Opposition rises to Nestlé and other industrial users taking B.C. water for $2.25 per million litres

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      An online petition against the B.C. government's water pricing has nearly reached its goal of 220,000 names.

      A group called SumOfUs has collected 218,884 signatures, as of 9:40 a.m. this morning.

      "As wildfires rage all over drought-stricken BC, the provincial government is still letting companies like Nestlé take water for $2.25 per million litres," the petition states. "It is outrageous that Nestlé can draw limitless amounts of Canada's natural resources to sell for a huge profit while British Columbians are asked to not water our lawns and take shorter showers."

      SumOfUs defines itself on its Twitter feed as "a movement of consumers, investors and workers counterbalancing the power of large corporations to forge a just, sustainable path for the global economy".

      The Water Sustainability Act received royal assent more than a year ago and will take effect in 2016. The province has unveiled a new fee schedule, which charges industrial bottlers of fresh water $2.25 per 1,000 cubic metres in 2016 under the volume-based rental system.

      One thousand cubic metres equals one million litres.

      NDP Environment Critic Spencer Chandra Herbert is among those who think the fees were set too low when consumers are being asked to cut back.

      “Just simply the idea that if you’re a big corporation, you can get as much water as you want—a million litres for $2.25—when they can’t wash their cars [and] they can’t water their lawns. Meanwhile, the company gets to take as much as it wants," Chandra Herbert recently told News 1130. "It just feels wrong.”



      Corporate Welfareq

      Jul 13, 2015 at 10:29am

      It's typical of neo-conservative governments like the Liberals to bend over backwards to provide massive Corporate Welfare especially to Multi-National Corporations.

      We ought to be charging 100 times $2.25 for water extraction to any Corporation engaged in taking our water, selling it for massive profit and exporting it to other countries.

      We can as consumers choose to not buy the major brands that companies like these sell.

      Andrea Harwood-Jones

      Jul 13, 2015 at 11:28am

      The problem with this petition is that it inadvertently supports the idea that water has a price. Bottled water should be banned, period, and Nestle should be kicked out of B.C.

      T. Snyders

      Jul 13, 2015 at 11:56am

      There is a huge difference between an administration fee and a sale price, as Judy Tyabji made clear in this post of hers on Facebook. The "tl:dr" answer? If we advocate for a PRICE for water, it becomes a commodity under NAFTA and we can't put that genie back in the bottle: we're going to have to treat it like a commodity from here on in.

      "Judi Tyabji
      11 July at 15:03 · Edited ·
      I have to make a statement about the growing hysteria around BC's laws on water, which terrifies me because the campaign is wrong. Do NOT demand that the province charge Nestle money, unless you want to open the door to massive water sales in BC. Please read my full statement very carefully because water is more important than politics. Context: I have been campaigning against bulk water exports since the late 1980s, arguing against the Free Trade Agreement, and later NAFTA, which defined water as a commodity eligible for export, and contained clauses locking us into sustained export levels regardless of our domestic need. Recent news stories alleging that the BC government is 'giving away' our water to Nestle and stating that the government should be 'charging a fair price' for it are dangerous. Currently, Nestle pays the same fees that everyone else pays for access to water. Nestle is on the record saying they will pay a fair price and in fact want the province to do an inventory of its fresh water. Understand this as you sign the petition DEMANDING that the province charge Nestle for water: you are lobbying our government to turn our water into a commodity for sale. That's what you are doing when you post articles and petitions. You will make Nestle VERY happy if you succeed, because then we can NEVER turn off the taps due to the international trade deals in place.
      Do NOT sign the petition do NOT ask that our water become a commodity. When Environment Minister Mary Polak says “We don’t sell water. We charge administration fees for the management of that resource" she is trying to tell us this - we are NOT selling it. And that is the ONLY way we can protect it. By NOT selling it. Honestly, this campaign terrifies me. Every headline I have read is misleading and intended to make you angry and lobby for something very bad. Please share."

      @T. Snyders

      Jul 13, 2015 at 12:06pm

      Spot on. I think it is irresponsible to have an article about the petition that doesn't mention the potential trade implications.

      One More

      Jul 13, 2015 at 12:07pm

      Also, IIRC Herbert's degree is in theater or something. I don't want government based on the "feelings" of actors, kthnx.

      Something needs to change

      Jul 13, 2015 at 12:24pm

      Whether you want to call it "selling water" or "charging an administration fee"... Either way, industrial users should be paying more. Particularly those who are actually selling the water itself as their product. Even if you don't agree with the petition as it is written, the fact remains that Nestle and others are earning huge profits off of unlimited access to free water. We are giving this valuable resource away for free every day, and something needs to be done about that. Whether we are "selling" it or or not, the fact is that it is being sold. And BC taxpayers are receiving no compensation for the resource. Unacceptable.

      Something needs to change

      Jul 13, 2015 at 12:48pm

      What's your degree in, @ One More?

      And also - please advise which degrees qualify people to have a legitimate point of view, and understanding of this issue?

      @Andrea Harwood-Jones

      Jul 13, 2015 at 1:02pm

      You realize that we already have serious water inequality in BC, right? Vancouver City's water is needlessly chlorinated, which began during WWII. Plenty of places in BC do not chlorinate their water. Chlorinated water leads to an increase in bladder cancer. Banning bottled water would mean that people trapped in cities would have no access to pure water. Not a good idea.

      @Something needs to change

      Jul 13, 2015 at 1:12pm

      Doctor of Philosophy in Bum Feelology.

      So, let's say I am marking papers in an undergrad course on politics, one aspect of bum feelology. They are to take a position on the sale of water, pro or con. Little Herbie submits an essay entitled "my feelings are how I set my compass, and this feels wrong."

      Now, do I fail him? Well, probably not. He gets a gentleman's "bare pass", somewhere in the 50-60 range, largely because we don't want to stop him from coming back, just ensure he doesn't get into grad school and poison anyone else with his nonsensical worldview predicated of "feeling".

      Anyone whose viewpoint is grounded in "feelings" is a failure when it comes to issues of governance and public policy. We cannot rationally debate feelings, all we can do is form up into cliques/tribes that self-segregate on the basis of similar feelings. I mean, it doesn't feel wrong to me that Nestle gets to provide unchlorinated water with low fluoride content to the people of Vancouver, and if they make a profit, well, that doesn't feel wrong to me either. Would I prefer that we had public infrastructure to provide clean water in Vancouver? I would. But we don't, so those of us who don't like drinking bleach/pool water make do...but note how my argument has nothing to do with "feeling." It's not a "feeling" that chlorinated water increases risk of bladder cancer in order to deal with something (dysentry) that is no longer a problem in the west. It's not a "feeling" that the water Nestle sells is low in fluoride. Now we can debate whether or not avoiding chlorine and fluoride are rational, but that is a very different debate than talking about our "feelings."

      Something needs to change

      Jul 13, 2015 at 1:32pm

      @Doctor of Philosophy in B... F... Do you even know who you are replying to? You start off responding to me, and then incoherently transition into responding to someone else, about something else entirely...

      I think you've answered my question though. I don't think that marking undergrad papers is something you'll need to be worrying about...