The friends thou hast and their attention
tried, grapple them to your soul with hoops
Because water is not priced, or is under-priced,
overuse results (and negative externalities).
E.g., water for ag. in Alberta is 75% subsidized.
So we invest in more supply systems (or
irrigations systems), etc…
Result? Inefficient use and misuse of water
But… very difficult to put a value on water (or to
consider it merely another commodity)
Requires measurement of actual use (not always
Difficult to administer
Water pollution damages do not exist
How do we place a value on water?
Many problems: water is vital for
ecosystems, for transportation, for human
livelihoods… also has a social value…
E.g., selling Great Lakes water… could
result in problems for: hydropower;
transport; shoreline erosion; biodiversity
Pricing raises ethical and moral issues…
Pricing Methods? None are perfect
Cost of alternative (electric from hydro-power
vs. fossil fuel)
Value added (irrigation vs rain-fed)
Explicit value (who determines?) + cost of
Do we privatize water supply? More
Volumetric rate (what about variability for
Minimum charges? Block rates (increasing or
Cost of meter?
Edmonton homes – 100% metered. Calgary ~
50% (flat rate then declining block rate for
meters). Edmonton consumes ½ the water (per
household) of Calgary. Unmetered Calgary
residents consume 48% more water than
metered residents (much of the savings is from
lower use during peak periods).
So… pricing can have an effect… No question
% of households metered
Country (OECD) Single family houses Apartments
Belgium 90 many
Canada 55 few
Germany 100 10 - 20
Hungary 100 n.a.
Norway 10 0
UK 15 few
US 90 n.a.