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In 2008, Statistics Canada conducted the first Agricultural Water Use Survey. As part of the Canadian Environmental Sustainability Indicators initiative, this pilot survey was intended to collect information about the volume of water used for irrigation, irrigated area, irrigation practices and the quality of on-farm water. This technical paper describes the methodology used for the pilot survey, including recommendations for future cycles of the survey. Validation of the results suggests that the method used underestimates the volume of water used and the irrigated area. The recommendations in the report are intended to mitigate that bias in future iterations of the survey. The preliminary recommendations are to simplify the level of information collected by the survey; revise the sampling method; and explore other ways of collecting information about the volume of water used for irrigation. This pilot version of the survey is nevertheless a reliable, consistent source of data on agricultural water use.