The cost of water in the manufacturing sector
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François Soulard and Andy Shinnan, Environment Accounts and Statistics Division
Almost every industrial process uses water, in some cases a great deal. In total, manufacturing, mining and thermal-electric generation withdrew 40,375 million cubic metres (MCM) of water in 2005,1 enough water to fill half an Olympic-sized pool for every Canadian. These new data come from the 2005 Industrial Water Survey conducted by Statistics Canada. Complete survey results are available upon request.
The manufacturing industries accounted for 19% (7,779 MCM) of water withdrawals (Chart 1). Water discharge by manufacturers was 6,728 MCM, resulting in water consumption of 1,051 MCM or a consumption rate of 13.5%. The three largest manufacturing users of water were the paper, primary metal and food industries, accounting for 70% of total manufacturing gross water use.
Water acquisition costs in the manufacturing industries—which include payments to public utilities for piped water; operation and maintenance costs for self-supplied water systems (excluding treatment); and licence fees—were about $1.24 billion in 2005, or half of total water-related costs. Total costs for water, which include acquisition, water treatment and related operational expenses, stood at over $2.5 billion (Chart 2).
The cost of acquiring water, as a share of total water costs, varied across the country (Map 1). For example, the manufacturing industries in the Great Lakes River Basin devoted three-quarters of water-related costs to the acquisition of water, a proportion that was less than a quarter in the Pacific Coastal River Basin. This variation is dependent upon a number of factors, including the type of industries operating in the region, as well as treatment requirements for water intake and discharge.
Acquisition as a share of total water-related costs in manufacturing industries, by major river drainage basin, 2005
- This amount excludes water withdrawn by the oil and gas extraction industry and the agricultural industry. Water used by these two industries will be measured by surveys that will be conducted in 2008.
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