Uses of Ditches: Then and Now

Uses of Ditches: Then and Now


In Boulder's early days, ditch water was primarily used:

  • for agriculture
  • for industry
  • for household water
  • as a public amenity

The USES of ditch water have stayed the same. The USERS have changed.

Hay was the 19th century equivalent of petroleum: It kept the transportation system going. In 1859, Marinus Smith sold a wagon-load of hay to miners in Black Hawk for the princely sum of $400.

Right: Loaded mules on a snow covered slope going toward Nellie Mine. Huge amounts of feed were needed by animals supplying the mining district in Boulder's early days.  Photo courtesy Carnegie Branch Library for Local History, Boulder CO.

Far right: Today, water is still Liquid Gold. Through a complicated water transfer, Eldora Mountain Resort uses Howard Ditch water for snow-making. Photo by Ken Papaleo (c) The Rocky