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(Posted 5:30 p.m., Jan. 31)
Water and sewer rates to skyrocket over next 10 years

By Fred Sherwin
Orléans Online

Ottawa residents can expect to pay more to turn on their taps and flush their toilets over the next 10 years -- a lot more.

According to a report tabled at the city's environment committee on Tuesday, water and sewer rates will increase by 74 per cent during the next decade, which equates to an extra $409 a year on the average water and sewer bill.

The average water and sewer bill in Ottawa is currently $636. It's expected to rise to $1,045 by 2012, that's if they are no additional increases above and beyond what's currently being proposed. By comparison the average water and sewer bill in 2005 was $430.

City council is being asked to increase the water and sewer rate six per cent this year and seven per cent in each of the next two years.

In addition to the revenue that will be raised through the proposed increases, the city must also borrow $460 million to help cover the estimated $2.1 billion cost to repair and upgrade the city's water and sewer system.

In order to limit the amount that will need to be borrowed, the city plans to completely drain the water and sewer reserve fund and then build it back up over the next 10 years.

(This story was made possible thanks to the generous support of our local business partners.)

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