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New releases

Human Activity and the Environment 2010: Freshwater supply and demand in Canada

The Human Activity and the Environment publications bring together a collection of environmental statistics from many sources, and paint a statistical portrait of Canada’s environment. Special emphasis is given to the relationship of human activity to air, water, soil, plants and animals.

The analytical article “Freshwater supply and demand in Canada” provides information on Canada’s freshwater supply as well as the demands placed on it. New research done within Statistics Canada is incorporated with information from other sources, including other federal government departments, international bodies and scientific journals.

  1. Canada’s average annual renewable freshwater supply, or water yield, is 3,472 km3. To put this in perspective, this water yield amounts to almost as much water as there is in Lake Huron (which contains 3,540 km3).
  2. The southern part of the country, where 98% of the population is located, is responsible for 38% of the water yield or 42,661 m3 of renewable freshwater per capita. In the North, water yield per capita is 98 times greater, or 4,193,014 m3.
  3. From 1971 to 2004 water yield in Southern Canada decreased an average of 3.5 km3 per year, which is equivalent to an overall loss of 8.5% of the water yield over this time period. This average annual decrease of 3.5 km3 is almost as much as the 3.8 km3 of water that is supplied to the residential population of Canada in a year.
  4. The area in Canada that had the lowest water yield, and the highest variability in water yield between 1971 and 2004, was the Prairies.
  5. In 2005, an estimated 42 km3 of water were withdrawn from the environment and used in household and economic activities in Canada. About 14% of this water flowed through the public utility water system, while about 86% was extracted from the environment directly by the end user.
  6. In 2005, total water withdrawals in Canada amounted to 1.2% of the average annual renewable water resources. More pressure however, is placed on water resources in some areas of the country than in others, with this pressure peaking in summer.
  7. In August 2005, more than 40% of the water yield in the Okanagan–Similkameen drainage region and the Prairies was withdrawn by agriculture, industry and households. In the Prairies, where stocks are limited, water demand must be met primarily by renewable water, and water shortages are evident when demand exceeds the renewable supply.

Released September 13, 2010 (Statistics Canada Catalogue no. 16-201-X).

Using a Trend-cycle Approach to Estimate Changes in Southern Canada's Water Yield from 1971 to 2004

Quantifying how Canada’s water yield has changed over time is an important component of the water accounts maintained by Statistics Canada. This study evaluates the movement in the series of annual water yield estimates for Southern Canada from 1971 to 2004. We estimated the movement in the series using a trend-cycle approach and found that water yield for Southern Canada has generally decreased over the period of observation.

Released September 13, 2010 (Statistics Canada Catalogue no. 16-001-M2010014).

Industrial Water Use, 2007

The information collected for the Industrial Water Survey measures, by volume, the sources of water used, the purposes of water use, whether or not water was re-circulated or re-used, where the water was discharged, the types of treatments applied to intake water prior to use and the types of treatments applied to wastewater prior to discharge. Water acquisition costs, treatment costs and operating and maintenance expenses related to water intake and discharge are also collected.

The results of this survey are used in the development of environmental accounts, aid in tracking the state of stocks of water and contribute to national indicators of water quality.

Released September 8, 2010 (Statistics Canada Catalogue no. 16-401-X).

Households and the Environment Survey, 2009

Selected data pertaining to radon awareness and testing from the Households and the Environment Survey are now available for 2009.

Released July 26, 2010. To order data, to obtain more information, or to enquire about the concepts, methods or data quality of this release, contact the Information Officer (613-951-0297;, Environment Accounts and Statistics Division.

CANSIM tables and updates

CANSIM is Statistics Canada’s key socio-economic database.

The following table has been added to CANSIM:

CANSIM table 153-0098, Households and the environment survey, knowledge of radon and testing, Canada and provinces