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A five-part podcast series about the increasing demands on water in Colorado. Explore how the choices we make now could tear us apart, or help us navigate our uncertain future.

        


Episode 1: Liquid Gold

A 40-year-old calculation on the back of an envelope fuels something of a gold rush in Colorado’s San Luis Valley. But instead of gold, the attraction is water. And the plan is to move it and sell it to Colorado’s growing – and thirsty – metro areas on the Front Range.

But how much water is there really? And how do we decide who gets it and who doesn't? 

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Episode 2: A Right

One of the most controversial pieces of real estate in the San Luis Valley isn’t because of anything on it above ground, but because of the water below it. Water is needed for all living things to survive. But it can also be controlled and has been by civilizations for millennia. So how do we decide where the water goes and what it can be used for? 

In order to understand this, we must understand how water rights work.

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Episode 3: Finding Balance

When people learn that 91% of Colorado’s water is used for agricultural purposes, farmers are the first to blame for its overuse. But there’s a lot more baked into this figure than many realize. There are compromises that farmers are making, trying to ensure they are in the black financially while adapting to drought and a changing climate, in order to ensure we all eat.

So as Colorado approaches 6 million people, with most of us living in the Front Range, are people aware of the sacrifices needed to keep up with the growing demand for water?

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Episode 4: Growing Demand

The need to use every drop of water – multiple times over – matters. In Colorado, 80% of the precipitation falls on the western side of the continental divide, but 90% of the population lives to the east, in the Front Range. As the urban corridor continues to grow rapidly, the need for water is even more urgent. And often that water is coming from somewhere else. 

So now we explore the Front Range of Colorado perspective. What are the water needs of a growing city? And is water from the San Luis Valley really the only solution? 

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Episode 5: Searching For Solutions

In this series, we’ve investigated the pressures around water in Colorado – from climate change to population growth to different values – and how they shape the management of this vital resource. But where do we go from here? And how do we change the relationship we’ve had with water historically, to better reflect the realities of our future? Because we should all care about where our water comes from, where it goes, what it’s used for, and the true cost to use it.

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Bonus: Uncertainty and the Future of Water in Colorado

Watch the live panel discussion, Uncertainty and the Future of Water in Colorado, from our 2022 Symposium featuring several guests from the podcast. The panelists discuss key issues and potential solutions for the management, policies, legal frameworks, and climate impacts on water statewide. Featuring Senator Cleave Simpson (District 35), James Eklund (Sherman & Howard), Heather Dutton (San Luis Valley Water Conservation District), and moderated by podcast host Kristan Uhlenbrock. 

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Produced in partnership with