Quebec town forced to restrict water use as reserves run empty

Saint-Antoine-de-Tilly residents hoping to water their grass or fill their pools will need to hold off until further notice, or risk facing fines.

Saint-Antoine-de-Tilly residents not allowed to water plants, fill pools until further notice

Saint-Antoine de-Tilly residents caught using water for 'non-essential' reasons can face fines of at least $100. (Colleen Connors/CBC)

The municipal water reserves of Saint-Antoine-de-Tilly are extremely low, following dry weather conditions, a heatwave and excessive tap water use, the town's mayor says. 

Residents of the municipality, located some 48km from Quebec City, have been under a water restriction since Saturday.

Residents who try to use municipal tap water for non-essential reasons — including watering grass and plants, filling swimming pools, or washing their car — will face fines of at least $100 until further notice. 

"The situation over the past few months and a winter with little snow has done nothing to help our already problematic situation," Saint-Antoine-de-Tilly Mayor Christian Richard wrote in a notice addressed to the town's residents. 

"The water reserve has reached extremely low levels that have not been seen in years." 

The province has seen 30 to 40 per cent less precipitation than usual this spring, according to Environment Canada. 

Richard said a grid failure over the weekend also exacerbated the supply issues.

About 136,000 litres of drinking water gets trucked in from Quebec City to Saint-Antoine-de-Tilly every day. (Radio-Canada)

Despite water being trucked in to replenish the reserves, Richard said there still is not enough to be able to lift the restrictions. 

"This is not a joke. When we issue warnings to not use water for non-essential reasons … it has an impact," said Richard. 

The mayor says the town has been dealing with water supply issues for years. The two wells in the municipality are being used to their full capacity. 

Last summer, the municipality signed a deal with Quebec City, allowing them to import about 136,000 litres of drinking water per day. 

The municipality has been trying to get a second source of water to the town since 2005. A water source was located in 2014, and Richard says they have figured out a way to connect it to the municipal network, but the city has yet to reach an agreement with the property owners who would be affected by the work. 

The city is also still in talks with the province to get funding for the project, and Richard says they also need to launch a call for tenders in the creation of a water treatment plant — a process he says would take several months. 

With files from Radio-Canada


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