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Tennessee Clean
Water Network

123A S. Gay St.
Knoxville, TN 37902

Office: 865.522.7007
Fax: 865.525.4988

Private Company Seeks Residents’ Water Rights in Giles County

October 29th, 2008 by Dana Wright

Last week I traveled to Giles County to work with a group of residents seeking to maintain public ownership of a spring in their county. The Giles County Citizens for Natural Resource Protection have worked hard to learn about the potential impacts of privatizing water and inform residents about the negative repercussions they could face by leasing away their rights. I answered questions and addressed concerns voiced by this group in an effort to further inform them about the risks associated with water privatization during a time of significant growth coupled with worsening drought conditions. I was incredibly impressed with this group of committed residents, their eagerness to protect not only this important source of future drinking water, but also to protect their natural resources.

The following morning they allowed me to attend and speak at a public meeting of the Property Committee, which was hearing a presentation from Aspen Holding Company, who is seeking to lease the County’s spring water on a 50 year lease. Again, the residents in attendance impressed me with their knowledge, concern, and commitment to do what is best for the citizens of Giles County. Luckily, in the attend the Committee voted to take more time to assess the impacts, complete a thorough study on the issue, and hold a public hearing before making a recommendation to the County Commission to accept the offer from Aspen Holding Company.

The threat of water privatization is increasing tremendously throughout the state. It is dangerous and often environmentally disastrous to sell or lease public water rights to private companies, and Giles County is all to familiar with these facts. Communities must become informed and aware of the risks associated with privatization. They become at risk to lose significant amounts of water as private companies monitor and determine the amount available to the affected community. As residents of any community with a public drinking water source, you are accountable to your neighbor and your fellow residents to use and protect that water in a responsible manner. Selling off your rights takes away your right to make decisions affecting your important drinking water source.


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