Series: Curious Colorado

KUNC's Colorado Edition: Five Years Later

Sep 14, 2018
Courtesy of Kerry Grimes

On this week's Colorado Edition, we're doing something a little different. It's been five years since the September 2013 floods that brought devastation to many Colorado communities. We take a look back at what happened, and at how communities are recovering today.

Michael Forsberg

In June KUNC posed a Curious Colorado question to listeners: "Are you a teacher - or do you know one - who has to get a summer job to make ends meet? Share your plans with us."

Kery Harrelson, the IT Director for East Grand School District in Granby, Colorado, responded, saying he 'crisscrossed' the Continental Divide.

His summer break essay follows:

Over my summer break I walked about 180 miles.

I've been the IT Director for East Grand Schools for well over a decade but have worked several side and summer jobs as well. I've been a bellman, a raft guide, freelance computer tech, network engineer and graphic designer. Colorado home prices can be prohibitively high so my side jobs - especially my latest - have been essential in augmenting my income and ultimately allowing me to buy my house.

Pete McBride / U.S. Geological Survey

In 2014, the Colorado River did something it hadn’t done in decades. For a few short weeks that spring, the overdrawn, overallocated river reached the Pacific Ocean.

Instead of diverting the river’s last bit of water toward farm fields, the final dam on the Colorado River at the Mexican border lifted, and water inundated nearly 100 miles of the dry riverbed. It was called the pulse flow, meant to mimic a spring flood.


Courtesy of David Guillen

David Guillen remembers when he learned about Santa. It started with the kids at school.

“It was kind of catastrophic for me,” said Guillen, who was born in Columbia but now lives in Castle Rock. “I remember denying it because I knew that by admitting that there’s no Santa, that I was somehow going to be penalized by not receiving gifts from Santa.”

Eventually though, he said he couldn’t avoid the truth.

“You just kind of hang on as long as you can,” Guillen said. “Until (one day) your parents say, ‘Nope. You know what, you no longer qualify for this colossal lie that you’ve been living your entire life.’”

Luke Runyon / KUNC

We’ve heard it before: The West just doesn’t have enough water to satisfy all the different demands on it. In Colorado, the majority of our water supply comes from mountainous snowpack, which melts each year to fill streambeds and reservoirs.

But could there be another way?