For 135 years, CSU has been a leader in the water arena. CSU shares its knowledge with the world, educating students and some of the most influential leaders on the planet. As one of the world’s top centers of water expertise, CSU offers:

  • comprehensive water research assets spanning all eight academic colleges
  • experience with complex water projects on every continent
  • an innovative and entrepreneurial culture designed to put research to work for the benefit of society
  • a commitment to international partnerships and preparing the next generation of water leaders
Water at Colorado State: From 1882 to 2018, we have 135 years of rich water history at CSU. There are more than 200 affiliated water expert on all 7 continents. The University offers 12 graduate degrees, 9 undergraduate majors, and 7 undergraduate minors in water-related disciplines across all 8 CSU colleges. 20 academic departments offer a total of 182 water-related courses from 202 faculty who study and teach water. There are 44 water organizations, 17 student clubs and groups, and 5 water labs on campus.

CSU can trace its commitment to water to 1883 when Professor Elwood Mead – the man for whom Lake Mead is named – arrived on campus and formulated plans to teach irrigation engineering. Since then, CSU’s reputation as a leader in water research has continued to grow. Other notable moments in our water history include:

  • The Colorado Water Institute was established in 1965. CWI facilitates interdisciplinary study and research with Colorado’s institutions of higher education.
  • CSU’s Watershed Science program was established in 1958, making it the first degree program in the nation to train students in this area of study.
  • CSU launched its international water program in the 1950s, establishing graduate-level water programs at Pakistan’s University of Peshawar. By 1959, CSU had worked to form what is now known as the Asian Institute of Technology.
  • Maury Albertson joined the civil engineering faculty in 1947. Albertson went on to help draft the plan that became the basis for the Peace Corps, which has aided hundreds of water projects around the world.
  • Ralph Parshall, irrigation engineer, developed the Parshall Flume in 1922. Still in wide use today, the Parshall Flume helps regulate water flow and promotes equitable distribution.
  • The USDA established the first hydraulics laboratory on campus in 1912. The lab was used to study and test plans for the Hoover, Grand Coulee, and Imperial dams, along with other dams around the world.

About the Water Center

The Center’s three-year strategic map to strengthen CSU’s water research, education, and engagement activities on and off campus.

Reinvigoration of the Water Center in 2013.