Letter to the editor 2, June 4, 2020
Once again, Saint-Lazare has water restrictions, plus the threat of tighter restrictions if usage is not reduced. Fines for not following restrictions have increased. However financial penalties will not alleviate the water shortages, but might deter others from abusing town water. The past 15 years of annual precipitation in our area have been one metre and above, so we cannot blame drought for water shortages. Recently, we had a heat wave. People watered their gardens and filled up their pools to make self-isolation more enjoyable. More water was used during the self-isolation period because whole families were at home for two months but if watering of lawns is the problem, a drone could easily identify offenders. Saint-Lazare’s Infolettre stated that, “The level of some water tables is, at this time in May, comparable to what it was at the end of last summer.” This statement indicates that the water resources of Saint-Lazare are ‘borderline’ as they cannot support a brief demand for higher usage, due to heat waves and a short term increase of ‘stay at home’ population. Water usage is approximately 300 litres per person per day. With a population of 21,000 that means 6.3 million litres of water per day is used by Saint-Lazare. Some of the same aquifers used by Saint-Lazare supply 20 per cent of Vaudreuil-Dorion’s water. Hudson gets some water from an aquifer which starts in the same ‘zone de recharge’ where the majority of Saint-Lazare’s water comes from. Environmentalists predict a future with hotter summers and less precipitation so the local water supply may not improve. The population of St. Lazare is expected to increase to more than 24,000 people by 2024, and the town continues to issue building permits even though we do not know what sustainable water resources are available. Vaudreuil-Dorion will soon have a 404-bed hospital which will get its water from Saint-Lazare so the demand for water will increase even more. Saint-Lazare must push the MRC to conduct a comprehensive regional water study to determine the total water resources, and what level of population those resources will sustainably support, for the next 50 years. A comprehensive regional water study needs to be done before Saint-Lazare reaches a population of 24,000 and the hospital is built, or we could finish up with permanent water shortages.