Water shapes our institutions and communities, creating landscapes and important parts of our cultural heritage. A long-term perspective is valuable for highlighting past techniques for managing water, but equally important are conversations with current water users that can pair past and present water heritage. The Water Heritage Anthropological Project investigates how water has shaped communities over time using archaeological, geospatial, ethnographic, and archival data. As part of the research process, we create widely available products to educate and collaborate with the public about this history. This long-term perspective of water heritage in the western U.S. seeks to preserve and integrate precontact and historic materials, and to derive insight for contemporary water challenges.