5/19/2017

Reflecting upon the past week in the San Luis valley, the thing that stands out the most is water.  Almost everyone we met with talked about the importance of water in the valley. Many inhabitant’s livelihood depends on agriculture, but the San Luis Valley is a high desert, so the availability and distribution of water is very important.  I was amazed at how invested and passionate the residents of the San Luis Valley are about water.  It was fascinating to hear about river restoration and water use and regulation from Emma and Heather. They both had jobs where they were dealing with water in the valley daily, but I was surprised to find that most everyone that we talked to were equally passionate and knowledgeable about water. Two men in the antique shop in Del Norte were talking about water when I walked in. Chester willingly showed us his irrigation system. Richard de Olivas explained the in depth history of the water access and the acequias. He also stressed how important his family's water rights were even though he doesn’t farm. Ron Real explained how he was waist deep in cold water trying to prevent flooding.  Water and access is deeply connected to the history of people in the valley.  The families that arrived first still have first water rights.  When people in the valley talked about water, it was clear how passionate and invested they were in the land and their home. I could see the deep connection to his home that Ron spoke of. The valley and his home runs deep in his blood and is a crucial part of him, much as water runs through the valley giving life to its inhabitants.