Sunday, January 27, 2008

The Inconvenient Truth...

The Inconvenient Truth

First they campaigned for the Public to conserve the water, subsidized replacement of inefficient toilets and in Toronto a campaign of replacing shower heads for Free regularly, encourage homeowners to water their lawns less and now with Water Pipes needing replacements, (some of them are 50 years and older) they’re complaining that Conservation is killing them..I meant the cities’ coffers for less revenue for less water use.

As Reported by Toronto Star, here are what the Regions’ officials have to say about Conservation and its effect on the Revenue and Upgrading of Water Delivery System...

Cliff Curtis - Durham Region Works Chief: When asked by the Star about declining water consumption, in unguarded answer he blurted out: “Conservation is Killing Us”

Realizing what he had just said, he added that of course there are a thousand and one reasons to conserve, but one thing for sure: Conservation is putting Cash-Strapped Municipalities in a bit of a Pickle..

Tougher post-Walkerton** regulations, growing communities and a rising backlog of crumbling pipes needing to be fixed are driving up costs even while diligent consumers are lowering their consumption and the size of their bills.

**Walkerton is a town in Ontario where water contamination few years back cause widespread infections among its residence and later examinations and investigations attributed up to nine deaths, majority of them elderly from E-Coli infection. After the Exhaustive Public Inquiry conducted by Justice Dennis O’Connor, the 700 pages Report put the blame mainly on the Koebel Brothers, Stan and Frank, who both worked at the facilities who were found out to have falsified records and gross neglect of duty and were both charged of criminal Negligence and convicted and also to the Government for Cut Backs, under the Common Sense Revolution, which also saw the Government laying off thousand of Nurses and other Care Givers in a buy out, only to scramble to plug for the shortages in a matter of Few Years. The Government settled out of court with all the victims of the Walkerton Water Contamination..

The Inquiry also recommended to the Government the measures to be taken to prevent the same from ever happening again, hence the need for Extra Revenue to meet all the upgrading as recommended in the Reports of Justice Dennis O’ Connor Inquiry...

Toronto alone is facing about $800 million worth of repair and replacement work, since half of the city's water mains and 30 per cent of its sewer pipes are more than 50 years old. But last year, total revenue was only $604 million.
(Now we won’t feel guilty of running the sprinklers all day and night this summer and taking a few hot showers in a day, instead of once a week..)

Other regions are hurting, too.
Peel Region treasurer Dan Labrecque estimates his region has lost $7 million to so-called "revenue or billable flows shortfall." The need to make up for that lost money accounts for nearly half of Peel's proposed 16 per cent water rate hike (expected to be phased in at 12.5 per cent).
"A number of factors are contributing to this, including the success of our water consumption (reduction) efforts," said Labrecque. "We've pointed it out to council saying, here's the trend, we don't know if it's a sustainable trend, or whether it's an adjustment because of changes, the Al Gore movie and all that kind of stuff."

Everyone efforts are the obvious factors in the consumption decline and it is also augmented by new building codes that require more efficient equipments for new homes and subsidized replacements in old ones...

But there is always the good side to the bad.. On the Plus side Conservation could save municipalities in existing infrastructures as they will last longer and can postpone capital expenditure of building new ones...less water also means less energy to Treat and Pump water and wastewater, savings on energy bill for the cities..there you go..more than offset each other.

And I have some idea what is next..Municipalities will raise the Water Bill for the needed revenue and the consumers will conserve more and the municipalities will raise the bill some if we are taxed to the hilt yet... so we have to do some compromise here...longer shower time, greener lawns, wash the cars and driveways and the sidings as often and for families with lot of children to invent some water’s fun and helping the Works Tzars of your cities solve their dilemma and let them worry about something else..

On the completely unrelated subject, I vote for Javier Bardem for Oscar Best Supporting Actor for his role in Coen Brothers No Country for Old Men and our very own Ellen Page for Best Actress in Juno...

Ellen Page in Juno....