18 March 2015

Will foreigners buy all of Canada's cheap water?

In a Reddit thread about BC's plan to sell water for $2.25/million liters, someone wrote:
You hosted an interesting AMA many months ago, and I remember you stating that you had no problems with bottled water being held out of the water system, as it would eventually be returned to that system.

Is it necessary for said water to be returned to the same area from which it was drawn? In other words, would it be a big deal if Nestle were to ship that bottled BC water to China, in order to capitalize on their demand for pollution-free water?
Here's my answer:
It's MUCH cheaper to clean that water (even sewage) IN China and then put it in bottles (or in aquifers and then back up and in bottles) rather than ship from BC. OTOH, BC bottled water may go into another watershed (still expensive, but not so much), in which case it will have an impact. That impact will also be ridiculously tiny, since it demand for such products (think Perrier) is minute compared to flows in BC...

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