Geothermal Heating and Cooling Can Be Practical and Affordable When Done on a Community Scale

When it comes to “kicking natural gas” and reducing a home’s carbon footprint, geothermal heating & cooling is the “gold standard.” But it’s extremely expensive to implement as a retrofit and still quite expensive on new construction.

My friend, Martin Voelker, a leader with the Colorado Renewable Energy Society, recently replaced his gas forced air heating system with geothermal, and the cost for drilling the 300-foot-deep wells in his backyard was $18,000, which included running the pipes into his house but didn’t include the heat pump itself. Even though such a project would garner a 30% rebate under the Inflation Reduction Act, that’s still a heavy lift for any homeowner.

I know of another home which installed geothermal pipes horizontally in their large backyard at far less cost.

New construction is more affordable, because you can have the wells drilled within the footprint of the future home while it’s still open ground. And if it’s an entire subdivision, such as the Geos Community in Arvada, the cost is reduced because all the wells can be drilled one after the other.

In that scenario, each home still has its own geothermal well, but what if you could drill a geothermal well that was extensive enough to feed multiple heat pumps in multiple buildings?

That was the concept proposed by a group of Harvard students in Ivory Innovation’s annual Hack-A-House competition, for which they won first place in the “Environmental Solutions and Construction Technology” category.

Those Harvard students may have known something the judges didn’t — that Eversource Gas, a Massachusetts utility, had already begun a “networked geothermal” demonstration project 17 miles west in Framingham. That project is featured at, short for Home Energy Efficiency Team, which in 2017 started promoting the concept of gas utilities delivering 55º water instead of gas to multiple buildings from a grid of geothermal wells. (The above graphic is from their website.) Think of it as a 21st Century version of what Con Edison still does in NYC, which is to deliver steam from its central boilers to local buildings through pipes under Manhattan’s streets. But steam, unlike water, can’t be used in the summer for air conditioning.

A local vendor that I recommend for both geothermal and air source heat pumps is Sensible Heating and Cooling, (720) 876-7166.

How Does Geothermal Work?

Geothermal heating does not require the presence of a thermal feature such as a hot spring. In fact, if you dig down about 10 feet anywhere at our latitude, you’ll find that the soil temperature is about 55ºF year-round. Circulating a fluid through underground piping heats that liquid to 55º so a heat pump can then raise its temperature to 100º or so for heating purposes utilizing either radiant floor heating, baseboards or forced air.

Geothermal is far more efficient than an air-source heat pump system which takes in outdoor air as cold at 10 degrees below zero and works much harder to achieve the desired temperature for heating.

In the summer the 55º fluid from geothermal requires far less energy to be cooled further for air conditioning your home.

Connecticut Launches “Green Liberty Bonds” Program to Fight Climate Change

   The Washington Post’s “Climate Coach” recently wrote his column about Connecticut’s program which, like War Bonds (which raised billions of dollars to fight World War II), aims to create a pool of millions of dollars to finance small solar energy systems. Here’s a link to that column. It links to another such program, “Raise Green.”

Environmental Film Festival Expanded My ‘Woke’ Credentials, But That’s a Good Thing – Better Than ‘Unconscious’

I’m writing this column in the immediate aftermath of attending the Colorado Environmental Film Festival. I was only able to watch 20 or so of the 90-plus films featured during the sixteen 2-hour sessions, but I plan to watch others this week. (You can access all the films at for $75, which gives you seven days to view any collection you log into by Sunday, March 5.)

My favorite films were: The Sacrifice Zone; Wings over Water; Heart of Maui; Somehow Hopeful; Earth Girl; The Witness Is a Whale; and A Rally for Rangers.

Many of these films raised my consciousness regarding different issues facing humanity and America, which got me thinking about the term “Woke,” which is applied negatively against those of us with similar awareness of certain issues. In the parlance of the MAGA folks, I’m part of the “Woke mob.”

Obviously, the term is adapted from “awake” or “awakened.” One thing for which we can thank the previous administration is that the division it spawned awakened people like me to portions of our history (and our present) of which we may have been less aware. I’m thinking of books like The 1619 Project and Caste,  which taught me things I did not know about our nation’s sad legacy of enslavement and racism, which are at the heart of America’s “great experiment.” For example, I didn’t realize that the 13th amendment abolished slavery, “except as a punishment for crime whereof the party shall have been duly convicted,” an exception that was exploited throughout the former confederate states by convicting Blacks of petty or false crimes and imprisoning them so that the prisons could lease them to plantation owners to continue their enslavement.

