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How much water is really there?

Some people believe the arid San Luis Valley contains an oasis of water below ground. For the past forty years, this claim has fueled something of a gold rush. It's attracted investors, politicians, and entrepreneurs hoping to unlock the allegedly under-used water reserves and funnel it to Colorado's growing – and thirsty – metro areas.

"Water is our most scarce but also most precious resource."

Many people in the San Luis Valley are concerned that if the water goes, so too go the farms, and if the farms go, something has to replace the gaping hole left in the region's economy, not to mention the culture.

"Anytime you have water, water equals conflict."

If water means conflict, but people need it, then what are the options for the communities of the San Luis Valley? Keep their water for the next generation? Or sell their water and potentially loose their livelihoods and cultural identities?

Cindy Medina, Alamosa Riverkeeper
Heather Dutton, Manager, San Luis Valley Water Conservation District
Cleave Simpson, Colorado Senator, District 35

Further Reading

"As Drought Hits Farms, Investors Lay Claim to Colorado Water," Civil Eats, August 10, 2022.

"Douglas County wants to buy and pump in water from San Luis Valley farmers and ranchers. But the region has its own share of water woes," CPR News, March 28, 2022

"Buying and drying: water lessons from Crowley County," The Colorado Independent, July 9, 2015

Episode 1 Transcript

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