War on the Water Front

As the thirst for bottled water grows, a battle is brewing over precious resources--and profits

In a state better known for its lobster rolls and rugged landscape, James Wilfong has a radical new vision for Maine's future. On his trips abroad as a Small Business Administration official in the 1990s, Wilfong came to realize that in many places water was worth fighting for. "The light went off in my head," he says. "Water is Maine's oil in this century."

Maine has only 1.3 million people but at least 25 trillion gallons of drinkable water in its lakes and aquifers. Wilfong, a former state legislator, wants to turn that resource into cold cash. So he proposed a...

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