Because Tank Girl.
This summer, however, myriad business forces are combining to remind us that fresh water isn't necessarily or automatically a free resource. It could all too easily end up becoming just another economic commodity.
At the forefront of this firestorm is Peter Brabeck, chairman and former CEO of Nestle.
In his view, citizens don't have an automatic right to more than the water they require for mere "survival", unless they can afford to pay for it. For context, the World Health Organization sets such "survival" consumption levels at a minimum of 20 liters a day for basic hygiene and food hygiene - higher, if you add laundry and bathing. If you're reading this in the United States, the odds are that flushing your toilet consumes 50 liters of water a day.
Nestle's Nestle Waters North Americas Inc division - the largest bottled water company in the country - has continued to pump water from an aquifer near Palm Springs, California, thanks to its partnership with the Morongo Band of Mission Indians. Their joint venture, bottling water from a spring on land owned by the band in Millard Canyon, has another advantage: since the Morongo are considered a sovereign nation, no one needs to report exactly how much water is being drawn from the aquifer.
In the Canadian province of British Columbia, Nestle has been using another loophole.
Until this year, British Columbia didn't have rules that required the company to report how much it drew from the province's aquifers - or pay a penny to the government's coffers in exchange for the resource.
As of last year, therefore, Nestle was able to bottle 265m liters of fresh water and pay nothing for the resource that Brabeck believes should have an economic price attached to it - at least, when it is consumers that are paying that price.