People who have water to flush their toilets may be paying for their water with less than they expected.
A survey of 1,000 people who were using the state’s three main municipal water systems found that 46 per cent of them said they had spent more than they planned on using their water and about 60 per cent said they expected to pay for it over time.
About 1,400 people responded to a survey that was part of the city’s public-health initiative to improve public health.
The report comes after more than 1,300 people died of water-related illnesses in Ontario last year.
On a recent Wednesday morning, one man who answered a call on his cell phone said he was worried about what his water bill would be, given the increased costs of treating the city water.
“The water bill’s gonna be $15 a day or something,” said David Wills, 45, who lives in the east end of Toronto.
Wills said his family has paid $3,000 for its treatment of water that was previously treated for $2,000 a year, which he said is not good.
The survey was conducted in November and December.
People who live in the north end of the province, like Wills and Wills’ wife, said they expect to pay the bill in the spring.
In a survey of 870 people who said they use a municipal water system, 57 per cent expected to spend $100 or more a month on water, compared with 27 per cent who expected to save $5 or less.
At the same time, those who live elsewhere in the province said they would be saving $5 a month or less in water bills over the next four years.
For some, it’s a long-term issue.
Brent Jonsson, who owns a hardware store in St. Catharines, Ont., said he spends more than $100 a month for water.
He said his monthly bill was about $50 a month before the crisis hit.
He said he hasn’t seen any improvement in the water situation.
Jonsson said he has noticed the cost of water being a bigger issue with the homeless, which can cost $400 a month to pay.
It’s really not fair that they’re getting water from the government, and we’re getting it for free.
This is going to be a problem going forward, he said.
Some are taking matters into their own hands.
A few years ago, David Zabrocki, who was homeless, decided to start using bottled water.
Now, he uses bottled water from a nearby convenience store.
Water is not a luxury item.
Zabrockis business, the Canadian Bazaar, sells bottled water to customers.
He sells the water from plastic containers he says are recyclable.
Many people are looking to get rid of water altogether.
Liz Pomerleau, a Toronto-area native who lives with her husband and three children in the west end of York Region, said she wants to see a provincial effort to end water use in the city.
I think the water crisis will eventually hit us.
We have to start thinking about what we’re going to do with it, she said.
“I would like to see the government come in and provide some money to get the water system back on its feet.”
The Canadian Red Cross says the crisis could be linked to a rise in water-borne illnesses and other health problems among the citys homeless population.
But the charity is concerned about the impact of the water shortages on the health of those already homeless, who often have chronic health conditions such as asthma and diabetes that are exacerbated by chronic water use.
There are more than a million people living in emergency shelters in Toronto and surrounding communities, the Red Cross said in a statement.
Toronto has the highest number of people sleeping rough, according to the city of Toronto’s data, with nearly 300,000 of them.
The homeless population has risen by nearly 30 per cent over the past decade.
More: In the spring, the city plans to launch a pilot project to see if a city-wide ban on people camping near the water works, said city staff member Karen Gannon.
That ban, which will be in place through the end of this year, is a result of a similar pilot program that was in place in Toronto in April, Gannon said.
The ban will be phased out in October, and the city will re-evaluate the pilot once it’s clear it will not be effective, she added.
If the city decides to do a permanent ban, the next step would be to implement a temporary ban, G Cannon said.
The city’s water-treatment program, which is expected to cost about $