Note: This was a bilingual chat session, which means that the participants were able to submit their questions in English or French. Statistics Canada respects the Official Languages Act and is committed to ensuring that information products of equal quality are available in both English and French. For that reason, all the questions and answers have been translated in the other official language.
Jennie Wang at 14:09:34
Hydro-electric power generation uses vast amounts of water. Data on water use for hydro-power production are not aggregated with other water uses and we do not regularly publish these estimates. In the report Human Activity and the Environment, 2010, we estimated that water use for hydro-electric power production was in the range of 3 trillion cubic metres.
François Soulard at 14:10:10
We have surveys that gather information on industrial and agricultural water use; we ask the industrial establishments and the farmers themselves how much water they use. We do not use permitting data, as these are not indicative of the actual use of water.
François Soulard at 14:23:12
We actually use some provincial data, for example in the case of agricultural water use data, where, for example, we use the province of Alberta's agricultural water data to verify our own survey data. Note that in our agricultural water use report, we don't report back on agricultural return flows, whereas we report back on industrial water discharge.
Jennie Wang at 14:24:30
Thanks for your question. In 2015, 69% of households reported that they primarily used tap water, 19% primarily used bottled water, 10% reported both tap and bottled water as their primary source of drinking water and 1% reported "other type of water" as their primary type of drinking water, according to the Households and the Environment Survey.
Jennie Wang at 14:31:07
Hi Koricemoir, thanks for your question. In section 3 of our report, Human Activity and the Environment, you will find a reference to the Government of Canada's Regulatory Impact Analysis Statement. According to this document, in 2012, over 3,700 wastewater systems in Canada generated an estimated 6 trillion litres of wastewater, of which over 150 billion litres may have been untreated.
The report does not provide information on the percentage of water bodies with algal blooms or provide comparisons on water quality improvements over time. For the latter, I would recommend you check out Environment and Climate Change Canada's website, particulary the CESI indicators.
François Soulard at 14:33:28
In 2013, 382 million m3 of water were used in petroleum and gas extraction. Although the oil and gas industry reuses much of its water intake, most of this water is consumed. For example, it can be lost in the form of steam, injected into oil reserves or held in tailings ponds after use.
Mark Henry at 14:33:47
Thanks for the question, SM Guru.
Freshwater is defined as water having a low concentration of dissolved salts. This definition is from the glossary of our newly released report, Freshwater in Canada.
Jennie Wang at 14:40:03
Data on water use in Indigenous communites are produced by Aboriginal and Northern Development Canada. You can find information on this topic here.
We are experiencing intermittent problems with the website and would be happy to email you the PDF after this session if you are not able to download it. The GIS data may be similarly affected. However, the files are now also available as web services from the Government of Canada's Open Maps page. See: Average annual runoff in Canada and Drainage regions of Canada.
Mark Henry at 14:40:47
That's an interesting question, SM Guru, but policy questions of this sort are not covered in our report or as a topic in this chat.
François Soulard at 14:41:21
Thank you for this question! The study draws a link between the amount of water generated by the natural environment and the water used for household and economic activities. The study presents data over a span of time for the entire country. It helps us to understand the diverse uses of water across Canada over time and to identify not only potential problems, but also improvements, such as a 16% decrease in the use of water by households between 2005 and 2013.
François Soulard at 14:44:32
Our report does not deal with that question. We look at water from the supply and demand perspective, with less information on water quality issues. We will get back to you next week with more information.
Jennie Wang at 14:47:14
Hi odumville. Thanks for your question. Our Industrial Water Survey does include all the variables you listed in your question -- we survey the Manufacturing, Mining and Thermal-Electric Power Generation industries on their water use and disposal. We do differentiate between surface and groundwater sources as well as where the water is returned to. We also ask about treatment types for both intake water and disposed water.
Regarding Agricultural Water Use, we also survey irrigation methods used by Canadian farms that irrigate. For that survey we do ask about the sources of water used for irrigation.
Unfortunately, we do not collect any information on hydroelectric water use.
François Soulard at 14:48:16
Hello SM Guru,
We do not measure the depth of lakes. The data we publish are gathered from other government departments.
Jennie Wang at 14:49:32
Thank you for participating. There are many interesting aspects of this report. In particular, I think people might be interested to know that household water use has decreased over time from about 330 litres per person per day in 2005 to approximately 250 litres per day in 2013.
Mark Henry at 14:51:31
Thanks liangpe. A good question, but beyond the scope of our report and the chat session. However there are many aspects of the report that give statistics on the differences in the supply of renewable freshwater across the country. There are many statistics in the report that give information on the variability of the supply of water yield across the country, and Map 2.1 may be of particular interest to you.
Mark Henry at 14:53:46
That's an interesting question, bulleju, but we don't cover droughts or at-risk areas specifically in this report. However you might be interested in Map 2.2 and Map 2.7 in our report Freshwater in Canada. Map 2.2 shows the water yield variability index from 1971 to 2013 in Canada's 25 drainage regions, where we can see that water yield is most variable in the Prairie regions. Map 2.7 shows the ratio of surface water intake to water yield.
François Soulard at 14:58:06
You can find an online application on the Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada website that allows users to map areas in drought. It is quite interesting. We do, however, present a map of water variability in our publication, which shows the areas that are more prone to floods and drought (see Map 2.2).
Mark Henry at 15:03:39
koricemoir, more nitrogen and phosporus information will be coming with the release of data from the 2016 Census of Agriculture. These data will be released by Statistics Canada and Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada in different forms. In addition Environment and Climate Change Canada releases nitrogen and phosphorus data from the National Pollution Release inventory on a ongoing basis in addition to provinical data.