Authors: Victoria Coffin, David W. Poulton, Casey Vander Ploeg

Canada’s water supports diverse and significant ecosystems, is essential to almost all aspects of the economy and has great social and cultural significance. With that said, global trends including climate change, population growth and urbanization are creating apprehension about the future of one of our greatest resources. Of the “market-based instruments” being explored as possible solutions for water allocation, two solutions—attaching a “price” for all water use and the regulated “trading” of water allocations, licenses or water use rights—are increasingly getting more attention.

Alberta, in particular, has been active in pursuing this type of policy innovation and has taken steps to embed market-based instruments in provincial water resources management in the context of a national backdrop marked by a broad-based policy preference against the bulk export of water and by Canada’s participation in the North American Free Trade Agreement.

In Our Water and NAFTA: Implications for the Use of Market-Based Instruments for Water Resources Management, authors Victoria Coffin, David W. Poulton and Casey Vander Ploeg examine whether using market-based instruments as a solution for water allocation will impact Canada’s participation in the North American Free Trade Agreement.