the local media participates with the local water districts in a carefully
orchestrated game of misdirection designed to calm the public's fears
about deteriorating drinking water conditions.
month's(June, 1993) big spread on drinking water quality as reported
in the San Jose Mercury News was another example of the big media and
the water districts attempting to distract the public's attention from
the absolutely horrible tasting water conditions which are spreading
throughout the Santa Clara Valley(California) water systems.
the Mercury News and the water districts go into orbit over that statement,
let's present some facts for your consideration. First---according to
their official "findings" and "taste tests", San
Jose's water ranks second in the state in terms of good, wholesome tasting
that's really true, then Alhambra, Black Mountain, Sierra, Arrowhead,
Aqua Technology and dozens of other bottled water vendors as well as
hundreds of carbonated waters in grocery stores are merely a mirage
on the supermarket shelves. These companies should pack their bags and
head for another, more lucrative marketplace.
the San Jose tap water is so good tasting as the Mercury News reports,
why are all these bottled water companies, vending machines, water stores
and other water vendors doing doing a land office business by placing
alternate drinking water in virtually every major business office and
over 40 percent of individual homes in the valley?
we to believe that individuals and companies who spend hundreds and
in some case thousands of dollars per year on delivered bottled water
and home water purifiers are doing this simply because they have extra
money to throw away?
buy water, home filters and purifiers because the water tastes bad---and
the Santa Clara valley, by any yardstick, is one of the biggest markets
for water and purifiers in the United States.
a closer look at this Mercury News report we find that for their "official
San Jose taste test", the water gurus cleverly chose a sample from
the downtown area. This area is served by local wells and is not typical
of what is being served up in kitchens across the valley.
the tasters chosen some water from the east side, Blossom Valley, the
Willow Glen, Rose Garden or Cambrian Park area or even Almaden, the
results would probably have been similar to the Goletta/Santa Barbara,
CA. water test where the taste was so bad the participants spit the
water out during the taste test.
with people from the Goletta and Santa Barbara area we find that the
water in that area is normally quite good. What is causing the poor
quality water is the extreme drought and the low level of water in their
local drinking water reservoirs.
the deck with misleading information such as this to act as a backdrop
for San Jose's reportedly excellent drinking water conditions does not
give the readership confidence that the report is objective and evenhanded
in it's comparison criteria.
we being too hard on the water people? I think not. They are most certainly
aware of the problems we have with our local water---both in taste and
quality. They are simply not willing to risk a public outcry if they
open the door to reality in water quality just a crack.
example. During the drought of 1976-77, the water districts kept a tight
lip during the drought season. Not a word was said about the extremely
high levels of sodium and chloroform in the Valley's drinking water.
heart patients and pregnant mothers continued to drink water with copious
amounts of sodium and chloroform, a known cancer causing agent.
after the first, heavy rains in January did the water people step forward
goodness, with the rain the chloroform and sodium levels are now down
to acceptable levels(if one believes there is a "acceptable"
amount of cancer-causing chloroform for an expectant mother, or a "normal"
amount of sodium for individuals on strict, sodium-free diets) ".
This type of "ex post facto" public relations activity is
not acceptable in most areas of the country---why do we put up with
public certainly deserves more from a group who extracted millions of
dollars in water use fines last year, slipped those bags of coins into
the local bank, collected interest and then refused to refund those
funds, or the interest collected, to their water customers.
it's only a very few decision makers at the top who are responsible
for this carefully orchestrated public relations program. You will never
reach them through the public information officers who handle consumer
complaints. In fact, we have found that these fine public information
officers aren't even aware of many of their water companies own problems.