The LWV UMRR blog is going to focus on groundwater for the next few months. This month we have two posts on the transfer of groundwater from state to state and country to country through bottled beverages and agricultural products. In "Exporting Water from the Mississippi - one 0.5liter Bottle at a Time", we take a look at the efforts of Niagara Bottling to site water bottling facilities in Minnesota and Wisconsin. This California company is seeking to expand in areas where cities will use their water supplies to encourage economic growth - the catch is that municipal water supplies are rated a higher priority than industrial uses, so an industrial use of municipal water takes advantage of a loophole in the system. The second post, "Groundwater is moving across the world in products" looks at the use of Arizona groundwater to raise alfalfa for dairy herds in Saudi Arabia. Arizona passed an act requiring the big cities to manage groundwater sustainably, but that law does not apply outside these major population centers... another loophole being exploited to access water.
Minnesota also passed a Ground Water Protection Act, back in 1989. The Minnesota Ground Water Association charged a team with developing a white paper that looks at implementation of the Act in the past 30 years, and then looks ahead to what more needs to be done. (You can view a video on this Act and White Paper at this link.) One issue that stands out through all of these is the movement of water from one state, or one country, to another. Without clear policies to govern sharing (and not sharing) of water, there will be piecemeal protections and continuing over-withdrawals.
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