From The Greeley Tribune (Tamara Markard):
If you are looking for a great gift for a long-time local or history buff, then you might want to check out “Confluence: The Story of Greeley Water” by Gregory J. Hobbs, Jr. and Michael Welsh.
With water being so vital to life and agriculture, the quote by Congressman Wayne Aspinall on the book’s forward page really sums it all up — “in the West, when you touch water, you touch everything.”
The book begins in 1870 with a single irrigation ditch and follows 150 years of development of the water system in Greeley, including the people who developed and impacted water law, engineering and agriculture including Delph Carpenter, Milton Seaman and W.D. Farr.
Currently, the water system supports more than 140,000 people and utilizes water from four different water basins in the state.
“The vision of this project was to tell the story to a broad audience. We didn’t want our sole audience to be the water nerds,” said Harold Evans, chairman and board member of the City of Greeley Water and Sewer Board. “We wanted to reach out to the average citizen; we wanted to reach out to other in the water profession and historians.”
The book project began around four years ago, Evans explained.
“The more I was involved the history and the policy of Greeley water, I felt that it was a story the community would be interested in,” he said. “I talked to Roy Otto, our city manager and the director of water and sewer and we decided to proceed with a book.”
Evans recruited Greg Hobbs and Michael Welsh to write the book for the city.
Hobbs currently serves as Senior Water Judge and co-directs the University of Denver Law School’s environmental and natural resources program. He is also a board member of Water Education Colorado.
Welsh has been teaching history at the University of Colorado since 1990 and has written manuscripts for several National Park Service sites as well as full-length studies on the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers.
“They spent the first couple of years doing nothing but research,” Evans said. “This was a well-researched book. If you look in the back of the book at the footnotes, you will see the amount of research that was done.”
While the main premise of the book is about water, it really is a story of the Union Colony and a parallel story of the history of our area including the Poudre River, national and local events like the Great Depression and World Wars.
One of the events Evans references from the book is the opening of the Bellvue Water Treatment Plant that opened in 1907.
“We are still today, 113 years later, delivering water from Bellvue,” he said. “In fact, this summer marked 150 continuous years that water has been flowing through the number three ditch in Greeley.
“Without water, we wouldn’t be here; businesses wouldn’t be here,” Evans added.
The book also contains a variety of historical photos and maps of Greeley and Weld County and the front cover depicts a painting of the Cache la Poudre River created by award-winning artist Jay Moore. Moore specializes in paintings of the North American West.
The book can be purchased at Tattered Cover and locally at Lincoln Park Emporium.
So far, the book has been popular with the local community, with the first delivery selling out, and people asking to be put on a waiting list, said Emporium co-owner Mary Roberts.
“It’s one of the most enlightening and visionary, in my view, because it shows what our history has been and what we are going to do for the future,” Roberts commented.
People interested in purchasing the book from the Lincoln Park Emporium can call the store at (970) 351-6222 to have their name put on the list.
For more information on Greeley Water and Sewer Department, go to http://www.greeleygov.com.