In a recent report, Bertini et al. (Biochem. Biophys. Res. Comm. 78, 158-160 (1977)) argued that the low-pH form of Co2+-substituted bovine carbonic anhydrase contains a rapidly exchanging water molecule at the cobalt site. The basis for this was the observation of a pH-independent contribution to the solvent water proton relaxation rate; it was suggested that the result was unobserved by previous workers because of the presence of sulfate in the sample buffer. We have repeated the experiments of Bertini et al. and find that the results can be attributed to an ionic strength-induced shift of the pK of the group responsible for the relaxation enhancement. The amount of high-pH form of the enzyme present (determined spectrophotometrically) at every pH correlates with the relaxation rate, whereas the fraction of high-pH form present at a given pH depends on ionic strength. These results are in agreement with earlier data indicating that the low-pH form of the enzyme does not contribute to solvent water proton relaxation. © 1978.