10/06/2011 08:30 EDT | Updated 12/06/2011 05:12 EST

Montreal Plans Repairs For Aging Water System

A committee of experts studying Montreal's aging watermain system is proposing the city commit $400-million a year to fix long-standing problems.

The plan calls for an $8.5-billion investment over the next decade, to repair and renew the city's water distribution system.

The average age of the city's watermain pipes is 60 years, with some dating back a century. Forty per cent of the city's drinking water is leaked and wasted through cracked pipes.

Some of the money for the overhaul would come from Montreal taxpayers, who can expect an annual nine per cent tax hike.

The proposal comes two years after the cancellation of the city's controversial and expensive water meter contract.

That move came after the city's auditor general revealed the tendering process to award the $355-million contract was flawed.

The new plan will see half as many water meters installed for less money than the original contract.