ENGLEWOOD — The Englewood Center for Sustainability is raising awareness about drinking-water consumption in a series of weekly seminars in March.
EC4S will introduce the series with an opening reception from 5 p.m. to 7 p.m. March 7 at the Buchan Community Airport Park, 1398 Old Englewood Road, Englewood. The center will conduct a blind taste test of bottled and tap water.
“We’re having a significant problem with available water,” said Don Musilli, committee chairman for EC4S. “Water is almost as expensive as oil. States and counties are fighting over availability of fresh water.”
The reception will preview the documentary films “Tapped” and “Blue Gold,” which will be shown from 5:30 p.m. to 7:30 p.m. March 18 and 25, respectively.
“We’ve been working on (the presentation) for three months,” said Bobbi Marquis, EC4S board member. “Our purpose in assembling (a) panel is education. We started as a planning committee and turned into a think tank.”
Marquis said to prepare for the series the group read “The Big Thirst” by Charles Fishman. The book discusses “our strange and complex relationship to water.”
Musilli said the films focus on drinking-water trends and the behavior and attitudes that motivate them.
“‘Tapped’ is a documentary about (bottled) water and lack of regulation in the industry,” he said. “‘Blue Gold’ is about water, the source of life, as it enters the global marketplace.”
A panel discussion will follow the films from 5:30 p.m. to 7:30 p.m. March 28, with local experts, including: Karen Ernst, laboratory director at the Englewood Water District; Ira Funderburk, general manager of Culligan Water of Sarasota; and Dixie Stevens, chairwoman at the Sierra Club of Sarasota. — “We’re still working on getting someone from (the) Southwest Florida Water Management District,” Marquis said. “Our panelist from the Sierra Club is trying to pass a bottle bill. We would like to see a bottle bill in the state.”
According to www. bottlebill.org, bottle bills (also known as container deposit laws) are a proven, sustainable method of capturing beverage bottles and cans for recycling. The refund value of the container (usually 5 or 10 cents) provides a monetary incentive to return the container for recycling.
“We recognize there is a case for (bottled) water, and we realize we can’t cover every facet of the issue,” she said. “We all did our own research, and it was very rewarding. It’s an important topic because water’s played such a role in our lives.”
Marquis said it’s important to educate people in Englewood about our water with the economic, environmental and social factors.
“I’m excited to gather, learn and explore, as a community, to make better choices,” she said. “This is about protecting the water supply and having a healthy source of water.”