Ontario’s provincial government is on the verge of raising the cost of water treatment by $25 million, the latest in a string of high-profile government policy moves to boost the economy and cut costs.
The Ministry of the Environment has asked for a $1.1-billion budget for the new year.
The government is also seeking $200 million from Ottawa for a new water-management program that would provide free treatment for all Ontario households.
It also announced it will spend $500 million over the next two years to upgrade the water-treatment facilities that it operates at the expense of a separate program, which has been in operation for 25 years.
The province’s government has been struggling to meet a $20-billion water-related shortfall that began in 2012.
That’s despite having more than half of its total water-supply capacity built up.
More than two-thirds of Ontario’s water is used for irrigation.
The state has also been struggling with high demand for water for the citys water system.
Its current water-usage rate for the year is 5 million litres per person, more than the federal government’s average of 2.7 million litres a person.
The price of water in Ontario is up more than 70 per cent from a year ago, when it averaged just over 2.6 million litres.
The provincial government said the price of the new water will be lower than what was previously expected.
In a press release, the Ministry of Environment said that the cost to run the water treatment program would be $4.5 million.
It will be funded by the province’s annual water-conservation fund, which is supposed to be used to pay for water conservation projects.
“This is part of the plan to invest in the water supply for Ontario in the years ahead,” the statement said.
The ministry said it would have more information about the new price on Monday.
It said it also planned to announce a new funding source for the water program in February, which would be used for upgrades to the facilities.