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Dams and Hydrology
Please note that following a restructuring process, the various units of the Centre d’expertise hydrique du Québec (CEHQ) have been incorporated into the Ministère de l’Environnement et de la Lutte contre les changements climatiques. As a result, the name “Centre d'expertise hydrique du Québec” is no longer being used.

The Centre d'expertise hydrique du Québec

The Centre d'expertise hydrique du Québec (CEHQ) is an administrative unit of the ministère du Développement durable, de l'Environnement, de la Faune et de la Lutte contre les changements climatiques (MDDELCC). Created as an agency by the Convention de performance et d'imputabilité (Agreement on Performance and Accountability) signed in April 2001 with the Minister of the Environment, the CEHQ reports to the Direction générale de l'expertise hydrique, de l'analyse et des évaluations environnementales (General Water Expertise, Analysis and Environmental Assessment Directorate). The CEHQ is constantly evolving to remain at the leading edge of knowledge and know-how in the fields of dam technology, water regime and water in the domain of the State.

Scope of Activities

Hydric Knowledge and Expertise

  • Collate data on waterway level and flow by means of hydrometric stations located throughout Québec.
  • Provide the hydrologic and hydraulic expertise required for water management, defining flood zones on waterways that are at risk of flooding, applying the Environment Quality Act and calculating controlled flow.
  • Develop simulation and forecasting models for the flow of selected waterways, snow melting and runoff, especially aimed at providing the MDDELCC with the expertise needed for public dam management and providing civil security authorities with essential information during floods. These models also enable the study of various aspects of quantitative water management, including those that are related to the impact of climate change.

Operating Public Dams

  • Determine and execute manoeuvres required to regulate water flow and maintain water levels in accordance with the use of dams and reservoirs.
  • Assess public dam security and coordinate action during emergencies.
  • Using visual inspection and measuring devices, detect anomalies that could impair normal dam function and security.
  • Perform all maintenance required to ensure the functional capacity of all structural, mechanical, computer and developmental components of dams under its authority.
  • Design, execute and supervise dam repairs, compliance with standards and demolition.
  • Decide which dams that are not essential to the government’s mandate need to be razed for reasons of safety and the protection of the environment.

Management of Water Property in the Domain of the State

  • Manage the beds of both navigable and non-navigable waterway ceded after June 1, 1884. This means managing land occupancy and, as required, detecting any encroachment on public lake and waterway beds in order to formalize occupancy by means of permits, leases, servitudes, sale or any other required measure.
  • Provide any expertise required for the regulation of lands in the Domain of the State that are occupied or flooded by water retention works.
  • Perform surveys and prepare legal documents required for investigations under the Environment Quality Act and to define the boundaries of protected areas.
  • Participate in the cadastral renovation project as landowner and ensure rights registration and updates in the Land Register of Québec.
  • Ensure the update and development of the legal and administrative framework related to the management of water in the domain of the State.

Dam safety

  • Control dam security by ensuring that owners comply with security and regulatory standards, in particular by analyzing submitted maps, specifications and studies and through dam controls and inspection.
  • Prepare technical and legal documents in support of ministerial and government decisions that deal with work authorization applications and disclosures of corrective action stemming from security assessments of high-capacity dams.
  • Inspect dams per its planned control and inspection program, following an application or during work compliance verification.
  • Ensure the update and development of the legal, regulatory and administrative framework related to dam safety.


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Gouvernement du Québec
© Gouvernement du Québec, 2019