Monday, May 3, 2010

Water resources pricing in Québec


On 27 April, the Québec Ministry for Sustainable development, Environment and Parks presented a regulation project on pricing of water resources use.

The projected regulation aims at imposing a fee on water usage to preserve water resources.

Two different pricing brackets are used. The first imposes a fee of 0,07 CAN$/m³ for the following users:

- Bottled water production;
- Drinks fabrication;
- Canned food production;
- Non-metallic mineral production;
- Pesticide and chemical fertilizer production;
- Inorganic chemical production;
- Oil and gaz extraction.

The second fee bracket is set at 0,0025 CAN$/m³ for the rest of subjected water users. Official justification for the differentiated tariff is based on the fact that the sectors subjected to the higher fee do not return used water to its watershed of origine. However, the agricultural sector is notably excluded from the application of the projected regulation. This is apparently justified by the fact that 95% of farmers use water quantities bellow 75 m³/day, a volume generally deemed insignificant from a resource conservation perspective.

An article from Jean-François Cliche in Le Soleil indicates that the Ministry does not consider the fee as a financial incentive impacting water users behaviour but as an environmental measure.

Comments on the projected regulation can be presented to the Ministry for a consultation period of 60 days.

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