Canadians must start paying more for water: Conference Board

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In its report card on Canada’s environmental performance, the Conference Board of Canada assigns a “C” for water withdrawals, ranking the country 15 out of 16 in the developed world. It attributes Canada’s excessive withdrawals in part to “water pricing that does not promote efficiency.” Continue reading

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Pricing missing from Ontario water strategy

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In its new Water Sector Strategy, Ontario aims to promote public-private partnerships for water infrastructure, encourage alternative financing models, nurture the water technology sector, and increase water conservation. But the Strategy is missing a key piece of the puzzle: full-cost pricing. Continue reading

BC think-tanks call for conservation-oriented water pricing

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A report from the University of Victoria’s POLIS Project and the Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives warns of an approaching water crisis and recommends pricing water to encourage its conservation and re-use. Continue reading

Pricing water to encourage conservation

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On World Water Day, Elizabeth Brubaker argues for full-cost water pricing. Full-cost prices give water users financial incentives to conserve, while maintaining their freedom to use water in the ways that are most important to them. Continue reading

Environmental Commissioner renews call for full-cost water pricing

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The Environmental Commissioner of Ontario is once again calling on the Ontario government to promote the full-cost pricing of water. In his Annual Report for 2010/2011, released last week, the ECO argues that water charges should be levied to promote conservation, pay for municipal infrastructure, and cover the province’s costs of managing the resource. Continue reading

Round Table recommends charging industry for water

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The National Round Table on the Environment and the Economy has released Charting a Course: Sustainable Water Use by Canada’s Natural Resource Sectors. The report calls for new approaches to managing water use by the energy, mining, forest, and agriculture sectors – the country’s biggest water users. Continue reading

Procurement alliances will be key to securing water work, C.D. Howe Institute report finds

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In its third article about Elizabeth Brubaker’s report, A Bridge Over Troubled Waters, the Daily Commercial News reviews ways to control the costs of water and wastewater projects. Municipalities can tap into private management and engineering experience, negotiate financing and operating contracts with incentives to keep costs down, and reform water pricing to encourage consumers to reduce their water use and avoid the need for new infrastructure. Continue reading

Canadians’ contradictory water attitudes

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A new survey of Canadians’ attitudes toward water reveals deep concerns about both water quality and water quantity. It also exposes a dangerous reluctance to address these issues if doing so means paying more for water or wastewater infrastructure or services. Continue reading

Environmentalists short-circuiting water conservation debate

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Joseph Quesnel argues that water markets may enhance conservation and help address water scarcity in the Prairies. He refers to “the pioneering work of Environment Probe’s Elizabeth Brubaker, who argues that water markets should come with water pricing reform.” Continue reading

A Review of Literature on Economic Instruments Affecting Water and Wastewater Flows

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In response to Toronto’s proposal to expand its sewage treatment capacity, this paper examines the effects of marginal cost pricing, efficient rate structures, full metering, and privatization on wastewater flows and on the need for system expansion.

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Water Conservation through Water Pricing

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Canada’s image, both domestic and foreign, is that of a country of endless lakes and rivers. A perception of unlimited abundance is reflected in Canadians’ water consumption, which amounts to approximately 350 litres a day per capita, or more than twice that of many western Europeans. To a large extent, however, the superabundance of water is exaggerated. Much of the water in Canada is geographically inaccessible, available at inappropriate times, or polluted.

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