Québec - 2012 Policy Information  Quebec Shield

The Politiquenationale de l’eau (Québec Water Policy, 2002) proposed the development of a Québec strategy for drinking water conservation that would make the allocation of any financial assistance to municipalities contingent upon their adoption of measures to conserve water and reduce leakage.  In 2011, the Stratégiequébécoised’économied’eau potable (Québec Water Efficiency Strategy) was released and includes a number of new requirements for both municipalities and government facilities. Also, in 2005, the Government of Québec signed the Great Lakes – St. Lawrence River Basin Sustainable Water Resources Agreement (2005) and in 2011 developed regulations and established five water conservation and efficiency objectives for the province.

Use the links below to jump to a specific question:

Q1. Agencies Q9. Permitting Q17. Technical Assistance
Q2. Toilet Regulations   Q10. Drought Plans Q18. Volumetric Billing  
Q3. Showerhead Regulations Q11. Conservation Plans Q19. Metered Connections 
Q4. Urinal Regulations Q12. Authority to Approve Plans Q20. ET Microclimate Information  
Q5. Clothes Washer Regulations Q13. Plan Update Frequency Q21. Efficiency Strategy
Q6. PRSV Regulations Q14. Planning Framework Q22. Alternative Sources
Q7. Building or Plumbing Codes Q15. Implementation Requirements Additional Information
Q8. Water Loss Q16. Funding for Conservation

 

 

 

 

 



  1. What provincial ministry, department or agencies are in charge of drinking water conservation/efficiency?

    Ministère du Développement durable, de l’Environnementet des Parcs (Ministry of Sustainable Development, Environment and Parks)
    Ministère des affaires municipales, des régionset de l’occupation du territoire (Ministry of Municipal Affairs, Regions and Territorial Occupation)

  2. Does the province have a water consumption regulation for toilets that is more stringent than the federal standard?  

    No, but changes are pending.

    Although provincial building and plumbing codes can require water efficiency standards in new construction and renovations, and mandates minimum efficiency standards for energy consuming products, there is to date no federal regulation for mandating the water efficiency of toilets at the point of sale.

    Recent changes to CSA Standards B45 and B125 that are referenced in the 2010 National Model Plumbing Code limit the installation of toilets to a maximum flush volume of 6 litres and earlier versions of the National Model Plumbing Code references earlier CSA Standards that established a maximum flow rate for showerheads of 9.5 litres per minute (Lpm) and a maximum flow rate for faucets of 8.35 Lpm. Québec has further extended this requirement for compliance with CSA standards beyond new construction to products being sold or leased.  Therefore, upon adoption of the 2010 National Model Plumbing Code with modifications Québec will effectively ban the sale of 13 litres per flush (Lpf) toilets.

  3. Does the province have a water consumption regulation for showerheads that is more stringent than the federal standard? 

    Yes.

    Although provincial building and plumbing codes can require water efficiency standards in new construction and renovations, and mandates minimum efficiency standards for energy consuming products, there is to date no federal regulation for mandating the water efficiency of showerheads at the point of sale.

    The National Model Plumbing Code references CSA Standards that established a maximum flow rate for showerheads of 9.5 Lpm and a maximum flow rate for faucets of 8.35 Lpm. Québec has further extended this requirement for compliance with CSA standards beyond new construction to products being sold or leased. Therefore, the sale of showerheads using more than 9.5 Lpm and faucets using more than 8.35 Lpm are effectively banned in Québec.
     
  4. Does the province have a water consumption regulation for urinals that is more stringent than the federal standard?

    Yes.

    Québec bans the sale and lease of urinals using more than 3.8 L/flush through its Construction Code (see question 7), whereas the National Model Plumbing Code only requires urinals using no more than 3.8 L/flush to be installed in new construction or renovations.

    Although provincial building and plumbing codes can require water efficiency standards in new construction and renovations, and mandates minimum efficiency standards for energy consuming products, there is to date no federal regulation for mandating the water efficiency of urinals at the point of sale.  Installation of automatic flushing urinals and urinals greater than 1.9 L/flush are expected to be banned in Québec’s next Construction Code (see question 7).
      
