Kingston’s Water Supply. A Pop Quiz.


Former Kingston alderman: Plan to bottle city water was introduced in the late 1980s. Click on the link to read the article in the Daily Freeman.
Former Kingston alderman: Plan to bottle city water was introduced in the late 1980s. Click on the link to read the article in the Daily Freeman.


By Rebecca Martin

Click on former Ward 3 Alderman Charlie Landi’s photo to read the recent article in the Daily Freeman.  It has inspired a pop quiz.  Lets see how much we know about Kingston’s water supply.

The Questions

  1. What is Cooper Lake’s current ‘safe or dependable’ yield?
  1. What is the current ‘safe or dependable yield’ number based on?
  1. How many millions of GPD (gallons per day) does the City of Kingston and Town of Ulster consume? How many millions of GPD does Niagara wish to bottle and to sell? What is the total?
  1. What contracts are currently in place between the COK’s Water Department and local municipalities? Add these promises up and include them to the number above.
  1. What water promises have been made to development in the COK? What additional water needs may be necessary for future growth of economic development in the COK and TOU. Add that to the number above.
  1. What is the projected growth of  the COK over the next 50 years and it’s corresponding water needs? Keep adding.
  1. Had the COK’s Water Department Superintendent done an assessment of all of its water promises outside of its current usage prior to issuing a ‘will share’ commitment to the Niagara Bottling Co.’s Proposal?
  1. What’s in it for Kingston to sell their precious water source to Niagara, soon to be Nestle? Would said benefits out way the costs?


The answers (I wish I could turn them upside down so you couldn’t cheat)

  1. 6.1 million GPD.
  1. A drought from 1957. Based on a 2007 report. The 6.1 number that we keep hearing today was the same then. Seven years ago.
  1. 3.5 million GPD. 1.75 million GPD. 5.25 million GPD. Dangerously close to our safe yield without including anything else.
  1. You’d have to FOIL to find out.
  1. ?
  1. ?
  1. Nope. Nothing made available at least as far as we have seen. Still, some city officials boast of their support even without it. You can bet the Water Department are scrambling around now to put something together given the reaction to water and Cooper Lake and what has been a terrible public process given our water source is being considered to sell in this way. Request that all documentation that informed their numbers be attached.
  1. Kingston’s aging infrastructure is in desperate need of updates. Elected officials hope that by selling our water to Niagara, they could address the water dam at Cooper Lake and perhaps pipelines to Kingston. But in doing so, our new infrastructure may not have water to run through it.With interest rates as low as 3% (lower perhaps), could bonding for our needs be an option?  What would the increase be to our water bill?  Lets put that up for referendum to see how the public feels. I most certainly would prefer that option. Any day.

    There are rumblings that Niagara Bottling Co. is  in discussions to sell (or has already sold to) to Nestle. That all needs to be verified. In the meantime, google Nestle Waters and read what they are leaving behind in many economically depressed communities.  Not that the Niagara news reports are any better.  Hey, by the way – do you know who Niagara sells their water to?  Costco. Walmart.

    A “small, family business”. To the tune of 300 million dollars a year in profits from what I’ve read. In an 800 billion dollar business. That’s water and that’s why they are here.

    Niagara is working to come to the area with their taxes abated for 10 years. That means, they will pay little to no tax for the duration. Whatever infrastructure costs there will be in the Town of Ulster (say for the wear and tear of 260 trucks in and out of Tech City) will be placed on the tax payer. Jobs promised are nothing more than that. With a little research, the salaries they offer is not much more than $13 – $14 an hour.  Not even a living wage. Whatever managerial or engineering position salaries there are, there isn’t any promise that will all be located here. I can’t help but wonder how many of those 12o jobs for this project are truck drivers given there may be up to 260 of them.As for construction? Niagara applied for a CFA Grant and somehow rose to be endorsed as one of the mid-hudson regional economic development priorities in 2014 long before the news broke that Niagara was coming to the area.  What does that mean? That they are on track to receiving more pubic money for their build. How much? It isn’t clear. The budget that they submitted for the grant isn’t available. Would someone mind telling me what Niagara is actually paying for to set up shop here in the area?

    Without a good assessment of water use and promises/agreements made, there isn’t any knowing what lies ahead for us.  Water isn’t something that can be manufactured or replaced. Once it’s gone, it’s gone. Worst case scenario, does the COK have a secondary water supply in mind?  Imagine building new infrastructure at Cooper Lake only to have to then build it all over again someplace else because it is bone dry.  Will Kingston be drinking from the Hudson River like other river cities in the future?



Water is NOT a Commodity, Water is a Common Resource Fact Sheet

This is incredibly helpful, and especially the section titled ‘The Public Trust to help Safeguard Groundwater from Environmental Destruction and Privatization.




1 thought on “Kingston’s Water Supply. A Pop Quiz.”

  1. plain as day:

    “Food and Beverage multinational Nestlé dominates the world water industry with their Pure Life and Poland Springs brands by exploiting water resources both nationally and internationally, negatively affecting local citizens in the company’s determined pursuit of profit.

    more info
    government officials failed to act in the public interest and water was labeled as a ‘need’ rather than a universal ‘right’ Tweet Share
    At the World Water Forum held in the Netherlands in March 2000, the major topic on the agenda was whether water is considered a ‘need’ or a ‘right’. The discussion was not directed by various UN or government officials, as you might expect, but rather by some of the world’s largest corporations.

    One of the biggest players was Nestlé, who insisted on defining water as a ‘need’. A statement signed by government officials failed to act in the public interest, as corporations were sided with and water was labeled as a ‘need’ rather than a universal ‘right’. Since water was then notably defined as a ‘need’, conglomerates have been able to privatize the life source as a commodity, subjecting it to capitalistic market exchange and the consumer’s buying power.

    Water is the new gold. Nestlé hydrogeologists have replaced the gold panning prospector of a bygone era, as they scour places like rural Maine for their next great water source. Nestlé have exploited loopholes in Maine‘s state law governing groundwater acces, in particular law dictating that whoever owns land also owns what’s underneath it.

    In turn, the corporation has utilized their purchasing power to buy entire areas upright and gain access to the water supplies. The small town of Fryeburg, Maine proved a perfect domain due to its location on an enormous aquifer. What Fryeburg’s residents could get for free by turning on their taps, was in turn re-sold to them in a plastic bottle marked ‘Poland Springs’.

    In 2004, a pump failure in the town caused Fryeburg’s water supply to run dry, and anger toward the unaffected Swiss-based corporation came to the forefront. A citizen group banded together, calling themselves the Western Maine Residents for Rural Living (WMRFRL) and petitioning against Nestlé for destructing their quality of life.

    The following year, after Nestlé announced plans to build a water load-out facility in Fryeburg, WMRFRL were prepared to fight back. The Fryeburg Planning Board initially approved Nestlé’s permit, but were met with community backlash from concerned residents. WMRFRL successfully appealed the approval by advocating the Planning Board’s inconsideration toward the impact of such a load-out facility on the town, a fact that is stressed in the town’s comprehensive plan. As a result, Nestlé took the rural town to court.

    In the last five years, the food and beverage multinational has sued and appealed the town five times and finally won on its fifth attempt in March 2010, despite WMRFRL’s best efforts. The court ruled in favour of Nestlé, their reasoning being that Fryeburg’s comprehensive plan is to be used as a guidance rather than a regulation…”


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