Two years in Colorado

It's been two years since we moved and had to deal with this:

The truck left on a Monday and we left a day later in what seemed like a race to the finish line in Louisville, Colorado. The truck driver was in a rush to deliver because he wanted to beat a storm in the Rockies as he drove into Utah. He reached Denver as we drove into the driveway of our new home and he would have delivered that night if we had let him. He got back at us by showing up at 7:30 am the next morning, an hour earlier than the appointed time of 8:30 am.
Yup, that's our van and no, I wasn't driving when I took this picture; but our speed was well above 70mph!
Within a week we were hit with a deep winter freeze with record temperatures of 6 and 7 below. Our friends in New Lenox laughed at us because weather had been one of the criteria in selecting the Boulder area. It snows and it gets cold but the sun always comes out and warms everything up making winters seem much milder. Winter blues were the norm in Chicagoland where we didn't see the sun for what seemed like eternity.

But we haven't seen much snow this fall and even though the mountains have received a fair amount, it's less than last year's precipitation. Last year, most of the ski trails were open by the 10th of November. Not so, this year.

Breckenridge on Nov 3, 2006
Is it global warming? Is it human activity? Increasing dust storms now pose a threat to the snowpack. This in turn threatens the fresh waters of the Colorado River, upon which 30 million people depend.
According to a report in NYT, our future could be drying up. While this is distressing, it's a good thing that this type of reporting is actually happening as it results in more awareness of what looms ahead.
Even though the US uses less water than it did 25 years ago, we need to do more. We need to start reusing and recycling water, something they do at Burning Man every year. In the state of Colorado, this is not simple because of the way in which water rights are structured (first in time, first in right). Perhaps it's time to start installing low-flow home appliances or converting our appliances to use less water. We could reduce the amount of potable water that goes straight down the drain by using several of the methods outlined in this article. We could each start with small baby steps and work towards a larger and greater goal.

15 comments:

Kitt said...

Oh, Chicago winters are brutal. Even the nastiest weather in Colorado can't measure up to that cumulative misery.

Thanks for the water article. I know someone who disconnected his kitchen drain entirely, putting buckets under to catch what he used and watering the garden with it. That's a little extreme, but laudable.

Srivalli said...

Thats nice to read. In India, we always do Rain water harvesting. At least in Madras, every house has to be certified that it is rain water harvested one, but talking about using kitchen drain water is quite in these parts!...we have to preserve water which is so precious!...thanks for the article.

sunita said...

Beautiful read...we take so many things for granted..just pausing for a while makes one realise how we are messing around with the environment.

Rajitha said...

nice article manisha..it is imp to bring awareness on global warming..but i sometimes feel the stars who promote it seem hypocritical in their ways and the message can be enforced to the masses in an effective way thru a sincere speaker...as for cold weather..i am lucky coz i love winters..from fall to spring i am a happy camper..totally unhappy in summer!!

indosungod said...

Manisha, very well written. In this century, wars would be fought over the new Gold WATER and not Petroleum!! Teeny weeny bit each of us can do for instance even reducing the pressure on the faucets and showers around the house can conserve a lot of water.

bindiya said...

I really liked the pics,especially the one of the car wheel, nice write up Manisha

Anita said...

I read the whole 10-page article... If only our leaders too would read the writing on the wall, and desist from looking at the narrow strip of the Yamuna floodplain as real estate...They are building the Commonwealth Games Village there (andcalling it the Green Games!)...the only place that recharges some water for Delhi.

When I tell people that I want to leave Delhi before the water runs out, they laugh at me...

Anita said...

BTW - in our undergoing house expansion, we have built a recharge pit to soak up all the rainwater runoff from terraces and roofs...

Manisha said...

