Those on municipal water in the city of Saint John may have to shell out more cash once the New Year rolls around.

Council is looking at increasing its rates in order to provide clean and safe drinking water to city residents.

“What the city is recommending is that we increase the water rates, starting next year on a regular basis, so that we don’t sort of get down the road five years from now and find out we have to double what the rate is now,” says Coun. Shirley McAlary.

The cost of water could be an extra $72 a year for homeowners.

McAlary says she realizes the increase may be a heavy burden for some people, but says in order to upgrade to infrastructure to ensure clean, safe, drinking water, it is going to cost the city millions of dollars.

Along with the increasing water rates, the city may also consider using meters, which would allow people to pay only for what they use.

“That was a discussion years ago and some people didn’t mind the fact we’d have meters because they felt they’d save money. Other people felt no, they didn’t want to be limited on their water usage. So that’s something they may come up for discussion at a later time,” says McAlary.

McAlary says within the next couple of weeks the city will approve a water and sewage budget for 2013.

If approved, residents can expect to see a higher dollar amount on their bill.

With files from CTV Atlantic's Ashley Dunbar