Protect farmers' access to water from their own wells without fees or taxation

Farmers access to water from their own wells without fees or taxation is especially necessary in the case of small family run or hobby farms. The provincial government under the Liberals is now charging farmers to access water from their own wells. These are wells that were paid for privately, usually by the farmer, and which the farmer would pay to maintain and run as opposed to city water where the gov’t pays for the infrastructure and running & maintenance costs. This added cost puts farmers, especially farmers who also use the well for home use, at a great disadvantage. Where a farm is on a shared aquifer, there may need to be some protections put in place for other users, however, most wells rely on groundwater (basically rainwater). Charging farmers to access groundwater wells is tantamount to taxing them for using rain. The Provincial Water Sustainabilty Act also states that ANY corporation can buy a license for water access even if it is on property that is privately held by someone else. This means, if I am not mistaken, that a company such as Nestley can decide they want access to my water and expropriate it at a “fair” price and against my will. People who have had the foresight to buy land and pay for infrastructure to ensure their own access to clean water are being undermined and sold out by their own government. Not only does this effect farmers, which will increase the cost of local food and increase food imports, but the fees currently being charged to farmers for water use could easily be expanded to charging rural property owners for water from their wells.

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  • commented 2017-02-11 11:28:49 -0800
    When charging farmers for using water from their own wells that they paid tens of thousands to drill and use, you increase their costs and put more upward pressure on pricing. This reduces their ability to compete and contributes to an economic environment where only factory farms are sustainable. If the government is serious about water conservation, they should be willing to cover the cost farmers put into developing their own wells and infrastructure to make it equitable with people and urban farms on city water.
  • commented 2017-02-07 13:04:05 -0800
    The key point about groundwater is that it is a renewable resource that is a commons. It should not belong to the well owner. Extraction of any resource should have a fee (royalty, stumpage) attached to it. Certainly the ridiculously low fee that Nestle pays, for example, is a travesty. But all well owners should be paying for the water they use. The rate can be managed to subsidize beneficial users, such as farmers, and penalize overconsumers. I am a well owner myself, and have no objection to paying for the privilege of tapping in to a common, and vulnerable, resource.
  • published this page in Make a suggestion 2017-01-02 13:41:33 -0800
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