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Voice of our Readers Aug. 10, 2023

Keitel: 'Our water has become tainted'
Letter to the Editor:
I grew up in rural Luverne and understood crops, birds, rivers, streams, beaver, muskrat, snapping turtles, river bottoms and sand pits. I utilized the spring water that flowed out of the earth like a gift from God.
My first spring water was from the Blue Mounds where a pipe came out of the side of a hill and filled glass gallon jars that we brought home. The spring ran continuously.
My next spring water experience was near Adrian along the Kanaranzi River where clean water flowed directly out of a hillside along County Road 4, known to us as “Old Highway 16.”
People would plan their trips to stop and fill canteens, crockery and in later times fill glass jugs with ice-cold, clear water.
In the early 1990s high nitrate levels made the water undrinkable, and the spring was closed to the public.
But this didn’t happen overnight.
When we transitioned 6,000 years ago from hunters and gatherers to agrarian, we lost our height along with our varied diets as we became dependent on limited grains and a life of agrarian toil.
We planted, weeded and harvested crops, expending nearly twice the calories than when we hunted and gathered, and our life expectancy dropped.
Once we became farmers, we “pooped in our bath water” with domesticated animals and farming practices polluting water.
As long as you lived upstream and had no neighbors higher on the watershed, you were healthy, but your livestock and farming practices meanwhile polluted water for those downstream.
Our hunter and gatherer friends slowly died off because they could not produce offspring as fast as our sedentary agrarian friends. (Hunter gatherer ovulation cycles ceased while carrying a baby or toddler on the move).
Where human population was limited, springs and artesian wells were still functional.
I am fortunate to have grown up in a time when you could still appreciate clear, cold water flowing from a hillside, but in the blink of an eye, my children know nothing of this phenomenon.
Human population has grown along with agrarian practices of tilled soil and livestock feedlots depositing nitrates upstream from flowing water tables.
Our population has flourished, but our water has become tainted by corn, soybeans, cattle, hogs and chickens.
Our children and grandchildren are well fed and nourished, but alas, they know nothing of the spring water flowing from the hillside.
Bill Keitel,

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