GET BREAKING NEWS IN YOUR BROWSER. CLICK HERE TO TURN ON NOTIFICATIONS.

X

Boulder’s Len Aitken kayaking, in a scene from his new documentary on the Gross Reservoir project, “Water Water Everywhere?” (Courtesy of Len Aitken)
PUBLISHED: | UPDATED:

A documentary that plunges into the many issues at play in the proposed expansion of Gross Reservoir will get its debut on area television Thursday night, courtesy of a veteran Boulder filmmaker.

Len Aitken, with some 50 years of filmmaking under his belt, took a tip from his massage therapist nearly two years ago that he should explore the Gross Reservoir project which, if approved, would be the largest construction project in county history.

The 30-minute film “Water Water Everywhere?” will premier on Rocky Mountain PBS at 10:30 p.m. Thursday. It is not an advocacy piece for or against the project, which would raise Gross Dam by 131 feet and increase the reservoir’s capacity by 77,000-acre feet.

“I started looking into it and talking to more people, and it was one of those things where the more I knew, the more I knew I didn’t know,” Aitken said.

“I was a kayaker, so I knew about getting in and out of the water. But in terms of water policy, that’s a whole other thing and it’s just an extremely complex thing. And I thought it would be kind of patronizing in some ways for me to take a stance for or against it. I hope this film came across as fairly neutral.”

Aitken covers the waterfront in terms of talking heads who have something of value to add on the subject, ranging from Denver Water CEO/Manager Jim Lochhead, to Save the Colorado’s Gary Wockner, executive director and co-founder of Save the Colorado, which is suing to stop the project. Also making appearances are Brad Udall, senior water and climate scientist/scholar at Colorado State University’s Colorado Water Center, and those who live near Gross Reservoir in southwestern Boulder County whose lives would be directly impacted by a construction project set to run through 2025 — if it is not blocked by the courts or Boulder County.

Aitken, who was aided in filming by his son, Brook Aitken, also of Boulder (“He shot all the good stuff,”), said he passed through a couple iterations of the film, and one peer he respects suggested it needed a character to follow, giving it more personality and character.

“The only one I could think of who was cheap and available was me,” said Aitken, who appears as both a young and then present-day kayaker, as well as the film’s inquisitor.

“I hoped I could look at it more from the point of view of the average person,  who really doesn’t know anything about water and how we use it and how we consume it, and how water in the West is used. It was really an eye-opener for me,” Aitken said.

“It’s pretty amazing that so much water just goes to grow meat. And I was also really impressed with Denver Water’s reuse and recycling program. It’s very, very sophisticated stuff. And they’re making some real efforts in that area.”

Given the legal hurdles still facing the project — Denver Water hopes to start construction in 2021 — Aitken wouldn’t hazard a guess as to whether it will come to pass.

“It’s just impossible to say, especially from my perspective,” he said.

 

 

blog comments powered by Disqus