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The environment desk at Aspen Public Radio covers issues in the Roaring Fork Valley and throughout the state of Colorado including water use and quality, impact of recreation, population growth and oil and gas development. APR’s Environment Reporter is Elizabeth Stewart-Severy.

Aspen makes progress on Castle, Maroon water rights cases

Courtesy of Wilderness Workshop

The City of Aspen is making progress toward settlement in a state water court case regarding storage rights on Castle and Maroon Creeks.


Aspen has filed to maintain its 1971 rights to build reservoirs on those creeks; it faces opposition from 10 organizations, government agencies and individuals.

At a district water court meeting Tuesday, attorney Andrea Benson, who represents the city, said Aspen has come to an agreement with one of the opposing parties, Double R Creek, a neighbor in the Castle Creek Valley.

Benson also said the city has an agreement in the works with conservation groups Wilderness Workshop and Western Resource Advocates; that settlement has not yet been signed. Will Roush with Wilderness Workshop said his organization is involved in this case for several reasons.


“The biggest of which is to protect the ecological integrity of the two valleys, and to make sure that there wasn’t a possibility to build dams across either of the creeks," Roush said. "That kind of remains our biggest goal in this work.”

In response to public feedback, the city of Aspen has been looking into alternative places to store water. The city purchased property in Woody Creek last year that it says could eventually become a reservoir, if it can move the storage rights.

Benson said the goal is to bring three settlements in front of city council for review at the end of May. Aspen will continue working with the remaining seven opposing parties; the next meeting with the water referee is set for June 26.


Aspen native Elizabeth Stewart-Severy is excited to be making a return to both the Red Brick, where she attended kindergarten, and the field of journalism. She has spent her entire life playing in the mountains and rivers around Aspen, and is thrilled to be reporting about all things environmental in this special place. She attended the University of Colorado with a Boettcher Scholarship, and graduated as the top student from the School of Journalism in 2006. Her lifelong love of hockey lead to a stint working for the Colorado Avalanche, and she still plays in local leagues and coaches the Aspen Junior Hockey U-19 girls.
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