On Monday, Aspen City Council will vote on whether to go to Colorado water court to prove the city “can and will” build dams on Castle and Maroon creeks. Wilderness Workshop strongly urges council members to abandon the conditional water rights they hold to ensure the city never has the option to construct reservoirs on two of the state’s most iconic creeks.

At the city council work session on Sept. 27, all five council members described how important it was for Aspen to maintain the option of building dams in the last places anyone would rationally consider. All five council members referenced a need to keep these inappropriate reservoirs on the books in case they were needed in the future.

Given the council’s emphasis on the need to keep these reservoirs on the books for some future need, it’s worth looking at that claim a bit more. The city’s argument begins with two reasonable assumptions: population growth will increase the amount of water we use and climate change will make providing that water more challenging. Unfortunately, there was little connection made between these future impacts to our community and the need for reservoirs. There was no analysis of whether water storage would be the best way to meet these challenges or if so, whether these two reservoirs are in the best locations to do so. In fact, there was no discussion whatsoever of the reservoirs themselves.

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