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Do you know where your water comes from?

May 20, 2008

IMG_1071, originally uploaded by

As people become more aware of the interconnectedness of the environment and the implications of our actions they are also starting to question the quality of the air, dirt and most especially water. Humans can live about three weeks without food but only 3 days without water (and in case you were wondering 3 minutes without air). So do I think more people are aware of what’s in their water? Yes, I do. However, I don’t think many people take the time to actually seek out where their water comes from and see for themselves the state it is in. Chemicals and filtration processes can do a lot but can they clean everything out? Probably not.     

We didn’t start out today trying to research the location and quality of our water source. Instead we stumbled on it while taking a trip to the summit of Pikes Peak. We have lived in the Springs for almost a year and have never taken the time to see the view from 14,100 feet above sea level. It cost $10 per person or $35 per vehicles (pets by the way are free and we did take our Jack Russell, Emily, with us). But if you go to the Pikes Peak website you can print off a coupon to save $2 through 31 December 2008. 

The view was great and I would much rather summit a mountain then hit an amusement park. Personally I found the thrill and beauty of nature more satisfying. Not to mention the “world famous donut” we got at the top.


You know you want one! As donuts go it was a rather simple fried donut that definitely had some cinnamon among other things in it.

We realized that we were going to pass three of the Colorado Springs reservoirs on our way while looking at the handy pamphlet from the Park Rangers. Since we were going to be passing them anyway and we did pay $18 to get access we decided to take some time to scope them out.

Apparently “Nearly 75 percent of our water comes directly from snowmelt near the Continental Divide, making our customers primarily first-time users of the water. Being first-time users means that the water has not been previously treated, consumed and recycled for use; therefore, it is free of many chemicals and pollutants.” I found this information on the Colorado Springs Utilities website. The water comes from 25 reservoirs throughout the mountains. If the ones we saw were an indication of the others it’s a pretty reassuring site. I doubt they are as free of chemicals and pollutants as we would like to believe but compared to some of the rivers that water is drawn from in the Northeast US we are doing pretty good. It’s also very sustainable since we get a lot of snow in these parts. But it isn’t a perfect system, in fact there are already signs that usage and global climate change are shrinking these reserves. The water in the reservoirs on Pike Peak were at least six feet below their usual levels. 

The overall dryness of the area is one of the major reasons we want to relocate. I’m from the NE and J. is from the NW so we are both used to humidity and rolling green farmland. Of course if we do relocate then we will probably be drinking from dirty rivers too.

If you get the chance you should check out your water source. We all need a higher level of awareness about what we are consuming and what it takes to make it fit for consumption.

2 Comments leave one →
  1. May 20, 2008 5:31 pm

    We in the N. California also relies on snow melt to supply our water. We are on a 6 month wet and 6 month dry cycle. When the 6 wet months don’t get very wet, like 2007, our reserve goes down greatly.

    The Sierra Nevada mountain range also supplies S. California, all the way to San Diego. It gets more expensive the more south water has to travel. In fact it becomes so expensive when it reaches San Diego, they are consiering the desalination option.

    My in-laws live in North Carolina. This year, they are having water shortage as well. There is a ration for watering lawns.

    Seattle? Portlant? The pacific northwest seems to be consistently wet, so far.


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