San Antonio’s business-as-usual is putting our water future at risk. Last week Brooks City Base sought rush-rush rezoning approval to allow Niagara Bottling to put San Antonio’s water in plastic bottles to sell nationwide. This, while San Antonio Water System (SAWS) wants us to spend $3.4 billion on the Vista Ridge pipeline to bring incredibly expensive additional water to San Antonio. City Council fortunately paused the zoning deal, but it did not kill it.  It should; it is a bad deal for our community.

The first problem is the very idea of having a bottling company in San Antonio. Despite recent rains, we are not a water-rich region. No water bottling company is sustainable here, no matter how much water we pipe in from other areas. Niagara is trying to get out of the Los Angeles region precisely because of California’s water crisis. Why should San Antonio allow Niagara to come here to hasten our own?

If we are to be prepared for the impacts of climate change and the very real likelihood of severe droughts, San Antonio must protect our water supply vigilantly. We live in a semi-arid region that is going to experience, in the foreseeable future, what researchers call “unprecedented drought conditions.” New data, reported this March in the New York Times,suggest the strong probability of a 35-year-long drought before the end of this century. How can we withstand such a drought?  Not by increasing consumption of water. Not by exempting existing commercial, industrial, and institutional SAWS customers from having to take appropriate measures to increase their water-efficiency. And certainly not by allowing water to new businesses whose profits come only from selling our water elsewhere… Read full commentary from the Rivard Report