May 2010

Water, Water, Everywhere?

Bravo to Patrick Doyle and Natasha Gardner for their summary of water in Colorado ["Dry Times," April]. Colorado residents have an obligation to learn where their water comes from and what trade-offs are involved in getting it to them. "Dry Times" is a good primer that I hope will inspire people to learn more. There are many ways for Coloradans to become involved in the water decisions of their communities—join a nonprofit watershed group, volunteer for the city water board, or attend local basin roundtable meetings. There are passionate "water people" in all corners of Colorado working to help our state meet its current and future needs in a sustainable way.
Nicole Seltzer
Executive Director, Colorado Foundation for Water Education, via e-mail

"Dry Times" does a great service in providing information to the people of Denver and the Front Range about where their water comes from. This type of information is needed if we are going to solve the water-supply problems facing Colorado. That said, the article is remarkably one-sided in its discussion of the problem. You largely left out the rivers themselves and the water needed to maintain ecologic function and environmental health. You make the comment, "Right now, we have enough water for everyone—for the cities, farmers, ski resorts, fishermen, rafters, manufacturers, and energy producers." This isn't entirely true. The Upper Colorado and Fraser rivers have been heavily diverted for many years and are on the verge of ecologic collapse. Additional diversions, coupled with a drying climate, will only exacerbate this situation. As you note, the major diversions take most water during the high flows of spring runoff. Unfortunately this has the effect of condemning the rivers to a permanent low flow. Without sufficient flows needed to remove sediment and mobilize the stream bed, the river will eventually choke on its own debris. Low flows also mean higher temperatures, which can be fatal to both fish and the insects they depend on. A "flatline" river eventually ceases to function as a river and dies. A recent study by the Division of Wildlife indicates that this is happening on the Upper Colorado.
Ken Neubecker
President, Colorado Trout Unlimited, Carbondale

High Times

I read with interest your recent article "Reefer Madness" [March]. I was wondering why there was no discussion about the paucity of evidenced-based studies that marijuana has any medical benefit. Just what "illness" does this treat? From the ads I am seeing, it treats just about everything. You also don't comment on the "other side," meaning that there is a risk. You mention the addiction to alcohol, of which there is no dispute, but you don't mention the same about marijuana. Even current gambling ads mention an addiction aspect and where to get help. As a physician I am seeing an increased number of substance abusers, new to Colorado, who moved here to have easier access to marijuana. They have their medical license yet no medical illness. I would encourage another article looking at the other side.
Robert M. House M.D.
via e-mail

Honoring the Mighty Bison

I totally loved your article "Soul Food" in the April issue: real, concrete, touching. Excellent balance of respect for the living and appreciation for the sacrifice and the satisfaction and nurture that are the final result. Thanks for the great read.
Rollie Wesen
via e-mail

The Price of Justice

From a literary perspective, Lindsey Koehler's article on the Thompson trial was absolutely terrific ["Gone," February]. As an attorney, I spend most of my days writing lengthy persuasive documents and take great satisfaction in reading well-written works of others. Koehler's article was nothing short of just that. I used to practice criminal defense law and have seen my fair share of brutal acts of hatred. However, I've always been a person for whom such detail does not take an emotional toll. This article elicited all kinds of emotions in me. I can't get over the part about the little girl sticking her tiny fingers out of the closet door, entirely unable to understand the terrible world around her.
Joshua P. Goeschel Esq.

Randy Hansen's pursuit of justice for Aaroné Thompson is a prime example of the dedicated police officers who bring justice into our courtrooms every day. Through their commitment, they choose to represent the silent among us, giving voice to that silence. I admire their effort in the battle for justice, but few of us think of the highly emotional cost this pursuit for justice requires of these detectives and their families. As a military wife, I acknowledge the cost of serving and give a simple thank-you to Hansen.
Barbara A. Novey