Defending Water in the Skagit Basin March 2013 Newsletter- click to view PDF
Defending Water in the Skagit Basin, an arm of Defending Water in Washington presents this March 2013 newsletter featuring a Tethys Enterprises Beverage Bottling Plant Site Update. We hope this information provides insight to the impact that the plant will have on Fidalgo Island and surrounding Skagit County Communities.
All the best, Sandra Spargo Defending Water in the Skagit River Basin
As Michelle Obama’s entourage of SUV’s rolled into Portland for Obama’s re-election fundraiser, Defending Water for Life and an estimated 40 others protested the proposed XL Pipeline that is sitting on the President’s desk right now.
If constructed, the pipeline would support the mining and transport of the dirtiest oil from the Tar Sands in Alberta, Canada to oil refineries in Texas. Experts who are not being silenced by industry or political influence state that if this project proceeds, climate change will increase exponentially, and that the damage caused to water, plants, and animals will be irreversible.
H2O comes at a price for both our health and the environment
By: Alexa Coppola
On any given day in the progressive 21st century, a relatively intuitive economist might ask himself, “What may be the next most valuable commodity?”A greedy economist without regard for the environment or for his fellow citizens of the planet would tell you that water may be next in line for items of greatest value.Water — yes, water. The same water that runs through the tap when you pull the lever on the sink upwards, or turn the knob of a faucet. Not water that is “purified” or somehow better because it has come prepackaged, cleaner, merely because it comes in a bottle.
The exploitation of water is an issue that is becoming more urgent with every passing day. This can be attributed to enormous water bottle corporations essentially stealing water from communities and selling it back to us.
And these are not communities in some far off, unreachable land; they are towns in places like Maine and Colorado, who have reservoirs for tap water just like any town might.
A water bottle corporation will go into these towns, purchase a small plot of land for the bare minimum price, and basically use this land to claim entire bodies of water.
This water will be neatly packaged and sold back to the community who is supposed to have access to clean water sources. Now, the only sources they’ll have are wrapped in a thin layer of plastic and purchased at the grocery store.
This works so tremendously well because the bottles are sold everywhere to people who have no idea that this water theft phenomenon is even occurring.
And it doesn’t help that these corporate water giants literally reverse the harmful facts of wasteful water bottle usage to deter from the negative attention it would naturally create.
Poland Spring is a prime example, who’s advertisements tell us that their drinking water comes from the natural springs of Maine. But whose natural springs are we drinking from, exactly?
Poland Spring, Aquafina and Dasani all find their origins in public water sources, which means that the water you’re paying for is pretty much the exact same water that runs from the tap.
There are few exceptions. One exception is that the water from your tap isn’t stolen from an unassuming town. Another is that the water coming from your tap comes straight from the area’s reservoir.
Who knows what the water went through before it was bottled? Probably not the person drinking it. It is also confined within a plastic bottle, which contains innumerable hazardous and harmful chemicals.
But this is controversial subject matter for another day.
It is true that this is shocking information that can impact the daily lives of many of us, but there are certainly measures we can take to stop this exploitation and robbery from occurring.
We can cease purchasing bottled water and instead carry our own reusable water bottles. Fewer sales of these useless items will result in less demand for them, and less need for their supply.
These are small steps, but it is the small measures taken by many individuals that equal the big steps that are necessary for the sustenance of our society.
Speak Up, Speak Out radio host Jodie Buller talks with Sandra Spargo, of the citizen’s group Defending Water in the Skagit River Basin.
1. Interview with Sanda Spargo (click Play icon to listen)
The subject is the contract that the City of Anacortes signed with Tethys Enterprises to build what could become the largest bottled beverage plant in the U.S. The Tethys contract is for five million gallons of municipal Skagit River water per day and would involve 800 rail cars each day to transport materials and product. Sandra explains some of the context of the contract and citizen response and suggests an upcoming water summit to bring Skagit communities together to collectively decide what happens with the future of our water resources.
Mexico City-based Blue Planet Project organizer Claudia Campero Arena writes:
Mexico’s chamber of deputies
Last Thursday (April 28), the water movement in Mexico had an important victory. The federal chamber of deputies approved an initiative to recognize the right to water and to a healthy environment in the Mexican Constitution!
For several years, particularly since 2006, many Mexican organizations and citizens have demanded the recognition of the human right to water in our Constitution. The Coalition of Mexican Organizations for the Right to Water (COMDA) among other organizations started a campaign with this purpose in the first worldwide celebration of Blue October in 2006. At this time there were several initiatives in Congress to recognize this right, but there were no clear signs that things could move forward.
Citizens around the country are concerned about water: having access to safe and affordable water is a matter of life and life quality. The official figure, used by the government, of the percentage of people with access to water – “91.5% of the population has access to piped water” – hides inequalities. Not only do 8.5% lack access to piped water, within this 91.5% figure, but the government counts people that have access to piped water through public taps or neighbors and need to carry it back home. The fact is that a bit less than 70% of the population has in-house tap water. Moreover, of the houses that have piped water only 73% have water continuously, 15% have water every other day and the rest have it, maybe, once a week or once every two weeks . These numbers are only about physical access, yet we also need to talk about quality and affordability which are also key elements. To the question: ‘Would you drink a glass of tap water in Mexico?’ Most would answer no, and there is reason in this answer.
The approved initiative still needs to go through the Senate; and then more than half of the state legislatures need to pass it to become part of our Constitution. This process could take months, maybe years. However, the fact that it passed through the chamber of deputies is a huge step. The debate to pass it through considered international law specifically the General Comment 15 and last year’s General Assembly Resolution.
The wording that should be included in the forth article of the Constitution states every person has the right to a healthy environment, such a right will be guaranteed by the State, and harm to the environment will mean responsibility to those who provoke it. Every person has the right to access, use and sanitation of water for personal and domestic use in sufficient quantity, quality, acceptability and affordability. The State will guarantee this right and determine the base for equity and sustainability with the participation of all government levels and citizen participation.
This is a simple proposal, but it includes the key elements of sufficient quantity, quality and affordability. We will be working hard to push through this initiative to have the human right to water and to a healthy environment recognized in the Mexican Constitution!
 Alatorre, Adriana “Carece de agua 30% de viviendas” Reforma, March 20, 2011.
As the world reels from the earthquake/tsunami/nuclear catastrophe in Japan, a disaster which was never supposed to happen, we have an opportunity today on World Water Day to look into the future and pledge to take action to prevent another impending disaster. We must not allow corporations to gain control of water on which all life depends. Action must be taken at all levels, from local communities to the United Nations. Continue reading →
On Monday, July 19th, 2010, one million four hundred thousand signatures of Italian citizens were brought to the highest Italian Court in Rome, demanding three referendums. The objective is to place WATER and its management outside of the speculation mechanisms of the national and international financial markets, and to bring about once again its public management. Continue reading →