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Regulation respecting the framework of authorization of certain projects to transfer water out of the St. Lawrence River Basin

Regulation text

On December 13, 2005 the governors of the eight U.S. Great Lakes states (Illinois, Indiana, Michigan, Minnesota, New York, Ohio, Pennsylvania, and Wisconsin) and the premiers of Québec and Ontario signed the Great Lakes – St. Lawrence River Basin Sustainable Water Resources Agreement. In order to implement this agreement, the signatories committed to, among other things, adopting the necessary legislative and regulatory measures. Québec followed up on this commitment by adopting An Act to affirm the collective nature of water resources and provide for increased water resource protection (2009, c.21), in which subdivision 2 of Division VI directly concerns the implementation of the Agreement. This subdivision applies solely to territory under the Agreement in Québec where the waters meet the St. Lawrence River upstream from Trois-Rivières.

With the signing of this agreement, the parties agreed to protect the waters of the Great Lakes – St. Lawrence River Basin under sustainable management. The parties are thus committed to adopting legislation particular to each of the bodies of water to prohibit transfers of water outside the basin, and to the strict definition and regulation of certain cases of exception.

The objective of this draft regulation is to enforce the prohibition of transfers of water outside the basin, and to specify, for certain cases of exception, the framework of authorisations issued by either the minister or government, by virtue of An Act to affirm the collective nature of water resources and provide for increased water resource protection.

These exceptions are related only to drinking water supply, and apply solely to a local straddling municipality or a local municipality located outside the basin within a regional straddling county (MRC).

A proposal to transfer water for the drinking water supply of a local straddling municipality shall satisfy the condition of the return of water to the source watershed, regardless of the volume of water transferred. However, if the volume transferred is a result of a new or increased withdrawal of 379,000 litres or more, the proposal shall be subject to conditions for authorisation, such as the implementation of water conservation and efficiency measures, the absence of significant adverse impacts on the waters of the basin and water dependent natural resources, and reasonable use.

A proposal to transfer water for the drinking water supply of a local municipality located outside the basin and within a straddling MRC shall satisfy all previously stated conditions regardless of the volume of water transferred.

The draft regulation was open for public consultation from November 10, 2010 to January 8, 2011. Comments received will be taken into account when the final version of the regulation is drafted.

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