Posted by: Vicki Burns | March 31, 2011

Water Consumption, Water Conservation and the Price We Pay for Water – How These 3 Factors Add Up to Canada’s Poor Performance

graph showing Canada's water prices compared to 11  other countries

Canada's Cheap Water Prices, World Commission on Water for the 21st Century

Last week I came across an interesting article about Canada’s water conservation practices, comparative water consumption record and comparative water pricing status. The gist of the article was that we have a long way to go in Canada to improve our status related to safeguarding our most precious resource, water. The article included a graph of typical municipal water prices in Canada compared to other developed countries. Canada had by far the lowest average price at $0.31 per cubic metre compared to the U.S. which had a range from $0.40 – $0.80 with the highest price in Germany at $2.16 per cubic metre.
The graph reminded me of another graph I had included in a blog several months ago that showed Canada’s water consumption rate compared to other developed countries. Not surprisingly, the only country that has a higher rate of consumption is the U.S. In Canada on average we are using over 300 litres of water per person per day which is 9 times greater than the average use in the U.K. and more than double the average use of the 16 countries compared in the chart.

image of graph comparing per capita water use in Canada and other countries

Canada's High Water consumption Record, Conference Board of Canada

It seems to me that our cheap water pricing is contributing a great deal to our lack of attention to water conservation.It can’t help but contribute to the idea that we have so much water in Canada that we don’t need to worry about being careful with it. I am convinced that if we all have to pay more for the water we use, we will start to pay attention to how much we’re using and will start to think about how to use less. Most people don’t want to waste money; many want to save money so why don’t we tie those 2 motivators to our policies around water and see if that will bring about the change we need to see in our water conservation habits.
I know that increasing the price of a publicly provided resource/service like water and water treatment is not a politically popular idea. So how do we convince our politicians to move in that direction?



  1. I did hear something recently that said that Developers in Winnipeg were considering building into new housing, the feature of recycling /greywater systems in the new devopments. Good news!

    • Hi Mo, that sounds like a really progressive idea doesn’t it? I hope we do see that kind of feature in any new buildings in the future.

  2. Water conservation is always necessary because clean water is getting scarce these days. ,

    <a href="Look out for our own web portal as well

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