Liz McDowell of showed some of the thousands of pages of online signatures calling on Environment Minister Mary Polak to change the way groundwater use fees are structured in B.C.

Water petition delivered to environment minister’s Langley office

Groundwater is cheap – too cheap, according to activists.

Consumer watchdogs dropped off a sizeable petition at Langley MLA Mary Polak’s office Wednesday calling on the government to charge more for groundwater extraction.

The 225,000 signatures gathered by called on the province to demand corporate users pay a fair rate for water, including water bottled up and sold by major corporations like Nestlé.

“We want to see it protected and we want to see it safeguarded,” said Liz McDowell, a campaign strategist with SumOfUs.

Right now, water users pay $2.25 per million litres pumped.

Increasing fees is not about selling water to generate a profit, but about cost recovery. Ian Stephen of the WaterWealth Project, said the money needs to be used to pay for B.C.’s Water Sustainability Act.

The government has indicated a review of the water charges is coming, something that pleased the campaigners.

They found Polak’s office closed Wednesday, as the environment minister was in Victoria and local staff were on holiday.

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