The history of water development . . . offers a particularly fine post for observing the astonishing and implausible workings of historical change and, in response, for cultivating an appropriate level of humility and modesty in our anticipations of our own unknowable future. Tracing the origins and growth of the Denver Water Department, this study of water and its unique role and history in the West, as well as in the nation, raises questions about the complex relationship among cities, suburbs, and rural areas, allowing us to consider this precious resource and its past, present, and future with both optimism and realism. Patricia Nelson Limerick is the faculty director and board chair of the Center of the American West at the University of Colorado, where she is also a professor of history and environmental studies. She currently serves as the vice president for the teaching division of the American Historical Association. Her most widely read book, The Legacy of Conquest, is in its twenty-fifth year of publication. Jason L. Hanson is a member of the research faculty at the Center of the American West at the University of Colorado at Boulder, where his work focuses on natural resource use and the environment. He lives in Denver.