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Water is the new water, and we can’t take it for granted

The fact that water is currently flowing from our faucets does not alter the basic reality that our most precious of resources is neither unlimited nor invulnerable.

South Kawishiwi River
Courtesy of the Bound Hounds/Joe Krekeler

NoCal and SoCal are grappling about piping water southward (LA Times), the Colorado River is “severely threatened by human overuse” (MIT), and Waukesha Wisconsin wants to draw 9 million gallons of water per day from Lake Michigan because of “a depleted aquifer and rising concentrations of carcinogenic radium in the water” (Triple Pundit). These are just a few results of a brief and obviously non-comprehensive Internet search regarding the ways in which our water sources may be threatened. That water is currently flowing from our faucets does not alter the basic reality that our most precious of resources is simply not unlimited nor invulnerable.

Meanwhile, in our beloved Minnesota, the foreign-owned Polymet Mining Corp. wants to operate a new type of mine that will threaten the Lake Superior Watershed with toxins. According to MiningTruth.org: “To date, mining companies are unable to point to a sulfide mine that has ever been developed, operated and closed without producing polluted drainage from its operations. Yet studies show that the companies and state agencies reviewing mine plans consistently predict no pollution will occur during the planning and permitting process.”

Sulfide mining is not the only activity threatening our water, but it is a new and serious one, and it is as good a starting place as any for the pivot that needs to happen.

Water is the new water, friends, and I’m afraid we can’t take it for granted anymore. Whether through observation or research or even intuition, it’s time to accept that there’s a problem.

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