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Water shortages return to Quebec town as conservation pleas sound across Canada

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Water supply issues continue to plague the small Quebec municipality of Saint-Antoine-de-Lilly, where reserves have run empty and residents face critical restrictions for water use following soaring temperatures and a record dry spring.

More and more municipalities are struggling with dry conditions as mayors in British Columbia’s Okanagan region, as well as the Hamilton Conservation Authority watershed in Ontario, have also called for water conservation, due to up to 40% less precipitation than usual this spring, according to Environment Canada.

But in Saint-Antoine-de-Lilly, already known capacity issues have been exacerbated by grid failures and broken pump equipment used to empty water from Quebec City tank trucks. Last summer, the municipality signed a deal allowing them to import about 136,000 litres of drinking water per day.

“We also experienced logistical challenges regarding the availability of tankers and drivers,” Saint-Antoine-de-Lilly Mayor Christian Richard wrote in French to residents in a public notice last week.

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With two wells already stretched to capacity, the municipality has been trying to secure a second water source since 2005, but has faced challenges with landowners for fully connecting a new network.

Currently, Mayor Richard said bylaw officers will be on the lookout for any residents who may be using water for non-essential purposes such as watering plants or filling swimming pools. If caught they could face a $100 fine.

If the shortage persists, Richard warned residents that planned water shut-offs could take place in the evenings for designated areas on a rotating basis.

As the municipal reservoir level dipped to its lowest point in several years, some residences connected to the aqueduct network have already suffered outages or pressure drops.

“It is completely ridiculous. Every year the story repeats itself,” one resident commented on the municipality’s Facebook post about the restrictions, where many in the community expressed frustration over the longstanding unresolved issue. Some users called for residential water meters, while others urged the municipality to slow development if it cannot maintain adequate water capacity.

The municipality opted to limit who could comment on the water issue in subsequent social media posts updating the situation.

 

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