Changes could be coming to the way the city charges for drinking water, sewer removal and water removal after rain storms.

On Tuesday, the city's environment committee approved a plan to introduce a new rate structure, which includes a fixed cost for water and wastewater maintenance and operations.

City Staff in favour of the new fixed fee said there is a cost to maintaining a water system regardless of how much water is used.

"It's the bare minimum cost of making sure you've got safe, healthy, reliable water any time you turn on your tap, even if you've been away for six months," said Environment Committee Chair David Chernushenko.

The city said more than 85 per cent of households in Ottawa would see a fixed cost of roughly $17 on their monthly bill.

The changes would also see rural homeowners charged a new stormwater fee that will be phased in over four years, starting next year. The fee would come out to about $27 to $54 a year.

It angered many residents who currently have wells and septic tanks and said they should not pay for a service they do not use.

“The water comes across by neighbours property and encroaches onto mine in a heavy spring runoff… so we’re having to soak up water, so we shouldn’t pay anything,” Westley said.

Council must still approve the changes.