Rapper Jay-Z seen on the streets of Manhattan on May 11, 2015 in New York City.
Michael Stewart—Getty Images
May 27, 2015 10:14 PM EDT

Denver’s water supplier criticized Jay Z in an open letter this week for under-appreciating the value of water and recently claiming it was free.

“Your comments bring up the issue of how people value water — an issue our industry struggles with all the time,” Steve Snyder, of Denver Water, an organization the supplies some 1.3 million people and around Denver, wrote on his organization’s website. “All the money in the world can’t help when water becomes scarce.”

Snyder pointed to the drought in California as an example of the importance of water and linked to a story about people who can’t afford to pay their water bills.

Jay Z, one of the world’s best paid music producers, made the remark in a March interview for a story on the launch of his music streaming service, Tidal. “Water is free. Music is $6 but no one wants to pay for music,” he told the New York Times. “You should drink free water from the tap — it’s a beautiful thing. And if you want to hear the most beautiful song, then support the artist.”

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Write to Justin Worland at justin.worland@time.com.

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