Yes, I’m awake to many aspects of our history to which the MAGA mob is (and would like to remain) unconscious. I’m awake to the environmental injustice suffered by the minority communities close to the Suncor plant in north Denver, which was the topic of a CEFF film. I’m awake to the broken promise of “40 Acres and a Mule” which underlies the calls for reparations to descendants of the enslaved.

I prefer “woke” to “unconscious.”

National Association of Home Builders Reports on What Buyers Want in a New Home

In a February 14 release, the National Association of Home Builders (NAHB) reported that the experience of Covid-19 and mortgage interest rate fluctuations has resulted in homebuyers sacrificing features for affordability. Buyers have also changed the features which they prioritize.

The NAHB reported that the size of new homes increased in 2021 as a reflection of the pandemic’s increase in work-at-home and remote schooling space requirements, but that house sizes fell slightly in 2022, as did the demand for three or more full bathrooms and 3-car or larger garages.

The organization predicts that home sizes will increase this year because of a predominance of wealthy buyers less affected than other buyers by the increase in mortgage rates, but that will change in 2024, if mortgage rates moderate and more buyers reenter the market.

“Home buyers are looking more and more to their homes to provide a sense of well-being,” observed Donald Ruthroff, AIA, founding principal at Design Story Spaces LLC. “They want their homes to support their day- to-day health — physically, emotionally, and mentally,” as quoted in the NAHB release.  

Below is a chart showing the results of an October 2020 survey of 1,240 respondents by John Burns Real Estate Consulting, LLC. The answers were in response to the question, “Which of the following would you require of a home for you to consider it a healthy home.”

Given that the survey was done only six months into the pandemic, it’s not surprising how many responses related to a healthy environment and lifestyle. The survey was done long before the recent brouhaha over the health effects of natural gas cooking and heating, or I would expect “all-electric home” or “no natural gas” to have been among the choices offered to respondents.

The survey results were included in a research report from the New Home Trends Institute.

The release also described a trend toward “biophilic design,” a term that I had not seen previously. Basically, it refers to a preference for natural materials and environment. Lots of natural light and real wood finishes would contribute to such a feeling. It has been demonstrated that exposure to nature and natural home design reduces stress.

In November, 2022, the University of Maine unveiled its 600-sq.-ft. “Bio3D” home made using forest-derived cellulose nano fiber (CNF) technology to 3D print the floor, walls and roof. These modules were then assembled at a site on the UMaine campus. It is a “biophilic” alternative to the concrete 3D-printed homes which I featured in my Nov. 5, 2020, and Dec. 15, 2022, columns, available online at

The site, in a January 2021 article clearly influenced by the pandemic, listed “4  healthy home features that home buyers care about”:

1) Good indoor air quality. This is especially needed in a well-insulated/air tight home, where a suitable appliance would be a Conditioned Energy Recovery Ventilator (CERV), which I wrote about in my Feb. 9, 2023, column.

2) Quiet, soothing bedrooms. The report suggested “thoughtful lighting, better soundproofing” and a nearby “snore room” for the offending or the suffering partner.

3)  Easy-to-clean surfaces.

4) Outdoor recreation areas.  Over three-quarters of survey respondents said they were focusing more on their physical health, and nearly as many (69%) said they’re focusing on their mental health. Exercise addresses both needs.

A September 2022 article on the same website featured a Mississippi company called Modern Mill which uses discarded rice husks to create a wood-alternative building material called “Acre” because one pallet of the product reportedly saves one acre of rainforest. Rice is a major agricultural product in the South, and rice husks would otherwise go to a landfill. Here are a few pictures of the Acre product from used as decking and siding, which, like real wood, can be stained:

NAHB reports a big jump this year in the demand for exterior amenities such as patios, decks and porches. Outdoor kitchens weren’t mentioned but could have been, from my own observation.

Home offices also appeared on the list of most wanted features for the first time this year, again a result of the pandemic.

Donald Ruthroff (mentioned above) noted that by making homes smaller, more money can be spent on details and finishes such as a luxurious bathroom, laundry rooms, walk-in pantries and hardwood flooring.

‘Everything You Need to Know About the Wild World of Heat Pumps’

That’s the title of an article in a February 14th post from MIT

I have written about and provided my own explanations regarding how heat pumps differ from forced air furnaces and traditional A/C systems, but the article cited above goes the extra mile.

If you’ve spent a night in a hotel or motel, you have probably slept in a room that was heated or cooled by a heat pump, because invariably that’s what those units are which you saw and controlled under each window.

