Government Receives Water Panel Report

Archived Release

Government Receives Water Panel Report

Ministry of Infrastructure

Study Recommends Measures To Improve Water Systems TORONTO, July 22 - The report of the Water Strategy Expert Panel will help the Ontario government develop a strategy for ensuring the long-term sustainability of the province's public water systems, Minister of Public Infrastructure Renewal David Caplan said. "I want to thank the Chair of the Panel, Dr. Harry Swain, and the members, Professor Fred Lazar and Mr. Jim Pine, for their hard work," Caplan said. "The Panel's recommendations provide valuable advice for a long-term investment and financing strategy for water and wastewater infrastructure. This is an important priority for our government, and we will study every recommendation carefully. The decisions made will affect the province's water systems for many decades, and we must take the time to do it right." Because of decades of neglect and under-investment, some municipal water systems use pipes that are more than a century old; in fact some wooden pipes are still in use. Major investments are needed to bring systems into a state of good repair, and to permit expansion. The government appointed the independent Panel in August 2004 and asked it for recommendations to ensure that adequate investment in water infrastructure takes place, that water and wastewater systems are financially sustainable, that water rates are affordable and that water systems remain in public hands. The investment required to return Ontario's current water and wastewater systems to a state of good repair - and maintain that condition for the indefinite future - will be between $30 and $40 billion over the next 15 years, the Panel's report estimates. The current method of organizing, managing and financing water systems has to be changed before these investments can be made. "It is clear the status quo is not an option," said Panel Chair Dr. Harry Swain. "We believe our recommendations will help ensure a stronger water sector in Ontario, one that will be sustainable for years to come." "Clean water is essential for the health and prosperity of all Ontarians," Minister of the Environment Laurel Broten said. "Ensuring sustainable investment in pipes and treatment plants is critical to the delivery of clean and safe water for the future." The report, Watertight: The Case for Change in Ontario's Water and Wastewater Sector, is posted on the Ministry of Public Infrastructure's website (www.pir.gov.on.ca) and on the Panel's website (www.waterpanel.ontario.ca). Disponible en fran├žais. www.pir.gov.on.ca www.ontarioconserves.gov.on.ca www.resultsontario.caFor further information: Wilson Lee, Minister's Office, (416) 325-8735; Sheldon Ens, Ministry of Public Infrastructure Renewal, (416) 212-7499