  5. Does the province have a water consumption regulation for clothes washers that is more stringent than the federal standard? 

    No.

    Minimum water efficiency standards for commercial and residential clothes washers at the point of sale are established through Canada’s Energy Efficiency Regulations, limiting the Minimum Modified Energy Factor to greater than 35.68 L/kwh/cycle for capacity > 45 L and to greater than 18.4 L/kWh/cycle for capacities < 45 L.

  6. Does the province have a water consumption regulation for pre-rinse spray valves that is more stringent than the federal standard?  

    No.

    Minimum water efficiency standards for pre-rinse spray valves are established through Canada’s Energy Efficiency Regulations, limiting the flow rate to less than 6.1 litres per minute at 60 Psi water pressure as of January 1, 2012.

  7. Does the province have mandatory building or plumbing codes requiring water efficient products that exceed the federal standard? 

    No, but changes are pending.

    The Québec government has adopted the 2005 National model plumbing code with modifications. Québec plans to adopt the 2010 National model plumbing code and is likely to include modifications that require water efficient products that exceed national standards such as the installation of water cooled air-conditioning systems and automatic flushing urinals.

    The National Building and Plumbing Codes of Canada are the model codes. They are issued by the Institute for Research and Construction (IRC), a part of the National Research Council of Canada. As model codes, they have no legal status until it is adopted by a jurisdiction that regulates construction. The Provinces and Territories of Canada are allowed to adopt parts or all of the code and to alter the code as they see fit.  As of 2010 the National Plumbing Code does not explicitly mandate the use of water efficient fixtures – instead it references the CSA B45 standards that dictate maximum flush volumes for toilets of 6 litres and 3.8 Lpf for urinals and CSA B125 that dictates maximum flow rates of 8.3 Lpm for residential lavatory and kitchen faucets, 1.9 Lpm for public (non residential bathrooms that are exposed to walk-in traffic) lavatory faucets, 9.5 Lpm for showerheads, and 6 Lpm for commercial pre-rinse spray valves. Specifically, the National Plumbing Code permits rainwater (referred to as storm sewage in the code) or greywater that is free of solids to be used for the flushing of toilets, urinals, directly connected underground irrigation systems that only dispense water below the surface of the ground, or the priming of traps.  
     
  8. Does the province have any regulations or policies for water utilities regarding water loss in the utility distribution system?  

    Yes.

    Infrastructure Funding Requirements: The Politique de l'eau (Québec Water Policy), introduced in 2002, proposed the development of a Québec strategy for drinking water conservation that would make the allocation of any financial assistance to municipalities contingent on their adoption of measures to conserve water and reduce leakage. 

    Established Leakage Reduction Targets: In March, 2011 the Stratégie Québécoise d'économied'eau Potable (Québec’s Water Efficiency Strategy) established a goal of reducing the leakage rate for all municipal water systems to a maximum of 20% of the water supply and to a maximum of 15 cubic meter of water per day per kilometer of pipe.

    Conditional Funding: As a condition of water infrastructure funding, municipalities with more than 20% and 15 m3/(d-km) of leaks will have to implement a leak detection and repair program. 

  9. Does the province require conservation activities as part of its water permitting process or water right permit?

    No.

    Québec does not require conservation as part of its permitting process or water right permit.  However, under the Great Lakes – St. Lawrence River Basin Sustainable Water Resources Agreement large withdrawals (379,000 litres per day and more), are to be subject to water conservation measures determined by regulation of the Government or by the Minister.  In 2011, Québec adopted regulations that require any municipality that straddles the watershed basin or a local municipality outside the pelvis and included in a regional county municipalities, which straddles the Continental Divide and which requests a transfer of water for the drinking water of a local municipality that straddles the Continental Divide, must meet the condition of the return water to the basin, regardless of the amount transferred.  If the amount transferred from a new or increased withdrawal reaches 379,000 liters the application must comply with permit conditions such as the presence of conservation and efficient use of water, absence of significant adverse impacts on water resources and basin-dependent natural and reasonable use.