In my other post today, heat pumps provide the heating and cooling for every Boxabl home. They are also what heats and cools many electric vehicles, since they require less battery power than conventional electric car heaters.

I was surprised to hear that heat pumps were invented in the 1850s but only started being used to heat and cool homes in the 1960s. It took the global climate crisis and the need to reduce our dependence on fossil fuels to make them the hottest trend in new homes.

Speaking of new homes, however, I lamented as recently as last fall that I haven’t found a single new Denver area home builder which has abandoned gas-based home heating or even offers an upgrade to heat pumps. If you know of one, please tell me, because I’d be happy to promote that home builder in a future column.

The MIT article provides some useful information, including about the rebates being offered for heat pump installations. It also debunks the myth promoted by fossil fuel interests that heat pumps don’t work in colder climates. They are actually in use from Alaska to Maine, where, for example, my sister in Kingfield, Maine, installed a heat pump in her home to save on her fuel oil bill. Her fuel oil vendor told her that the adoption of heat pumps by her neighbors has noticeably reduced his sale of fuel oil in that rural community near the Canadian border.

According to the article, 60% of the homes in Norway are heated by heat pumps, as are 40% of the homes in Finland and Sweden (where another of my sisters lives).

“Wherever you look,” the MIT article concludes, “the era of the heat pump has officially begun.”

The Colorado Environmental Film Festival Is Back Live Next Weekend – Don’t Miss it!

Golden Real Estate has proudly co-sponsored this unique film festival for at least a decade. For the first time since 2020, the festival is back live at the American Mountaineering Center (AMC) in downtown Golden Feb. 23-26, but most of the films can also be viewed online starting the following week.

During the pandemic, the festival (“CEFF”) was only virtual, and I loved it because I was able to see far more films than I could have seen in person.

Meanwhile, if you go online to, you get to read descriptions and view trailers for all 97 films in the festival. Below is a screenshot from that website, showing just three of those films’ thumbnails.

I was particularly drawn to “The Power of Activism,” and look forward to seeing the full 53-minute Australian film about six young women activists out to save the planet. “Purple Haze” is about the purple martin, described as “America’s favorite backyard bird.”

An in-person “all access” pass costs $90 and can be purchased at the same website. The virtual pass costs $75.

As before, the films are organized into 28 “collections” such as the “Activism Collection” (my favorite), each of which can be purchased for $12 if you don’t want to buy the all-access or virtual pass. All the information is on that website. Click on the “Menu” link at the top left of the website to see the various pages with all the information you need to attend the festival.

As in past festivals, there is a free (but ticket required) “Community Opening Night” on the 23rd which includes announcement of the winning films in various categories. It starts at 6 pm in the AMC auditorium and is followed at 7:15 by the screening of seven of the award-winning films, ranging from a one-minute PSA to a couple 23-minute films. I never miss this event, which is held in the AMC’s Foss auditorium. 

Although CEFF is an international film festival, several of the “collections” feature films made by Colorado filmmakers. There are also 16 accessible collections which are either captioned, subtitled or have no dialog. One collection is of the “Top 10 Best Kids’ Short Films.”

Other collections which caught my attention include: Art in Nature; Climate Chaos; Feathered Friends & More; Innovation & Inspiration; Off the Beaten Path; People to Know; Special Places; Unique Solutions; and two Wildlife Collections.

If you are reading this column in time, there’s a free Festival Preview at the University of Denver’s Sturm Hall on Thursday, Feb. 16th, 6:30 to 8:30 pm.

The Foss auditorium is the main venue for the festival at the American Mountaineering Center, but a second screen is created in the AMC’s event center to accommodate all the screenings, which begin at 10 a.m. from Friday through Sunday. The virtual access ticket (which I’m going to get) allows you seven days to watch any or all of the films on demand.

The festival features young filmmakers from around the nation including Hawaiian youth-made films like “Sunscreen Standoff,” and local Colorado young filmmakers like Taylor Saulsbury, who gives voice to her generation’s climate anxieties, creating portraits of resistance and resilience in “Right Here. Right Now.”

Join one of the free virtual “Green Bag Lunch & Learn Series” to hear from local experts as they dig deeper into current event environmental issues, including a closer look at the impact of Climate Chaos on young people’s mental health (Wednesday, March 1st at noon).

By attending the festival in person, you also get to participate in Filmmaker Q&A Sessions after many of the films to chat live with the filmmakers in attendance or watch one of the many recorded sessions to hear the secrets and intriguing behind-the-scenes stories of the films featured in the festival.

