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TU Releases Short Film on Front Range Water Diversions

by BAA Staff | Updated: 06.25.2011 |


Taking out the cornerstone of the food chain by destroying the water it lives in, will pretty much kill the river web around it. Water demand and diversion is drying up two important ecosystems, meanwhile from Greely to Denver the grass is greener on the other side of the mountain. That is the thrust of a new short film from Trout Unlimited - Upper Colorado: A River on the Brink.

It is hard to imagine justifying taking so much water from a river that you kill it.


When it is framed up that 60% of that water taken is going to water grass, it becomes infuriating to think we are destroying the very world that keeps us alive, in pursuit of a pretty lawn.


According to "Upper Colorado: A River on the Brink" that is exactly what is happening to the North Colorado and Fraser Rivers. On the heels of stories in the Denver Posts regarding the disappearance of insect life on the Fraser, TU has released a short video that summarizes the multiple diversions of water already in place, as well as, two additional diversions that may tap out these incredible ecological resources and a major portion of the economy.


Guides that work on the N. Coloroado and Fraser rivers feel the ecosystems are perilously close to collapse. The reduction of water flow has already had a devastating impact to insect populations as 65% of the native flow has been reduced by trans-mountain diversions. Noticeable declines in the annual Salmonfly, (Giant stonefly) are blatant and stark indicators of how close the rivers are to extinction by stagnation. Taking away the bugs, takes away the fish and everything that depends on those insects for life. Taking away the fishing and the habitat, kills the economy that so many North Colorado towns depend on for survival. I hope we all remember the cheese, mouse, rat and cat in Jack's house, and that right soon.


Over the coming years us “ugly bags of mostly water” will have face the reality, the very thing that keeps us and most everything alive is in very short demand. A litany of books have been released over the past 3 years predicting apocalyptic water decline and "water wars" in our near future. Evidence of the excalating value of water can be seen in its contemproary pricing coming in more expensive than a gallon of gas. Although the media has seized on this important issue as their “fear topic dejour” through their opportunistic feeding on the book tour interview circuit, the question remains will the thumping of this drum have any consequence on a population that defines itself daily by sacrificing tomorrow for our pleasure and convenience today?


As species who depends on water for my life, clean air for my lungs, we should be stupefied how we as Americans can continue to be so short sighted with our resources. You can get involved today by starting in your local area to see the widespread and frequent abuse of clean water in your own backyard. You don’t have to go far to find dozens of ways you and your community can stop abusing this critical resource and save some for tomorrow.


Resources for Clean Water:
American Rivers - American Rivers is the leading conservation organization standing up for healthy rivers so communities can thrive. 

River Network - River Network’s mission is to empower and unite people and communities to protect and restore rivers and other waters that sustain the health of our country.

Trout Unlimited - Today TU is a national organization with more than 140,000 volunteers organized into about 400 chapters from Maine to Montana to Alaska. This dedicated grassroots army is matched by a respected staff of lawyers, policy experts and scientists, who work out of more than 30 offices nationwide. These conservation professionals ensure that TU is at the forefront of fisheries restoration work at the local, state and national levels.