Water is a right rather than a commodity



Bottled water has a prominent hold on society in modern times. People buy it because they prefer the taste over the metallic taste of the water that comes out of their home tap or the perceived health benefits from drinking “purified water.”

Mega-beverage companies have taken advantage of the bottled water demand, and have turned the industry into a money-making machine. According to, the bottled water industry reported nearly $6.7 billion in sales in 2012.

One of the leading companies in the industry, Nestlé, has been in recent headlines for their tapping of drought areas of California.

Despite groundwater disappearing around the area of the bottling plant, Nestlé continues to draw water from nearby wells, according to

The locals of the Morongo Band of Mission Indians’ reservation, the plant’s location, have had numerous scuffles with the district, to no avail. Nestlé has the rights to the water they are siphoning, while making money for the district.

The privatization of water needs to end. Water should be a basic right for all humans, and should not be controlled by big beverage companies.

Moving the possession of water from the public sector to the private sector will eventually determine the fate of millions of people.

According to, The World Bank has predicted that two-thirds of the world will run out of fresh drinking water. This sets the table for the private sector to battle it out for rights of this essential resource.

According to the same website, the privatization of water leads to water being treated as a “marketable commodity” instead of an essential aspect of human survival.

When water is treated in this way, the poor are most affected. These people do not have access to clean drinking water because of privatization, and resort to drinking dirty water that can make them extremely ill.

Essentially, the only thing the private sector cares about is making the almighty dollar, which is disastrous when they have the rights to such an essential part of existence. If (and when) water is scarce, these companies will be able to inflate their prices of their water because of the permanent demand for water.

This gives these companies the power to decide who gets water and who does not, which places the lives of everyday people in the hands of those running the companies.

What is next? In the future, are we going to have to start paying for the air we breathe? I do not understand how these companies are allowed to do this.

No one deserves this much power over the entire human population. The fate of millions of people cannot lie in the hands of greedy businessman who care more about lining the walls of their mansions with money instead of the well-being of the common folk.

Water should be controlled by the public sector. Anyone and everyone should have access to clean drinking water, and big beverage companies should not control such an essential part of life.

People should think twice about buying bottled water next time they wander into a grocery store. They should buy a filter if they do not like the taste of tap water. Water is a right, not a commodity with a set market value.

Chris Chipman is a senior English major and columnist for The Vidette. Any questions or comments regarding his column can be sent to


One Response

  1. David

    I disagree with this article. The fact of the matter is there are no such things as rights. All of what we call rights are given to us by someone who permits us to have them. For examples: the rights to freedom of speech and press. Are given by the government. The right to education is granted by the university or school that one attends. We are actually privileged to have, but not entitled to, anything. Water is no different. While I do think that some water companies take advantage of their customers, we should not believe we are entitled.


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