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Council says paying more for water won’t reduce use

The CBC reports that, “Ontario is on a ‘slippery slope’ towards water corporatization and a user-pay system, warns the Council of Canadians. The council voiced its concern Monday after Bill 237 passed second reading in the Ontario legislature last week.”

“The bill, introduced by Liberal MPP David Caplan, would require metering on all water usage to ensure that households pay the full costs of the service. The bill would also create corporate boards to oversee water and waste-water utilities in Ontario, and would likely mean households end up paying much more for such services every month.”

“Caplan has said the new system would likely cost households an extra $50 a month. He reasons that by charging households for the full cost of water delivery, people will be more likely to conserve.”

“In privatization, a municipal utility is sold off to private investors. In corporatization, the municipality continues to own the utility, but it is controlled by an unelected board of directors that is responsible to a provincial agency.”

“‘Corporatization is another way of getting to privatization. It’s two steps removed,’ the council’s national water campaigner Meera Karunananthan said in an interview. ‘This is a call for costs to be recovered directly from the [household] users. …(Full-cost pricing is) a false conservation strategy because domestic consumption only amounts to 10 per cent of all water used. That doesn’t address the 90 per cent that is used by industry,’ she said. …While the focus has been on metering in an effort to reduce water use, Karunananthan said there are better ways but they involve overall government strategies and better funding for municipalities. She said the best way to conserve water is to fix leaky pipes and institute better building codes that force water savings.”

“Private members’ bills rarely become law but the council said there is a good chance that this one could because it has strong support among Conservatives and Liberals. The bill now goes to a committee of MPPs for further study.”

“The Council of Canadians bills itself as Canada’s largest citizens’ organization, with members and chapters across the country, which addresses issues of social and economic concern to Canadians.”

The full article is at http://www.cbc.ca/consumer/story/2010/02/22/consumer-water-private-ontario.html.

ACTION ALERT: Say no to the corporatization of Ontario’s water services!, http://canadians.org/action/2010/bill-237-feb-10.html.

MEDIA RELEASE: Water corporatization bill wrong direction for Ontario, says Council of Canadians, http://canadians.org/media/water/2010/19-Feb-10.html.