Scott Hummer was kind enough to forward the materials below in celebration of the 140th anniversary of the creation of Colorado’s water commissioners:
This past Tuesday, February 19, 2019 marked the 140th anniversary of the creation of the position of Water Commissioner by the State Legislature/General Assembly on February 19, 1879…
The concept of Colorado’s system of Prior Appropriation, “the Colorado Doctrine”, was first established in the “gold camps” of the late 1850’s. The concept was first put into practice in the “gold camps” of California and came to Colorado with the “miner’s courts” established by the original “prospectors” in the territory.
And yes, the Water Commissioner position came before the creation of the State Engineers Office as well as the position of “Superintendent of Irrigation”, today’s Division Engineers.
In brief the original legislation created the position as well as the first ten water districts, and as many know…the legislation was in response to the “water war” along the Poudre River in the mid 1870’s…
In 2004, a “celebration” of the 125th anniversary was organized and Water Commissioner were recognized on the floor of the Colorado House of Representatives at the Capital and received an honorary proclamation from then Gov. Owens…
Also in July of 2004, water commissioners were invited to attend and participate in the annual Water Workshop, at then Western State College in Gunnison.
The title of the ‘o4 Water Workshop was “Technology, Science (including the Dismal Science, and Changing Politics of Water”.
So after 15 years, perhaps, it is appropriate to inform and educate the water users and citizens of Colorado as to the public servants that serve them so well.
I have attached my outline of the presentation I gave out the “04 Water Workshop” regarding Water Administration when I was then the Water Commissioner in WD-36.
“He who expects the letter of the law in relation to irrigation to be executed with the precision of clockwork, and that infallible results will be obtained, has a small conception of the tangled web of difficulties in the way, and a meager knowledge of the uncertainties of the element to be manipulated.” — J.P. Maxwell, State Engineer 1890