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Water Issues (letter to ed.)

Two recent articles in your newspaper highlight the attempts of a dedicated group of citizens to prevent the extraction of water by Poland Springs from Shapleigh.

Although I am not a member of POWWR, I feel that the people of Shapleigh and indeed all of York County should applaud and thank this group for giving the town a much needed pause to research the implications of commercial water extraction.

If people have not taken it upon themselves to research this topic I encourage them to do so quickly. Government publications, such as USGS circular 1186 – Sustainability of Ground-Water Resources and USGS circular 1323 – Ground Water Availability in the United States (both available ‘on-line’ at http://water.usgs.gov/ogw/pubs.html ) highlight the effects of water extraction upon the environment, and there will be detrimental effect, even though they may not be noticed for many years. Other publications, such as “A Citizen’s Guide to Water Privatization” issued by Public Citizen, a non-profit organization, show a much scarier side of the industry, especially under the NAFTA.

These publications are but a sampling. A quick Internet search under ‘water issues’ will bring up thousands of articles to read. The town of Shapleigh needs a very strict water-extraction ordinance, as does every town with access to fresh, unpolluted water. The issues are multi-faceted. There is indeed a global water crises at this time, and the issues are coming to Maine, as corporations rapidly attempt to gain control of water resources. The control of water is indeed, the control of life itself.

When I first learned of this proposal, I was not opposed to Poland Springs coming to town, but felt I would like to have more information. This delay has given me time to search out information from sources other than the company wishing to “buy” our water. On a personal level, I would like to thank POWWR for their immediate response to this issue and their citizen activism. When the people of Shapleigh go to vote in March, I encourage them to vote their conscience, but please, do a little research and make it an informed vote.

Charles Scamman, Shapleigh

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