Gimbel on planning a symposium on the Colorado River Compact. Focusing on the past, present, and future issues, the symposium will feature some familiar names in basin as well as highlight some new voices. Save the date, September 26, and watch for more information to come.
Water ’22 News
Led by Water Education Colorado, Water ’22 is raising awareness across the state with numerous activities for all. In support of learning and discussion, the Water Resources Archive assisted with the Water ’22 book club, selecting four books. Our first is Paolo Bacigalupi’s cli-fi novel The Water Knife, with two online statewide discussions in May. Be sure to register now!
Help Us Keep History Flowing
In times of drought and water crises, few areas of understanding are more important than water. Join CSU Libraries in rescuing historically significant water materials from being destroyed or forgotten by helping fund an endowment for the Water Resources Archive at the $25,000+ level. An endowment will help grow accessible materials and outreach and make these historical water sources available for Colorado’s next 100 years of water history. To learn more, contact Sara Umland, Assistant Director of Development, at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Learn more about Robert E. Glover from his archival collection.
Puzzler contributed by intern Terrie Farley.
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This e-newsletter is created by Patty Rettig .
Designed by Demi Connelley
- May - Newsletter:
Preserving the Source, Issue 59
- May - Article:
"Western River Compacts..."
- May - Water '22:
Register for Paolo Bacigalupi talk
- April – New finding aid:
Papers of Roy C. and Ardyce L. Johnson
- March – Inaugural Water Scholar:
- March – New interface:
Search finding aids