This story was originally published by CityLab and is reproduced here as part of the Climate Desk collaboration.
There’s an old saying in the West: Whiskey is for drinking and water is for fighting over.
In Colorado, home to more breweries than almost any other state, it’s probably more accurate to say that beer is for drinking. And although brewers haven’t yet come to blows over access to their product’s main ingredient, the state’s water is on its way to becoming a fought-over commodity.
Colorado is in the midst of its worst drought since the Dust Bowl in the 1930s. The U.S. Bureau of Reclamation, which manages water in the West, predicts that reservoirs along the Colorado River will reach critical low points by 2020, leading to water shortages throughout much of the western U.S.
“We need to get ahead of this,” said Kelissa Hieber, owner and head brewer at Denver’s Goldspot Brewing. “We are getting to a point where we could have a crisis that could be catastrophic for small breweries.”
Hieber was speaking from behind a keg at her brewery’s stand at the Save the Ales Festival in downtown Denver in August. Hers was one of more than 40 local bre... Read more