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Dams and Hydrology

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 et de la Lutte contre les changements climatique (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.

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Mission and Mandates

The mission of the Centre d’expertise hydrique du Québec (CEHQ) is to manage the Québec water regime securely, equitably and in a sustainable development perspective. To these ends, it regulates the water regime by means of public dams as well as through the management and maintenance of the integrity of water property in the Domain of the State, and also monitors dam security.

As well, the CEHQ provides support to municipalities for defining flood zones and, on request, advises the ministère de la Sécurité publique (MSP) when emergencies threaten Québec waterways. Overall, the CEHQ acquires the hydrologic and hydraulic knowledge required by the ministère du Développement durable, de l’Environnement et de la Lutte contre les changements climatiques (MDDELCC) to ensure water management and assess the impact of climate change on the water regime.


  • Operate some 235 water level and flow measuring stations on Québec’s main waterways and process, analyse and distribute observed data.
  • Operate, manage, monitor and maintain some 780 public dams.
  • Ensure management and integrity of water property in the Domain of the State.
  • Enforce the Dam Safety Act, which covers some 5,549 Québec dams, 1984 of which are high-capacity.
  • Advise the MDDELCC, civil security authorities and other clients on matters dealing with water regime management.
  • Represent the government in dealings with organisations responsible for regulating Québec-adjacent drainage basins (St. Laurence River, Great Lakes and Ottawa River).

Organizational Structure

The CEHQ can call on the equivalent of 210 full-time authorized staff members to fulfill its mission and mandates. The great majority of team members are engineers, technicians and workers specialized in characteristic CEHQ disciplines such as hydrology, hydraulics, structure, geo-technology, mechanics, instrumentation and dam construction and management.

The team also includes land surveyors, notaries, legal researchers, technicians and geographers whose work enables the CEHQ to fulfill its land management responsibilities.

Finally, the agency team also includes administrative staff for its professional and technical activities (managers, professionals and support staff involved in secretarial duties, documentation, acquisitions, invoicing, budget monitoring and organizational and computer development).


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