Don’t commercialize our water

More and more bottled water is showing up on our retail shelves. Meanwhile, more and more developers latch on to the Buncombe County water supply.

We saw our public water reserves threatened during a recent drought, but water conservation in the minds of our public officials consists of handwringing and exhortation. Now our governor has meekly come forward with some “suggested guidelines.” That’s code for “don’t do anything that might upset the developers.” Eventually, water availability will reach its limits, just as it has in Atlanta, and we will all be drinking bottled water. Don’t the words “gated community” suggest to anyone who controls your water or has plans to? Selling it back to us in bottles isn’t the answer—it’s a community water supply.

Our water supply is not guaranteed, and the utter failure of Buncombe County and city of Asheville to reach an agreement should alert us all that we have sent a boy to do a man’s job. Unchecked development will wind up costing us all. Recently a car-wash(!) operator in our region resorted to extreme measures to obtain more water from an aquifer that had run out. Atlanta has already run out of options.

Are we collectively so stupid we fail to understand that our water, now readily available, is gradually coming under control of the usual commercial interests? What is it going to take for the citizen-users of the water supply to demand—if necessary, go to court again—to be assured our water will continue to be ours [as it is] too valuable to hand freely to developers?

Some parts of the United States have long since instituted measures to prohibit drilling for water below a certain depth. Here, anyone can drill as deeply as they can afford, without any restriction.

Our water is too valuable to simply hand over to anyone wanting to hook on to the system.

— Allen Thomas

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