Water Rules: Saint-Lazare’s Preserving Mission
Being a small town surrounded by nature and horses, Saint-Lazare is full of ambitions regarding its environment, especially water. Rules concerning this resource are now being reinforced by the town, which restricts water use when it's raining and during other specific periods. Such a phenomenon is uncommon on the West Island.
In the region of Vaudreuil-Soulanges, drinkable water is a critical topic; the same goes for water extracted from the phreatic table. The exploitation of underground water is widespread in this region, knowing that it provides 54% of the drinkable water in Vaudreuil-Soulanges (versus 25% of the rest of the Province of Quebec).
The case of Saint-Lazare is very particular: the town exclusively obtains its water from the fourteen wells exploiting the phreatic table. This means that the town has no access to other sources of water. Overexploitation and the use of pesticides contribute to the contamination of the phreatic table. This is a major issue regarding the access to drinkable water. Christelle Paré, the Director of Communications and Public Relations of Saint-Lazare, was clear about the town’s direction facing this situation. “We have no choice but to find solutions.”
The small town is motivated to solve this problem and is now implementing more stringent regulations than before. The existing use of widgets placed around the town to indicate the level of water used monthly by the population is helpful in alerting residents about the issue. (See the image below in French).
Example of Widget used in Saint-Lazare
Saint-Lazare intends to reduce the number of permits to water plants, reduce watering periods, increase the number of hours of community patrol surveillance, and create ecological developments that require less or no watering. Also, Regulation 667 concerning potable water use was modified to be more severe. (see the image below in French).
Regulation 667 (modifications in red)
Although the excessive use of potable water is a major issue in Saint-Lazare, Ms. Paré stays optimistic about this topic. “Water is something precious for us, a challenge, but also a creative force for our town.”
SOURCES: MRC Vaudreuil-Soulanges, Saint-Lazare & Christelle Paré