Water Availability and Quality
Water is an abundant resource in Quebec, so much so that residents of the province sometimes have the impression that it is inexhaustible and constantly replenished. However, the impact of climate change on hydrological systems and the risks of ensuing water shortages are increasingly waking people up to the importance of preserving this resource. In this context, a number of adaptation solutions for mitigating impacts on the availability and quality of water can be implemented at different levels, including governments, private users of the resource and citizens.
Laws, Regulations, Strategies and Plans
In order to protect water sources and water quality, governments can adopt laws, regulations and standards. They can also establish strategies and tools that aim to regulate water resource management such as:
Economic Analysis of Climate Change Vulnerability and Adaptation of the Water Supply Systems of the CMQ
The results will help guide a sustainable approach to water management that takes into account the effects of climate change. It will also provide water supply managers in participating municipalities with tools for assessing vulnerabilities related to climate change, whether these are due to changes to their surface water withdrawal capacity or to changes in water needs during certain critical periods.
It is important that these measures be applied to municipalities, RCMs, businesses, industries, and citizens, all of which have a potentially significant impact on the availability and quality of water.
In Quebec, the government has adopted an approach to implement integrated water management by watershed. The establishment of an integrated water management plan is an effective means of improving the quality of this resource and managing its use.
Additionally, throughout the province, the numerous watershed organizations that plan and coordinate water management actions have also established mobilization and outreach strategies with municipalities, RCMs, citizens, industries, etc. In doing so, they encourage these stakeholders to take action and thereby improve and protect water quality across their region.
Protecting Water Sources and Water Quality
Near urbanized environments, shoreline naturalization is also an effective means of controlling contaminants stemming from human activities. Shorelines act as natural barriers that prevent contaminated water from reaching hydrological systems. Another interesting solution for urban environments is the installation of retention ponds to better control and contain water during heavy rains and thereby avoid overflow and the contamination of natural environments.
Optimizing water treatment methods in factories is another interesting adaptation solution to ensure water quality. At the same time, modernizing these facilities would allow greater volumes of water to be treated while ensuring that more environmentally sustainable techniques are being used. Beginning in 2025, Ville de Montréal will begin using ozonation technologies at the Jean-R.-Marcotte water treatment plant. The work performed at this plant will help eliminate viruses, bacteria and pharmaceuticals thanks to a process whereby ozone is injected at the end of the water treatment cycle.
It is also important to protect wetlands given our understanding of their role in regulating water flow, enhancing water quality by filtering out pollutants, and temporarily retaining floodwaters. It is therefore essential to ensure their preservation by protecting them, restoring them whenever possible and sustainably managing urbanized environments in proximity.
On a more individual scale, the population also has a role to play to ensure the continual availability of water. Whether it be for watering lawns, washing or even personal hygiene, every day-to-day use of water by households has an impact on the resource. In this regard, it is important to continue awareness-raising efforts to encourage Quebec households adopt better practices both to reduce their consumption and to preserve the quality of this resource.
Participative Research on Sustainable Alternatives for Water Management in Agricultural Areas in the Context of Climate Change
The RADEAU 1 and 2 projects exploited and structured the large quantity of existing data and developed new data in order to characterize the water balance of the regions under study in current and future climates, and thus help inform the government, regional actors and other studies on water management.