Développement durable, Environnement, Faune et Parcs
Home Site Map Québec Portal E-Mail Search About the site Français

Press Release

Protection of drinking water sources
THE GOVERNMENT ANNOUNCES THE ADOPTION OF THE REGULATION RESPECTING WATER WITHDRAWALS AND WATER PROTECTION

 

Gaspé, July 23, 2014 – The Minister of Sustainable Development, the Environment and the Fight against Climate Change, David Heurtel, accompanied by the Minister for Transport and the Implementation of the Maritime Strategy and Minister responsible for the Bas-Saint-Laurent and Gaspésie-îles-de-la-Madeleine regions, Jean D'Amour, announced the adoption of the Regulation respecting water withdrawals and water protection (RPEP), which will better protect drinking water sources. The regulation aims to implement a new water withdrawal authorization system and strengthen the protection of Québec’s drinking water sources.
“With the RPEP, the government is reaffirming that its first and foremost priority continues to be the safety of Quebecers. We must constantly remain vigilant to ensure the integrity of our drinking water sources,” said Minister Heurtel.

A new water withdrawal authorization system

The RPEP will significantly improve the protection of drinking water sources while at the same time making it possible to reduce certain constraints for agricultural producers. Indeed, to improve the protection of drinking water sources, protection areas will now apply to surface water withdrawals. Municipalities will also be required to perform a vulnerability analysis of their drinking water sources to identify potential risks specific to each source and establish appropriate protection measures.
“I am announcing the upcoming implementation of a technical and financial support program for municipalities to carry out vulnerability analyses. A specific component of the program will also be developed to offset potential income losses of agricultural producers resulting from measures to protect a municipality’s drinking water source, as the agricultural community wanted,” said the Minister of Sustainable Development, the Environment and the Fight against Climate Change.

“The RPEP’s entry into force goes well beyond the technical and financial support made available to municipalities since, by its very existence, it will protect them from potential lawsuits. Moreover, by easing constraints for farmers, the government is sending a strong message of support to Québec’s regions,” maintained Minister D’Amour.

Measures pertaining to hydrocarbons

The enactment of the Regulation is consistent with the government’s hydrocarbon action plan launched on May 30 which includes a set of measures to regulate oil and gas exploration and development projects while protecting drinking water sources. The requirement to maintain a minimum distance of 500 metres between a drill site or stratigraphic survey and a water withdrawal intended for human consumption are among the most important measures. The distance could be even greater if justified by the hydrogeological study that is required within a radius of two kilometres around a future drilling. In order to protect groundwater bodies, the Regulation also provides for a vertical separation distance of 600 metres below the ground surface, where fracturing will be prohibited. These measures are among the most stringent in North America.
The Regulation is a concrete response to requests made by citizens, municipalities and companies in the sector. It makes it possible to continue hydrocarbon exploration and development activities while ensuring the supervision of this potential economic development.

For more information

The Regulation respecting water withdrawals and water protection supplements the entry into force of the Act to Affirm the Collective Nature of Water Resources and Provide for Increased Water Resource Protection and introduces measures pertaining to the new water withdrawal authorization system.

For more information about the Regulation respecting water withdrawals and water protection, visit http://www.protegeonsleau.gouv.qc.ca. To view the administrative version of the Regulation, consult the MDDELCC’s website at http://www.mddelcc.gouv.qc.ca/eau/prelevements. For more information about the government’s hydrocarbon action plan, consult http://hydrocarbures.gouv.qc.ca.


– 30 –

SOURCE:
Stéphanie Kitembo
Press Officer
Office of the Minister of Sustainable Development, Environment and
the Fight against Climate Change
Tel: 418 521-3911 INFORMATION:
Media Relations
Ministère du Développement durable, de l’Environnement et de la Lutte contre les changements climatiques
Tel.: 418 521-3991

Léa Nadeau
Press Officer
Office of the Minister for Transport
and the Implementation of the Maritime Strategy
and Minister responsible for the Bas-Saint-Laurent
and Gaspésie–Îles-de-la-Madeleine regions
Tel.: 418 643-6980

INFORMATION:
Media Relations
Ministère du Développement durable, de l’Environnement et de la Lutte contre les changements climatiques
Tel.: 418 521-3991

Back


Return to the top