Skip to main content

Water Supply and Storage Company Collection

Identifier: WWSS

Scope and Contents

The Water Supply and Storage Company Collection consists of documents dated 1907 to 1991, with the bulk falling from 1973 to 1991. The collection consists primarily of materials produced and compiled during a records management project conducted on the company's behalf by CSU History professor James E. Hansen II. Although all company records were returned to the WSSC upon completion of the project in 2000, some material developed for the project is retained in this collection, including oral history audiotapes and transcripts, general company histories and timelines, maps of company holdings, a land survey from 1907, and one photograph.

Not all recorded oral histories have corresponding transcripts, and some interview transcripts do not have corresponding audiotapes. Of special interest are oral-history interviews with Harvey Johnson, former mayor of Fort Collins and company president for forty years.


  • Creation: 1907-1991
  • Creation: Majority of material found within 1973-1991


Restrictions on Access

There are no access restrictions on this collection. However, some items are stored off-site, so advance notice is recommended.

Restrictions on Use

Not all of the material in the collection is in the public domain. Researchers are responsible for addressing copyright issues.


The Water Supply and Storage Company was one of many cooperative organizations that contributed to northern Colorado's agricultural development by providing water for irrigation. Incorporated in 1891 to serve farmers in the Cache la Poudre valley, the company expanded in 1892 by acquiring properties from the defunct Larimer County Ditch Company and Larimer County Reservoir Company. Today, its network of ditches, laterals, reservoirs, and tunnels spans more than 100 miles and includes the Grand River Ditch, recognized as a historic landmark under the U.S. Historic Sites Act of 1935.

Early in its history, the company pioneered innovative water management strategies such as trans-mountain diversion of water from adjacent basins and the borrowing and lending of water rights through contracts with other supply companies. The organization's more recent history is representative of the transfer of water from agricultural to municipal uses. By 1986, the city of Thornton had acquired nearly half the company's stock; subsequently, the company's water supply served both urban and agricultural needs. The history of the Water Supply and Storage Company, spanning more than 100 years, significantly illustrates water-use developments and trends in Colorado and the semi-arid West.


1 linear foot (2 document boxes, 1 flat file)

Language of Materials



The Water Supply and Storage Company (WSSC) was incorporated in 1891 to serve irrigators in the Cache la Poudre valley. In 1986, the city of Thornton purchased substantial stock in the company, which has subsequently provided water for both municipal and agricultural purposes. The bulk of the collection was produced during a records management project conducted on the company's behalf between 1981 and 2000, and includes oral history audiotapes, transcripts, company histories and timelines, system maps, and one photograph. A portion of the collection is digitized and online.


The collection consists of 2 series in 2 boxes and 1 flat file:

Series 1: Company history, 1907-1991 and undated

Series 2: Oral histories, 1973-1991


The Water Supply and Storage Company Collection was transferred from the Colorado Agricultural Archive to the Water Resources Archive in February 2004.

Online Materials

Some materials have been scanned and are available through the Colorado State University Libraries website. In the electronic version of this document, they appear as links in context.


Processing was completed in February 2007. Materials were removed from existing folders, inserted in acid-free folders, and reboxed. Metal fasteners were removed and replaced with plastic clips as needed. Audiotapes were transferred to archival storage cases. Discarded from the collection were indexes and inventories representing various stages of the records management project, contracts for temporary research use of materials and microfilm reproduction, records-system operating manuals, project notes, and drafts of oral history transcripts. Approximately twenty-five floppy disks containing records management data were returned to the company.

Inventory Note

Note: Estimated pagination is preceded by an "e."

Guide to the Water Supply and Storage Company Collection
Edited Full Draft
Prepared by Nicolai Kryloff
Copyright 2007
Language of description
Script of description
Language of description note
Finding aid written in English.

Repository Details

Part of the CSU Libraries Archives & Special Collections Repository

Fort Collins Colorado 80523-1019 USA