Quebec : Management of the St. Lawrence and Great Lakes Basin

Organized by the Committee for dialogue and Valorization of the Basin of the Richelieu River (COVABAR), an important International Symposium on the Management of the St. Lawrence and Great Lakes Basin was held from 13 to 15 last September in Sorel-Tracy in Quebec. It gathered about one hundred participants and elected officials who testified to the successful experiments of water management at the level of river basins in the United States, in Europe and Ontario, such as, in particular, Mr. Jean-François Donzier, Technical Secretary of the International Network of Basin Organizations (INBO), and, for France, Mr. Rémy Filali, Director-General, Interdepartmental Institution for the Development of the Charente River and Mr. Christian Bernad, President of the Association for the Development of the Lot Valley.

The participants thus underlined the importance of raising the awareness of the decision makers of the St. Lawrence River Basin on the challenges, water stakes and changes in the way of thinking necessary to develop the territory water resources: integrated water management offers the only solution for sustainable development and it is urgent to support its implementation at the level of river basins; the experiments in the basins of Ontario, the United States and France already have proven its effectiveness.

The creation of a Network gathering the River Basin Organizations of North America, within INBO, was also at the core of the discussions during the three days of this great meeting.

It was thus agreed to develop, as soon as possible, water management Master Plans for the river basins of the St. Lawrence/Great Lakes District on the Quebec territory, in adequacy with the development plans of the Municipalities.

The Minister for Sustainable Development, the Environment and Parks of Quebec, Ms. Line Beauchamp, invited the whole population to act and prioritize water protection.

COVABAR, presided by Mr. Hubert Chamberland, is an Organization representing all the citizens of the territory of the Richelieu River Basin, from Lake Champlain to Lake Saint-Pierre, up to its confluence with the St. Lawrence River.