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Water Wars
America’s romance with bottled “spring” water

“I read in an article somewhere that seven days without  water and you’re dead.

                                          We’re afraid that they’ll                                            pump so much water out of                                            our aquifer that it’ll draw                                            contaminants into our                                            wells. And if that happens                                            then what’ve we got? We                                            got nothin’. We can’t live;                                            can’t survive.”

                                                                       Don Owens

                                                             Rancher


“When the well’s dry; that’s when we know the worth of water.”
                                                               Benjamin Franklin

High urban demand for bottled water sends developers looking for clean aquifers in rural communities where everyone depends on underground wells.  They are generally not welcome. As one angry citizen  put it:“a guy puts a pipe in the ground next door and makes a lot ‘a money suckin’ the water right out from under you ... you ask the state for help and they tell you it’s YOUR problem,... so  YOU  go broke tryin’ to make him stop.”  


Water Wars is about bottled spring water: who buys it, where it comes from and why it matters how it’s taken from the ground. When private bottling companies leased pumping sites in the exurbs of Philadelphia and in rural East Texas they opened a hornets nest of protest. Heated debates, lawsuits and challenges to the law of the land. Locals want to drink it, feed their livestock, fish in it and grow their crops. Developers want to pump it out, truck it away and sell it to a thirsty urban market. So the story boils down to one fundamental question: WHOSE WATER IS IT, ANYWAY???!!!!!





                                     “That’s a hundred year                                         old well there. And four days                                         after they started pumping

                                        they pumped it dry.


                                       The State of Texas says we                                         don’t have no rights. They can                                         just keep pumpin’ and take out                                         all the water. And we don’t                                         have nothin’ to say about it.”

Bart Sipriano
Retired Oil Worker
Play Clip