PITKIN COUNTY, Colo. — The drinking water for some of the Front Range’s largest communities comes from one of the most pristine places in the Rocky Mountains.
For residents of Aurora, Colorado Springs, Woodland Park, Pueblo and Pueblo West (to name a few locations), drinking water comes from Grizzly Reservoir near Aspen in Pitkin County.
The reservoir is situated about four hours west of Denver, along Independence Pass just outside of Twin Lakes.
“We’re at an elevation of 10,206 feet”, said Glenn Schryver.
Glenn and his wife Kim are Grizzly Reservoir’s water caretakers. They watch over the reservoir and feed its water into Twin Lakes until its needed further downstream into the communities who use it.
“We love it!” Glenn said of their jobs.
Glenn and Kim have held their positions since 2008. They work for Twin Lakes Reservoir and Canal Company, which is a water management company.
Colorado Springs Utilities owns a majority of the company.
"We don’t give these jobs to just anyone. Our caretakers have to want it,” said Keith Riley, Colorado Springs Utilities General Manager, Water Systems Operations.
Glenn and Kim both reside in a remote location alongside the reservoir. Getting to their home is tricky. You have to drive through a 3.8-mile tunnel underground (large enough to fit only a mid-sized pickup truck).
"All our caretakers need winter survival skills and really good situational awareness — they learn to dig snow caves and how to make fire without matches and what survival gear to take with them in addition to their tools. They’re taking everything they need to survive a stay in the woods with the worst weather possible. It takes pretty hardy individuals to do all this kind of stuff,” Riley said.
The winters can be difficult. Glenn and Kim are essentially isolated at their home from Dec. 1 to mid-May.
"Last winter, we binged on 'Game of Thrones'!” Kim Schryver joked.
FOX31 and Channel 2 Reporter Kevin Torres has visited every corner of Colorado over the last 10 years. But he says the Schryvers' location along Grizzly Reservoir was hands-down the most colorfully saturated part of the state he has ever seen.
The water in the reservoir shimmers with a turquoise tint.
"It’s pretty! It’s kind of a Caribbean blue!" Glenn explained.
All in all, Colorado Springs Utilities has eight caretakers with families.
The Schryvers are responsible for collecting water from more than 45 square miles from a mountain on the west side of Independence Pass.
“It’s like heaven on earth,” Kim Schryver said.