Luke Runyon / KUNC

An old water cliché tells us that “water flows uphill toward money.” It’s an adage born out of people’s frustrations about who benefits when water moves around in the Western U.S., popularized by author Marc Reisner’s 1986 book, “Cadillac Desert.”

Like all persistent folksy sayings, it’s a mix of myth and truth.

But there’s at least one case where it has some validity: the phenomenon known as “buy and dry” along Colorado’s fast-growing, historically agricultural Front Range.

Cassandra Turner / Creative Commons

The price of water within northern Colorado’s largest reservoir system is the highest it’s ever been.

Units of water within the Colorado-Big Thompson (CBT) project have sold for $30,000 and higher in 2018, a new benchmark for the water supply project that began operations in 1957.

“We’ve roughly doubled in the last five years in terms of that cost,” says Brian Werner, a spokesman for Northern Water, which oversees the CBT project. “It’s the development going on; it’s the competition for water supply.”

Matt Bloom/KUNC

Standing at the edge of the Cache La Poudre River in Fort Collins, Boyd Wright adjusted his sunglasses against the bright sunlight. He pointed to the Fossil Creek ditch, a diversion structure dividing the waterway.

New Colorado Sports Complex May Boost Rural Tourism

Jun 1, 2017
Rocky Mountain Sports Park

A $225 million sports complex is expected to be built in the Northern Colorado town of Windsor, about an hour and a half drive north of Denver.

As planned, the Rocky Mountain Sports Park would be home to 60 baseball fields and a 10,000 seat stadium, in the hopes of attracting a minor league baseball team.

Stacy Nick / KUNC

Longmont illustrator Mark Ludy didn’t set out to be “the phone book artist.”

“Well, phone books, that was one of those things that came to me,” Ludy said. “I wasn’t looking to do phone books.”

But five years and more than a dozen covers later, Ludy’s artwork has been featured on the covers of the Front Door Direct phone books for Colorado cities including Greeley, Windsor, Loveland and Fort Collins.

“Their approach of using unique artwork for the covers I thought was brilliant,” he said. “Rather than just stock photography or just the same-old same-old, they made something - a coffee-table kind of thing to have.”

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Recycling options vary for North Colorado residents. Fort Collins and Windsor, for example, offer a combination of city and private options, depending on the recycled material. Greeley was forced to close its downtown recycling center in 2014 because of high operating costs and a lack of participation, but it may be coming back.


That’s what Brad Mueller and the city of Greeley hope to find out. The city has sent out postcards to about a quarter of households to gauge how much people would be willing to pay for better recycling.


Stacy Nick / KUNC

On Nov. 8, voters in Larimer County defeated Initiative 200, which sought to create a Scientific and Cultural Facilities District. However, in Denver, the renewal of their SCFD passed by a wide margin.

Organizers of the failed Initiative 200 in Larimer County vowed to try again in the future.

“I think that it took Denver either two or three times on the ballot to actually pass,” Yes On 200 Campaign Manager Kelly Giddens said.

Wyoming Wants Wind Energy Factory Jobs. Colorado Has Them

Jul 26, 2016
Leigh Paterson / Inside Energy

Wyoming has lost hundreds of coal mining jobs in 2016. In contrast to coal, the renewables industry is growing nationwide. Generation capacity is projected to jump more than 50 percent by 2040, even in the absence of new environmental regulations. With that growth, there's a need for more components like blades and towers to build wind farms.

Wyoming Gov. Matt Mead's long-term energy strategy for the state includes plans to attract this kind of manufacturing. You only have to look to the state's neighbor to the south, Colorado, to find those kind of production jobs.

Courtesy National Christmas Tree Association

It's the time of the year when Katie Abrams sees her Fort Collins neighbors pulling up with real trees tied to car roofs. She feels small pangs of jealousy when friends post woodsy pictures in flannel shirts, cutting down the perfect spruce.

“It all sounds really nice,” Abrams says. “And then once you go out and do it I can just imagine all the steps involved.”

So instead she pulls out the fake tree from the garage. A mentality that terrifies American Christmas tree growers.

Courtesy of Go NoCO

Four new Northern Colorado tourist attractions – including a film center dedicated to horror movies and a Whitewater Adventure Park - will receive $86.1 million from the Regional Tourism Authority. But the work isn't over yet.

Project organizer Go NoCO was approved for the full $86.1 million it asked for from the state's tourism incentive fund. The next few steps will include "guardrails" – conditions from the Colorado Office of Economic Development and International Trade in the agreement, including when certain elements need to be implemented.

"It's been a long haul," said Stacy Johnson, director of economic development for the Town of Windsor and a member of Go NoCO. "We're thankful to the state and the staff for their support and cautiously optimistic as we move forward to create this whole new tourism industry in Northern Colorado."