Colorado water takes center stage in new documentary film

‘The Great Divide' gets thumbs-up from Denver Water employees; coming soon to a school, library or DVD player near you.

October 20, 2015 | By: Jay Adams

“Whisky’s for drinkin’ and water’s for fightin’.”

While that familiar expression aptly embodies Colorado’s water history, the full story, of course, is as complicated as the laws that govern our use of water in the state. “The Great Divide” film documentary, released in late August, takes viewers on a trip through Colorado’s water history from early water claims to today’s complex demands.

We published our own review of the film in August, but recently got a chance to speak directly with Jim Havey, director and producer, about it.

“We wanted to take complex information to the public and bring it to them in a way they could understand,” Havey said. “When people understand where their water comes from, they are more likely to protect that resource.”

He hopes bringing this story to the general public will help raise awareness of the intricacies of water and lead to greater cooperation when it comes to tackling tough water issues in Colorado.

To quote our own film review, “A story about the history of water in Colorado wouldn’t be complete without also telling the story of Denver Water, the largest water provider in the state.”

So it’s appropriate that the documentary crew filmed at three Denver Water facilities: Foothills Treatment Plant, Cheesman Reservoir and Strontia Springs Dam.

“One of the most spectacular shots in the show is the Strontia Springs Dam spilling profusely in this high-water year,” Havey said.

Denver Water employees got a chance to watch the movie in October.

“I thought the movie was fascinating and packed with good information,” said Jasper Segal, contract specialist. “I thought it really laid out the challenges we’re going to see play out in the future.”

Randy Musick, water quality specialist, said the movie was filled with great information. “I really enjoyed it. I really don’t have a large background in water rights, so it was really interesting to hear that side of it,” he said.

“I feel what I do is important, and what Denver Water does is important, and I was reminded of that watching the film,” said Amy Ingram, contract specialist.

Damian Higham, recycled water specialist, said the movie is worth seeing for people in the water industry and the general public. “I thought it was great. It had a lot of information the public and [even] Denver Water employees probably don’t know about,” he said.

Havey is proud of the final product and is now on a 10-city statewide tour to promote the film. “I think everyone on our team really did some of their best work, and I think it shows during the film.”

The documentary has been distributed to 2,000 schools and libraries across Colorado, and special screenings are being held in 10 cities across the state. The movie is available for screenings, rental and purchase online.

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