Clearing up the murky water |

Clearing up the murky water

Clearing up the murky water

As water managers, we try to stay out of politics. However, after reading some of the confusion surrounding Aspen’s water rights, we felt compelled to provide some clarity.

Water issues are often complex, contentious and emotional, especially in Colorado. Managing a scarce resource can involve difficult compromises to protect our community while respecting the natural environment. City Council recognized this delicate balance by unanimously voting to retain our storage rights on Maroon and Castle Ccreeks, while also directing staff to work collaboratively with our community to seek less environmentally impactful solutions to dams.

It is vital that our community protect its water supply — now and into the future. To accomplish this, unpleasant realities, such as climate change, cannot be ignored. The city has recently engaged industry experts to determine our community’s vulnerability considering the most recent climate change predictions — which are more dire than those developed just a few years ago. Even without a changing climate, our community is currently vulnerable to system disruptions as it has minimal water storage.

Aspen’s legal rights for storage in Maroon and Castle creeks have been a part of our integrated water system since 1965. To maintain these rights, Aspen must file diligence applications with water court every six years through a public process. These rights are not, nor have they ever been, secret.

In City Council’s deliberations about the most recent filings, council directed staff to go even further than the court’s required public notification by implementing a transparent process to engage citizens and stakeholders. If you want to work with us on Aspen’s Water Future Plan, send an email to and stay tuned for announcements about the upcoming public process. Your ideas, thoughts and concerns about critical decisions facing our community are essential to protecting our future.


City of Aspen Utilities and Environmental Initiatives

Support Local Journalism

Support Local Journalism

Readers around Aspen and Snowmass Village make the Aspen Times’ work possible. Your financial contribution supports our efforts to deliver quality, locally relevant journalism.

Now more than ever, your support is critical to help us keep our community informed about the evolving coronavirus pandemic and the impact it is having locally. Every contribution, however large or small, will make a difference.

Each donation will be used exclusively for the development and creation of increased news coverage.