JEFF CAPLAN

Opinion: Sending Utah water to make Colorado ice in a drought is a weird flex

Aug 6, 2021, 9:04 AM | Updated: 9:15 am
colorado ice cubes melting against a white background...
The ice shortage in Colorado highlights a first world problem: We are hooked on ice, but it's only been around as a commodity for a couple hundred years. Photo: Canva

This is an editorial piece. An editorial, like a news article, is based on fact but also shares opinions. The opinions expressed here are solely those of the author and are not associated with our newsroom. 

DENVER — Smack dab in the middle of the hottest summer ever — this figures — there’s an ice shortage in Colorado.

Demand is off the charts. The company that makes those bags of ice for convenience stores can’t find enough workers. 

Ice, ice baby

The Colorado solution for now is to stop, collaborate and glisten; Colorado started trucking in ice from Utah. No kidding. (Okay, full disclosure — as far as I know, it’s just one Colorado ice supplier. But still.) 

Read more: Labor issues, heat waves lead to ice shortage

Colorado kids fill up coolers of ice made from Utah water. 

But don’t we need the water? Colorado may have an ice shortage, but Utah has a water shortage. So… we freeze our water to send to them to make ice while my lawn chokes to death. 

I don’t get it. 

But it got me wondering. What did we do for ice before freezers? 

Colorado ice: A modern convenience

The answer: Nothing. Ice was never a thing. Ever. 

Until 1806, when Harvard dropout Frederic Tudor decided to insulate the cargo hold of a ship and send lake ice to tropical cities. 

Consider Tudor the Johnny Appleseed of ice cubes, taking ice from city to city, telling people to try it. 

“It’s called a COLD beverage,” he told his first customers. “The first drink’s free.” 

America slowly got hooked. 

90% of the ice melted before customers ever took a sip, but Tudor died rich, 60 years later. 

And 160 years later, we depend on freezers — basically, warehouses that simulate the Arctic — but without enough workers to run them, the result? An ice shortage. 

Tune to KSL NewsRadio for Jeff Caplan’s Afternoon News, weekdays from 3 to 7 p.m., for his “My Minute of News,” with more commentary just like this. 

Jeff Caplan

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Opinion: Sending Utah water to make Colorado ice in a drought is a weird flex