August 16, 2004

Montreal launches program to improve water management

Montreal's executive committee responsible for sustainable development and economic development has issued calls for tenders for three major projects which will significantly change the way the city manages its water treatment and distribution system. The three projects include: putting in place a master plan for intervention strategies for the city's entire sewer and aqueduct network; upgrading all of Montreal's water production facilities; and installing water meters in industrial, commercial and institutional sector operations, as well as implementing mechanisms for monitoring water consumption by non-residential customers.

Frank Zampino, head of the executive committee, said these initiatives reflect the commitment of Montreal Mayor GÈrald Tremblay to improve water management in the city. "Immediately after our administration was elected, we publicly stated that within a period of four years we wanted to show the population of MontrÈal that we invested the necessary resources to begin the process of establishing a master plan for water management. This is a project that will be spread over 20 years and is designed to unite all of the city's water production resources on the island to ensure we can upgrade our water production and purification facilities," he explained.

The three calls for tenders are being funded through a specially-created municipal Water Fund. This special fund is the first concrete initiative of the city's long-term policy for improving the network and includes the gradual integration of all budgets related to water management as well as a program of annual investments specifically set aside to help finance a global plan for water management.

The first investment in this fund was $25 million, which was incorporated into the city's 2004 budget. This money will be used to help fund some of the costs of the projects just announced.

In view of the complexity, length, cost and extensive nature of the three projects, the city is adopting a two-stage process for launching the calls for tenders, compared to other large-scale projects and initiatives. The first stage will seek out, through public calls for tenders, firms with the necessary qualifications (e.g. expertise, experience, understanding of the challenges, reliability etc.) required for the projects. The second phase of the process will involve the actual selection of a firm the city feels will be able to carry out the task at hand while meeting various criteria, including offering the best costs and being able to meet the city's specified schedule for the work. This process is designed to ensure that candidates who are selected in the second stage have already been found qualified at the outset to complete the project.

In addition, the city will require that the firm eventually selected be capable of responding to increased expectations in terms of guarantees of reliability for any work that will be carried out. Accordingly, the city intends to incorporate into any future contracts clauses committing any selected firms to meet the high standards to be attached to municipal water management policies.

More information is available from Darren Becker, city of Montreal, 514/872-6412.

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