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Dams and Hydrology

Watercourses Act

The Watercourses Act (WA) can be traced back to the Act to authorize the utilization of watercourses adopted in 1856. It is intended to provide a regulatory framework for:

  • the concession of rights to the beds of State-owned lakes and watercourses;
  • the use of waters in the domain of the State;
  • the construction and maintenance of reservoirs for the storage of the water of lakes, ponds, rivers and streams;
  • the construction and maintenance of works in lakes and watercourses.

Bill 102, “An Act to amend the Environment Quality Act to modernize the environmental authorization scheme and to amend other legislative provisions, in particular to reform the governance of the Green Fund,” adopted on March 23, 2017, makes amendments to the WA. The changes eliminate the double authorization scheme that existed as a result of the simultaneous application of the Dam Safety Act and the WA. The amendments also provide for the improvement of tools at the disposal of the State for regulating the rights of occupancy of its territory and preventing trespassing.

The main amendments to the act concern repealing the sections requiring the approval by government decree of plans and specifications for work done on dams before the work is carried out.


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Ministère de l’Environnement, de la Lutte contre les changements climatiques, de la Faune et des Parcs
© Gouvernement du Québec, 2024