Everybody has gardens. The terraces of all the apartment buildings are covered in potted plants, hanging herb gardens, and prayer flags (don’t get me started on that last one). And the adorable downtown houses are practically drowning in flower-tangles.
But alright, here’s what’s been nagging at the back of my brain, ever since I got here: where is all the water coming from?
In Virginia, we’re supposed to be a lush, humid, water- and flower-soaked region. And it’s sad (even a little heartbreaking, to me) that more Southerners and Appalachians don’t have the free time or resources to have their own gardens. But here in Boulder, this is land of forest-fires, droughts and flash floods. I don’t want to feel guilty every time I turn on the faucet– but I also don’t want to be building a life that is unnatural to the landscape. That would be counterproductive to everything that is healthy, for my own life and for the land where I’m settling in. Not to mention, counterproductive to this blog…
So. It turns out, we’re in the Boulder Creek watershed, which was irrigated by early settlers during the Gold Rush. Given that the city mostly evolved out of the ultimate capitalist-cutthroat phenomenon of the American West, it makes sense that water rights have had a tumultuous history in this city. I particularly like (ahem) the early motto, “you can fool around with my wife, but not with my water rights.” A little problematic, you know.
But here’s the cool thing: Boulder receives about 40% of its water supply from Arapaho Glacier. This is one privilege that I get here– no need to worry about water quality. That tap water comes straight from the snowcaps, dude!
Apparently, you can also hike up a certain mountain here and pay a quarter to fill up a jug from the ice-cold source itself. I’ll let you know when I accomplish that feat (It may be a while).