Water issues under discussion

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Deborah Powell

CAMPBELL’S BAY – The Agency of 7 Watersheds (ABV des 7) held a public consultation July 24 at the MRC Pontiac office to collect public input as part of the
updating of the Water Master Plan, which includes identifying key issues and public concerns.

Deborah Powell

CAMPBELL’S BAY – The Agency of 7 Watersheds (ABV des 7) held a public consultation July 24 at the MRC Pontiac office to collect public input as part of the
updating of the Water Master Plan, which includes identifying key issues and public concerns.
Carly Steben and Pascal Samson, speaking for ABV des 7, explained that the non-profit organization serves as a forum for exchanging ideas between representatives of all users and managers of water resources. Their mandate is to improve the water quality of the seven main rivers watersheds located in their territory (Dumoine, Coulonge, Noire, Gatineau, Quyon, Blanche West, and a portion of the Ottawa River). The ABV des 7 is one of 40 organizations in Québec
with the responsibility for a given watershed.
Following the introduction, participants divided into groups to discuss water issues based around six themes, including water quality and quantity, safety, accessibility and ecosystems. Concerns were raised over lack of communication about fluctuating water levels on the Ottawa and the burden small municipalities sometimes bear for ecosystem conservation. Accessibility was also identified as a major concern. The ABV des 7 representatives made it clear that while their organization does not have decision-making power, it is able to offer support through research and knowledge sharing.
In March 2018, the Québec government announced its 2018-2030 Water Strategy that includes an investment of over $550 million in the first five years of the plan. The goals are: ensure water quality, protect and restore natural water systems, improve risk management related to water, benefit from the economic
potential of water, promote sustainable use, acquire and share knowledge, and reinforce integrated water resource management. At the beginning of July, the Minister of the Environment announced a doubling of the budgets for watershed organizations and at the end of July, an additional $3 million was added to ensure the organizations could undertake projects.
Another consultation evening was held in Waltham, July 26. To add input, an online survey is available at https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/KB9CPVQ (or French version at www.surveymonkey.com/r/BNDXWZF).