Grand Lake: ‘Best water on earth’ |

Grand Lake: ‘Best water on earth’


Grand Lake Water Superintendent Dave Johnson stands in front of Tonahutu River near Grand Lake's water plant. Tonya Bina/ Sky-Hi News

GRAND LAKE – Grand Lake Trustee Elmer Lanzi has spearheaded a way to better market the town’s squeaky clean tap water.Grand Lake is first in line to the source of its water, which is collected from the town’s two wells that draw off a relatively shallow aquifer that flows under the town from north to south toward the lake. The mountain water filters through what is believed to be a 50,000-year-old alluvial, and it is always at a cool 50 degrees, according to Grand Lake Water Superintendent Dave Johnson. “The aquifer is so clean, it doesn’t hardly add anything to the water,” he said, meaning ground water is nearly mineral-free. “It’s so low in mineral content it doesn’t conduct electricity, that’s pretty pure,” Johnson said. Johnson knows of only one other Colorado town with water that doesn’t conduct electricity: Leadville. At 10,120 feet in elevation, Leadville gets its surface water from as high as 12,000 feet by way of Evans Creek, said Greg Teter of the Parkville Water District. Because of the lack of dissolved solids in the water, water operators had to increase voltage on probes in the plant for lack of conductivity, Teter said. And much like the Town of Grand Lake’s ground and surface water, which could be traced to the Tohahutu drainage from high mountain lakes on the Continental Divide in Rocky Mountain National Park wilderness, Leadville’s water has very little chlorine added – a small amount is required of utilities by law. Johnson said that compared to most surface-water communities, Grand Lake uses “almost nothing” to treat its water.”It has no taste,” Johnson said. Some people who are accustomed to heavily treated drinking water are thrown off by the lack of taste in Grand Lake’s water, he said. “Water is not supposed to have taste.”Lanzi and Johnson, with the help of the PTA and Grand Lake student Sean Irish, presented on Monday, May 9, to the town board a proposal for marketing the town’s tap water to attract more visitors to town and to discourage the use of disposable water bottles. Lanzi was inspired by the town of Aspen, where officials there introduced marketing town tap water in March.Grand Lake’s marketing scheme could, in part, become a fundraiser for local organizations, in this case the Grand Lake Elementary School’s PTA.A poster designed to be displayed in local businesses, at town hall and at the Grand Lake Visitor’s Center boasts “Tonahutu Blue” water for its “vitality, vigor, purity.”Organizers have proposed a logo of a water droplet with the identity “Tonahutu Blue.” This logo, which may be copyrighted by the town, could be etched on water bottles. PTA members Lisa Simpson and Christina Heil said they have selected a 26.5 ounce reusable stainless steel water bottle for its high quality. Town vendors and the PTA could sell the “Tonahutu Blue” water bottles, they said, and town businesses could attract customers by offering to refill the bottles with town water for free.The town is also researching buying two new water fountains with spigots for the Lakefront Park and Town Park, where the public could fill up water bottles with Grand Lake’s prize tap water.The campaign is designed to engage business owners in the community. Posters on storefronts would remind customers that restaurants, bars and coffee shops in town “all use this incredible water in their products,” the presentation stated.”As the (Grand Lake) Brewery says: ‘It’s all downstream from here,’ Johnson said.- Tonya Bina can be reached at 970-887-3334 ext.19603. See the story by the Aspen Times at