Post Premium: Top stories for the week of June 21-27 The Denver Post

Sunlight tunneled into the room and danced with smoke from Ed Johnson’s cigarette. He sat thinking of his mother.

In 2013, he moved back to the two-bedroom home in Hasty, on the southeastern plains of Colorado, to take care of her. Johnson, 62, remained in the house after her death in 2016.

The home is located at the entrance of John Martin Reservoir in Bent County. The town has a small general store, a post office, a bait shop and a campground that hosts guests visiting the reservoir mostly in the summer months. Several homes, similar in size to Johnson’s, are gridded along blocks of dirt roads that make up the township.

In the 1940s, the Arkansas River was dammed south of town to build the reservoir, a place locals call the Sapphire on the Plains. The reservoir was tied up in a 40-year battle until Colorado and Kansas came to an agreement, in 2019, to provide an additional water source to help keep the levels high enough for recreation and to support fish.

Forty years may seem like a long time to develop a plan to save fish and improve water levels for a reservoir, but southeastern Colorado is used to long fights when it comes to water.

Full story via RJ Sangosti, The Denver Post 

Unclear waters: How pollution, diversions and drought are squeezing the life out of the lower Arkansas River Valley

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