2014 – 2015 Water Pricing Review
In response to Pricing B.C.’s Water, released in March 2014, government received more than 130 submissions from citizens as well as representatives from business and industry, environmental organizations, local government, agriculture and academia from a month-long public consultation period.
A consistent message from citizens was that water is undervalued. Strong support was expressed for increasing water rates to better reflect the value of water to people, the environment and the economy. Some users cited the importance of affordable water for agriculture and aquaculture and the link to food security. Others suggested that water that is consumed and removed from a watershed or aquifer should be assessed differently than non-consumptive uses. Industry organizations emphasized the importance of fairness and the potential impacts of increasing water rates on business competitiveness and investment.
Government released new fees and rentals in February 2015, to take effect in 2016 when the WSA came into force.
The new fees and rentals attempt to strike a balance and are designed to:
- Further simplify and consolidate the fee and rental rate structure;
- Generate sufficient revenue to recover the costs necessary to fully implement the Water Sustainability Act and associated programs;
- Improve fairness and equity by charging fees and rentals for most groundwater uses and then assigning the same rates for similar water uses;
- Minimize increases to agriculture and aquaculture to help protect food security;
- Accommodate lower increases for conservation and storage purposes in recognition of their positive ecological and recreational values; and
- Limit impacts to B.C.’s business competiveness.