La Houille Blanche
Number 2, Avril 1999
|Page(s)||69 - 73|
|Published online||01 August 2009|
Exposé sur l'eau au Québec
Water in Québec
Directeur des politiques du secteur municipal, Ministère de l'Environnement du Québec
Québec water resources are, overall, largely sufficient. We have 4500 rivers and 500 000 lakes, of which 30 have an area of more than 250 km2. Most of Québec's population lives on the St. Lawrence plain. Thererefore, surface water flowing in this area is subject to the greatest pressures. In 1978, only 2 % of municipalities wastewaters were treated. But, over the post 20 years, the health of Québec's waterways has improved markedly, as a result of a major investment program (7 billion $) such as the Québec water purification program (PAEQ). However, there is still much to be done, especially regarding the non-point pollution, much of which resulting from farming operations.
In other respects, Québec is rethinking it's role, in order to increase the efficiency of public and municipal services. Water administration in Québec is very fragmented and there is not much coordination or integration of the various jurisdictions between the federal, provincial and municipal levels. But, in 1992, the Québec Government initiated a watershed management approach by creating the Comité de bassin de la rivière Chaudière (COBARIC). This committee, formed with stakeholders with vested interest in the issue, submitted a report on March 26th, 1996. Based on eight main principles for an integrated approach of watershed management, the committee recommended the Minister of Environment and Wildlife to develop a master plan respecting water and to propose a financing strategy to make users liable for the use or deterioration of water. To ensure that Quebeckers endorse the objectives of the water management reform, the committee would undertake a process of information and sensibilization of the water management reform implications.
The government decided to follow the recommendations in creating the COBARIC II in April 1997 with the mandate of experimenting the proposed approach. In particular, the committee will have to elaborate a master plan respecting water. This plan means the realization of watershed management in the field. It will allow to prioritize actions and projects hierarchically, on a coherent territory (the basin), while giving the way for dialogue between users and partners. This plan will be a real decision-making tool. Results are expected at the end of the COBARIC's mandate in Novemher 1999. Finally, the Québec government has become a member of the Réseau international des organismes de bassin (international network of watershed associations) (RIOB) in March 1996.
© Société Hydrotechnique de France, 1999
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