VIEW OLIVER BRANDES & KIRK STINCHCOMBE ON YOUTUBE: “Water pricing is a hot issue in communities across the country. Yet it remains an almost totally untapped option for helping ensure our water service infrastructure — the pipes, pumps and reservoirs — is well maintained and up to date,” stated Kirk Stinchcombe during the Worth Every Penny Workshop which dealt with conservation-oriented water pricing (September 2010)

Note to Reader:

Held in September 2010, the Nanaimo Region Water Pricing Workshop was described as the first of its kind in Canada. Part of the rollout to stimulate a national dialogue on sustainable water management, the workshop program was a unique blend of research and practice. Also known as the Worth Every Penny Workshop, the program connected the dots between three initiatives:

  • Action for Water, implemented by the Regional District of Nanaimo following approval in a referendum in November 2008.
  • Worth Every Penny: A Primer on Conservation-Oriented Water Pricing,released in May 2010.
  • Beyond the Guidebook 2010: Implementing a New Culture for Urban Watershed Protection and Restoration in British Columbia, released in June 2010.

Primer co-authors Oliver Brandes and Kirk Stinchcombe anchored the morning part of the program. This segment was the cornerstone for the workshop. 

Oliver Brandes (L) & Kirk Stinchcombe (R)

What is Conservation-Oriented Water Pricing?

In May 2010, the University of Victoria’s POLIS Project on Ecological Governance published Worth Every Penny: A Primer on Conservation-Oriented Water Pricing. At the workshop, co-authors Oliver Brandes and Kirk Stinchcombe provided knowledge-transfer in a morning session. This primed participants for the sharing of water pricing experience that followed in the afternoon part of the program.

Core Content for Primer Knowledge-Transfer Session 

John finnie (120p)“The Primer provided the core content for the Nanaimo Region Water Pricing Workshop,” stated John Finnie, General Manager of Regional & Community Utilities with the RDN. “The workshop created a timely opportunity to connect the dots between the Primer, the RDN’s Action for Water, and Beyond the Guidebook 2010. The desired outcome for the workshop was that participating practitioners would understand why ‘conservation-oriented water pricing ‘ is a tool to achieve a larger end.

“A key message guiding the workshop program was that effective conservation-oriented water pricing can help reconcile growing communities with the health of local watersheds and engage individuals and businesses to change their behaviour and begin reducing their water footprints.”

“Kirk Stinchcombe led and Oliver Brandes provided colour commentary throughout the session. Because the purpose was knowledge-transfer, they believed it would serve the audience to have more than one talking head. And they were right. Their tag-teaming was dynamic. They engaged and entertained the audience.”

Setting the Rate: The Key Factor

“If the price signal is correct, and therefore correct, the majority of people and organizations will change they way they value water and change their behaviour – when using water and when buying water-using technologies – because they recognize that efficiency and conservation will save them money, ” stated Kirk Stinchcombe when he summarized the discussion on pricing water.

“When you are thinking about all the considerations that go into water pricing, keep in mind that setting the rate is the key factor. Does the price accurately inform consumers about the costs of their water use and provide a signal that is sufficient to affect their decision making?”


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

Download Worth Every Penny: Conservation-Oriented Water Pricing (12MB PDF), the PowerPoint presentation slides that guided the interactive session by Oliver Brandes and Kirk Stinchcombe.

Posted to YouTube is a video of the entire 1 hour and 23 minute session conducted by Oliver Brandes and Kirk Stinchcombe. Follow along  with their PowerPoint slides.