Understanding Indoor Air Quality and How It’s Managed in Super-Insulated Homes

As we all work to make our homes more airtight, we also have to be conscious of our families’ need for fresh air — oxygen above all! If our homes were completely airtight, we not only would risk suffocation, we would also be more susceptible to the toxic gases and fumes emitted by our paint, our carpeting, our gas appliances, and more.

The outgassing from our carpet and other building materials are known as “volatile organic compounds” or VOCs.

An appliance which you’ll be hearing more about as homes become better insulated and therefore more airtight is displayed schematically in the third column. It’s called an Energy Recovery Ventilator (ERV) or a Heat Recovery Ventilator (HRV).

Before I explain this appliance’s operation, let me tell you what it replaces: the exhaust fans in your bathrooms and above your kitchen stove. Those exhaust fans simply pump air out of your house, which causes fresh air to be sucked into your house via the gaps around your doors and windows and multiple other gaps you are not aware of.

That air which enters your home is not preconditioned in any way. It is whatever the temperature is outdoors, and in midwinter it could make your furnace work harder heating the cold air which naturally enters your home, whether or not those exhaust fans are operating.

Thus, the primary job of the ERV or HRV is to use the heat from the air being exhausted from your home to preheat the air that is entering your home without having those two sources of air mix with each other.  This is done through a heat exchanger. In the above diagram, the heat exchanger is in the middle of the device. The unit runs at low speed, taking the stale air from your bathrooms and kitchen (typically), through a metallic heat exchanger which then adds that heat to the air which is passing through the adjoining passageway from the outdoors into your living spaces. That fresh air replenishes the oxygen in your home. The picture below is of a typical HRV installation. Both images are sourced from

What I have described above is the function of the HRV, which only handles the transfer of heat from one air source to the other. The ERV also performs the transfer of humidity. Thus, if the cold air outside your house is very dry (typical of Denver’s climate), the ERV will transfer some of the moisture from the indoor air to the incoming air.

Neither the ERV nor the HRV measure or react to the presence of toxic gases in your home. That’s the added value of a third device, the CERV or Conditioning Energy Recovery Ventilator. If you’re concerned about indoor air quality, this is the device you’ll want to consider installing in your home.

Whereas the ERV and HRV may operate on an as-needed basis, the CERV is intended to run 24/7, constantly monitoring the level of CO2 and VOCs in your indoor air as it is drawn through the unit. If the levels of these or other pollutants are high, the unit’s fan will run faster. A recent update of the unit has the addition of a virus-killing UV light.

Also, a CERV contains a heat pump, so it can actually perform the function of a furnace, preheating the air which is drawn from outdoors (or recirculated within the house), not merely transferring the room temperature heat from the exhausted air to the incoming air.

I have written in the past about the Geos Community in Arvada. None of the homes in that community use natural gas. Instead, the townhomes are heated and cooled by a combination of a heat pump/mini-split system and a CERV which provides additional heating or cooling. The detached homes at Geos also have CERVs to complement the ground source heat pumps which provide the primary year-round heating and cooling of the homes. 

Learn more about CERVs at The local vendor is Todd Collins of AE Building Systems, 720-287-4290.

Here’s a Guide to the Tax Credits and Rebates Available for Making Your Home More Energy Efficient

Inspired by a recent article in The Washington Post, I’m able to provide you with a simplified guide to the improvements you can make to your home that might earn you a tax credit or other benefit under the Inflation Reduction Act (IRA).

If you are wealthy, some of those IRA benefits may not be available to you, so check with your tax advisor. Even if you don’t qualify for the tax credits or rebates, almost all of the following investments will produce savings down the road as well as being “the right thing to do.”

Heat pumps to replace your HVAC system and water heater are the first and greatest improvement you can make. Unlike gas and resistance-based electric devices, heat pumps move heat, they don’t generate heat. And a heat pump HVAC system uses far less electricity that a baseboard or other electric HVAC system does. The IRA provides for up to $2,000 tax credit for heat pump purchases, with extra benefits for low- and middle-income homeowners. I haven’t used this company yet myself, but you might contact Sensible Heating and Cooling, 720-876-7166,, one of those rare vendors who will talk you into a heat pump HVAC system over a traditional one.

