In Tom Fletcher’s latest missive, he quotes Mary Polak, minister of environment: “You’re buying the right to use the water … I know it sounds crazy to the public, but we call it a rental – a water rental. There’s a reason we use that language, because we are very careful to avoid any suggestion that by paying this amount, you therefore own that water.”
This is in regard, primarily, to Nestle’s use of B.C. water to sell as bottled water, but includes other users such as Perrier, Coke, Pepsi, as well as companies that use water for fracking.
The minister is careful to point out that these companies do not own the water, and subsequently NAFTA rules do not apply. Well then, if the water is not owned and is only rented, most rental agreements I have signed in my life (mostly to do with tools or automobiles) state that the product named in the agreement must be returned in a state it was in before being used, or be subject to penalties and/or extra charges.
So the questions I have are, does Nestles return the water it has rented? And do the fracking companies return the water, once used, in the condition it was in when they acquired it?