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Tuesday, April 14, 2015

Water Rights and Border Fights

It's raining outside right now. It rained yesterday, too, and while Bow is not too pleased with it, I am, because the rain is watering our fruit trees so that I do not have to.

Raindrops on the new apple tree
This is the rainy season here, and that's why we planted the trees here now. It's after the last freeze, but before the summer dry period.

The saying is "April showers bring May flowers," but around here, April showers fall on April flowers.

Can you spot the raindrops on the Weigela blossoms?

The Weigela blossoms have opened just in time for the rain.

I don't like to have to pay for water, when it is part of nature's bounty. I own my land so all the rainwater is mine, if it falls on my property. I own water rights beneath the land, so in my house, the tap water comes from my own well. I pay for electricity costs to have it pumped, but I don't pay for the water. I like owning my water source, because it also means I know what goes into it.

At least, on a local level, I know that my water is pure. But water is cycled, and yes, I am aware that  there is a public aspect to the water cycle. In fact, in my song, written with composer Daniel Carter, entitled "We All Share the Same World", that issue does come up.

This song is meant to be sung by two people, a  man and a woman, and it dramatizes the conflict between liberal and conservative voices when it comes to resource management. It is from the Carter and Katz libertarian musical, The Debt Collector.  Siren, the social worker, believes resources should be spread out to all based on need. Blood, the Debt Collector, believes that property rights should determine the division. Both of them are aware of the water cycle, but they have diametrically opposite views about what should be done about it. (There will soon be a new recording of this song with two singers, a man and a woman.)

One of my friends is like Siren, and she is concerned that Nestle may be siphoning away natural water supplies in the United States and selling them for profit, thus restricting the public water supply and causing a drought. This a serious concern.

Another of my friends is concerned that the Federal government is planning to nationalize all the water, so that even if it rains on your land, all the puddles will belong to the Feds. He is afraid we are all very soon going to be faced with the choice of using the public water supply or pay Nestle for bottled water.

A third friend is concerned with the health dangers associated with fluoridation of the public water supply in certain neighboring municipalities. She spoke before one of the city councils about getting fluoride taken out of the public water supply. While she was speaking,  every one of the officials around that horseshoe shaped table -- the aldermen and women, the mayor, the city manger, and the attorneys -- were drinking bottled water! But they still did not vote to take fluoride out of the water supply.

I saw a commercial for Nestle water playing on a Youtube video I wanted to watch. It showed a beautiful young mother and two healthy, sweet children in their spacious kitchen with the kitchen sink plainly visible. They are drinking water from Nestle's plastic bottles, and the mother is talking about how the health of her children is paramount.

People campaigning against Nestle still don't understand the message embedded in that commercial: tap water is available, but who would let their children drink it, when it is full of deadly toxins such as fluoride?

When I pointed out to my friend who is concerned about the drought that if she wants to put market pressure on Nestle to stop selling off that water, she needs to campaign against water fluoridation, she was not convinced. People drink bottled water for convenience, she told me. Really? What could be more convenient when you are sitting in your kitchen than getting water from that tap over the sink? Has she watched that commercial? Does she understand what Nestle is selling?

She also pointed out that fluoridation is a local issue, which is up to the various municipalities. Well, yes, that is true, but did you know there are national special interest groups who campaign for fluoridation?

Like the ecological system, the economy is interconnected. Everything affects everything else. Restrict people from having their own water, decide publicly that toxins will be pumped into the water supply, and people will go out and buy bottled water. It's not that they love those plastic bottles and enjoy lugging them around. They are running scared. They need water in order to live, and they will pay any price to keep from being poisoned.

Everything in life is interconnected, even the ecology and the economy. You can't make a move in one area and not end up affecting everything else. When people act individually, they are more likely to make decisions that help themselves. But when decisions for many people are made collectively by a few "experts", the results can be quite different from what they intended.

So far, Bow and I are insulated from those distant concerns about poisoned water and water shortages. But the world is a ball, and we will no doubt suffer with the rest if things really get out of hand. Before you decide that you're going to side with Siren the social worker, check out what Blood has to say. It's your world, too. You deserve to know the facts.


  1. I am glad I live in a city that does not fluoridate the water. I still use a Brita pitcher. I no longer would suggest buying bottled water when I learned you can buy a water distiller and do it much more cheaply yourself. I think the best solution is if you can own land and have a water supply, like you do.

    1. I'm glad your city does not fluoridate the water,, Julia. Unlike chlorine, fluoride cannot be simply filtered out at home, But I agree the best solution is to own land and have a private water supply. That used to be what most people did. Maybe our society will go back to that way of life someday.