It's a week or so before Christmas and you
probably are more involved with family things,
and wondering what you're going to get that special
person for a gift. I'm no help with that, but if
you've got the shopping and honey-do's done, I'd
like you to spend a bit of your holiday time
considering something really serious.
I try not to get on a soap-box too often, but there
really is something which needs your attention.
What is the most important aspect of fly fishing?
What is impossible to remove from the equation?
Clue: The same thing upon which Trout Unlimited based
it's credo and organization.
Scratching your head?
TU based it's foundation on 'Clean Water.' Obviously,
fish can't survive without proper water - and watersheds.
And neither can we.
Another Clue: When you open your refrigerator and grab
a bottle of water, where did the water come from?
Which takes us back to the bottle of water in the frig,
in your tackle-pac, in your vehicle and everywhere.
We've become addicted to the ever-present water bottle.
But there's a problem.
Where does the "water" come from?
Did you know, over a million bottles of water are opened
and consumed every day? Did you know the water in those
bottles quite often comes from your local watersheds?
Jim Chapralis who wrote the Casting section here on FAOL
recently sent me some information which frankly scared
the hell out of me. There is a WAR being fought in
the midwest on who gets to pump water out of the ground.
It is a WAR over the privatization and extraction of
water and it will be the No. 1 freshwater
conservation/angling concern of the decade.
In a nutshell here is how it goes. A big company, like
Nestle/Perrier comes in to an area, one way or another
gets the rights to pump water for their bottled water.
A single operation can pump 250 million gallons of water
a year. Americans are on the average, consuming about 21.1
gallons of bottled water per year per person. Bottled water
consumption in the United States has tripled since the early
1990s into a $7.6 billion market with an expected increase
of about 10 percent per year.
What if the water the big company is pumping is in the
watershed of your blue ribbon trout stream? There are
over 70 of these Nestle/Perrier big pumping facilities
in the US. There are also OTHER companies doing the
same thing. Evian ring any bells?
Americans have been sold a bill of goods - and bought
into the hype and advertising big time.
In several taste tests (you can do this one yourself)
people did not choose bottled water over just
plain chilled tap water from New York City! Good
Morning American actually did this test with a live
Worse, in many cases, bottled water is not safer
than local tap water. Quoting, "The Natural Resources
Defense Council (NRDC) tested more than 1,000 bottles
of 103 brands of bottled water. "While most of the tested
waters were found to be of high quality, some brands
were contaminated: about one-third of the waters tested
contained levels of contamination—including synthetic
organic chemicals, bacteria, and arsenic—in at least one
sample that exceeded allowable limits under either state
or bottled water industry standards or guidelines."
According to Jim Chapralis, "part of the reason is that
municipal waters are under the jurisdiction of the
Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) which requires
constant testing. Bottled water falls under the Food
and Drug Administration (FDA), which requires less or
no testing in some cases. For example, if bottled water
is sold within the same state, no testing is required.
If this has peaked your interest at all, I would love
to have you read the whole report! It's all on Jim
Chaparalis' website -
Jim has the reports on how folks in Wisconsin stopped
the big companies from ruining their best trout stream,
what is happening in Minnesota and Michigan. Perrier
also has their hooks out in Canada, (and they probably
aren't the only ones).
You do need to be aware of this problem - and just maybe
you need to start filling those empty water bottles with
your own tap water and keeping it in the frig - or not quite
filling them and putting a couple in the freezer. That would
be a good thing!
~ The LadyFisher
If you would like to comment on this or any other article please feel free to
post your views on the FAOL Bulletin Board!