Protection of drinking water sources
“THE SAFEST REQUIREMENTS IN NORTH AMERICA”
Québec City, May 15, 2013 – The Minister of Sustainable Development, Environment, Wildlife and Parks, Yves-François Blanchet, announces the publication for public consultation of the Draft Regulation respecting water withdrawals and water protection to protect drinking water sources effectively. The Regulation implements a set of measures that will make it possible to oversee oil and gas exploration and development projects in accordance with the safest requirements in North America.
The Regulation is intended to meet the expectations of citizens, municipalities and the industry by governing hydrocarbon exploration and development activities in a clear and predictable manner. As a result, any drilling within 300 meters of water withdrawal sites will be prohibited. This is a minimal distance that may be increased according to potential risks as determined by the hydrogeological study that will be required for each drilling operation. In addition, it will also be prohibited to drill in the outer protection zone of a municipal groundwater withdrawal site and in the intermediate protection zone of a municipal surface water withdrawal site.
Companies will in fact be required to carry out a hydrogeological and knowledge study of the area in a two-kilometer radius of the drilling site. They will also have to set up a minimum of three groundwater observation wells within 100 meters of the site. The government requires that water monitoring measures be undertaken before, during and after exploration and development activities in order to be able to intervene quickly, if need be, to correct situations that present a potential risk to the health and safety of its citizens.
“If Québec decides to move forward with hydrocarbon resource exploration and development, it will now do so while ensuring that the quality of its drinking water is strictly protected. The measures provided for in the draft Regulation would make it possible to protect this valuable asset without hindering the development of our hydrocarbon resources. In taking this initiative, our government is again demonstrating its leadership in environmental matters,” said Minister Blanchet.
The Regulation also provides for implementing a new water withdrawal authorization system that enhances the protection of this collective resource. The new system recognizes the need first and foremost to meet the population’s drinking water needs and subsequently reconcile the needs of ecosystems and economic activities.
“Québec possesses tremendous resources that must be developed while respecting the environment and with the well-being of citizens in mind. We are committed to setting an example and demonstrating that economic development and sustainable development are not inconsistent with each other. They must be complimentary,” concluded Minister Blanchet.
– 30 –