"This book will become the standard reference for understanding water politics in the state of Colorado in the twentieth century. . . . No other researcher has more carefully examined and described the issues related to Western Slope/Eastern Slope squabbles over water rights and water projects."
—Andrew Gulliford, Fort Lewis College
"As Precious as Blood beats with the stout heart of western slope water leadership. Out-populated but never overwhelmed, Coloradans west of the Divide have exercised political and legal muscle at every determinative turn in our state’s water future. Professor Schulte’s new book demonstrates just how hard the residents of the western slope have fought and successfully negotiated the statewide sharing of Colorado’s most precious asset—its interstate allocation of Colorado River water."
—Justice Greg Hobbs, Colorado Supreme Court Justice (Ret.), co-Director of the Environment and Natural Resources Program, University of Denver Sturm College of Law
"It is a treat to read a history book full of great information, well-paced, and interesting. As Precious as Blood. . . . solidly hits the mark on all three."
—New Mexico Historical Review
The diversion of water from Colorado’s Western Slope to meet the needs of the rest of the state has been a contentious issue throughout Colorado’s history. The source of Colorado’s water is in the snow that accumulates west of the Continental Divide, but the ever-growing population on the Front Range continues to require more municipal water. In As Precious as Blood, Steven C. Schulte examines the water wars between these two regions and how the western part of the state fits into Colorado’s overall water story, expanding the account of water politics he began in Wayne Aspinall and the Shaping of the American West.
Slow to build its necessary water infrastructure and suffering from a small population, little political power, and distance from sources of capital, the Western Slope of Colorado has struggled to maintain its water supply in the face of challenges from Colorado’s Eastern Slope and even different states. Schulte explains in detail the reasons, rationalizations, and resources involved in the multimillion-dollar dams and reclamation projects that divert much-needed water to the Front Range and elsewhere. He draws from archives, newspapers, and oral histories to show the interrelationships among twentieth-century Colorado water law, legislators from across the state, and powerful members of congress from the Western Slope, who have influenced water policy throughout the American West.
As Precious as Blood provides context for one of the most contentious legal, political, and economic periods in the state’s history. Schulte puts a human face on Colorado’s water wars by exploring their social and political dimensions alongside the technical and scientific perspectives.