As I sat on an airplane, leaving the family that needs me, to the job that also needs me, I pondered the irony that a woman so concerned with climate change is sitting on an airplane, spewing CO2 into the stratosphere.
A window seat in an airplane between LAX and DEN is also a good time to reflect about the water cycle.
|Our familial home is down there, as is DD's school and DH's lab.|
It turns out, that it is not quite so simple.
The Colorado River, originating west of the Continental Divide, used to drain into the Pacific Ocean. But it hasn't for decades, because all of the water was used and reused until it peters out in the inland deserts of California (to grow alfalfa to grow cows to feed people.)
|Somewhere over the Four Corners area. Not sure if this is the Colorado River or a tributary.|
Beginning in 1957, with the opening of the Colorado-Big Thompson Project, trans-basin water diversions were moving water from the western side of the Continental Divide to the eastern side. Without this water, the massive population growth of the Colorado Front Range wouldn't have been possible.
|Trans-basin water diversion map.|
Visit the Northern Water Annual open house and conservation gardens fair next Saturday, May 21, 2016. Walk this scale model of the Colorado-Big Thompson and Windy Gap projects that deliver *half* of the water used by the Northern Colorado member communities (including Boulder.) It's awe-inspiring to think about the amount of work that it takes to bring this volume and mass of water across the harsh alpine environment.
My favorite part is this landscape sculpture, which allows me to walk the journey of my Colorado tap water from mountain-top through tunnels, pipelines, and reservoirs. It makes the monumental intimate.
|Landscape art that makes this huge engineering and social project intimate.|
Many, many Front Range nurseries set up booths at the fair to sell Colorado native plants that are rarely sold at commercial nurseries. It's one-stop shopping for people who grow native and low-water gardens. Plants, education, ideas and support from Colorado Extension master gardeners.
Whether I am in Boulder, Colorado, or in Los Angeles, the two parts of my life depend on the mighty* Colorado River.
* Anything that can carve the Grand Canyon and all the minor canyons you see here deserves the adjective mighty. Anything that can bind my torn heart also deserves the adjective mighty.