The city of Montreal has no plans to install water meters in homes in the future, despite a city council committee’s recommendation to do so.
On Wednesday, the city permanent commission about water, the environment, sustainable development and the large parks presented 25 recommendations on how to better manage water use in their territory. The recommendations will be taken into account when the Plante administration outlines the city’s next 10-year strategic plan for water use in the coming months.
Among the suggestions made to the council was to better control the amount of water used to identify areas of the water network that are leaking. As the city recently completed installing meters in institutional, commercial and industrial buildings, the commission said the next logical step would be to install them in homes and apartment buildings, starting with new construction projects. However, Maja Vodanovic, a member of the executive committee that deals with water use, shot down that idea.
“This is not a priority right now,” Vodanovic said. “We have a lot of work to do before we get to that point.”
Some districts such as St-Laurent and Anjou and suburban island cities such as Pointe-Claire and Town of Mount Royal already have water meters installed in homes. However, most of the homes that formed the territory of the city of Montreal before the merger in 2001 do not have water meters. Thus, while some residents of breakaway municipalities pay for every drop of water they use, most residents of the city of Montreal are charged a flat rate, which is not based on consumption.
Among other recommendations of the committee is to implement measures to be more resilient to heavy rains and floods.
Vodanovic said the city hopes to get more money from the province to convert its infrastructure and build more sponge parks, sponge sidewalks and sponge streets to contain water in contained areas and avoid clogging storm sewers.
“It’s an ongoing discussion with the provincial government,” Vodanovic said. “Quebec cities asked for $2 billion over five years, but we got less. “We need a better agreement to be able to share these costs.”
Vodanovic also acknowledged that the city needs to do a better job of sharing costs with districts to implement measures to help prevent flooding in areas such as Pierrefonds, Ahuntsic and other areas of the island where homes are vulnerable to seasonal flooding. The city will also increase funding available to vulnerable households to improve their flood prevention measures, such as installing sump pumps.
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He added that the city also needs to better plan future projects to ensure that sponge parks and proper drainage are a natural part of any new housing development, such as the one being planned in the western part of Lachine, and of new road projects, such as the planned one. link to Kirkland REM station.
Among the other recommendations made to the city are:
- Establish an action plan to combat water waste and reduce water use in the territory.
- Establish goals to reduce water use with clear objectives and a public information mechanism.
- Establish a financing mechanism for the next 10 years in order to predict the funds that will be needed to compensate for the city’s infrastructure maintenance deficit and obtain assistance from the Quebec government.