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Waterbucket Features "Worth Every Penny" Report

September 2010

"Water pricing is a hot issue in communities across the country. Yet it remains an almost totally untapped option for helping ensure our water service infrastructure -- the pipes, pumps and reservoirs -- is well maintained and up to date," states Kirk Stinchcombe, co-author of Worth Every Penny: A Primer on Conservation-Oriented Water Pricing.

Sustainable Service Delivery is another emerging issue in BC. Changing and/or additional demands mean the local government workload is expanding. Local governments are being challenged to maintain and/or replace existing infrastructure over time and to ‘do more with less’.

Part of the rollout to stimulate a national dialogue on sustainable water management, the Nanaimo Water Pricing Workshop program is a unique blend of research and practice.

To learn more about the program or to download a registration form see

Canadian Pollution Prevention Roundtable

In June 2010, Carol Maas, Innovation & Technology Director with POLIS' Water Sustainability Project and steering committee member of the Ontario Water Conservation Alliance, outlined key benefits of actions included in Ontario's proposed Water Opportunity and Water Conservation Act at the Canadian Pollution Prevention Roundtable in Toronto, Ontario.

Maas' Presentation

The Public Trust and a Modern BC Water Act

In June 2010 Water Sustainability Project leader, Oliver M. Brandes, and Randy Christensen released a briefing note examining the use of the Public Trust Doctrine in British Columbia Water Law. Proactively adopting the public trust as part of the Water Act modernization process allows the BC Government to implement the doctrine in a comprehensive and efficient way that is best suited to decision making processes and existing Living Water Smart priorities.

Download briefing note

Issues and Ideas: We Need to Value and Conserve Water

On May 19, 2010 Vancouver Sun published an editorial opinion written by Oliver Brandes, POLIS Associate Director and Water Sustainability Project leader, Kirk Stinchcombe & Steven Renzetti on pricing water service at closer to its true cost to help pay for infrastructure and reduce waste.  Read the full op-ed here.

Worth Every Penny: A Primer on Conservation-Oriented Water Pricing

Worth Every Penny:  A Primer on Conservation-Oriented Water Pricing provides an overview of conservation-oriented water pricing for decision makers, water utilities and service providers in Canada. The report's authors are Oliver M. Brandes, Associate Director, Steven Renzetti & Kirk Stinchcombe.  It explains how water pricing works, what the benefits are, and how water utilities can implement conservation-oriented water pricing structures as a key tool in the water manager's toolkit. As well, it offers advice on how to address implementation challenges, including how to avoid penalizing low-income families and how to maintain revenue stability for water utilities.

Media Backgrounder

Full Report (English)

Full Report (French)

Two page brief

"Worth Every Penny" Radio Interview

Project leader Oliver M. Brandes chats with Jo-Ann Roberts about the myth of water abundance and the need for Canadians to focus on Conservation-Oriented Water Pricing.  Click here to hear the podcast.

A Book Conversation between the editors and a reviewer: "The Soft Path Approach"

Check out a new review of "Making the Most of the Water We Have" in the May 2010 issue of Water International

POLIS Water Act Modernization Submission

In April 2010, Oliver Brandes submitted a position paper to the Government of British Columbia's Water Act Modernization Process.  As recognized by Government in Living Water Smart, BC water laws need to be revised in order to sustain the environment and the social and economic well being of British Columbians. This formal submission offers the position of the University of Victoria’s POLIS Project on Ecological Governance and answers the call of the Ministry of Environment and Premier of British Columbia to provide solutions for securing our water future.


POLIS delivers Water-Energy Nexus video at meeting of the Water Guardians Network

This video presentation provides an overview of POLIS' second report on the water-energy nexus. The report offers Ontario’s first estimate of the large quantities of energy used to pump, treat and heat water and to generate steam. The study reveals that pumping and treating water and wastewater consumes enough energy to light every home in the province. In addition, heating water for activities such as showering and doing laundry was found to be the second largest source of greenhouse gas emissions in the residential and commercial sectors because of the heavy reliance on fossil fuels. As a result of these findings, initiatives to support greater water conservation and efficiency could be a path to realizing future energy savings, to the benefit of municipalities, taxpayers and our environment.

Check it out on YouTube:

Thinking Beyond Pipes & Pumps: Urban Water Management for the 21st Century

In November 2008, Oliver M Brandes and Susanne Porter-Bopp presented "Thinking Beyond Pipes & Pumps: Urban Water Management for the 21st Century" at the Second National Conference and Policy Forum on Water Efficiency and Conservation. Watch the presentation.