City fights to use its own water

A neighbourhood in Thornton, Colorado, which purchased about 6,880ha of farmland, near Fort Collins, decades ago. Lawsuits, protests and fierce disputes over who controls water in the parched American West have held up a pipeline. — @2023 The New York Times Company

JACK Ethredge could see the future. It was 1985, and Ethredge, then the city manager of Thornton, Colorado, understood that sooner or later, the Denver suburb would need more water.

The population was booming, businesses were flocking to the Mountain West, and Thornton had no major lakes or rivers of its own, nor any meaningful amount of groundwater to draw upon, a fluke of geology and geography.

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