Many of the comments we’ve been receiving so far on the blog and in email submissions have focussed on the pricing of water. Given how essential our water is, it’s an important consideration for sure. For the most part, water fees and rentals don’t currently cover the cost of administering and managing BC’s water resources.
Under the proposed Water Sustainability Act, all non-domestic users of groundwater, would be required to pay an application fee and an annual rental, in the same way that surface water users do today.
In the new Act we’re proposing that surface water and groundwater would share the same pricing structure and rates. We’re basing this on the principle that surface and groundwater are interconnected and part of same hydrologic cycle. Surface and groundwater really are “one water”.
Government is also contemplating changes to both the pricing structure and rates for water. Currently, fees and rental rates for users depend on the purpose of the water use and the amount of water used. In making changes, considerations include fairness and equity, impacts on users, cost recovery and ease of administration. We describe this more fully on pages 76 and 77 in the detailed Legislative Proposal.
So in summary, the proposed new Act would allow government to regulate groundwater and assess fees and rentals like we do now for surface water. Specific changes to the fee and rental structure and rates require more discussion.
What do you think government should charge for water? Should the rates be different for different uses or the same regardless of the purpose? Share your thoughts below by leaving a comment on the blog.