In February, the Camden Conference focused on food and water scarcity. Parts of our midwest food basket and California are clearly focused on the scarcity of water. We will feel the impacts of those drought-stricken areas on our food prices before long. Maine is indeed fortunate to have abundant water in our many ponds, lakes, brooks, streams and rivers, and we need to protect our water and our waterways.

It does not take much imagination to foresee schemes and profitmaking plans to move our water to other parts of the country. Think about the huge projects in China to move water across their country.

We need to protect our waters and our waterways. Two pieces of state legislation are in the works that can help with this challenge.

• Outlaw mechanized gold extraction from our streams and rivers. Mechanized gold panning creates no jobs and benefits a very few, while threatening the health of our waterways.

• A new mining law can protect sustainable drinking water supply. In this case, the future value of fresh and pure water far outweighs the value of the minerals taken and the relatively few jobs mining creates.

Protecting our water is no longer an abstract, longterm challenge. We need strong and visionary state leadership to put us on a sustainable track with our greatest natural resource. I encourage others to talk to their state representatives about our water resources.

Donald AbbottCamden