Hydrate your mind with the best of TAP

When it comes to water, we’re on it. Check out 10 stories you may have missed, hand-picked by our news team.

May 19, 2017 | By: Stacy Chesney

We cover all things water here on TAP. From measuring snow in the mountains and frank talk about water rates to zany TV spoofs and punching toilets — nothing is off-limits.

We asked our trusty team of writers to pick their favorite TAP stories. Here are some of the highlights:

1. A caretaker’s daughter

Spring 1995: Author standing in the rain on the family’s back patio in Waterton Canyon.

This personal essay about what it was like growing up at two mountain reservoirs as the daughter of a Denver Water caretaker is a tale unlike many you’ll hear. Explore the rare and adventurous childhood of Jessica Mahaffey.


2. Why we love juicy flakes (and you should, too!)

A tale of two flakes graphic.

Who knew that not all snow was created equal? This infographic by Kim Unger and Jay Adams breaks down why champagne powder may be great for skiing but not so good for our water supply.


3. A trip underground, into The Twilight Zone

This video parody with Jimmy Luthye takes viewers “into a land of both shadow and substance.”

One of the cool things about working at a water utility is going behind the scenes to see the unique and untold stories about running a water system. But explaining how infrastructure works can be a little dry (no pun intended). This video parody with Jimmy Luthye takes viewers “into a land of both shadow and substance.” You probably just have to see it yourself.


4. Rain drops keep falling in my barrel

Rain barrels infographic

Water connects us all, and talking about water means exploring topics and issues that are bigger than Denver Water. Like capturing rain. For years, people have asked why Denver Water wouldn’t allow them to capture rain and use it for irrigation. And for years, we would explain that it wasn’t our rule, but a longtime Colorado debate tied up with the complexities of water rights. But that changed in August 2016, when rain barrels were officially legalized in the state. Jamie Reddig and Jimmy Luthye created this infographic that shows how using a rain barrel is like operating your own fun-sized water system.


5. Why Denver Water loves snow

Per Olsson measuring snow

Meeting all the amazing men and women who toil 24/7, 365 to keep the water flowing is one of the best parts of telling the Denver Water story. Sometimes that means strapping on snowshoes and trekking high in the mountains to measure snowpack. This Jay Adams video from 2016 remains one of our favorites because caretaker Per Olsson takes you where few have ever been. (For a look at this winter’s snow, check out “Recent storms tie 37-year-old record for water content.”)


6. All in the family

all in the family

Speaking of the people who keep the water flowing, at Denver Water, sometimes that’s a tradition that gets passed down from generation to generation. Our water quality lab is perhaps the best example of this. In this video created by Steve Snyder and Jessica Mahaffey, you’ll meet four employees who followed in their parents’ footsteps.


7. Why Denver water costs more in the ‘burbs

A section of Main Street in Littleton, Colorado.

Providing a clean and reliable water supply for 1.4 million people comes with costs, of course, and no one wants to pay a higher rate than someone else. But Denver Water provides various levels of service around the metro area, so, Kim Unger and Travis Thompson put together this infographic to explain why water costs more in the suburbs.


8. Into the dark, under the Divide and out the other side

The inspection team arrives at the Roberts Tunnel east portal near Grant in Park County.

Part of running a water system that spans more than eight counties across Colorado is making sure it’s safe. That includes detailed inspections of our dams and tunnels. The Roberts Tunnel is an impressive piece of engineering that is nearly as long as the Chunnel in England. Take a claustrophobic journey underground with our cameras in this story and video by Jay Adams.


9. Who says girls don’t do science?

Roshan Kern interviews PAtty Brubaker at Marston Treatment Plant for journey of water story.

When you think of a scientist, do you picture a man or a woman? While women are becoming more common in the fields of science and engineering, that wasn’t always the case. Someone who knows that firsthand is Patty Brubaker, manager of Denver Water’s Marston Treatment Plant. Kristi Delynko recounts Brubaker’s experience and advice for aspiring scientists and leaders.


10. An open letter to Jay Z

Rapper Jay-Z performs onstage.

Our list wouldn’t be complete without this little piece that got a lot of attention. It’s not every day you get to take on a rap mogul, but when the opportunity strikes … we take it. Now we know Jay Z didn’t really mean “water is free,” but when he was quoted saying just that, our own Steve Snyder had to respond.


We hope our stories bring you greater insight as well as appreciation for our most precious natural resource. And we’re just getting started. Water providers across the country, including Denver Water, are facing some major challenges, such as aging infrastructure, population growth and climate change. As we develop new and innovative solutions, our reporters will take you along, step-by-step, with stories that inform, explain and yes, even entertain.

Until the next installment …

Got a story idea? Leave it for us in the comments.

2 thoughts on “Hydrate your mind with the best of TAP”

  1. This is the best stuff being written by water pros. I love the edge and the humor and the substance! You all rock.

    Brian Werner

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