The Big Tom

A Precious Commodity


A picture of Granby Dam SpillwayWater is a precious commodity in the arid west.

Access to water allows crops, cities and industry to grow. In Northern Colorado water from the western slope of the Continental divide provides supplemental water to 72,000 acres in the South Platte River Basin, Provides power to the towns of Longmont, Loveland, Boulder, Fort Collins, Greeley, Fort Morgan and Sterling.

In the 1930’s water users in north east Colorado banded together to lobby for a large water diversion project. In 1937 Congress appropriated an initial $900,000 for the Colorado Big-Thompson project or “Big Tom”



Construction on the Colorado

 The Big Thompson project was temporarily put on hold when World War II started as most able bodied men were involved in the war. After the end of WWII, construction started again in earnest on the Colorado-Big Thompson project. In 1946 the Bureau of Reclamation developed plans to construct 100 “two-bedroom Prefabricated Portable, and Demountable Houses” to be installed at the Estes Park, Fort Collins, and Shadow Mountain Government Camps.

  Learn more about the construction of the Colorado-Big Thompson Project