To people ranging from conservationists to Aspen residents such as Ruth Harrison, it’s hard to conceive that her city would consider building reservoirs up the Castle and Maroon Creek valleys, one of them within view of the iconic Maroon Bells.

But that’s a strategy the city says it needs to continue pursuing through its recent filing in water court to maintain conditional water rights up both valleys, as it responds to uncertainties that include a warming climate that threatens its existing supplies.

“They’re ruining two of the most beautiful valleys in this country. I mean, they’re just knock-dead gorgeous and they would be ruining it,” said Harrison, a 45-year Aspen resident who taught school for 31 years.

City officials counter that, while there’s no proposal to actually build the reservoirs at this time, it would be irresponsible not to continue seeking to preserve the water rights for what may be one of many approaches for meeting future needs.

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