Shortage of drinking water in Saint-Antoine-de-Tilly | Winning case for farmers threatened with expropriation

Victory for a young farming family threatened with expropriation for the drinking water found beneath their land. The Commission for the Protection of Agricultural Land of Quebec (CPTAQ) has just refused the request from Saint-Antoine-de-Tilly who wanted to dig a well to supply the village which lacks water.

“We have a huge weight that has fallen,” sighs Véronique Letendre, co-owner of the Marijoli farm with her partner Jérôme Lizotte. “They made us go through a whole range of emotions,” adds the breeder, who is about to give birth to her sixth child.

The village of Saint-Antoine-de-Tilly, in Chaudière-Appalaches, lacks water for its 1,700 residents, to the point that it has sometimes had to resort to tanker trucks.

It is currently supplied by two municipal wells which exploit the same aquifer area. They are not enough to meet the demand. The municipality has even put the brakes on its development in recent years in order to bring its water treatment equipment into compliance.

After carrying out several exploratory drillings, the municipality applied to the administrative court in order to be able to use a portion of the land of the Marijoli farm for “non-agricultural” purposes to respond to “a public health problem, namely the shortage of potable water “.

“We sold everything, we liquidated everything to buy this farm. We started from zero […]. We threw ourselves into this headlong to give good values ​​to our children,” underlines Stretch it.

Request rejected

The target site, with an approximate area of ​​3,700 square meters, was located approximately 89 meters from the Marijoli farm cattle breeding site and close to several agricultural buildings.

“The applicant must demonstrate that there does not exist, outside the agricultural zone and on the territory of the municipality, an appropriate space available to carry out the project,” we can read in the 18-page decision rendered. February 14th.

“A refusal has consequences; the Commission is aware of this, we add. Knowledge of the issue has been known for several years and the selected site would make it possible to sustain the water supply for the citizens of this municipality. However, given the above, uncertainty remains regarding the possibility of locating the well elsewhere, notably in the same aquifer area, but to the south, so as to eliminate or reduce the anticipated impacts and constraints that a authorization would include the territory and agricultural activities. »

“This situation cannot continue”

Called to react on Friday, the municipality was not able to indicate whether it intended to appeal the case.

“We take note of the decision of the CPTAQ. Unfortunately, it is too early to make a decision,” said Mayor Richard Bellemare in an interview. “We will see what measures we will take next. »

The latter added that the water shortage issue remained “essential” and “priority” for his municipality.


The village of Saint-Antoine-de-Tilly currently draws its water from two municipal wells which exploit the same aquifer area to provide drinking water to its 1,700 residents.

“We have a duty to provide our citizens with a stable, quality water supply. The site in question provides us with all these basic elements and it is not just a decision based on an unconfirmed desire of the municipality. After numerous drillings in different locations, it turns out that in this sector, the aquifer has the necessary quality to allow us to ensure a permanent and long-term supply for the citizens of the municipality,” he said. explain.

Even if the Saint-Laurent runs alongside the small village, it is impossible to draw water from this place, because the municipality dumps its wastewater there without treatment.

“This situation in 2024 cannot last, and moreover the governments are very clear, this problem must be resolved,” admits the mayor.

“Regarding the issue of taking water from the river, it is an extremely costly issue in terms of infrastructure in particular, but also in terms of treatment,” he adds.

The CPTAQ is sensitive to the issues of supplying drinking water to a municipality, it writes in its decision.

“Its role, however, is not to advise the Municipality in its search for a solution to supply itself with drinking water, but to ensure the protection of the territory and agricultural activities,” adds the decision.

The story so far

2004: The continued lowering of water levels in municipal wells already suggests overexploitation of the exploited aquifer area.

2013: The municipality carried out around fifteen exploratory trenches. Further exploratory work takes place in 2014.

2015: The Letendre-Lizotte couple buys agricultural land in Saint-Antoine-de-Tilly. The land had been for sale for two years.

2022: Saint-Antoine-de-Tilly turns to the Territorial Protection Commission to install a well on a plot of the Marijoli farm.

source site-60