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Government announcement
May 30, 2018

Management and maintenance of public and municipal dams: Québec to invest $45.7 million


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Québec Economic Plan

SAINT-DENIS-DE-BROMPTON, QC, May 25, 2018 – Due to the more frequent and more intense precipitation caused by climate change, the Government of Québec plans to invest $45.7 million to improve the safety of public and municipal dams.

This funding was announced today by Isabelle Melançon, Minister of Sustainable Development, the Environment and the Fight Against Climate Change, and Karine Vallières, MNA for Richmond and Parliamentary Assistant to the Premier (youth).
The press conference took place near the Bombardier dam in Saint-Denis-de-Brompton, in the Estrie region.

This investment is being made to ensure that public dams continue to work properly, and to financially support municipalities so that they can meet obligations under the Dam Safety Act and the Dam Safety Regulation.

Of these additional amounts:

  • $32 million will be spent on preventive and corrective maintenance of public dams; and
  • $13.7 million will be used to financially support municipalities that own a high-capacity dam.

Public dams

The MDDELCC operates 755 of the 1,000 government dams that are part of the approximately 6,000 dams subject to the Dam Safety Act (structures more than one metre high). The dams are designed and managed to meet several objectives, including flood control, power generation and the maintenance of a reasonable level of water for recreation, for the conservation and enhancement of wildlife, or for the drinking water supply. They therefore contribute to economic growth for the regions in which they are built.

Developed in fall 2015 and launched with the resources in place, the five-year plan to reduce the maintenance deficit of public dam assets will continue and enable the MDDELCC to meet its objectives by 2023. In particular, the amounts granted will allow 31 employees from various specialties to be hired.

Municipal dams

The Québec Economic Plan will also financially support municipalities in carrying out their dam safety evaluation studies and undertaking remedial work stemming from these studies. This financial support will lead to a financial assistance program to bring municipal dams up to standard.

Quotes:

Dams play a crucial role in managing water in Québec, which is even more critical in the context of climate change.  It is important to provide the necessary funds for us to have operational and safe dams. I therefore welcome the additional funding for this purpose, which we announced in the Québec Economic Plan in March 2018.

– Isabelle Melançon, Minister of Sustainable Development, the Environment and the Fight Against Climate Change

There are several dams in the beautiful region of Estrie. Some are historical, others serve recreational needs or are used for generating hydroelectricity. Each one has an important role to play in our communities. I am pleased with today’s announcement, which will allow us to ensure the dams’ sustainability and safety for the benefit of the people of Estrie.

– Luc Fortin, Minister of Families and Minister responsible for the Estrie region

Supporting municipalities that own a high-capacity dam means recognizing their central role in flood control. In addition to improving the safety of our dams, this financial contribution confirms that the Government of Québec is responsible and that it is concerned with providing peace of mind to future generations.

– Karine Vallières, MNA for Richmond and Parliamentary Assistant to the Premier (youth)

Key points:

  • The MDDELCC is responsible for enforcing the Dam Safety Act.
  • The number of dams under the responsibility of the MDDELCC has gradually increased from 598 to 755. Furthermore, the characteristics of the dams entrusted to it have changed, increasing the interventions that need to be made to them. These changes resulted in an imbalance between the resources allocated to the MDDELCC and its obligations, which is rectified by the March 2018 Economic Plan.
  • The MDDELCC will account for the anticipated impacts of climate change in its management of public dams.

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