1982: We win the water war
May 16, 2011
VAIL – The world did not end in 1982, despite the predicted apocalypse in the book, “The Jupiter Effect.”
But, we did what we always do when we’re faced with our imminent demise: Vail had a huge party.
The world was supposed to be flooded, according to “The Jupiter Effect,” so of course the favored attire was scuba masks.
We would not have needed those scuba masks or any other aquatic gear if the cities of Aurora and Colorado Springs had gotten their way. They wanted to divert a whole mess of water out of the Holy Cross wilderness area and down to the Front Range, where it would be used to irrigate the bluegrass lawns planted in their semi-arid environment, and for the water grabbers to dilute perfectly good whiskey.
Aurora and Colorado Springs said they could take wilderness water from the Holy Cross area because, get this, they say they can. They’re home rule cities and there’s nothing in their home rule charters that says they cannot divert zillions of gallons of water from someone else’s county and into their own. They said this in a clear and steady voice, just like it was their native language.
Well, Dick Gustafson was an Eagle County commissioner and he was so mad that the issue practically made him bilingual. He said all sorts of stuff, mostly in English and profanity, the two languages most local folks were using to describe the attempted water grab.
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Eventually, the whole thing ended up before the U.S. Supreme Court. The nation’s High Court issued a ruling in favor of Eagle County that asked Aurora and Colorado Springs, in effect, a simple multiple choice question:
1. Are you nuts?
2. Or what?
The water stayed, and so did lots of people, to the delight of some folks and the dismay of others. In February, a study shows that Vail is 72 percent built out.
And speaking of folks just passing through, the Hell’s Angels rolled through on the fourth day of their 10-day World Run. A good time was had by all, and everyone behaved, which wasn’t always the case around Vail in those days.
Staff Writer Randy Wyrick can be reached at 970-748-2935 or firstname.lastname@example.org.