William Rist was born on April 13, 1853, in Pennsylvania, and moved to Fort Collins in 1881. In addition to working as county surveyor, Fort Collins city engineer, and Division Engineer for Irrigation Division No. 1 of Colorado (appointed in 1904), he was also engineer for Larimer County Ditch Company. He had just completed an inspection of the Chambers Lake dam before it burst on June 8, 1891. When the company reformed as Water Supply and Storage Company, he remained a company engineer, and worked on the Skyline Ditch project, begun in July of 1891. In 1902, he and John McNabb filed on a site to construct Joe Wright Reservoir at Cameron Pass. The two men constructed this storage facility for Mountain Supply Ditch Company between 1905 and 1908. McNabb and Rist collaborated again in 1903 to file for a water rights claim for a snow ditch at the top of Cameron Pass. The men constructed the resulting Michigan Ditch between 1904 and 1906, when they transferred rights to Mountain Supply Ditch Company.[1. Stanley R. Case, <i>The Poudre: A Photo History</i> (Bellvue, CO: Stanley R. Case, 1995), 214, 221, 236; Ansel Watrous, <i>History of Larimer County Colorado</i> (The Old Army Press, 1911), 385; Norman Walter Fry, <i>Cache La Poudre: “The River” As Seen from 1889</i> Second Printing, 21.]