WORTH EVERY PENNY: An Introduction to Conservation-Oriented Water Pricing and Sustainable Service Delivery

Note to Reader:

This is the the third in a series of articles that preview and/or foreshadow what to expect at the Nanaimo Water Pricing Workshop. The purpose of the ‘preview series’ is to both stimulate interest in attending and establish expectations about the workshop takeaways. The focus of the first announcement was on the recently published Water Pricing Primer. The second presented the Draft Agenda. The focus of this announcement is on Sustainable Service Delivery.

THIRD ANNOUNCEMENT: Regional District of Nanaimo hosts ‘Water Pricing Workshop’ on September 9, 2010

The Regional District of Nanaimo (RDN) is collaborating with the POLIS Water Sustainability Project (University of Victoria) and CAVI-Convening for Action on Vancouver Island to hold a Water Pricing Workshop on September 9, 2010.John finnie (120p)

“There are two parts to this sharing and learning event,” states John Finnie, General Manager of Regional & Community Utilities with the RDN. He is also CAVI Chair. “In the morning, the spotlight is on conservation-oriented water pricing; and in the afternoon, the focus shifts to sustainable service delivery.”

To Learn More:

To download a poster that is complete with pre-registration information, click on How you can register to participate in “Worth Every Penny: A Learning Lunch Workshop”

For details of the actual program, click on Draft Agenda for Nanaimo Water Pricing Workshop

Water Pricing Primer

In May 2010, POLIS published Worth Every Penny: A Primer on Conservation-Oriented Water Pricing.

“The Primer explains how water pricing works, what the benefits are, and how water utilities can implement conservation-oriented water pricing structures as a key tool in the water manager’s toolkit. Also, it offers advice on how to address implementation challenges, including how to maintain revenue stability for water utilities,” explains Oliver Brandes, POLIS Associate Director and Water Sustainability Project Leader.

To Learn More:

Water pricing is an untapped option for helping ensuring that water service infrastructure is well maintained and up to date. To read the complete story, click on The Water Pricing Primer, a collaborative effort to stimulate a national dialogue

Sustainable Service Delivery

“The afternoon session will build on themes introduced by Oliver Brandes and Kirk Stinchcombe in the morning part of the program. Glen Brown of the Ministry of Community and Rural Development is the featured presenter,” states Kim Stephens, Program Coordinator for the Water Sustainability Action Plan for British Columbia. He will be the workshop moderator.

Kim stephens - 2010 (120p)“To stimulate audience interaction, Glen will pose this question: What does ‘sustainable service delivery’ means to you? The Nanaimo Water Pricing Workshop will initiate the branding of this concept.”

“Sustainable service delivery is an emerging issue in BC. Changing and/or additional demands mean the local government workload is expanding. Local governments are being challenged to maintain and/or replace existing infrastructure over time, and to ‘do more with less’.

Living Water Smart

“The broader context is Water OUT = Water IN  This leads us into an understanding of the Water Cycle and the operational or seasonal implications for balancing supply and demand, recognizing that both are variables. We will also be bringing forward the Water for Life and Livelihoods branding that reminds everyone about the holistic nature of what we are doing,” continues Kim Stephens.

“Glen Brown will frame the discussion of Sustainable Service Delivery by referencing Living Water Smart actions and targets, in particular this policy objective as stated on page 69 of the Living Water Smart book: Governments will develop new protocols for capital planning that will look at the life-cycle costs and benefits of buildings, goods and services.”

Incentives for Innovation & Integration

“Provincial grant programs provide local governments with incentives for implementation of new ways of doing business. Grant programs will be leveraged to achieve Living Water Smart targets. Those who are proactive and show leadership are the ones who are being rewarded,” continues Glen Brown, Executive Director for Local Government Infrastructure and Finance.

“On the implementation side, it is how those incentives feed back into the planning side. More and more, good implementation relies on good planning.”

Move to a Level-of-Service Approach

Glen brown (120p) - 2008Money – it should be about how to get the most value out of every dollar spent. Too often, thinking stops after the capital investment is made. Yet everyone needs to be thinking in terms of life-cycle costs, including future recapitalization of the investment. This is not normally considered in traditional infrastructure decision-making.”

“When you think about it some more, you realize we really should be talking about level-of-service.  What level do you wish to provide, and what level can you afford,” concludes Glen Brown.

Connect the Dots

“In his part of the program, Glen Brown will connect the dots between financial accountability. infrastructure sustainability and service delivery. He will also elaborate on a set of five principles that provide a mind-map for asset management. The desired outcome for Glen’s part is that workshop participants will understand why an over-arching goal is to deliver a cost-effective service AND sustain the water resource,” summarizes John Finnie.