Kitt, the four seasons are so much more enjoyable here. We used to feel holed up from Labor Day onwards when the weather turned blustery. The poor air quality didn't help either. That 10 page article takes a lot of digesting, doesn't it? I catch the water from the shower in a bucket and water my yard with it - the trees in winter. The open buckets of water also help with raising humidity in the house while we argue about who will step outside and do the honors. I'll bet that friend of yours does not have children in the house! We'd see the buckets overflowing on a regular basis! I wish we could equip our homes with some system that uses water from the kitchen and the bath to water the yard. Then we wouldn't be using so much potable water over summer for that purpose! Luckily our yard is small and the only reason I keep the lawn is that it reduces the dust and generates a lot of oxygen.

Srivalli, rain water harvesting is not always legal. In Colorado, if we harvest rain water that would have replenished a water source, we have to ensure that we replenish it instead. Do read the article. It's about the Western US but it can be applied to any rapidly expanding region in the world.

Sunita, it's time to stop paying lip service and do something. And it needs to start at the grassroots. That is when the momentum can be used to change laws and legislation.

Rajitha, the awareness of global warming is there; it's impact? Perhaps not. We tend to desensitize ourselves because we are comfortable in our lives today. Look at how weather patterns are changing. My friend who lives on the shore north of Boston has been taking her kids to the beach to play even in November. It's unheard of.

The world we live in is hypocritical. It takes a celebrity to spout words we have already heard for it to get to us. Many people will do because a celebrity does. Personally, I think it's better that than nothing. Look upon it as that celebrity's carbon credit instead of focusing on how that celebrity lives.


ISG, you're absolutely right! Water is the new gold! Australia is making strides in harvesting grey water. Maybe we have a lot to learn from them!

Bindiya, that is one of my favorite pics! Our van reflected in the wheel of a semi. And semis is all you get on the long 1100 mile drive from Chicagoland to Colorado!

Anita, I knew you would read it through to the end!

We really do need you here! I wish we could build a recharge pit or even use rain barrels but it's tricky. We need to get a permit and there are several loopholes. So until then, we do our best to use water wisely. My aim was to move towards xeriscaping my yard. I now have several native plants and drought resistant plants in my yard but my lawn is still the needy Kentucky Blue. I am s-l-o-w-l-y reseeding it with more drought resistant strains but I am not very good at it so it takes longer.

bee said...

i read that by 2020, 36 states will be in full-blown drought. the mainstream media does not want to report it or simply does not care. we can already see it hee with the rationing of water for our yard.

last year, the ski resort here had no snow beginning march. it was scratchy and awful.

musical said...

Very powerful writing, Manisha! i recently saw a shower head design with a quick on-off button, so it helps save water. Ah! the good old desi balti-lota style of showering! and i agree with Anita about the scene in New Delhi.

raks said...

I thought I was the only one from Colorado who read the Blogs on line. Welcome to colorado I know its been two years I have been here nearly 12 years. I love your web site.

Rakhee

Treehugger said...

Hello, I really like your site. Here in Georgia, we are doing what we can to conserve water, and literally praying for rain.

Our Governor prayed for rain on the steps of the Capital today. Our water supply is about to dry up in the next few months.

Please stop by my food blog and say "hi". I link to your site, now.

Katherine
www.katherineskitchen.squarespace.com

Pelicano said...

There are noticable climate changes here too Manish- lots of people are talking about it lately as the grass is still green, and usually isn't this time of year...

Love the wormwood/absinthe pic!

Manisha said...

Bee, it might be earlier than that. The Ogallala Aquifer is drying up and that will adversely affect a lot of states, including Colorado.

Musy, if you find a link to that design, please send it to me. I wonder though...will I be able to reach it! I had to get the showerhead in one of our bathrooms changed cos I couldn't reach it even when I stood *on* the bathtub.

Raks, thanks! Sometimes I feel like we have been here forever, other times I feel like I don't know anything. We've made some very good friends and settled into a very active neighborhood, which helps! Hope to see you around more!

Treehugger/Katherine, I've been following the drought in Georgia and I can only hope that it is *not* a sign of times to come. :-(

Pel, is that what it's called? Wormwood or absinthe? I had no clue but it is very pretty.

I wish there were an easy solution to all this but hard times may befall us earlier than we think.