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Do you know your Denver Water history?

Century of stable water service began with a vote.
Denver’s first Board of Water Commissioners, pictured here in August 1918, included (from left): John Skinner; Finlay MacFarland, president and general manager; Charles Reynolds, vice president; Frank Woodward; and Benjamin Sweet, secretary.


Water pioneers knew Denver had potential to be a world class city, but it couldn’t do much without a reliable water source. In Denver’s early years, multiple water companies fought, collapsed and merged trying to provide water to the growing city. But nobody stayed for long.

That was until Aug. 6, 1918, when Denver residents voted to create a five-member Board of Water Commissioners and buy the Denver Union Water Company’s system for nearly $14 million, creating Denver Water. In doing so, voters created an entity that would operate independently from city government, keeping water service separate from local politics. To this day, Denver Water is a public agency funded by water rates and tap fees, not taxes.

That progressive move paved the way for 100 years of stable water service, foresight we value today more than ever.