It’s been quite a week. People are paying up to $3.00 for a bottle of water at the Six Flags amusement park and in the football stadium, and $1.50 at the gas station.
Water.The same stuff you can get out of the tap at your kitchen sink.
Made me wonder when water became a commodity that can be bought and sold when it is a necessity of life.
There was a time when you could drink it right from the creek, or the pond, or the well which you dug 35 feet down.
Those days are gone for most people. The new gold, the new oil which will enrich some and impoverish others will be access to clean drinking water.
This issue goes under the label of “water rights.” Who has a right to water and who doesn’t? Is access and provision of water a private matter for the market economy or a governmental function?
We asked some of the people in our community.
Elmer Sandbagger said, “Well, hell, I drink the stuff right out of the creek. I go down there with canning jars. It might be a little cloudy and it does have somewhat of a musty odor to it, but it goes down and slakes my thirst. Loosens my bowels too so I don’t have to use no more Ex-lax. I can’t understand those yuppies buying that stuff down at the Stop ‘N Go. Fancy, schmansy bottles, with them funny tops. Hey, it’s their money. If they want to throw it away, when I can get it for free, that’s their business.
Jennifer Goldigger said, “My uncle runs a bottling plant down by the river and he is making a killing. The label says “Forest spring water” but he gets it right out of the river and then boils it down. He is making a killing. People like the snob appeal of it, and they are willing to pay. What was it that P.T. Barnum said? Something like ‘There’s a sucker born every minute.’”
Roy Christian weighed in, “Well, in the church, we call water, ‘Adam’s ale’, because it was part of God’s creation right there in the Garden Of Eden. It tastes so good on a hot day when you are thirsty, you can get a little rush off it, a natural high, know what I mean? I know the Town Council people were arguing over the water treatment plant upgrade and how it would raise taxes, but if the town isn’t going to supply good, clean water, then where would most people get it? Would you have to buy clean drinking water from a store like milk? I think the less government the better, but like the roads, maybe we should consider water a public utility, because we need it for the public good.”
Water is the elixir of life and the good folks in Anytown, USA are beginning to realize that it just doesn’t grow on trees, we can’t just take it for granted any more. We are glad that the creek water loosens Elmer’s bowels so he doesn’t have to use an over the counter laxative any more, but we worry what other bodily organs his creek water is affecting. Jennifer is looking to get rich on what some folks consider a basic human right, and Roy wonders whether “water rights” are a proprietary interest or a fitting purpose for government.