Press Release

UQAT receives $ 1 million for groundwater pilot project in Cree Nation Territory

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Rouyn-Noranda, August 14, 2018 - In follow-up to the announcement by the Minister of Sustainable Development, the Environment and the Fight Against Climate Change, Isabelle Melançon, the Government of Quebec will invest $1 M by 2022 in a groundwater knowledge pilot project in the Cree Nation territory of the Université du Québec en Abitibi-Témiscamingue (UQAT). This research project, entitled Groundwater Knowledge Acquisition Project in the Cree Nation Territory - Eastmain sector , will be conducted by UQAT's Groundwater Research Group (GRG), in partnership with the Cree Nation of Eastmain.

On the Cree Nation of Eastmain’s territory, groundwater is an important resource for both drinking water and ecosystems. However, the knowledge of the resource, both in terms of quantity and quality, is insufficient to allow the Nation to manage the sustainable development of its territory. For the Council and Director General Mark Tivnan, the Cree Nation of Eastmain is particularly concerned about the intrusion of saline water and the protection of its groundwater resources for future generations. The community needs to learn how to collect and analyze data to protect groundwater and its potable water resources. The transfer of knowledge and training activities with UQAT’s team will help lead Eastmain to having locally qualified personnel to manage its  groundwater resources.

For UQAT President Denis Martel, this project is in continuity with the expertise developed by GRG-UQAT in Abitibi-Témiscamingue, as well as in the desire of UQAT to develop close partnerships with First Nations People in several areas, including natural resources management. For UQAT, this project, developed in partnership with the Cree Nation of Eastmain, is directly in line with UQAT's 2015-2020 Development Plan. In addition to the scientific benefits of the project, the planned training activities of First Nations employees will contribute to the development of groundwater expertise within the Cree Nation, which will have an impact beyond the duration of the project.

For Vincent Cloutier and Eric Rosa, professors at GRG-UQAT, it is essential to acquire knowledge to document the state of the groundwater resource in the territory of the Cree Nation. Indeed, this territory is home to important and vulnerable water resources that are increasingly subject to anthropogenic pressures, and this, in the context of climate change. The resulting databases and map products will provide the Cree Nation of Eastmain with a foundation for the protection and implementation of sustainable management of groundwater. The methodology developed as part of this pilot project for the characterization of the Eastmain territory may be applied subsequently elsewhere in the Cree Nation territory.

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Stéphanie Duchesne
Director, Communications and Recruitment Services
Université du Québec en Abitibi-Témiscamingue
819 762-0971 Ext. 2222

Last update : 31 mai 2018