Water Tables 2013: Water in the West: Coping with Extremes: Saturday, March 2, 2013, 5-9 p.m.


George Sibley

Freelance Writer and Retired Educator

Topic: Natural and Cultural Extremes in
Colorado's Transmountain Water Development
- A West Slope Perspective

George Sibley

A discussion of how natural extremes in climate and geography and cultural extremes in urban and rural visions shaped the development of Colorado's share of the Colorado River. How does a minority protect its own future as much larger majorities are tapping a shared essential resource for their own future visions? And how can a somewhat coherent political minority even be assembled and held together in an extremely diversified region of mountains and deserts with no dominant culture or economy? Various 20th-century Colorado River District strategies will be presented for discussion.


George Sibley is a freelance writer and retired educator who has lived in the Upper Gunnison valley on Colorado’s West Slope most of the past 45 years. From 1988 through 2007 he taught journalism and regional studies at Western State Colorado University in Gunnison, and also coordinated special projects there, including the college’s annual fall Headwaters Conference, summer Water Workshop, and spring Environmental Symposium.

Since retiring from the university, in addition to writing, he has become more directly involved in water issues; he currently serves on the board of the Upper Gunnison River Water Conservancy, and is education coordinator for the Gunnison Basin Roundtable.

As a writer, his most recent major work is Water Wranglers, a history commissioned by the Colorado River District about that organization’s role in the development of Colorado’s share of the Colorado River. Previous books were Dragons in Paradise and Part of a Winter, both collections of essays about contemporary life from a mountain perspective. He has also authored short histories of Crested Butte and Crawford, Colorado. His essays and articles have appeared in nationally distributed publications – Harper’s Magazine, Technology Illustrated, High Country News, New Age Journal and Old West; and regional publications like Colorado Central and Mountain Gazette. His work also appears in several western anthologies.


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