Quebec’s drinking water is available in abundance, but with climate change and pollution, it must be protected. That is why the Québec government is launching a new “Québec Strategy for Drinking Water Conservation 2019-2025”, whose key objective is to reduce drinking water consumption in Quebec by 20%. But without saying how much this strategy will cost.
In the previous 2011-2017 Strategy, Québec exceeded the target set by reducing the quantity of water used by 26% when the target was 20%. However, in 2015, Quebeckers poured 573 liters of water per person per day. That’s 28% higher than the Canadian average and 55% higher than Ontario.
The aim of the 2019-2025 strategy is to reduce the amount of water distributed per person by 20% compared to 2015, to reach the figure of 458 liters. Municipalities will have to provide an annual report, and put actions in place to control water loss and water consumption of citizens and businesses.
These measures will have a cost. “Billions of dollars,” according to the CEO of the Environment Network, Jean Lacroix. Asked about it on Tuesday, the Minister of Municipal Affairs, Andrée Laforest was unable to advance a figure, but she assured that the government would invest the necessary funds. “We will have the amounts to correct water leaks in Quebec. The aqueduct system is obsolete. We must act, before there are disasters, “she insisted.
Minister Laforest did not want to move forward either if the very low royalty charged to bottled water companies that draw their water from the Quebec water table could be increased to finance this strategy. “What I can tell you is that there is a committee working on this issue,” she said.
The city in control
Whatever the funding, in Quebec City, we are ready, assured the councilor Suzanne Verreault, responsible for environmental issues to the executive committee. “The City of Quebec is very good at its infrastructure. We have invested close to $ 1.6 billion over the last ten years. The catching up, we started it a long time ago. If we are told that we have additional sums to improve our drinking water system and our wastewater system, that will be very good news. “Since 2006, the population of Quebec City has increased by 50,000 people while water consumption dropped by 13%.
Union des municipalités du Québec, for its part, approved the new strategy, but its board of directors adopted a resolution in February calling for a financial framework.