Farm Progress

‘Kansas v. Colorado’ will be explored in special program on Oct. 13 at 3i Show.

August 23, 2017

1 Min Read
WATER FROM COLORADO: Early settlers in western Kansas constructed ditches to divert water from the Arkansas River to their fields for irrigation. Ditch companies maintained that infrastructure through years of fighting with Colorado for water and still use it deliver water the U.S. Supreme Court ruled Colorado owed Kansas. Today’s flows are largely limited to releases from the John Martin Reservoir.

“Kansas v. Colorado,” a presentation and discussion by James Sherow, will be held on Oct. 13 at 10 a.m. during the 3i SHOW at the Western State Bank Expo Center in Dodge City, Kan. The free program is hosted by Boot Hill Museum and made possible by the Kansas Humanities Council.

In 1902, Kansas accused the state of Colorado of taking more than its fair share of water from the Arkansas River, which reduced water flow and thereby diminished land values. The argument escalated to the U.S. Supreme Court. This presentation will tell the dramatic story and legacy of Kansas v. Colorado, a legal fight that continues to this day.

James Sherow teaches Kansas and environmental history at Kansas State University. He has authored books and articles about people living in the region, including “The Grasslands of the United States: An Environmental History,” and John Charlton’s and his award-winning “Railroad Empire Across the Heartland: Rephotographing Alexander Gardner’s Westward Journey.”

“The U.S. Supreme Court justices had never handled an interstate conflict of this magnitude,” Sherow notes. “In attempting to settle the issue, Kansas-born Justice David Brewer handed down a decision that has guided all interstate water suits from 1907 to the present.”

“Kansas v. Colorado” is part of the Kansas Humanities Council’s Water/Ways Speakers Bureau, featuring presentations and discussions that focus on the numerous relationships between people and water — how it shapes our history and traditions and impacts our daily life. Boot Hill Museum hosts the Smithsonian Institution’s Museum on Main Street exhibition Water/Ways Sept. 30 through Nov. 12.

For more information about “Kansas v. Colorado,” contact Boot Hill Museum at 620-227-8188. For more information about KHC programs, contact the Kansas Humanities Council at 785-357-0359 or visit online at

Source: 3i Show

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