Making Waves With Words: Colorado’s Year of Water

By Courtney Boutwell, from the Progenitor Arapahoe Community College 2012 Art and Literary Magazine

2012 is officially Colorado’s Year of Water. All across the state, beginning with Governor John Hickenlooper’s proclamation in January, Coloradans have had the opportunity to exhibit, rejoice in, and connect over the value and uses found in one of our state’s natural resources.

Our bodies and much of the Universe are comprised of H2O; it is in the very air we breathe. Without water, you, I, this magazine, nor anything else would exist. Like the writing and art found within these pages, no two drops of water are exactly alike.

Progenitor, the word, means “originator,” “ancestor,” or “root.” All roots must have water to make a thing grow, and so, we wanted a voice in the Year of Water and chose water as this year’s motif, in order to pay homage to what sustains us all.

Prior to his appointment as a Colorado Supreme Court Justice in 1996, fellow writer and ACC Community Ed student Gregory Hobbs practiced environmental, land use, transportation, and water law for 23 years. As chair for publications of the Colorado Foundation forWater Education, he is one of the contributing forces behind the Year of Water.

According to Justice Hobbs, brother to the young adult author Will Hobbs, it’s through “writing stories that dip and splash,” much like the stories woven throughout the history of the gold discoveries of 1858 and the state’s formation, that writers can join in the celebration of Colorado resources.

Vice-President of this non-profit and politically unaffiliated organization (, Hobbs has written several of the Citizen Guides and Headwaters magazines available to the public on its website. “Water was a critical flowing resource throughout the state,” he says, “long before Colorado’s formation as a territory in 1861. It was first used for mining, and then became important on the plains, in the enrichment of farms which fed the miners and their families, and our cities branched out of these farms.”

Well versed in the language himself, Justice Hobbs urges Colorado residents to “speak fluent water”: “The citizen guides and Headwaters magazines are tools we can all use to further our understanding of the federal laws requiring our state to share its water with 18 other downstream states and the republic of Mexico.”

The Colorado legislature established the foundation during the severe drought of 2002 when not a drop could be summoned from above, and forest fires were springing up everywhere. Hobbs warns us of the challenges we face with water, “We need to make sure we use it wisely; so we don’t dry out our farms.” Buying locally grown foods, making sure to shower quickly, and writing about it are three practical ways Hobbs says many of us can contribute to the mindful sharing of what he calls, “Colorado’s enduring gold.”

We find inspiration in Justice Hobbs’ persistent reminders to investigate water. Water’s ability to retain information about where it has been and what elements it came in contact with are just some of the many fascinating discoveries to be made. We consider writing, an art which carries information about the past into the future, to be “Colorado’s enduring gold,” too.

Thank you, Justice Hobbs, for your influence, dedication, and service toward the laws that protect our water. And thank you for urging us writers in this Colorado Year of Water to “drink” in its information, so we may be rendered like water~ letting our words go with the flow.

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