Now reading

Is Your City as Prepared for Water Shortages as Trois-Ri...

Is Your City as Prepared for Water Shortages as Trois-Rivières, Quebec?

The water shortage that hit the City of Longeuil, Canada in January 2015 has had repercussions reaching all the way to Trois-Rivières. Those involved in the city’s municipal administration asked themselves if their city was equipped to face a similar situation. For this reason, Le Nouvelliste went to different service centers in the city to

Trois-Rivières, Quebec, Canada Aerial View

The water shortage that hit the City of Longeuil, Canada in January 2015 has had repercussions reaching all the way to Trois-Rivières. Those involved in the city’s municipal administration asked themselves if their city was equipped to face a similar situation. For this reason, Le Nouvelliste went to different service centers in the city to question how Trois-Rivières planned for emergencies.

Thanks to a precise plan, there are numerous facilities reserved for emergency purposes, including determined intervention measures and agreements with partner companies. In fact, Trois-Rivières is not taking any chances when it comes to the possibility of facing a water shortage or an ice storm.

The City of Trois-Rivières established their contemporary emergency plan a few years ago. Beginning in 2006, the municipal administration began major repairs to its water treatment to improve the facilities and prepare it for use during an emergency.

“With climate change, we have temperature variations that have forced cities to revisit their practices. We need to be ready. The important thing is to be able to intervene quickly,” declares Yvan Toutant, representative for the City of Trois-Rivières and the initiator of our visit to the municipal facilities.

Ice Storm, Quebec, Canada

Serge Bournival, Coordinator of City Green Spaces and the Public Works Emergency Plan; Alain Fournier, Public Roads Coordinator; and Christian Lemire, Coordinator of Project Management, are the three members of the Emergency Plan Committee. This plan takes into account an array of possibilities and will hopefully make a difference in the quality of City intervention.

If a water shortage were to take place, the intervention plan would be put into effect in several stages. Trois-Rivières would be able to draw from several sources of water that lie on its territory (the water treatment plant, wells in the Trois-Rivières area, and wells to the west). The plan ensures that drinking water would first service the regional hospital, health center and social services of Trois-Rivières, and residential and chronic care centers.

“If we have a problem with the water treatment plant, we will isolate the Trois-Rivières area, start at the wells situated in the west, and make a path towards the CHRTR with the existing pipes. We’ll then redirect the water using different sluice gates,” explains Serge Bournival.

Regional Hospital, Trois-Rivières, Quebec, Canada

The importance of the regional hospital forces the City to have a plan B on reserve. The city would, in this case, use water transported by the cisterns. With the help of three pumps leading towards public water fountains, they would push the water through the pipe system towards the hospital. Some 123,000 liters of water could be furnished continuously this way.

“We did a little trial run with our pumps where we isolated the needs of the CHRTR. We conducted research with them to find out what their water needs would be during an emergency period,” adds Christian Lemire.

A little trailer is parked at the area’s center for citizen services and is reserved by the hospital for the emergency purposes. The trailer contains pumps, a generator, hoses to link equipment to public fountains, hot wires in the case of a winter intervention, and more.

Trois-Rivières has also prepared to provide the hospital with bottled water. An agreement with a provider could, in an emergency, provide for the daily delivery of 3,864 4-liter-containers and close to 7,400 500-ml bottles of water.

Regional Hospital, Trois-Rivières, Quebec, Canada

The city must also provide for the rest of its citizens. Eight distribution points will be installed in different areas of the city. Trois-Rivières has set aside identifiable tents, signs, generators, heaters, notebooks listing specifics of the plan, and shopping carts so that those in charge of each distribution point can safely transport four 4-liter containers of water. More than 40,000 4-liter containers will be available daily thanks to the agreements with distributors. Trois-Rivières could also provide water for domestic use (which is to say for reasons other than drinking water) at four predetermined sites.

The emergency plan would permit Trois-Rivières to provide drinking water during a shortage lasting anywhere from several days to several weeks.

What plans does your city have in place for emergencies like water shortages? Given the sweeping droughts around the world, is your city ready for water shortages? Share your thoughts and stories in the comments area below.

Original article, originally published in French, here.

Credits: Images and data linked to sources.

Become a Patron of The Global Grid
Intern photo

Katelyn Hewett recently graduated from St. Olaf College in Minnesota with a Bachelor of Arts in English and French. During her time at St. Olaf, she enjoyed playing the French Horn in the St. Olaf Band, working as a teaching assistant for first-year...

Tuesdays, in your inbox.

Weekly local urbanist news and jobs. 

You have Successfully Subscribed!