Thursday, July 22, 2004

Water, Water Everywhere:
In bottles, and coming to You for a price, a 21st Century commodity

"Water, water, everywhere,
And all the boards did shrink;
Water, water, everywhere,
Nor any drop to drink."

As much as I give my folks grief about the deep malarky of my childhood, one thing you'll never hear from me is "no one read to me". Dad read out loud, a lot. He read from Dr. Seuss and Alfred Bester, and Robert Service, and the National Geographic, and he read Kipling and Coleridge's Rime of the Ancient Mariner

I came across this today from MSNBC's food editor: Is your bottled water coming from a faucet? It's all about the "commodification" of water, and only as we view it in the US. In other places in the world the big business of water is far more nefarious, and you'll have to exercise your search engine muscles on your own for more, unless I get more ambitious later.

People on the Left Coast might want to try to rent or buy the PBS series called "The Cadillac Desert". PBS used to have a big spread at their Web site on it, but it's been retired. You can find the video here at Amazon. The series was perspective-jogging and disturbing, but necessary. Mulholland's folly has created lasting ripples in ponds with ever-decreasing levels of water here on the Left Coast. The series is worth the money.

Here on: On Western Water as a Commons

More: Water as Commodity
Indigenous Peoples Kyoto Water Declaration

Finally, I'll leave you with a hierarchy of needs ... a much simpler one than Abraham Maslow proposed. It goes like this: Your life ends after about:

3 minutes without air
3 days without water
3 weeks to 3 months without food

How long will US "consumers" allow Coca-Cola and Pepsi and Evian to sell them and everyone else water without a fight? When I was a kid my parents' house had a well. We paid for electricity to pump it. Call me a primitivist if you like. Selling water to people dying of dehydration is an abomination.

For the record, I use city water filtered through a Pur Pitcher, and don't ever buy bottled water.