And all the boards did shrink;
Water, water, everywhere,
Nor any drop to drink.
Samuel Taylor Coleridge (1772-1834) in The Rime of the Ancient Mariner is describing the terrible thirst gripping sailors on a sailing vessel when the seas are becalmed and the stores of fresh water gone. It is not a pleasant circumstance in which to find oneself. This may be the reason some of our leaders are focusing on the supply of fresh water for our nation as a national security item.
Take a look at this scenario for a moment. One or more powerful cooperative water cartels have emerged to seize control of every aspect of water for its own profit. Being a complacent society, we have allowed the discovery, production and delivery of water to be concentrated in a few companies that, in turn, have been taken over by a large cooperation.
These cartels have taken over the delivery of drinking water and the removal of waste water. They have put massive amounts of water in plastic bottles and sell it to us at exorbitant prices. Using some of their profits, they have begun by building sophisticated new technologies to recycle our dirty water and sell it back to us.
It was easy for these corporate giants to take over the discovery and delivery of water, as elected official after official went into office on the absurd “no tax increase” lie and refused to take the lead in solving the water problem when it was recognized late in the 20st century.
It is not hard to picture a world 20 years in the future in which no substantive progress has been made to provide basic water services in arid lands, create laws to protect source water and force industry and industrial agriculture to stop polluting water systems---or to curb the vast movement of water by pipeline or tankers that would create many more square miles of deserts.
You may think that I am crying “wolf” when there isn't any danger. Listen! Felton, Calif., a small town of about 3,000 adult residents, recently won their battle with a giant corporation for control of their water. For six years the Felton Water District citizens have been trying to buy their water company. Only after the threat of an eminent domain suit did California American Water, the German owner company, agree to $10.5 million in cash for the system. We all remember the hasty demise of Martha Mill when it was bought by a German-owned company.
Upson County and the City of Thomaston are dancing around the problem of water. We have a few studies and some suggestions as to how we can begin to solve our needs for now and the future. We need to find a way for the County and the City to work together to care for our current needs and to establish a pattern to face the future.
During the most recent 40 days of “wandering in the wilderness” by our state legislature, described by a participant as a “college food fight”, our elected officials finally managed to create a statewide Water Management Plan to guide Georgia in managing its water resources. One of Upson's representatives described the plan this way:
“The newly enacted plan will utilize the state water resources in a sustainable manner, support the state's economy, protect public health and natural systems and enhance the quality of life for Georgians. The plan lays out statewide policies, management practice, and guidelines for regional planning.”
“The plan would guide river basin and aquifer management plans and regional water planning efforts statewide. The plan was created by an inclusive process, allowing all parties to contribute and offer solutions—from local governments to businessowners to the agricultural community and the general public."
It is encouraging that our governmental representatives seem to be aware of our water problem and are willing to work to solve it.