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The 1019 Report

Local Journalism Initiative

St. Lazare council has unveiled a new water-conservation strategy that tightens its already-stringent watering restrictions after receiving a new provincial report detailing the municipality’s water consumption habits.

But with the report stating that failure to meet provincial water usage targets will result in the town being forced to install water meters in residential and commercial buildings, the question is: Are these new efforts too little, too late?

“Understandably, these changes will not necessarily be easy for everyone, especially for those who already have behaviours that don’t fit into the preservation of drinking water,” said St. Lazare Mayor Geneviève Lachance. “But these are necessary changes.”

According to the latest Rapport annuel sur la gestion de l’eau potable 2020, which St. Lazare council formally acknowledged receipt of last week, residential water use in the municipality was 224 litres per person per day in 2020, 40 litres above the provincial target set of 184 litres per person per day.

Although consumption remains above the targeted level, water usage in the town is trending downward. In 2019, an average of 260 litres per person per day were consumed. But provincial authorities, which monitor water consumption in all municipalities, have been clear with St. Lazare officials: The provincial target has to be met by 2021. The figures for last year, however, will only be made available to the town some time next year.

Water meters could be imposed

The report states: “If the municipality exceeds one of the objectives in the 2021 balance sheet, the installation of water meters in all non-residential buildings, targeted mixed buildings, municipal buildings and in a sample of 60 residential buildings will be required progressively by Sept 1, 2025.”

“Basically, if we don’t meet the provincial target, there’s going to be water meters imposed on the town,” explained District 6 councillor Brian Trainor.

In a bid to lower the consumption rate, the town is changing its watering rules. Previously, watering new vegetation was permitted for a period of 15 consecutive days from May 1 to June 30, and from Sept. 1 to Nov. 1. Those windows will now be limited to May 1 to May 30, and Oct. 1 to Oct. 31.

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