‘The Great Divide’ coming soon

By Pauline Benetti

Special to The PREVIEW

As water flows through Colorado, it writes much of the state’s history on its journey. This latest chapter, the horrific contamination of the Animas River and its journey downstream to the Colorado River, shocked and dismayed us all. We are forced to contemplate again — for all of our vaunted technologies — our profound inability to preserve the only home we have.

The theme of water continues in Denver filmmaker Jim Havey’s documentary, “The Great Divide,” coming to Pagosa in September. The film captures the complexity of water history, its culture and the law.

Without pointing fingers, Havey succeeds in illuminating the issues surrounding the multitude of conflicting demands on Colorado water and the finite nature of that resource.

The film’s journey is long and winding, as are Colorado rivers. It takes us from the ancient Puebloan cultures through the San Luis Peoples Ditch (the very first diversion built in 1852) to gigantic U.S. Bureau of Reclamation (USBR) projects to the Animas-LaPlata project (perhaps the last big USBR project) and on through the thorny thicket of water allocation, into the tensions between environmentalists and developers, through the droughts of the ‘30s and the more recent aftermath of the 2002 drought and more.

The purpose of the journey?

Havey explained, “Our goal for this film is to raise public understanding and appreciation of Colorado’s water heritage and we hope to inspire a more informed public discussion concerning the vital challenges confronting our state and region with increasing urgency.”

The film will be shown on Saturday, Sept. 12, at the Liberty Theatre in Pagosa Springs at 3 p.m.

The event is sponsored by the Geothermal Greenhouse Partnership, the San Juan Water Conservancy District, the Southwest Organization for Sustainability, the Water Information Program and the Weminuche Audubon Society.