On the Fly: Water is our collective lifeblood | AspenTimes.com

On the Fly: Water is our collective lifeblood

Scott Spooner
On the Fly
Anglers in a drift boat fish the Roaring Fork River.
Courtesy of Shannon Outing Photography

Did you know that only 3% of water on earth is fresh, and, of that, 1.2% is available to us as drinking water, and, of that, 0.3% is found in lakes and rivers? Sixty-eight percent of this fresh water is held in glaciers and icecaps, which is an incredible statistic considering how much life on this planet relies on this scarce resource to survive.

We in the West see and feel the stresses of drought in our daily lives — whether it is witnessing wildfire, struggling to water livestock and crops, or spending time on our local trout streams. Anyone who fishes here in the summertime knows the warm-water woes that we and the fish deal with, especially if you’ve been fishing in this valley for a lifetime and have witnessed the changes firsthand.

Colorado is one of the canaries in the collective coal mine in regards to drought; we’ve all heard that the wars of the future very well may be over water — not oil, territory, or turning the rising tide of authoritarianism. Tourism and agriculture drive our local economy — and, in this valley, it all boils down to water in its liquid and solid forms on the slopes, croplands, reservoirs, and rivers. If you’re a farmer, ski instructor, whitewater rafting or fishing guide, your livelihood is determined by the snowpack and summertime water levels.

The only constant in this world is change, and the West is changing so quickly we can see it happening right before our eyes. Collectively, we should all do what we can to reduce our use and perhaps take an extra moment to appreciate those precious days on local rivers. Roderick Haig-Brown said it best: “A river is water in its loveliest form; rivers have life and sound and movement and infinity of variation, rivers are veins of the earth through which the lifeblood returns to the heart.”  

Water is our collective lifeblood, its preciousness should be enjoyed by everyone, and jealousy conserved.

This report is provided every week by Taylor Creek Fly Shops in Aspen and Basalt. Taylor Creek can be reached at 970-927-4374 or TaylorCreek.com.