It's astonishing how much freshwater we have in Canada. I lived in Western Cape, South Africa, during the Cape Town water crisis, and I was amazed how that scarcity mindset resulted in small lifestyle changes that radically reduced how much water I used. I wish we valued clean water more here, and recognized it as the limited resource it is. Dozens of reserve communities in Canada still have boil-water advisories. Iqaluit almost ran out of water this summer. Our reservoirs in Vancouver are hitting record lows at the end of the summer. I see this shift in values as necessary, even here.
I think that paying for water is part of the solution. Kai's idea in class that residential water under a certain per-capita threshold should be free is essential to not cause massive societal issues. But even more important is charging industrial water users closer to what we pay as residential consumers. There was that famous deal with Nestle a few years ago - $2.25 per thousand cubic metres. Residents in Toronto pay double that for one cubic metre. Industrial water fees could easily offset all residential consumption.
I would like to see this sort of legislation coupled with pollution legislation. A river in Canada (the Muteshekau Shipu) is now considered a person, and we should charge industrial polluters with harm akin to destroying a living being, not simply a reclamation fee. I say this even recognizing that most reclamation projects involve significant taxpayer funding anyways, which is also not right.
I can imagine that amendments to CEPA might be the easiest way forward, at least with the latter part of this, to strengthen provisions which mandate industry responsibility over all (even accidental) pollution.