Quebec City announces water restrictions for a third of residents during major repair work

For at least 10 days starting Wednesday, residents are banned from using water for various outdoor purposes, including watering the lawn, washing vehicles, spraying down driveways and alleys and filling pools.  (Jessica Savard/Radio-Canada - image credit)
For at least 10 days starting Wednesday, residents are banned from using water for various outdoor purposes, including watering the lawn, washing vehicles, spraying down driveways and alleys and filling pools. (Jessica Savard/Radio-Canada - image credit)

Starting Wednesday morning, about 35 per cent of Quebec City's population will need to reduce their water consumption for at least 10 days as the city carries out maintenance on a major water main.

Residents in five boroughs will be banned from using water for various outdoor purposes, including watering the lawn, washing vehicles, spraying down driveways and alleys and filling pools in order to maintain the quality of drinking water.

The restrictions are due to major repair work on a water main in the Les Rivières borough, which provides drinking water to much of the population. Work is expected to start Wednesday at 7 a.m. and last until July 5.

At a news conference Tuesday, Quebec City officials asked residents to limit their domestic consumption of water, such as foregoing doing laundry and using dishwashers, during the first two days of work (Wednesday and Thursday) to limit the impact on drinking water.

"If we all work together, it is possible that there will be no noticeable effect for citizens," said Quebec City Mayor Bruno Marchand.

Consumption of cloudy water is not recommended, particularly for at-risk populations such as pregnant people. For others, Marchand says drinking cloudy water is not a problem — but it's "not fun."

"It's not the taste we're looking for," he said.

Officials advised residents keep reserves of drinking water on hand for the first 48 hours of work and to reach out to the city if they notice a change in colour and taste of their water.

A dozen sectors in Quebec City will be affected by the water restrictions, which translates to about 35 per cent of the population. (Ville de Québec)

The restrictions will affect 12 different sectors across five boroughs, where about 175,000 people live.

The affected sectors:

  • Lebourgneuf.

  • L'Ormière.

  • Felix-Leclerc.

  • Ancienne-Lorette.

  • Duberger.

  • Vanier.

  • Université Laval.

  • Saint-Sacrement.

  • Sillery.

  • Haute-Ville.

  • Vieux Québec.

  • Saint-Roch.

Fines for flouting rules

Watering vegetable gardens and edible plants using a manually-controlled water system will only be permitted between 8 p.m. and 10 p.m.

The partial filling of a swimming pool for maintenance is also permitted up to a maximum of 30 centimetres of water measured in the shallowest part of the pool.

Christine Beaulieu, acting director of the water quality and laboratory section of the water treatment department, says regular surveillance will be done to ensure people are following the rules.

Anyone who flouts the restrictions are subject to a minimum fine of $1,000 for a first offence and $2,000 for a repeat offence.

She said the goal is for people to be informed, not punished, so warnings will be given before any fines.

Beaulieu said anyone with questions or concerns about the quality of their drinking water should call 311, not 911.