Many heat pump systems, including water heaters, are “hybrid,” meaning they have backup gas or electric resistance functions that kick in or can be activated when the heat pump can’t produce the needed heat. For example, a water heater in heat pump mode has a slower recovery than in conventional electric mode, so if you have a big family (or a teenager) you may find that you run out of hot water quickly and it takes longer than you want to reheat the water in the tank. In electric mode, you’ll get the quick hot water recovery you’re used to.

A heat pump HVAC system will probably work just fine without backup so long as you don’t turn down the thermostat too much overnight. Our office is heated solely by heat pump, and we leave it on 70 degrees 24/7, and it’s still way more affordable than the gas forced air furnace it replaced.

Xcel Energy charges commercial customers about $50 per month (that’s $600 per year!) just to have a gas meter before you burn any gas, which contributes greatly to making gas forced air more expensive than heat pump heating. Note: you need to have the gas meter removed, not just stop using gas, to save that $50 per month. Even in a residential application where the monthly meter fee is less, consider replacing all your natural gas appliances (including your fireplace and grill) so you can have the gas meter removed and save that facility charge plus those other gas-related fees that have exploded of late. There are great electric fireplaces on the market, and Rita & I love our electric grill!

Here’s food for thought: If you get rid of gas in your home and have only electric cars in your garage, you’ll never have to worry about your family being killed by carbon monoxide poisoning. In addition to spending less on home energy and fuel for your car(s), the IRA will reward you for every aspect of that conversion! And with enough solar panels on your roof, your home energy bill will be under $10 per month (to remain on the electrical grid), and you’ll pay nothing to fuel your transportation!

Induction stoves to replace gas ranges not only save you money (including an $840 rebate if you qualify based on income) but can improve you family’s health. Despite right-wing raging about this topic, it has been proven statistically that gas cooking has increased asthma cases in children and some adults. (Click here to read a study on this topic.) The rebate is available on non-induction electric stoves, but induction cooking costs less to operate and heats food and water faster. You can dip your toe in this technology by buying a single countertop induction burner for $50 to $70, as I did. You’ll be amazed. Click here to read an article about how chefs have come to prefer induction cooking. As they say, “try it, you’ll like it!”

Electric cars that cost under $55,000 and trucks or SUVs under $80,000 that are assembled in North America qualify for a federal tax credit of up to $7,500 and a Colorado tax credit of $2,000 (without those federal restrictions, which include an income cap of $150,000 single or $300,000 filing jointly). Even the Tesla Model Y’s base price is now below those price limits.

What’s new with the IRA is that you can get a federal tax credit of $4,000 or 30% of the purchase price (whichever is less) of a used EV that is at least 2 years old, has a purchase price under $25,000, and is purchased from a dealer. I have always advised that a used EV is your best buy, because a used EV is as good as a new EV since it has none of those components of a gas-powered car (such as transmission or engine) which may be about to fail. Google “used electric cars” and you’ll see many for sale by dealers. I just ran that search and found 72 EVs under $25,000 on alone!

The IRA increased the tax credit on solar panels to 30% for the next 10 years, and, given the steady reduction in the cost of solar over the past two decades, this investment is a no-brainer, assuming you have a roof that’s not shaded by trees. (Ground mounted solar panels is an option if you have a large unshaded backyard area. Otherwise, consider buying solar panels in a “solar garden.”) Xcel Energy allows you to install enough panels to provide up to twice your average usage over the last 12 months, which is great, because that could provide all the electricity you will need for a not-yet-purchased EV or not-yet-electrified heating system.

My advice is to purchase your solar photovoltaic system outright, not lease it or sign up for a Power Purchase Agreement (PPA). When it comes to selling your house, anything other than a system that is seller-owned could complicate the sale. I’m a repeat customer of Golden Solar (303-955-6332), but also like Buglet Solar (303-903-9119). What these companies have in common, and which I think is important, is that they are local family-owned businesses, which I much prefer over a national firm such a Tesla or Sunrun Solar.

One situation in which a Power Purchase Agreement or lease works better is if the customer is a tax-exempt non-profit (which can’t benefit from tax credits).  Golden Solar put a solar array on the roof of a Golden museum doing a PPA that Golden Solar financed, taking the tax credit for it.  The museum pays no more than they were paying Xcel Energy to Golden Solar but will own the system after a few years. If you know of a non-profit that would like to go solar, have them contact Don at Golden Solar.

Improving your home’s insulation should always be the first step in saving money on energy. The IRA provides a 30% tax credit, up to $1,200 annually, for such improvements, specifying $600 for windows and $500 for doors. The gold standard in windows and doors is Alpen High-Performance Products, a Louisville CO company, which made the triple-pane windows we purchased for our South Golden Road office — expensive but worth it in terms of comfort and energy savings. Contact Todd Collins of AE Building Systems, 720-287-4290.

