Through Line

“Everything we do revolves around it. The river is the community. It makes us whole. It completes us.”

–Doug Messick, 4th generation San Luis Valley farmer

In southcentral Colorado, the Rio Grande River ties together generations of people and communities across the San Luis Valley. Brought together by shared ethics of caring for land and water, everyone in the San Luis Valley depends deeply on the Rio Grande – for their livelihoods, the rich diversity of wildlife and activities they enjoy, and their connection to the rich history of people who have come before them. But it is the threats to the river that brings them together in our latest film, Through Line, in which a new generation of water managers meets challenges like climate change, growing pressure to the water supply, and renewed water export threats head on.

“If our little community doesn’t work together to protect our land and water, everything’s lost” says Ronda Lobato in Through Line—a story of women, the Rio Grande river, and working together for water across a vast agricultural region of southern Colorado.

Through Line celebrates both the history and future of water management in the Valley through the voices of modern managers—specifically a growing number of women managers in a historically male-dominated profession—who are working together to ensure that the needs of communities are met alongside the needs of the river itself, and underscoring that while the challenges may be many, “the future health of the Rio Grande is in good hands.”

By building on a deep history of innovations and water sharing, these leaders are working to shepherd the culture and communities of the Valley into a sustainable relationship with the Rio Grande that weaves them together with the past, connects them in the present, and secures their collective future.