City expected to increase water bill in new year
Toronto homeowners are expected to be see a nine per cent increase in their water bill soon because the city's pipes are in desperate need of repair.
Council has in past years raised rates by that amount, and after a meeting at city hall on Wednesday, it appears residents will be hit with the increase again.
"In order to catch up on backlog and to deal with the size of the infrastructure that we have, we needed to raise rates," Lou Di Gironimo, general manager of Toronto Water, said of the past hikes.
A nine per cent increase would cost homeowners about $47 more next year.
The hike is necessary to help rebuild Toronto's aging infrastructure, says budget chief Shelley Carroll.
"We have the oldest water service out of any municipality in the province and we continue to repair while at the same time increasing capacity," she said.
Here are some facts on Toronto's water infrastructure, according to the city's website:
- About 20 per cent of the watermains are between 50 and 80 years old, and seven per cent of them are more than 100 years old;
- There are approximately 1,500 watermain breaks every year;
- The majority of sewer pipes are less than 50 years old, but 15 per cent are 50 to 80 years old, 4.5 per cent are 80 to 100 years old and the remaining 2.8 per cent are more than 100 years old.
The majority of the $400 million water budget goes into fixing the water infrastructure.
"If you wait and let the system deteriorate, what you'd have is more frequent interruption to service and more watermain breaks," Di Gironimo said.
Toronto Water services more than 3 million residents and businesses in the city and some customers in Peel and York regions.
This year's budget will invest even more in the Safe Drinking Water Act, keeping Lake Ontario clean and on flood mitigation.
While homeowners will see higher bills, officials say Torontonians are getting good value for their tax dollar.
"When you compare the rates ... Toronto, on the residential side, is the second-lowest in the GTA," Di Gironimo said.
The water increase proposal will likely be passed in November and take effect in the new year.
With a report from CTV's Naomi Parness