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Aspen’s 50-year water plan could include a year’s worth of emergency water storage

Brent Gardner-Smith
Aspen Journalism
The upper Maroon Creek flows toward Aspen, which relies on water from both Maroon and Castle creeks for almost all of its municipal water supply.

Two years ago, the city of Aspen hired Carollo Engineers, a water-engineering firm based in Denver, to analyze how much water Aspen might need by 2070. On Nov. 22, the firm presented an integrated water resource plan to the Aspen City Council. Predicting that the city’s population will grow about 1.8% annually, the plan says Aspen could experience an average daily population of 68,000 people. So, to ensure that water is available to this growing city, the firm suggests that Aspen store approximately a year’s worth of water for emergency use. Aspen Journalism’s managing editor, Heather Sackett, sat down with Aspen Public Radio reporter Halle Zander to discuss details of the plan, as well as what kind of emergencies could impact Aspen’s water infrastructure and how the city’s conditional water rights could play a role.

Halle is an award-winning journalist and the All Things Considered anchor for Aspen Public Radio. She has been recognized for her work by the Public Media Journalists Association and the Colorado Broadcasters Association. Before she began working full-time with Aspen Public Radio in September 2021, Halle was a freelance broadcast journalist for both Aspen Public Radio and KDNK. Halle studied environmental analysis at Pitzer College. She was an educator at the Aspen Center for Environmental Studies and at the Andy Zanca Youth Empowerment program, where she taught youth radio and managed a weekly public affairs show.