Sunday, November 06, 2005

WAter Meters--their time has come

OTTAWA — Meters that charge the true cost of providing water should be attached to more Canadian homes, says an internal report for the federal Finance Department.Canadians are among the world’s most wasteful citizens when it comes to water — and meters would make them think twice about using so much, says the draft study

A number of times over the last 3 years I have made this arguement here (sometimes in letters to the editor, sometimes in private conversations. For a variety of reasons (all technical and design oriented) we have a water system that can't seem to keep up with demand. ANd people here find it incredibly offensive to be told to limit water use, or to be put on a water restriction (which only affects external water use), or to end up on a boil water advisory. Apparently the $600 they pay each year for water and sewer entitles them to use as much as they wish whenever they wish. This shows up in letters to the editor every summer.

But water is not free. Waste is waste whether it is gasoline or food or water. I have no desire to commodify water, which charging by the liter does seem to do, but I know of no better way to get people to take seriously calls to limit water use. It isn't to save the township money (the cost to install water meters will off-set any savings for a while) it is to make us better stewards of our resources. And that is a good thing.


  1. In my experience here, people are not only offended by the idea of a water restriction which, given our proximity to The Greatest of the Great Lakes, does pose a stretch, but then the problem isn't the amount of water, it's our ability to process it, and that is most certainly finite...), but by limits on clear-cutting, limits on mining/prospecting, any resource extraction activity. After all, resources up here are limitless, right? Only those idiots in Toronto want all these stupid laws and rules, right? Yada, and yada further.

    Educating people away from deeply-held prejudices is extremely difficult, a several-lifetimes job. We need to keep doing it, difficult and frustrating as it is.

  2. We have been dealing with drought here, and I find it terrible when people water lawns when we have shortages. So, they put mandatory water restrictions down. It just makes more sense. Americans are at least as wasteful when left to their own devices, it seems.