This basic human right that a lot of us have the privilege of acquiring however much we want whenever we want, is severely undervalued in the global economy. Water is crucial to existing and flourishing on earth, both for our human communities and our natural environment and you can't really put a price on something that vital. That being said, putting a price tag on it might be the only way we can ensure we use it responsibly. I envision a future where everyone has access to water in an equitable and necessary way, major emphasis on those last two words. Water crises around the world have shown us time and time again that this fundamental resource is actually finite and we don't have an abundance of it (contrary to what our water usage habits exhibit). The way the West and industrial corporations use exorbitant amounts of water yet pay little to none to use it, and leave very little of the resource for the rest of the world just furthers the inequities individuals in lower socio-economic demographics already face.
In order to combat this unequal sharing of water, I believe some sort of compensation system should be in place for different sectors. For example, at the individual level I think water should be priced based on income and incentivized so that the first 100-200L are free and then beyond that there are different stages of pricing. At a larger scale, industries that use ridiculous amounts of water in their processing and manufacturing should have to pay some sort of "water tax". Hopefully, this helps regulates water usage and eventually decrease it to levels that are replenishable and we can push back our Day Zero. Implementing various water purification technologies is also a start, funding should be prioritized for communities where water is scarce so they can install water purification systems of their own. Through all these different avenues, an invaluable yet slowly depleting source will hopefully be seen as liquid gold and not taken for granted.
I think your idea of water tax can be quite beneficial in terms of reducing the overall water wastage, especially the heavier emphasis on larger firms and industries, where water is used in tremendous amounts everyday. The heavier cost of water might allow innovations on more efficient ways to use water, and help us reach the sustainability goals faster as well,
Hi Vy, I think it is really interesting that your water pricing system mirrors the carbon pricing/tax system in that a first X amount is free and then any amount beyond that baseline is priced at different levels. It's interesting how these economic strategies can be applied in different contexts but relate to the same issue, like saving our planet. It seems that disincentivizing the use of a resource in financial terms seems to be what resonates the most with our current capitalist, high-consumption and money-fluent society. This makes me think about the book "The Day the World Stops Shopping" by JB MacKinnon, and how MacKinnon believes that our world can only be saved if we shift away from a capitalist and consumerist society. But for now, maybe solutions that are rooted in this system will be what works to solve our problems, and perhaps later we can turn to solutions that dismantle this capitalist way of thinking and valuing resources.
Hello Vy! I agree with your hot take and how the last resort we may have to take is to put a price tag on water. I agree that charging corporations that use an insane amount of water is the way to go but I also couldn't help but think if prices would increase for their services if we did that? Hopefully there's a way to combat that so that those that may not be financially well off are still able to afford the services they need :(
Your idea of a water "tax bracket" system is very interesting and could be a good approach to reaching a society where water is available to those who need it most. Though it could also be susceptible to problems we already have in our actual tax bracket system.
I've heard it before from some places that there are voices saying that Canada is exceptionally good about recycling water and not being very wasteful. I don't know if that's accurate, and I don't know if it applies to other countries. Where I come from, we all pay for water, and it could be attributed to the fact that we waste too much, use too much water or because we don't have a good enough water reuse system.
But I think it's reasonable to charge for water, and at first I was even shocked by the fact that BC doesn't charge for water.
I think it's possible to do the same thing with BC hydro, if you set yourself a lower water use target, then you can get a cash back and encourage customers to use less water.
I think the water tax is a very cool idea! I like how you adressed making the tax based on income so that it keeps thing fair for different income groups. This will definitely help people use less water day to day and will generate income to use on water purification!
I agree with your "water tax" for industry and different water prices for individuals, actually I think most of the areas have already done this. For more details, I think different industry can have differnet "water tax', likeing clothing industry really pollute the water so they need to burden more. Or, if one industries made some great water-saving innovation, they can even get some rewards, or reduce their "water tax".
Hi Vy! This was a very well-thought post and very insightful. I also agree with your statement that water should have a price tag. My thought is, if our world is driven by money, then the only way we can control the over-consumption of water is by adding taxes (i.e. the method you mentioned). I also agree, the price of water shouldn't be fixed and should be flexible for countries that lack the resources. It shouldn't be a commodity that only first-world countries have access to, but equally accessible to everyone. Your post resonated with me and I hope the world can realize sooner than later that we need change.
Hi Vy, I think you bring up an important point and perspective: clean, safe water is a finite resource but everyone should have access to. I understand the urgency to change the way we value water for the sake of preservation. You're right, it shouldn't be taken for granted as it is essential for life. However, I do worry that putting a price on safe water will lead to the suffering of the poor who already struggle to obtain basics for life. But I agree those who use lots of water for industry could maybe afford to pay for their water. Perhaps for now, paying for water is a temporary solution but maybe a more sustainable solution would be investing in infrastructure that collects clean water from the atmosphere or that desalinates and purifies salt/sea water? It's just a thought. Thank you for sharing!
Great post Vy! You prompted me to do a lil' research into places that do charge for water. I looked at Austin, TX, and L.A. (the two water scare cities I've been to in the last year). Austin's model may be interesting to you! At the residential level they charge more money, the more water you use. They also have a "community assistance program" that means they charge rich customers more than poor customers. They also charge for wastewater production, which I can imagine prompts people to think about how their water is used and where it goes. Interestingly they charge industrial users a tiny fraction (like, less than 1%) of the rate that they charge residential users. In principle this doesn't make sense to me, though I can imagine that the residential fee would be astronomical for industrial users. Thanks again for prompting this research!