Letter: Colorado not safe from drought | AspenTimes.com

Letter: Colorado not safe from drought

California’s recent drought restrictions have been widely covered and brought much-needed attention to the ongoing drought in California and the West. While these restrictions are a big step in the right direction, they seem somewhat minor when considering the larger issue. We need to change our assumption that water is abundant and at our disposal and must realize across all sectors that it needs to be conserved and protected if we want it to last.

The Colorado River serves more than 30 million people in seven states and Mexico. Six of those states, including Colorado, are among the seven driest states in the country. A number of tributaries and sections of the Colorado River itself are listed as some of the most endangered rivers in the country. This year, Colorado snowpack is at 69 percent of average, and southwestern Colorado basins are dropping to 55 and 58 percent of average. In a state with a large farming community, we should be concerned by these numbers. Though we are high in the mountains, we are not in the clear, and if present weather conditions continue, these shortages will be seen by millions of people in the region.

This is not a political issue, it is a human issue. Water is our most scarce resource; more than land, more than oil. Every person on this Earth has a stake in the freshwater resources, and while Colorado is a small fraction of that, we can make a large impact and set an example for the rest of the West and the country. This is a major issue that we need to address before we’re in the same beached boat as California. In the next 100 years, the only complaint of having too much water will be that in the oceans. Too much fresh water does not exist. We need to face the stark realities affecting our state, country and world. Our current way of life is not sustainable, and without change, this is only going to get worse.

Austin Owen


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