Water is a sensitive topic, but I think it’s essential to bring important information, so that our residents have a better comprehension of the situation. I will refer to a previous blog post if you’re interested in reading why we’ve had watering restrictions in the last 2 years.

Before people jump on the “too much development” conclusion, it’s important to know that our water supply was forecasted to be sufficient to at least our ultimate population, which we haven’t reached yet. In the Quebec population decreed of December 2020, the city of Saint Lazare is estimated at 22,022 in population.

Demographic outlook

According to a 2018 Technorem report, it is recommended to establish the requirement for water over a 10-to-30-year horizon (MDDELCC, 2015a). Thus, between 2027 and 2047, the population of Saint Lazare should be at saturation which is set around 26,050 residents. The demographic outlook comes from a statistical study conducted by the MRC. This study was done as part of the planning of the concordance by-law to ensure the conformity of the revised land use plan with the objectives of the Metropolitan and Development Plan (PMAD) of the Communauté métropolitaine de Montréal (CMM). It’s always possible that these numbers would get revised if the CMM decided that we need to further densify, but as of now there are no indications that it will be the case. The reports from Technorem had forecasted that Saint-Lazare underground water supply would be sufficient to bring us to our ultimate population under normal consumption and normal times.

The last two years have shown us that we’re no longer living under normal times!

Long-term water supply

The importance of securing the City’s long-term supply of potable water is a priority #1 for everyone, including council! That’s why we passed an important resolution on October 5th, to give a contract to Technorem to find alternatives and mitigation measures to limit the consequences of the effects of climate change on the exploitation of our aquifers.

The experts are predicting that climate change will continue to progress in the years to come. This contract which we granted, is to make sure that we have solutions and a backup plan if we continue to face extreme weather patterns like we have experienced in the last few years, along with overconsumption which has impacted the levels of our aquifers.

Three new wells

The three new wells in la Pinière should be hooked up to the Sainte-Angelique water treatment plant hopefully by year end, but there may be some delays due to the shortage of some materials.  The new wells will help increase the water capacity and will provide relief for the wells that are under pressure and experiencing critical levels.

It’s important to keep in mind that these new wells are not the ultimate solutions, and we all need to take some responsibility in the efforts to make sure that we have adequate water supplies in the future.

Le Bilan de la Stratégie d’économie d’eau potable

By year end, we should get a new report for 2020 (Bilan de la Stratégie d’économie d’eau potable) regarding Saint-Lazare water consumption which will be very interesting since we’ll see the impact of the pandemic on our water consumption.

Take note that if we don’t lower our annual water consumption by the 2021 report (which should come out in the fall/winter 2022), Saint-Lazare will have to install water meters in all non-residential buildings (Industrial, Commercial and Institutional), targeted mixed-use buildings, municipal buildings and a sample of 60 residential buildings will be required progressively by September 1, 2025.

We’ll have one last year to lower our consumption since we haven’t yet met the required consumption numbers.

Other measures

The Saint-Lazare environmental committee has submitted several recommendations to council and the administration has formed a “water” committee in order to examine the situation and plan for the future. Other measures will be put in place in the next months in order to make sure that consumption is under control and that our water supply is secure.

Although this situation is not unique to Saint-Lazare (read: Le Québec à sec https://bit.ly/3Fz7RgV), planning for the future has never been more important in these unpredictable times!