As a Colorado kid, I grew up water skiing on Boyd Lake in Loveland and skiing throughout the winter season. Back then, water seemed so magical and plentiful.
Today, that same extraordinary substance is at risk. This is problematic for two reasons. One, snow supports Colorado’s ski industry that creates $4.8 billion in annual economic benefit for the state.
Second, as fundamental as snow is for skiing, it is also Colorado’s most important source of water. Unfortunately, researchers at the University of Colorado’s Western Water Assessment found that snowpack in Colorado, Wyoming and Utah could decline by 10% to 20% by midcentury if warming trends continue. Reduced snowpack results in diminished streamflows and a shrunken water supply, which is exacerbated by increased population growth and a longer growing season due to climate change.
As concerned Coloradans, what can we do? We can learn where our water comes from and take action to ensure it can meet our needs today and for future generations. Go to Water22.org to commit to 22 simple actions, like taking a shorter shower or fixing household leaks, to protect water quality and conserve more than 22 gallons of water a day. This equates to 8,000 gallons of water a year per person — nearly 48 billion gallons a year for Colorado.
I strongly believe that our individual actions add up. Need a stat to give you some faith? Denver Water brought water use in its service area down to the same levels as the 1970s in the past five years due to conservation efforts despite adding nearly a half million people to the population.
Let’s look to the future and leave our children and grandchildren the opportunity to fully benefit from the lifeblood of our state, the way we have had the privilege of doing.
Jeremy Bloom is a two-time Winter Olympian and 11-time World Cup gold medalist. He is also
the Founder/CEO of Integrate and Founder of Wish of a Lifetime.