    A bill is under way in Québec, to allow the Minister to prescribe any condition, restriction or prohibition to ensure the conservation and efficient use of the water withdrawn.  The best economically feasible practices and/or economically available technologies as well as particularities of equipment, facilities and processes involved will be taken into account.

    The Règlementsur le captage des eauxsouterraines (Regulation on the Use of Groundwater, adopted 2002), requires certificates of authorization of groundwater withdrawals based on amount and use.  The request for authorization must include, among other information, the proposed use of the water and the monthly flow. Ministerial authorizations are granted for a maximal period of ten years, except those for potable water supply.  Demands for renewal of authorization must be accompanied by a report by a professional engineer or geologist attesting that the impact on the environment and other users remain unchanged or in the case that the impacts have changed, a hydrogeological report concerning these changes.
     
    Great Lakes - St. Lawrence River Basin Sustainable Water Resources Agreement 
     
  10. Does the province require preparation of drought emergency plans by water utilities or cities on any prescribed schedule?  

    No  

  11. Does the province have a mandatory planning requirement for potable water conservation/efficiency separate from drought emergency plans?   

    Yes.

    As of 2012, as a condition of funding municipalities must complete a Water Use Form each year that includes a list of specific water conservation actions and submit the form to the Ministry of Municipal Affairs. They must also adopt a municipal regulation (by law) on water use.

  12. Does the province have the authority to approve or reject the conservation plans? 

    Yes.

    The Ministry of Municipal Affairs, Regions and Territorial Occupation make conditional the attribution of financial assistance for water infrastructure projects on the adoption of measures to save water and reduce leakage by the municipalities. One of these measures is to send the Water Use Form (including a water conservation action plan) to the Ministry each year for analysis and comments. 
     
  13. How often does the province require the water utilities to submit a potable water conservation plan (not part of a drought emergency plan)? 

    Annually.

  14. If the province has a mandatory planning requirement for potable water conservation separate from drought emergency plans, is there a framework or prescribed methodology?

    Yes.

    As a condition of water infrastructure funding, each municipality must:

    1. In 2012: produce a Water Use Report including completing an action plan (a list of planned conservation activities) and adopt a municipal regulation (bylaw) on water use. Each year from 2012: Update the Water Use Report and the action plan. The province provides templates for the Water Use Report and a model regulation was prepared for the municipal regulation.

    2. Each year from 2012: continuously measure the water distributed by installing bulk meters and, if the leaks are not reduced to a maximum of 20% and 15 m3/(d-km), implement a program to detect and repair leaks. Municipalities must also submit an annual report on water management to City Council.  Efficient municipalities whose gross per capita water use (including residential, ICI and non-revenue) are less than the first quartile of the average per capita demand in Canada communities with comparable population, and which the leakage rate is less than 20% and 15 m3 / (d-km), are exempt from measures 3 and 4:

    3. In 2014, if the total average water use in the provinceis not reduced by 10 % from a baseline of 2001 and the leaks are not reduced below of 20% of average daily demand and 15 m3/(d-km), as a condition of funding municipalities will also be required to install water meters in the non-residential sector and estimate the consumption of the residential sector.

    4. In 2017, if the total average water use in the province is not reduced by 20 % from a baseline of 2001and the leaks are not reduced below of 20% of average daily demand and 15 m3/(d-km), municipalities will also be required implement water pricing structure reforms. 
     
     
  15. Does the province require water utilities to implement conservation measures, beyond just the preparation and submittal of plans? 

    Yes.

    Refer to both the Water Efficiency Strategy below and the requirements of the Great Lakes – St. Lawrence River Basin Sustainable Water Resources Agreement (see question 9).

