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Selling ourselves short: a discussion of water-markets in Alberta

Faculty Advisor




conservation, sustainability, government policy, resource management, privatization, Alberta

Abstract (summary)

The issue of water management has become one of increasing importance. Any new policy regarding resource management must balance the needs of the environment, the municipalities, and industry. In an effort to reconcile these needs this report will review the best-practices of water policy. Specifically, the reason for undertaking this report is to research policy options available to the Alberta government to provide a framework for improving the Water for Life strategy. One generalization that can be made across the spectrum of privatization models is that whenever a resource is labelled a commodity, the objective to sell it for a profit invariably undermines the aquatic ecology at the source. The report identifies a common practice where industrial entities pay for water on a sliding scale, (if they are made to pay anything at all) with bulk water purchases becoming cheaper as more water is consumed. By applying a conservation-orientated system to industrial users, the minimum amount of water is available, but heavy fees are to be assigned for exceeding the allotment. An industrial system resembling the conservation-orientated approach could also add an extra incentive to recycle water used for industrial purposes. A policy of conservation-orientated charging applied to both municipalities and industry offers the best aspects of water leases and conservation enforcement. Ultimately, the research finds that private ownership of water offers more detrimental than beneficial for the people of Alberta.

Publication Information

Pluim, D. N. (2013). Selling ourselves short: A discussion of water-markets in Alberta. Earth Common Journal, 3:2. Retrieved from



Item Type

Student Article




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