As Water Levels Drop, the Risk of Arsenic Poisoning Rises

When John Mestas’ ancestors moved to Colorado over 100 years ago to raise sheep in the San Luis Valley, they “hit paradise,” he said. “There was so much water, they thought it would never end,” Mestas said of the agricultural region at the headwaters of the Rio Grande. Now decades of climate change-driven drought, combined with the overpumping of aquifers, are making the valley desperately dry — and appear to be intensifying the levels of heavy metals in drinking water. Like a third of people who live in this high alpine desert, Mestas relies on a private well that draws from an aquifer for drinking water. And, like many farmers there, h...

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