Letter: What’s the dam issue? | AspenTimes.com

Letter: What’s the dam issue?

Would anyone really dam Castle and Maroon creeks? Would anyone flood priceless wilderness and deprive the valleys’ ecosystems of water vital to their flora and fauna? Apparently yes. But why?

City Council and staff claim they only want to keep water rights alive. But if those rights are for creating huge reservoirs in our pristine valleys, then keeping them alive means only one thing: The city would really damn (irresistible pun intended) those valleys.

City Council and staff know as well as anyone how important those valleys and ecosystems are to our lifestyle and tourism. They know as well as Ward Hauenstein knows (he wrote about it in a letter to the papers this week) that Aspen’s population isn’t growing and won’t grow, so our water demand won’t grow. If they don’t anticipate an increase in water demand, they must anticipate a decline in water supply. In other words, they believe climate change will desert-ify the planet and we’ll run out of water. In fact, that’s the explanation the city has given for maintaining the rights.

The groups opposing the city seem to share the city’s grim climate predictions. But if the city and its opponents agree on the future, why do they disagree on the water rights? In their mutual climate future, Castle and Maroon creek valleys will already have been decimated by the predicted climate catastrophe. In fact, there won’t be much to attract tourists or even residents. We would experience a tourism and population decline and a decline in water demand, obviating the need for reservoirs. On the other hand, if for some reason we still have enough tourists and residents to require reservoirs to meet water demand, building them won’t have much effect on the ecosystems because there won’t be that much left to despoil.

So what are they fighting about?

Maurice Emmer


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