A first group of 22 Quebec municipalities will receive $15,802,500 under the federal-provincial agreement pertaining to the water and wastewater pipeline renewal program, le Programme de renouvellement des conduites d’eau potable et d’egout (PRECO).

This announcement comes nearly two months after the signing of the Canada-Quebec PRECO agreement on March 26 by PM Stephen Harper, and the Premier of Quebec, Jean Charest.The PRECO agreement is possible due to a joint contribution from Canada and Quebec of approximately $700 million. With municipal contributions, over $1 billion will be available for projects that will be completed in the next two years.

PRECO will enable Quebec municipalities to repair or replace water and wastewater pipes. Investment priorities will be determined by the municipalities based on a plan of action that they will submit to the Quebec Ministry of Municipal Affairs, Regions and Land Occupancy. The municipalities themselves are responsible for choosing between the repair or replacement of the pipes. The underground pipeline network for all Quebec municipalities spans more than 80,000 kilometres at an estimated cost of over $60 billion.

The federal contribution to PRECO comes from the $4-billion Infrastructure Stimulus Fund, part of Canada’s Economic Action Plan. The federal government set aside up to $350 million of this fund for projects approved through PRECO.

The $350-million contribution from the Government of Quebec is part of the Quebec infrastructure plan, le Plan Quebecois des infrastructures, which was expanded in January 2009 and includes an investment of almost $42 billion for renewing existing infrastructure throughout Quebec over the next five years.

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