Protecting groundwater


Friday, February 15

To the Editor:

Most people naively assume that groundwater is inexhaustible and that it is a "public trust". Think of groundwater like your checking account. If you withdraw more than you deposit, your account will eventually be "depleted." When groundwater is pumped from aquifers faster than it is replenished by infiltration (recharge) the reserve will be depleted, The recent population explosion has placed serious unreasonable demands on groundwater reserves worldwide - much of it for crop irrigation (food production). However, it is typically the fate of any "abundant" resource to be ignored - until it is gone. "Where there's no water, there's no life."

It is not generally known that large companies are beginning to exploit unprotected groundwater sources like those in Vermont. Many industrial processes, including the water bottling industry need large volumes of clean, fresh water. Vermont's lack of tight regulations limiting commercial extraction of groundwater, makes it easy for large scale corporate exploitation. Many pristine fresh water sources around the world are being pillaged by unscrupulous water companies. The perennial question is, "whose water is it?"

The Dorset Citizens for Responsible Growth and the Manchester Rotary Club co-sponsored a showing and discussion of the film "Thirst" at the First Congregational Church on Jan. 28.

The film was followed by a discussion of Vermont's water laws led by John Groveman, legal council for the Vermont Natural Resources Council. His remarks made it clear that the state's resources are in danger of unregulated over-extraction and warned that, as a prerequisite, the state should promptly do comprehensive groundwater mapping and monitoring. Groveman's remarks were supplemented and supported by Annette Smith, Executive Director of Vermonters for a Clean Environment. The film made it clear that other communities, like Stockton, Calif., are now suffering the long-term consequences of groundwater negligence. It is time for Vermonters to get serious about groundwater, and agitate for statewide commitments to protect this priceless resource.

Now is the time to press your state legislators to help author legislation safeguarding our most valuable resource.

Paul E. Myers



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