Editorial: Water and power are essential. Disconnecting services when people can’t afford to pay is cruel. When people can afford to pay, or even when they cannot, the costs should fall on the highest bidder.
If we’re going to save water, it’s going to have to come from the people who use it and don’t have a deep pocket to save it for. It’s time we let them in on the game.
– Mike Rowe
The water wars are about to get personal
Last week, the federal government proposed a 30 per cent tariff on bottled water. It’s a move that, if fully implemented, would bring in $5.3 billion in revenues over five years but would, according to the Department of Energy and Environmental Protection, “create significant challenges for some water filtration systems” in the event they were required to treat the water they deliver at, say, the grocery store and make it safe to drink.
While the tariff would raise prices on water sold to residential customers (for now) by around $2 a month, the move would be particularly onerous on the elderly, the poorest, and the sick, as these people use the most water per person in the country.
The tariff, which takes effect in January of 2015, would also reduce the amount of water that Canadian families could use at home from the year 2010 levels of 75 litres per day and increase the volume sold to public drinking water agencies by two litres. This should be of particular concern to the elderly, who do the heaviest amount of physical exercise.
On top of this, the government was caught this month by the Sun News Network on a video which appeared to show the government’s drinking water standards chief (who has since resigned) making a reference to the “water wars”.
“I hate to say it, but we really have a war going on here,” he said. “We have to look at water quality, and we have to look at water pricing and we have to