    If the objectives of the Strategy are not achieved in 2014 and 2017, as a condition of funding inefficient municipalities will be required to install water meters and implement water pricing structure reforms (see question 14).

    As a condition of funding, municipalities must also implement a Water Use Regulation that may include measures such as requirements for outdoor irrigation systems, requirements for new buildings, etc.

    As a condition of funding, a water conservation action plan must be submitted and  at least one action must be implemented in these categories for the 1st April 2012 :
    1. Lead by the example in municipally owned buildings by choosing one or more of the following:
    •  Upgrade or replace accessories and equipment consuming water (toilets, urinals, faucets, showers, air conditioning system with water, etc.) in municipal buildings and public housing.
    •  Install water meters for consumption in municipal buildings.
    •  Install points raw water supply (e.g., street cleaning, watering flowers and flower beds, construction, filling pools, etc.).
    •  Adopt best practice implementation and maintenance of landscaping to minimize the use of drinking water.
    •  Optimize water use water games (or manual trigger recirculation system with monitoring of water quality), and wading pools (maintenance and filtration system).
    •  Or another action to be analyzed by the ministry.
    2. Promote annually water efficiency actions in the municipality to the citizens.
    3. Educate annually the residential sector on water efficiency in the home.
    4. Educate annually the non-residential on water efficiency in businesses.

  16. Does the province offer financial assistance to utilities, cities, or counties for urban water conservation programs such as a revolving loan fund? Grants? Bonds? Appropriations?  Bonds?  Appropriations?

    Yes. 

    Financial assistance through the Federal-Provincial Transfer of Gasoline Tax is prioritized and eligible for:
    •  Installation of meters in both municipal facilities (bulk meters) and potentially in the industrial, commercial and institutional sectors.
    •  Equipment and services to implement water saving measures including programs to detect and repair leaks;
    •  Equipment required for specific issues and whose profitability is demonstrated

    Canada does not have a revolving fund for infrastructure loans. Federally, the Green Municipal Fund (GMF) administered by the Federation of Canadian Municipalities (FCM) provides grants for up to 50% of project costs, or below-market, low interest loans of up to 80% of project costs. FCM is an advocacy organization; however the Government of Canada endowed the Federation of Canadian Municipalities (FCM) with $550 million to establish the GMF program.

    The GMF funds municipal projects and studies, which have included feasibility studies of water conservation programs, water distribution system leak detection and control projects, plumbing retrofit programs, wastewater recycling, and sustainable community plans involving water conservation. In 2011, water conservation projects that reduce water use by more than 20% are a funding focus.

    The Building Canada plan is the primary mechanism in Canada for funding water and wastewater infrastructure, and encompasses a number of funds including provincial and municipal base funding, gas tax funds, and the Building Canada fund. Over half of the funding under the Building Canada plan is provided as base funding to municipalities, and the funds are generally administered by the provinces. The Building Canada fund promotes long-term funding of water infrastructure projects, including projects designed to improve conservation of water. Funding focuses on improved treatment standards that emphasize the protection of human health. The projects are required to be supported by measures that improve the management of sources of drinking water, reduce demands, and improve the management of drinking water infrastructure.

    All projects are cost shared, generally in equal thirds between federal/provincial/municipal governments. The Building Canada fund operates through two components: the Major Infrastructure Component (MIC) that targets large strategic projects of national and regional significance, and the Communities Component that focuses on projects in communities with populations of less than 100,000.  To date, funded projects have focused on centralized infrastructure as opposed to conservation efforts, with the exception of metering. Capital cost funding projects must result in a tangible capital asset. Planning costs are also eligible, which could potentially support the development of water conservation plans.

    Infrastructure Canada's Website
     
  17. Does the province offer technical assistance for urban water conservation programs? 

    Yes.

    The Ministry of Municipal Affairs provides technical assistance to municipalities and produce documents and tools, including :

    Water Use Form including a list of water conservation actions
    Water Efficiency Guide realized by the Québec AWWA section (Réseau Environment)
    Additional documents available on the Strategy website
    Training on the Water Use Form to municipalities during a regional tour
     
     
  18. Does the province require volumetric billing?

    No, but may be a condition of funding in 2017.

