While some public concern has grown over the sale of West Virginia's largest water utility to a German conglomerate, analysts say the state lacks laws to control its water resources, according to an in-depth article yesterday in The Charleston Gazette.

State Attorney General Darrell McGraw has said it is giving away the store.

West Virginia, so it seems, has no water-use statute. Factories, farms or out-of-state water companies aren't required to publicly report how much water they draw from the state.

The article says no state agency keeps track of who takes water from West Virginia's rivers, streams and lakes, or polices how they use the water, even when it goes to other states.

American Water Works, the parent company of West Virginia-American Water Company, announced last year it would be sold to Thames Water of England, a German-held company.

The sale was approved by the state Public Service Commission in October, but Attorney General Darrell McGraw has continued to opposed the sale, although the decision appears to be final.

The state is forfeiting control over its water to a foreign company, and some water analysts say the decision is one that will affect water distribution and sale for years to come.

To sell off the state's water, Thames would need specific project approval, but it seems international trade agreements approved by the U. S. government will take precedent in the sale.

Companies that don't supply water to West Virginians can tap water supplies with no government agency approval, is also an issue.

See "WEST VIRGINIA, AT THE BOTTOM, IS GIVING IT AWAY AGAIN" on 12/22/02 with a link to an in-depth Charleston Gazette story

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