Water, water everywhere…

Water is a topic that is close to my heart.

The town my parents live in has no public water; everyone has wells that pull from the aquifer beneath the town. A bottling company came in and was granted a permit by the New Hampshire Department of Environmental Services (ha) to drain 400,000 gallons of water PER DAY from the aquifer. Whether or not it would dry up the town is unknown. It doesn’t matter that it might not – no one is able to tell for sure. The town sued the DES. And lost.

This means that the state owns that water, not the town (and certainly not the people), and the state can sell said water right out from underneath its residents. (More info on this particular case here). The bottling company is now bankrupt from all the litigation and so the whole issue in this town is somewhat in limbo. But in the big picture, this decision means quite a lot.

This NH supreme court case has made waves (pun fully intended) across the nation. Aquifers everywhere in the northeast are ripe for the picking (water law in the western U.S. states  is much different and much more protective of natural resources, in general) and it is only a matter of time before someone, or some company, takes advantage. Drinking water is a precious and increasingly difficult to find commodity.

This is only one of the many reasons why bottled water pisses me off. For more, see this nifty little graphic:

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3 Comments

Filed under Liza

3 responses to “Water, water everywhere…

  1. Katie

    Ah, an issue near and dear to my heart.

    Another issue, other than drying, was that this immense amount of water being sucked out of the ground could create suction from landfills, pulling chemicals into the aquifer. Another unknown that was ignored. Kind of scary.

    But I am proud of the passion of Nottingham for their rights– even though the state and the company tried to promise hefty tax revenue. Nottingham residents got educated and have staved this off since Benson was governor. But it never goes away.

    Also, San Jose has the nastiest tasting water ever, but a Brita does the trick. Not the cheapest, but DEFINITELY cheaper than bottled. I don’t even know what people are thinking with bottled water, honestly.

    • Yep. The fact that these were unknowns legit didn’t matter.

      It’s scary, though – someone could start bottling at any moment. The only reason they haven’t isn’t because of Nottingham residents – although they have been very good at advocating for themselves – it’s because the company ran out of money.

      I did a legal research project on this for a class in law librarianship and the Nottingham case is huge. Environmental lawyers across the country are talking about it and pointing to this example as indicative of a huge hole in the law. It’ll probably take another 50 years before there’s legal protection and at that point it’ll probably be too late.

  2. Pingback: Just a few days late for World Water Day | go with your love to the fields

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