‘The Great Divide’ — a film about water in the west

By Pauline Benetti

Special to The PREVIEW

This Saturday, Pagosans have the opportunity to view an exceptional film about water — “The Great Divide” — a topic much on our minds of late as we watch the disastrous aftermath of pollution in our own rivers and the ineffectual attempts to mitigate the damage.

The title — “The Great Divide” — describes the historical conflict between the preservation and usage of the great Colorado River and the urgent need to bridge that divide with collaborative and sustainable action. Without pointing fingers, producer Jim Havey succeeds in illuminating the issues surrounding the multitude of conflicting demands on Colorado water and the finite nature of that resource.

Through sheer scope, a superb screenplay written by Colorado Book Award winner Stephen Grace, Havey’s own stunning photography, a multitude of interesting interviews, along with the old photographs and maps of Colorado (and the Colorado River Basin), the producer implies the urgency for action.

The film highlights drought as a controlling force in the story of Colorado water. In the 1930s, it gave impetus to the first large -scale efforts to divert water into storage with the Colorado-Big Thompson Project in northeastern Colorado. There followed other massive U.S. Bureau of Reclamation project, the latest being the Animas-La Plata project which many think may well be the last of its kind, as well as state and local project.

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