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Electric Jell-O and dead fish

I love kicking back on my deck and watching the late afternoon sun reflect off the summit of Pikes Peak, while the closer rays play off the waters of the Antero Reservoir.

I love hanging out in Frisco, walking down Main Street and then visiting the library in search of the next great novel.

My two pastimes, however, are being ruined. Since Denver Water started draining the Antero and Dillon reservoirs, I can no longer enjoy my passions.



The Antero Reservoir is fast becoming a mud pit and Dillon has suffered such depletion that walking in Frisco on a windy day is more like trekking through the Sahara Desert than a quaint mountain town.

Since Denver Water decided to drain two of the High Country’s most beloved lakes, the outcry has been loud, but completely ineffective. No matter what the complaint, Denver Water’s official response has been basically the same:



“Tough. The water is ours, and we’ll do what we damn well please.”

This response – for reasons I believe stem from something Freudian involving my relationship with my father – does not sit comfortably with me. So to combat Denver Water’s attitude, I’ve started my own campaign of civil disobedience. When there is injustice in the world, when a people are being bullied, I feel it’s not only our right, but it’s our responsibility to take action. No matter the cost. No matter the smell.

Since the Front Range claims that all the surface water, the water that falls from the free and open sky in Summit and Park counties, belongs to them, I’ve decided to steal some back. Every time it rains I set out an empty plastic bottle. When the bottle is full of Front Range rainwater, I seal it and then I send it to a thirsty child in New Jersey who might never have had the chance to drink fresh Rocky Mountain water.

My other form of protest involves lying flat on my back with my mouth open wide whenever it rains. Then I convert the water I take in into a waste product ready, if you get my drift, for direct distribution to Denver.

Recently, however, I’ve been thinking my efforts are too subtle, and it’s time to crank it up a notch. So I’ve developed a few new, and more direct, ways to strike back.

Just recently, the Colorado Division of Wildlife – or one of those government agencies that feels its need to control the birth process of everything from elk to ants – released tens of thousands of fish into the Antero Reservoir. It did this, of course, before Denver Water informed them it was sucking the lake dry, and now that the reservoir is being drained, well, those fish are going to run out of breathing room.

Of course the government agency is attempting to capture about 40,000 flippered friends before the Antero turns to dust, but the rest will end up as a rotting pile of muck on the bottom of the lake. This, in turn, will leave a wonderful smell and plenty of dead fish for the people of Park County to lord over.

Denver Water might feel this is unfortunate, however, but hey, it’s their water, right? Well, since it’s their water then maybe they should also get the byproduct that comes with it. After all, we wouldn’t let a neighbor leave toxic waste in our backyard would we? So I’m proposing that we load up our Park County trucks – in this case I’ll borrow my sister’s – with tons of smelly muck and rotting fish, and we take the entire mess to Denver Water’s corporate headquarters and “special delivery” it right to the front door.

As for Denver Water’s treatment of Summit Countians, since I can’t find a solution to the endless dust storms created by the draining of the reservoir, I’ve come up with a simple protest.

I figure that with enough grape Jell-O, I could turn the entire lake wiggly.

Then, if we poured tons of grain alcohol into the lake, well, we might not be able to save the water, but before it all flowed downhill, the residents of Summit County would have the greatest electric Jell-O party on earth.

Party on Summit County.

Party on Park County.

Andrew Gmerek is a weekly columnist for the Summit Daily News.


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