    Refer to question 14.
     
     
  19. What percentage or number of publicly supplied water connections (residential and nonresidential) are metered in your province?

    13.8% residential and 46.0% commercial.
    Note that only 280 out of 820 municipalities responded to this Environment Canada survey in Québec. Improved results are anticipated from a study stemming from the province’s Water Efficiency Strategy.

    Municipal Water Use 2009 Summary Tables

  20. Does the province provide ET microclimate information for urban landscapes? 

    No.

  21. Does the province have a water conservation and efficiency strategy?

    Yes.

    Québec has set strategic direction both through a Water Efficiency Strategy developed by municipal affairs and through establish five provincial

    Water Conservation and Efficiency Objectives:

    Water Policy and Water Efficiency Strategy (Ministry of Municipal Affairs)
    The Stratégiequébécoised’économied’eau potable includes requirements for municipalities and commitments for senior government.
    Objectives of the Water Efficiency Strategy:
    1. By 2017, reduce the average volume of water distributed per person for the province as a whole by at least 20% (the reference is 777 litres of water distributed per person per day in 2001 from Environment Canada).
    2. By 2017, reduce the leakage rate of the water systems to a maximum of 20% of the volume of water distributed and to a maximum of 15 m3/(d-km) for the province as a whole.
    5 government commitments:
    1. Continuously from 2012: Make conditional the attribution of financial assistance for water infrastructure projects on the adoption of measures to save water and reduce leakage by the municipalities.
    2. For 2012: Revise the Building Code to prohibit the installation of accessories and equipment that over consume water.
    3. Continuously from 2012: Establish a policy of saving water in government buildings and in health and education networks.
    • 2013: Complete a status report and action plan for each health facility and for each of three education networks. Introduce good practices of water management to their staff.
    • 2015: Perform corrective action identified in the action plan establish in 2013 (leak repair, adjustment, modification and maintenance of existing equipment) to avoid wasting water.
    • 2017: Produce a report on water savings.
    Continuously, they will:
    • replace plumbing fixtures at the end of their useful life, with equipment that has a lower water consumption;
    • install water meters according to municipal regulations
    4. Continuously from 2011: Produce guides and tools to assist municipalities.
    • Model Municipal Water Use Regulation
    • Promotional tools;
    • Produce an educational program in partnership with the Ministry of Education;
    • Develop a certification to recognize efficient municipalities;
    • Provide technical assistance to municipalities and produce documents and tools as required.
    5. Continuously from 2011: Establish a municipal and a ministerial committee to monitor and spread results. Establish a technical committee to support the municipal and ministerial committees.

    Water Conservation and Efficiency Objectives (Ministry of Environment)
    In accordance with the Great Lakes – St. Lawrence River Basin Sustainable Water Resources Agreement, the Québec government has adopted water conservation objectives for the entire province including:
    Goal 1 – Foster long-term sustainable water use that takes ecosystem integrity and varied water uses into account
    Goal 2 – Adopt and implement a supply and demand management approach that takes into account the expected impact of climate change
    Goal 3 – Implement monitoring measures for water conservation and efficiency programs
    Goal 4 – Promote scientific research, technological development, and knowledge acquisition
    Goal 5 – Develop education programs, information sharing networks, resources, and tools to mobilize all water stakeholders and users

  22. Does the province have standards for alternative water sources?

    No


    Additional Information:
     

    Québec (2012) Water Efficiency Strategy

    Québec (2009) Water Management and Water Conservation Program Report

    Québec (2005) Great Lakes Agreement

    Québec (2008) Groundwater (in French)

    Québec (2009) Potable water quality (in French)

    Gibbon, W (2008) Who uses water-saving fixtures in the home - Canada

    Environment Canada (2011) 2009 Municipal Water Use Statistics

    Environment Canada (2011) Municipal Water Pricing Report