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

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 by Charlie Smith on July 13th, 2015 – Georgia Straight
 Under new regulations, industrial users of B.C. groundwater pay $2.25 per million litres.

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.”