Watershed-based source water protection activities in Québec are overseen by the Ministry of Environment and the Fight Against Climate Change as one component of an integrated water resource management strategy.
The foundation of this strategy is the 2002 Water Policy, which was designed with input from local stakeholders to guide all aspects of water management within the province, including protection planning for both groundwater and surface water. This policy has three high-level target issues: recognition of water as a collective heritage of Quebecers; protection of public health and aquatic ecosystems; and integrated management of water with a view to sustainable development. This 2002 policy was reinforced with the passing of the Québec Water Act in 2009 which enabled the creation of 40 watershed management areas and corresponding organizations tasked with creating and implementing integrated watershed management plans. These organizations include representatives from key stakeholder groups including regional county municipalities, municipalities, environmental groups and citizens. Technical support for these activities is provided by the Coalition of Québec Watershed Organizations (ROBVQ), which also helps spread information about the successes of its member organizations.
Current provincial source water protection efforts are advanced under the guidance of the Québec Water Strategy 2018-2030. This policy document incorporates lessons learned since the initial passing of the 2002 Water Policy and was created with input from 140 water sector organizations and hundreds of public comments. The strategy will be implemented through three successive action plans, with the first plan outlining proposed source water protection activities from 2018 to 2023.