Whole-house energy efficiency retrofits are eligible for a rebate under the IRA, based on proven reduction in your home’s energy costs. Speak with someone from a company like Helio Home, Inc.  (720-460-1260) which covers most aspects of reducing home energy use covered by the IRA, from solar to insulation to appliances. The IRA also provides a $150 rebate on a home energy audit, which is an essential first-step to figuring out the best and most cost-effective efficiency improvements you can make. You can learn more about energy audits at

Buy a new washer and dryer! The new top-loading high-efficiency washers are the best, speaking from personal experience. The washer automatically reduces water consumption based on the size of the load; and a heat-pump electric dryer saves on electricity.

Landscaping, done right, can save on energy and water. Think shade trees and xeriscaping, or installing buffalo grass, which requires little watering or mowing. Call Darwin at Maple Leaf Landscaping, Inc. (720-290-8292), a client of mine, to discuss the possibilities at your house.

If your house doesn’t already have one, a whole-house fan is a great energy saver, allowing you to flush hot daytime air out of your house before activating the A/C when you come home. It can also allow you to leave the A/C off overnight by bringing in cool nighttime air on a quiet, low-speed setting. Whole-house fans cost between $500 and $2,000 installed. They don’t earn their own IRA benefit, but would contribute to the benefit you earn with the whole-house retrofit mentioned above. I am a happy repeat customer of Colorado Home Cooling, now part of Colorado Home Services, 303-986-5764.

Not mentioned in that Washington Post article was daylighting of your home, which is one of my favorite ways to reduce electricity consumption by drawing sunlight into dark interior spaces. I installed Velux sun tunnels in two of my past homes, including in a windowless garage, and in our former office on South Golden Road. For that, I used Mark Lundquist, owner of Design Skylights (303-674-7147).

Canadian Company Develops Recycled Rubber Roofing

The picture above is of Euroshield® roofing made from recycled tires. It is manufactured by G.E.M., a company in Calgary, Alberta. Henry Kamphuis founded the company in 1999 to solve the problem of old tires clogging up landfills and dumpsites. Several years later, after much research and trial-and-error, he came up with a green roofing system that is 95% made from the rubber in old tires. It takes over 400 such tires to provide the rubber for a typical roof.

The roofing tiles are connected by a tongue-and-groove design and can be made to look like slate tiles, shown above, or wood shakes.

The roofing is sold and installed in the Denver metro area by Johnson Construction Company LLC, which you can reach at 303-719-7663, or via their website, The cost of a Euroshield roof is more than twice that of a conventional composition shingle roof, but it comes with a 50-year warranty against damage from up to 2” hail with no pro-rating and no deductible. The company installed a Euroshield roof in Golden’s Amberwick subdivision after a 2017 hail storm. Those roofs survived two subsequent hail storms without any visible damage.

Harvesting ‘Atmospheric Rivers’ to Replenish Aquifers and Fill Reservoirs

A recent article in the San Francisco Chronicle caught my attention. It spoke of harvesting the rainfall from otherwise catastrophic “atmospheric rivers” to refill reservoirs. Another piece by the Environment Defense Fund in Oct. 2021 discussed research being conducted by the California Department of Water Resources and UC Santa Barbara on harvesting excessive rainfall to replenish underground aquifers.

Meanwhile, we are reminded daily that the Colorado River is drying up and both Lake Mead and Lake Powell, as a result, are suffering reduced levels that threaten the water supply and could even sideline vital hydro-electric turbines.

 I’m reminded of those amazing 20th Century California projects which moved water all over that state to meet both agricultural and urban demands, and it got me thinking about the possibility of creating another grand project to divert some of those ocean-bound flood waters to both in-state reservoirs and to the Colorado River.

Not only could that help with the Colorado River shortfall, but it might help in some small way to reduce flooding. 

Replenishing aquifers is a good idea, but can that be done at speed? I’m not knowledgeable in this area, but it seems to me that new reservoirs would have to be built to hold the water that is to be pumped into those aquifers.

Capturing flood waters on our side of the Continental Divide is already handled by the many reservoirs such as Chatfield and Cherry Creek Reservoirs designed for that purpose. Chatfield is owned by Denver Water, but Cherry Creek is owned by the Army Corps of Engineers. The dams for each are higher than needed in order to accommodate sudden downpours, flooding only open land and park facilities.

PS: Here’s a related article from