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Letter: Raising water rates is the way to fund infrastructure

To The Editor:

Nelson should be commended for moving to raise its water rates to cover its infrastructure costs. The increase is consistent with the best practices for municipal water pricing identified by Canada’s Ecofiscal Commission.

Water infrastructure is essential: it provides us with reliable, clean water and protects our natural water resources. But how we pay for that infrastructure matters.

Paying the full cost of our water services means that that we can build and maintain the infrastructure that’s so essential. Failing to do so means risking costly repairs or even environmental cleanup later.

Paying by volume means that those who use less water, pay less. That incentives for water conservation can help preserve our water supply. But it can also save us money. By reducing per capita water consumption, the City of London, Ontario was able to delay the construction of an $80 million sewage plant by 20 years.

Getting water rates right requires water meters, well-designed rate structures, and long-term planning. But the payoffs of that planning are financially and environmentally sustainable water systems for the long-term. Nelson is moving in the right direction.

Dale Beugin

Executive Director, Canada’s Ecofiscal Commission