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: