Engineered Eden -- Go take it from the mountain -- Water development: the plot thickens -- Dealing in diversions -- A horrifying jigsaw puzzle : the uncertain course of the rivers of empire -- No country for old habits : foothills, two forks, and the revision of the future -- Chipping away at tradition : the riddle of change and continuity at Denver Water -- Conclusion. Turning hindsight into foresight : Denver water as a parable. "Water holds an underexploited capacity to show the connections that tie together distant places and seemingly unrelated groups. This book literally goes to town to spotlight those connections. A Ditch in Time: The City, the West, and Water traces the history of water in Denver, using this case study to explore important and often underrecognized patterns in regional and national history. Energized by a quality of wit and humor rarely encountered in books about natural resources and bureaucracies, and enriched with photographs and maps, A Ditch in Time raises questions of consequence about the complex relationships among cities, suburbs, and rural areas, the crucial role of engineering and shaping the West, and the varying roles of contention and cooperation, litigation and negotiation at work in the control of water. Challenging the habits of mind cultivated by the last century (as this book characterizes it, 'the Era of Improbable Comfort Made Possible by a Taken-for-Granted but Truly Astonishing Infrastructure'), the authors reconnect American citizens to the origins of the natural resources on which they depend."--The rear cover. "Tracing the origins and growth of the Denver Water Department, this study of water and its unique role and history in the West, as well as in the nation, raises questions about the complex relationship among cities, suburbs, and rural areas, allowing us to consider this precious resource and its past, present, and future with both optimism and realism."--Publisher's description.