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Utah Water Could Be a Gold Mine

Utah Water Could Be a Gold Mine

Posted - May 6, 2004 at 9:47 p.m.



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John Hollenhorst ReportingA tiny town near Park City is about to launch a new product, possibly worldwide, which many residents hope will make them very rich. What's the product? The answer may surprise you.

Guess what is the fastest growing product line in the grocery business? Water! Something you can get for free in lots of places. But people pay big-time when it comes in bottles. Now the town of Oakley hopes to get rich by aiming for the really high-end water buyers.

2000 feet under the foothills, residents of Oakley think they may have discovered a liquid Mother Lode. Yes, it's just water -- very special water, they claim. It will be sold in a unique flexible bottle under the name Park City Ice Water. When you're finished drinking, you can roll it up and put it in your pocket.

The brand new bottling plant under construction may soon produce 40,000 bottles a day.

Bob Sasser, Park City Ice Water: "We're not selling packaging; we're selling a great tasting incredible water -- some of the cleanest, purest water in the world."

It started when Oakley officials drilled here to meet their own needs. They kept drilling deeper and deeper until they hit what they claim is a vast aquifer filled with melted glacier water 20,000 years old.

A new company will give the town 7 percent royalties and projected profits to dozens of local investors.

Bob Sasser: “It’s hard to predict the future. Our projections show it’s gonna make quite a few folks wealthy.”

In West Coast grocery stores the suggested retail price is $1.99 for a 16 ounce bottle. Local investor Tim Woolstenhulme figures he has a chance to get rich.

Tim Woolstenhulme, Oakley Investor: "I mean they pay two bucks a gallon for gas, or two bucks for a little bottle of water. Everything goes up."

It does taste great, but if you think this is expensive at $2 a crack, you oughtta hear what they have in mind for Tokyo. Japanese restaurants may charge two or three hundred dollars a bottle! For water! Served by wine stewards pouring Oakley water from pseudo-champagne bottles.

But why did they choose the name they did?

Arla Woolstenhulme, Oakley Investor: "I don't know why they put Park City, I mean it has nothing to do with Park City."

Officials say it's because Park City is known around the world and Oakley isn't.

Now, is there possibly a little bit of hype in this? Two of three experts we consulted say pure water thousands of years old is not uncommon in Utah. Nevertheless, the town plans a kick-off celebration a week from Saturday.

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