Bermuda provides lesson on water use

Letters to the Editor (The Guardian)
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Editor: We assume the powers that be will look at all the science and possible results, negative and positive, in allowing increased potato yield through irrigation from deep-water wells. It would be short-sighted to have a monetary benefit today whose value would be negated in our grandchildren’s time.

Bermuda, during its early settlement. had artesian wells as its source of fresh water, causing the water table to drop, allowing saline to enter the well water. The consequence —brackish well water, undrinkable, used only as grey water for toilets and washing. Drinking water is mostly rainwater collected in cisterns and water from desalination, at enormous expense, to make up the shortfall.  We’ve all seen the fish kills due to nitrates and herbicides washing from fields into our streams. Imagine the results if our groundwater was similarly affected by the over-watering of agricultural fields. The nitrate level is already quite high in some wells.

We are an island. Our resources are finite. Using deep well groundwater for irrigation may be today’s gain and tomorrow’s loss, maybe not. But should we take that chance, whose to decide, and is there enough real science to justify it?

Heather Holmes,

Charlottetown

Geographic location: Bermuda, Charlottetown

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