Selling water to Nestlé, Crystal Geyser and others could strain aquifers.
Mount Shasta reigns over Siskiyou County, a commanding presence even when cloaked in clouds. The snow on its flanks percolates into a vast underground aquifer of volcanic tunnels and bubbling springs. Steeped in legend and celebrated for its purity, Shasta water is almost as mysterious as its namesake California mountain. Little is known about how much is actually stored there or how it moves through the subsurface fractures.
Locals and reverent pilgrims might have been the only ones to appreciate this water if it weren’t for the private companies now descending on the small towns at the mountain’s base. Ten different proposals have sought to bottle and send water to markets as far away as Japan. Four have been approved.
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