In a city that has spent billions of dollars on clean-ups over the past decade, the clean up of a water treatment facility in the city’s downtown is a key part of the city government’s efforts to help it recover from the effects of climate change.
“The cleanup is critical to helping us recover from this storm,” said Toronto Mayor John Tory in a recent statement.
“We will need to clean up and rebuild for many years to come, and the city will be left with no clean water supply.”
The city’s $7.7 billion, 5,200-kilometre water treatment system has been shut down for more than three months because of severe weather conditions.
It was originally designed to handle 10 million litres per day, but is now expected to only handle about 800,000 litres a day.
That’s more than half the amount of water Toronto uses for drinking, cooking, and other household uses.
The system was supposed to be operating smoothly for another three months, but officials said this has proven to be a challenge, and they are still investigating the cause of the problems.
The city said it will have to wait for the full scope of the storm to determine how long it takes to restore normal service.
The mayor said the city needs to take immediate steps to restore order, which include restoring a power grid, installing more water meters, and getting rid of the entire system.
The situation is not likely to improve until the summer.
Tory said the government will spend the next several weeks preparing for the expected arrival of the winter storm.
In a written statement to CBC News, the city said “it is still trying to establish the extent of the damage, and will do so as quickly as possible.”
It said the mayor’s comments did not go far enough and said it would work with the province to determine what will happen in the meantime.
“In light of the challenges the city has been facing, we are prepared to make a request for help to help rebuild the water treatment infrastructure,” the statement read.