Vermont Pure Springs, the ten year-old bottler of Vermont Pure Natural Spring Water, has fired its latest salvo in the "water wars" by joining forces with Crystal Rock Water Company of Watertown, CT., an 86 year-old, third generation family business. Bottled water is the fastest growing category of the beverage industry, and is currently ranked third, behind beer (ranked second) and soft drinks (ranked first), according to the Beverage Marketing Corporation (BMC) of New York. BMC projects the category to have an annual growth rate of 7.6% in the year 2000. With projected combined revenues of $61 million for 2000, Vermont Pure Holdings, Ltd. (AMEX - VPS), the holding company for the Vermont Pure/Crystal Rock brands, will be the eighth largest bottled water company in the U.S., the second largest bottled water company in New England, and the fourth largest home and office delivery business in the United States.