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Colorado Water Congress Collection

Identifier: WCWC

Scope and Contents

The Colorado Water Congress Collection consists of documents dated 1958 to 1970 and 1982 to 2020. 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 1966 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 2020, annual water law summaries and directories, and VHS tapes concerning the state's water law and history.


  • Creation: 1958-1970, 1982-2020


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.


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.


3.25 linear feet (4 document boxes, 1 flat box)

Language of Materials



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. A portion of the collection is digitized and online.


The collection consists of 4 series in 5 boxes:

Series 1: Newsletters, 1958-1970 and 1982-2007

Series 2: Conference materials, 2002-2020

Series 3: Videotapes, 1988, 1996-2005

Series 4: Publications, 1983-2005


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. In 2022, materials from the collections of Harold G. Evans, Ronald K. Blatchley, and David J. Miller were added.

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 for some items.

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.


Processing 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. Materials removed from other collections were added in 2022.

Inventory Note

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.

Guide to the Colorado Water Congress Collection
Edited Full Draft
Prepared by Nicolai Kryloff; revised by Patricia J. Rettig and Clarissa J. Trapp; revised by Patricia J. Rettig
Copyright 2022
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