Dec '07/Jan '08

Thetford Mines branch boasts successful conference

Protection of the Bécancour River watershed

On September 12, the Thetford Mines Branch hosted Simon Lemieux, coordinator for Grobec, as a lecturer in its series of conferences.

Lemieux explained to the 30 participants the mandate and the objectives of his organization, i.e. protect the Bécancour River watershed. The Bécancour River covers a distance of over 220 kilometres, from Bécancour Lake to the St. Lawrence River.

This important watercourse flows through six regional county municipalities and drains an area of more than 2,600 square kilometres. It is one of 33 watersheds given high priority in the Quebec Government Water Policy that was adopted in 2002. The territory comprises 58 per cent forest cover, 39 per cent agricultural land, and three per cent dedicated to urban environments. The total population is about 66,700.

The participants also learned that the integrated water management at the watershed level represents a major course of action in the government’s sustainable development approach, which states that water must be managed without compromising its availability and quality for future generations. This means that decisions must be taken or rules established that ensure fair sharing of the resource between the current users, its natural replenishment and usage respecting future needs.

Lemieux delivered bad news about the water quality. Instead of improving, it is deteriorating despite significant municipal investments over several years — wastewater treatment plant, separate systems for sanitary sewers and storm sewers, etc. The bacterial and physicochemical quality of the water is measured six times per year at several sampling stations. Other actions will therefore be required to restore the Bécancour River to its natural water quality.

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