Bottled water plants are stirring up controversy in some places

Bottled water is said to fuel a $10.8 billion industry, which is growing 8 percent a year. So it’s really no wonder that bottled water plants would stir up controversy related to natural resources.

Associated Press reporter Samantha Young takes a look at how one California town seems eager to build a bottled water plant to help rebuild the town’s economy after a local lumber mill closed. California is home to 40 percent of the nation’s 300 water bottling operations, Young reports.

She also expands her report to other areas of the country:

Supporters of bottling plants see them as a vital source of jobs and revenue. Others fear that pumping large amounts of water from the ground will drain wells, creeks and streams.

“It’s no longer this limitless resource,” said Elaine Renich, a commissioner in Lake County, Fla., where California-based Niagara Bottling LLC wants to pump water from the region’s shrinking aquifer. “It’s beyond me how you can expect people to conserve water and you turn around and say a water bottling plant is OK.”

In New Hampshire, residents are trying to block New Hampshire-based USA Springs from pumping more than 300,000 gallons a day from 100 acres it bought.

“They are people who want to bully their way in and take our water,” said Barrington, N.H., resident Denise Hart.

I have a feeling that bottled water battles are just beginning.

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