Higher water and sewer rates are on the road to reality in Winnipeg.

A city hall committee voted unanimously on Tuesday for a six per cent increase this year.

For the average homeowner that works out to an added $51. Committee members said they had no choice because they have to fund $1.2 billion worth of work to upgrades to the sewage treatment facilities.

Work on the facilities is expected to take five to seven years.

Council has final say on the rate hike later this month.