Northern Water Timeline

August 1884

State engineer E.S. Nettleton conducts the first preliminary survey of a possible diversion project to import West Slope water to the Northern Front Range.
The state of Colorado appropriates $25,000 to survey potential water diversion routes from Grand Lake to the South Platte River basin. The survey results are unfavorable.

Irrigators construct small transmountain diversions to import water to the Poudre River basin.

June 17, 1902
President Theodore Roosevelt signs the Reclamation Act (also known as the Newlands Act) into law, creating the United States Reclamation Service.

July 1902
Secretary of the Interior Ethan Allen Hitchcock establishes the U.S. Reclamation Service within the U.S. Geological Survey to study potential water development projects in 17 western states.
The Reclamation Service withdraws land from public entry near Grand Lake for a potential future water diversion project.

The Reclamation Service becomes a separate organization within the Interior Department and is renamed the Bureau of Reclamation.
January 26, 1915
The U.S. Congress establishes Rocky Mountain National Park. The enabling legislation includes the following: “The United States Reclamation Service may enter upon and utilize for flowage or other purposes any area within said park which may be necessary for the development and maintenance of a government reclamation project.”
Grand Lake
In 1889, the state of Colorado appropriated $25,000 to
survey potential water diversion routes from the Grand Lake
region to the South Platte River basin. (Photo courtesy of the
Bureau of Reclamation.)
The U.S. Congress officially changes the name of the Grand River to the Colorado River. Proponents request the change to officially identify the headwaters of the Colorado River and differentiate it from the Green River in Wyoming.

November 24, 1922
Congress ratifies the first interstate river compact in the United States. The Colorado River Compact apportions the use of Colorado River water between the upper (Colorado, Wyoming, Utah, and New Mexico) and lower (California, Arizona, and Nevada) basin states.