Poland Spring Water’s advertisement in a recent Rumford paper was meant to project a positive image.

Facts don’t lie, but sometimes the way they are presented is confusing and can distort the truth in a way that misleads many to see only what those presenting the facts wish them to see. It is only good business to market yourself as well as your product.

The visual, rain-drop diagram was great, showing, by percentages, what becomes of 8.5 trillion gallons (45 inches) of precipitation that fall within the watershed(s) in which Poland Spring operates.

From that large amount of water, Poland Spring withdraws a tiny 0.0089 percent for the purpose of its business that provides many positive benefits to society; thus, a reasonable use of a renewable resource.

Their facts indicate that 50 percent of the total runs off into streams/rivers and 30-40 percent evaporates or transpires. That leaves 10-20 percent that infiltrates to recharge the groundwater.

Since there is no control over 80-90 percent of the precipitation, focus on the 10-20 percent that infiltrates to recharge groundwater. That is what can be extracted for domestic and business use.

Poland Spring withdraws 0.059 percent from an annual groundwater recharge of 15 percent, which is 6.6 times greater than the 0.0089 percent based on total annual precipitation.

If the ad was just for readers within the Rumford watershed, why use data taken from all the watersheds in which Poland Spring operates? Will future climate change alter the water cycle and bring new facts that lead to Maine water becoming a political issue?

Richard Bedard, Peru

filed under: