Letter: Water supply probably won’t expand
This letter to the editor is in response to the water-rights article in Monday’s paper (“Opposition likely to city’s Castle and Maroon water rights,” Aspen Daily News, Aug. 8):
In today’s political and eco-environmental climate, I think it is very unlikely that any storage vessels will be built in the rivers in Pitkin, Garfield and Eagle counties. The city should try to perfect its conditional water-decree status so that as slim as the chances are, it still has a possible option to create storage at some future date.
The opposition seems to know a magic formula for alternate sources of water for urban development in the Aspen area. It does not specify these alternative sources because they do not exist. The alternative to water shortage at some future date is to ration water to existing users and future users or deny any future development. Use of municipal water supply is not like multiple bathers taking a bath in the same water. The water is consumed and is returned by way of sewage. In the greater metro area of the Denver Basin, sewage-water recycling is common. I doubt that Aspen can or will develop sewage-flow recycling because it is very expensive, and like the current litigation, it would be opposed by the know-it-all pundits.
Dams are being studied for the lower Colorado River near Grand Junction, but even these studies do not anticipate large storage for municipal use. The current proposals, such as “water banking” (without storage reservoirs), are proposals that have failed any test of reality in the lower Arkansas River Basin since 2001. That is in an agricultural environment that has multiple senior water rights irrigating large farms. There is no comparable setting in the Roaring Fork Valley and no possibility of finding consumptive-use water available for conversion to municipal use.
This is a lot more than you asked for, but, in my opinion, there is little likelihood of expanding Aspen’s water supply for the future.
Kenneth A. Baker
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