Summary

This project informed water policy by comparing how jurisdictions outside of Canada have balanced water pricing against social equity and resource management. The Canadian debate over water pricing is contentious. On one hand, some consider access to water a fundamental human right, which makes it intrinsically different from other natural resources. On the other hand, some view water pricing as a means to encourage conservation, reduce demand and ensure efficient water allocation. Finally, there is worry that by opening Canadian water to pricing, the terms of NAFTA may open Canadian water to trans-border sales which would endanger Canadian resources and values. This project resulted in a number of publications which facilitated an informed public policy debate on water pricing, bearing in mind the diverse values and opinions of Canadians. The project results were reviewed by a panel of 30 experts in the field, and then published and disseminated in a broad public awareness campaign.