Sunday, November 16, 2008

Walker Brook on Mt. Lafayette, November 2008

Talking about water is like talking about money. That’s particularly true today. Money is disappearing quickly and so is water. Water, bottled water, is a multi-billion dollar industry in the United States raising the question “who owns water”. Coca Cola and a few other corporations are taking tap water, running it through a reverse osmosis filter and reselling it in a convenient plastic bottle and making fortunes. Corporations refer to water as “white oil”. Recently water cost more per gallon than gasoline. When the headwaters of streams and rivers were protected by the inception of the national forests an important precedent was set. Unfortunately no foresight has been exercised to protect artesianal water. A lot of the 'public' water in the US is undrinkable. Atlanta’s water supply is one example. Some water supplies are contaminated by things like disposed antidepressant medicines, estrogen, and mercury. Rain, in some parts of the US, is still highly acidic, rivers, too, are acidic in some regions or have become saline, lakes are contaminated by fertilizers or they’re drying up like the Caspian Sea. In 1959 the bottom of Lake Winnipesaukee in central New Hampshire was visible in 30 feet of water. Now it is only visible in 17 feet. What does this mean for natural systems, for all living organisms like ourselves that depend on an abundance of fresh water and what happens to the hydrological cycle itself? (I apologize for this editorial)

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