January 29, 2007
TORONTO— A recent report from The Fraser Institute says $90 billion is needed to fix aging and poorly regulated, managed, and maintained water systems throughout Canada, and private investments may be the only hope.
Elizabeth Brubaker, author of “Water and Wastewater Treatment in Canada: Tapping into Private-Sector Capital, Expertise, and Efficiencies,” said, “Clearly we can’t count on the status quo to meet the challenges facing our water systems. Governments need to consider the benefits provided by private investment and private expertise.”
The report also outlines the country’s growing population, ill-trained staffs, lax regulations and a lack of funding as reasons for the poor water and wastewater systems. Also, because local governments refused to raise water prices over the years there was not enough funding for upgrades.
With private investments, the public funding would be freed up for other causes, the report said, pointing out the success of the Moncton, New Brunswick, water filtration plant that was privately funded in 1998 and built for less than it would have cost if funded through the city.
The report calls on the federal government to educate and encourage decision makers on the benefits of private investments.