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Water bottling comes into focus of FLDS trial in Phoenix

Published January 29, 2014 5:20 pm

This is an archived article that was published on sltrib.com in 2014, and information in the article may be outdated. It is provided only for personal research purposes and may not be reprinted.

One of the more interesting things that came up in the opening arguments of the Cooke trial Wednesday was Pure Ph8 bottled water. We've known about this water for a while at The Tribune, and reporter Nate Carlisle even has a bottle on his desk from a past trip down to Short Creek.

But it's also significant to the Cookes' case.

The issue is that someone — who by all accounts is in the FLDS Church — is bottling water in the community. The obvious question, then, is how on earth there could be a water shortage in the community if water is being exported.

That was the point made Wednesday by the Cooke's attorney, William Walker. During his opening arguments, Walker also said that the bottles are labeled as coming from Springdale. That, however, is a lie, Walker argued.

Blake Hamilton, an attorney representing Hildale, had another explanation. He said the water comes from an existing water hookup. If true, that would make it a legal water hookup.

Hamilton also said the bottling company uses less water than the previous owner of the water hookup — which would imply that the existence of a bottling company isn't necessarily evidence of excess water.

Hopefully more about the bottled water will come out as the trial progresses. For what it's worth, we haven't ever been able to find any of the water in stores during recent visits.

— Jim Dalrymple II

Twitter: @jimmycdii