The Great Sucking Sound

Bart Sipriano's well dried up four days after Ozarka started pumpin massive amount of water nearby. Under the state's archaic "rule of capture," the East Texan has no right to complain.

The sidewalk around the square was christened at the town's annual Pioneer Day celebration this year. One cement tile bears an etched imprint of the Ozarka logo. It almost didn't survive the party: Someone defaced it with a shoeprint. The tile was recast.

Groom laughs when he hears about it. That isn't his shoeprint, he says, but he wishes it was.

At Ozarka's immaculate bottling plant in Fort Worth, freshly blown plastic bottles whir through a labyrinth of electronically powered conveyors. Water from Roher Spring fills the bottles before they're whisked along to be packaged for sale. The synchronicity is perfect. This high-tech marvel is so very distant from Bart Sipriano.

Tanker trucks roll into the Fort Worth plant, empty their load from Roher Spring, then roll back out. They return to the middle of nowhere, down the dead-end dirt road to Sipriano's house, for more water.

Across the road, Sipriano hears the rumble of their engines, though he can't see the trucks.

"They done got me stirred up now," he says. It's as close as he ever gets to outrage. "We're going to go all the way with this.

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