The combination of the pandemic and heat wave resulted in a drinking water consumption record on the whole of Québec in the last days.
“The situation is critical. We broke consumption records these days, ” drops the spokesperson for the administrative of the city of Longueuil, Fanie Clément St-Pierre.
Of notice of prohibition of lawn watering are in effect across the province for a few days. This is the first time that the urban agglomeration of Longueuil decreed a prohibition on its territory, prevents the gate-to-speech.
A record-breaking year
In 35 years in the business, this is the first time that François Proulx, associate professor at the research Chair in drinking water from Laval University and an expert scientist at the City of Quebec, observed a large consumption of water.
For example, the 16 and 17 June, Montrealers have consumed the equivalent of 483 olympic-sized swimming pools of drinking water (1 811 000 m3), 59 more than at similar dates in the past year.
The same observation is made in Quebec, where the water treatment plants run on full capacity and even beyond their ability.
They can produce up to 119 olympic-sized swimming pools of potable water per day. The daily consumption was, however, reached the 149 pools.
And it is even worse in Saint-Jérôme.
“The demand is too strong. It has even reached 150 % of the capacity of production a few days ago. It is a historical fact ! ” says Maxime Doyon-Laliberté, spokesperson for the City of Saint-Jérôme.
Other municipalities consulted by The Newspaper were also beaten records of consumption, such as Mirabel.
Heat and COVID-19
Heat waves and decreased rainfall partly explain this phenomenon.
“In the past year, even in the midst of a heat wave, we had no records of consumption to this point,” nuance, however, Mr. Proulx.
The context of telework due to the coronavirus could therefore have an impact on this significant increase in water consumption.
“People want to have an interesting environment as they remain on their land. They water their lawn, will make gardens and they have bought a lot of pools, ” says the expert.
Confined workers to the suburbs, which normally move in the city, days of the week are also part of the problem, according to Sarah Dorner, professor and member of the industrial Chair NSERC in drinking water at the ecole Polytechnique.
“It is as if everyone was taking his vacation in the suburbs at the same time, shows-t-it. The aqueducts were not designed with this in mind. “
For professor Proulx, it is essential to obey the prohibitions of irrigation issued by the city.s
“Keep your grass yellow and take a break from the lawn mower, lance-t-il. As soon as the first rain, the grass turn back to green. “
-With steph Sinclair, a special collaboration
Attention to the reserves municipal
If the water consumption reached a peak a little everywhere in Quebec, a shortage is not anticipated anytime soon.
Professor François Proulx ensures that it will not fail of water to the treatment plant.
“The level of different sources [such as the St. Lawrence] is not a concern,” he said.
Rather, it is the amount of water in the reserve cities that are of concern to them.
“It is necessary to draw on our reserves which are normally used in peak periods, especially in the morning, or for tanks to fire, the professor continues. It is necessary to have reserve fire, because with the drought, the risks of fire are greater. “
The very strong demand, however, cause some complications such as the presence of brown water.
This is particularly the case in Sainte-Marthe-sur-le-Lac, reports the mayor Sonia Paulus.
“The flow rate is increased in the pipes and the water acts as a sand for the potable water lines “, explains the professor Proulx.
The water pressure in a residence in Sainte-Marthe-sur-le-Lac evacuated in the lavatory residue from the piping.
Comply with the notice
The presence of brown water is likely to be more frequent if the citizens do not comply with the notice issued by the municipality. The temporary bans appear to have been effective. Quebec city, Levis and Longueuil have confirmed to the Journal that the citizens had responded to their appeal by reducing their consumption.
Mont-Saint-Hilaire, however, the mayor Robert Charron says ” that people don’t follow the rules “.
“We have already seen sprinklers watering during the night,” he says. We hired an inspector external that will be twenty hours per week to give your findings. “
– With Arnaud Koenig-Soutière
► Some golf clubs, such as Longueuil, do not have to submit to the prohibition of lawn watering, since the water used comes directly from the St. Lawrence river without being treated.