Letter to the editor 1, July 23, 2020

Water woes

Dear Editor,

COVID-19 quickly became a crisis and continues to be so. The virus came upon us almost ‘out of the blue’ and was taken seriously by all levels of government and acted upon accordingly.

From what we see, it would appear that our water supply is also developing into a crisis, albeit at a much slower pace.

In recent weeks there has been extensive coverage in the media concerning the supply in the Vaudreuil-Soulanges region. This concern is by no means new. Hudson, for example, has been fretting over this issue for years and is trying to resolve it on its own since there is no other level of government to address the issue.

Aquifers, however, do not recognize municipal boundaries so unless there is a high-level approach to resolving the issue it is likely that the action of one municipality to draw water may well have a negative effect on a bordering jurisdiction.

In 2017 I approached the MRC Vaudreuil-Soulanges and tabled a question at a regular meeting that was attended by the mayors of the 23 municipalities and the support team. The question tabled was, “Why is it in the 21st century that individual municipalities in a relatively small geographic area need to be concerned with water supply? Should it not be managed by a higher level of government with a global, long-term mandate to address the issue?’

In brief the reply, very respectfully delivered, was that it was not within the jurisdiction of the MRC to address and that the provincial environment should be approached in order to facilitate any change in the current protocol of ‘going it alone’ on a municipal level. Several of the mayors indicated that they had the situation under control as a result of specific supply chain initiatives. Today I see that those same municipalities are putting in severe water restrictions in order to address shortages!

Surely ‘going it alone’ in 2020 when addressing the fulfillment of one of the top hierarchy of needs makes absolutely no sense. Before this issue becomes a real crisis the Vaudreuil-Soulanges MRC needs to take the leadership role and vigorously lobby the provincial government to take action before this issue becomes another crisis; a crisis that unlike COVID-19 has given us plenty of warning of its arrival.

Marcus Owen


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