The landscape of the Pacific Coastal drainage region is dominated by natural and semi-natural areas—built-up and agricultural areas accounted for less than 1% of the region in 2011.
The population was 1,505,007 in 2011—4% of Canada’s total—with a population density of 4.7 persons/km2. Population was up 65% compared to 913,522 in 1971.
Surface freshwater intake from drinking water plants, manufacturing, irrigation, mining and thermal-electric production was 617.3 million m3 in 2013.
The average annual water yield was 510.2 km3 over the period 1971 to 2012—the second highest after Northern Quebec. The water yield per unit area was highest at 1.53 m3/m2. Monthly water flows peak in June. Compared to other drainage regions, monthly water yield varies relatively little from year to year—the variability index was lowest.
Sources of nitrogen and phosphorus residuals in the environment include fertilizer application, livestock and poultry production, as well as industrial emissions. On average the risk of phosphorus release from agricultural soils was high, with 2.9 mg/kg of water extractable phosphorus potentially released in 2011.