In large part the history of Colorado is the history of its water use. From at least 1200 A.D. to the current period, the region now known as Colorado has depended on its access to water to support civilization. It hasn’t been easy managing water within an arid and drought-prone region. Many scientists believe that climate change will only stretch the limits of our state’s water supply as Colorado’s population grows, making drought a significant issue in the future as it has been in the past. Erin’s talk will focus on the responses to drought by the governors of Colorado during the development of the state.
Erin McDanal is a native Coloradan, living here since the early 1950s. She has been an historian and archivist since 1977, with her most “important” claim to fame as co-author of How the Waste Was Won, a history of the Fort Collins sewer system. She worked as an historian, doing public history-type projects and since 1990 has worked at the Colorado State Archives as an archivist. After retiring in 2011, she returned to work on a part-time basis as a water archivist, cataloging the huge amount of records pertaining to water in the Archives. The governors’ collections proved especially interesting, as they shed light on the development of Colorado through its water history. She hopes to spread the word about the Colorado State Archives and the 100,000 cubic feet of state records deposited there.