Water on the table

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The old Macaulay Hill reservoir served Hudson Heights for years, but residential usage has skyrocketed with house size and endless thirsty lawns. The current administration continues to ignore its own evidence of the imbalance between residential and non-residential use.

Tomorrow (Tuesday, Sept. 5) evening at 6:30, Hudson residents will be updated on the drinking water situation, including a feasibility study on drawing water from the Lake of Two Mountains. The current administration has resorted to desperate measures, including consulting with former technical services director Trail Grubert. (Grubert had to sue the town to collect his severance following a nasty falling out shortly after the last election.)

Like so much in Hudson, there’s no agreement on the best course of action. Should the town go on sinking million-dollar artesian wells when there’s no guarantee of how long they’ll last? The town’s newest well off Côte St. Charles next to Viviry Creek showed signs of failing a year after coming online, mainly because we’re drawing more water than it can sustain. Subsequent to this post’s publication, councillor Nicole Durand pointed out the Bradbury well isn’t failing, but clogging with sand. My response: Clogging is a sign a well is beyond its production capacity. Citizens have grown to live with summer watering bans; the drop in the level of water in the Fairhaven reservoir during last winter’s house fire near Montée Manson revealed just how vulnerable Hudson would have been had there been another fire elsewhere in the municipality.

And yet, the administration insists it won’t meter residential water use even though the town’s own clear evidence is that the residential sector consumes far more per address than the commercial sector. Subsequent to publication, the town’s grant writer and waterworks technician Simon Corriveau said that without water meters in the commercial sector, Hudson won’t be eligible for water infrastructure grants.

Then there’s the replenishment issue. Hudson is one of a dozen Vaudreuil-Soulanges municipalities pulling drinking water out of the one aquifer. (Put water on the table, first posted in February 2016 and reposted Jan. 12/17) Our county is the largest region in Quebec so dependent on an underground aquifer, of which little is known about how it is replenished. Our MRC has long warned of the devastating consequences of a major environmental disaster such as a pipeline rupture or transport-related chemical spill.

The big argument against drawing river water is the cost and location of a water treatment plant and intake. The town-owned land opposite Thomson Park is the logical location, and would carry the added benefit of extending town water to the west end. The devil is in the details, such as whether and how the treatment plant would be connected to the town’s current waterworks at the top of Fairhaven.

Given Hudson’s current financial straits, the economics of a new waterworks depends on whether Hudson’s neighbours are interested in buying water. Before it was bigfooted by the PQ’s forced mergers in 2001, Pointe Claire subsidized its drinking water for decades by investing in a water treatment plant and selling water to five West Island neighbours. Rigaud, St. Lazare and Vaudreuil-Dorion all have water woes. If we haven’t had this conversation with them, what are we waiting for?

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2 thoughts on “Water on the table

  1. In my opinion, there’s no free lunch. We have to invest in infrastructure that is sustainable and long term. A water treatment plant makes a whole lot of sense to me, especially if we can subsidize it by selling to neighboring municipalities. We should do it before someone else does!!

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  2. What Hudson council members have to remember is that the aquifer Hudson takes it’s water from, is the same one all the other towns around us (Rigaud, Saint-Lazare, VD…) all take their water from. Hudson’s future development is only a part of the bigger picture. We wrote about water shortage and development in the Gazette Vaudreuil-Soulanges 20 years ago. Look at the regional development since then. More wells won’t fix this problem, forward thinking will.

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