Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Why We Must Not Take Water For Granted

Today is World Water Day. I hope everyone will allot a few minutes to think about the meaning of water. Here on Cape Cod, we live surrounded by water. Tourists come to swim, sail, surf, splash, paddle, wade, or simply observe water. In Wellfleet, we drink well water, pumped up from a sole-source aquifer, which the EPA New England Web site maintains we should protect. Our bodies are 55 to 80% water. We are told to drink eight glasses a day. I, for one, care about water. How about you?

If water holds such special meaning perhaps it’s because of the amniotic fluid that surrounds us before being born. We floated in it. Amniotic fluid protected us. Perhaps this early experience explains in part the outrage so many of us feel at the irreparable damage being done to the earth’s water resources? Perhaps it produces an unconscious urge to protect those resources?

If you feel as I do, speak up. Tell your legislators to protect our water. If citizens do not speak out, we will find ourselves without pure water, water-less.

I’m referring to the injection of toxic chemicals into the ground in Pennsylvania, New York, and Arkansas. (The goal of “fracking” is natural gas extraction but at what cost? Pollution of drinking water?)

I’m referring to the difficulty concerned citizens have with a similar issue here on Cape Cod, where NStar intends to spray up to five herbicides under the power lines. (There’s a moratorium in place through December 2011, but what bothers me is that the utility company doesn’t seem to understand why we protest. We do not want our water contaminated for generations when there are other options for the vegetation removal, required by Federal law.)

I’m referring to revelations in the documentaries Tapped, The Story of Bottled Water, and Blue Gold. (Did you know George W. Bush bought a ranch in Columbia, right over the largest aquifer in the world? Do you think that was a coincidence? Did you know that NestlĂ© "owns" water that used to be available to folks in Friberg, Maine, and puts the once available-to-all water in plastic bottles for profit? That, in Africa, Coke is cheaper than water?)

“It is all about the control and ownership of water.”

Water privatization. Do those two words together make you mad? They should. Water is a basic human right. It is necessary for human life on this planet. Clean water was declared a human right by the United Nations. The next time you drink a glass of water, or look out over one of Wellfleet’s pristine kettle ponds, remember just one thing: do not take water for granted.

What have you done for water today?