Saratoga’s Water: The Story You Have To Read

Saratoga Living 

In the opening scene of Ice Age: The Meltdown, Scrat, the acorn-obsessed saber-toothed squirrel, is hanging off the edge of a glacier where his acorn has become lodged. When he finally wedges it out, a stream of water springs from the hole. He plugs the leak with his paw, but another springs, followed by another and another until he runs out of body parts to plug the leaks with and is blown from the side of the glacier.

That’s what writing about water is like. Every time you think you’ve done it—plugged the leak and contained the tsunami—another leak, or, in this case, lead, sprouts. There’s e. Coli in the lake. Great. On top of it. But, oh wait, it also has blue green algae and zebra mussels, and there are invasive water chestnuts in the creek that connects the lake to the river. There’s the water crisis in Africa, in California and in the Colorado River basin, and then there’s the drinking water crises in Flint, MI and Newark, NJ. There’s saltwater and fresh water, glacial water and rainwater and, in Saratoga Springs, there’s mineral water.

In writing about all the waters of Saratoga, and actually, in writing about Saratoga in general, mineral waters come first. As Dr. Grace M. Swanner writes in her Saratoga Queen Of Spas (the book Saratoga Room Library Clerk Victoria Garlanda referred to as “The Bible” when she handed it to me), “It can realistically be said that the waters are the veritable ‘raison d’être’ of Saratoga Springs.” And so, in my quest to write as comprehensive a story on Saratoga water as possible, mineral water is where I’ll dive in first…

…The very first person I talked to when I started my water investigation was Elizabeth Sobol, president and CEO of SPAC. Not the most obvious choice, I know. But I knew she was passionate about water—mineral and drinking—as evidenced by her bringing a three-part series of talks on water to SPAC this past summer…

…Sobol also talked about The Jefferson Project, a partnership between the FUND for Lake George, IBM and Rensselaer Polytech Institute (RPI) that is the world’s most advanced environmental monitoring system. The project’s goal is to identify, understand and respond to ecological stressors (which are often human caused), such as road salt, invasive species and excess nutrients (or eutrophication), in order to create a global model for ecosystem resilience. “I think it’s incredible that all these people and organizations are getting together, seeing the responsibility they have to help create templates for the future and for other people who are trying to stave off the same problem,” Sobol says…

 

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