The early years in Denver’s water history consisted of great competition for control of the resource. Private companies wanted to gain as many customers as possible. One such company was founded by F.C. Timson, who used water wagons like those pictured to tote spring water to settlers who were less inclined to trust unfiltered tap water.
By the late 1800s, several water companies had fought, collapsed or merged. In 1918, Denver residents voted to buy the Denver Union Water Company and form the municipal agency now known as Denver Water. In doing so, voters created an entity that would operate independently from city government, keeping water service separate from local politics.
Full photo caption from the Denver Water archives: