Facts About Canada’s Water You Didn’t Know

While 70% of the world is covered with water, freshwater made up just 1% of the whole water. From this 1%, just a tiny portion is available for water consumption. Renowned for its excellent ski resorts and, obviously, the world's most famous waterfalls, the majority of us would expect that Canada is bountiful with freshwater. 

In any case, with the population growing, contamination levels rising, and urbanization bringing about an expanded need to consider water consumption, this limited resource is confronting pressure each day. Match these factors with natural changes to the climate, and water shortage in Canada could be a test that a few communities face later on. Regardless, Canadians drink large amounts of water contrasted with other nations. Canadians consume more than twice as much water as Europeans!

Consequently, where does the water indeed come from? What are probably the greatest threats to the new water supply? Also, what amount of Canada's water is being exported to the world? Read on and find the answers and other facts you don't know about Canada's water. 

What is Canada's primary source of water?

The drinking water for 66% of Canadians comes from lakes, rivers, and reservoirs. Maybe the most popular model of Canada's water abundance is the Great Lakes, a progression of five lakes that length the North American continent and make up the most significant surface area of freshwater found in one spot anyplace in the world. But, what you may not understand is the significance of forests with regards to this water supply.  

In a procedure called 'evapotranspiration,' water from the forest floor evaporates into the air, and water from the trees transpires into the air. Alternately, the water that doesn't get back to the air from one of these two processes either flows into streams and lakes or penetrates further into the Earth to become groundwater.  

Moreover, the water that goes through the forest soil to the lakes and streams is usually separated from any awful substances, including pesticides and contaminants– which means any threat to these forests could bring about crucial indications to the protected water supply.

How much freshwater is in Canada?

With regards to the top nations for internal renewable freshwater resources – which means water that is restored through precipitation and groundwater – Canada is lead exclusively by Gabon, Papua New Guinea, Bhutan, Suriname, Guyana, Iceland, and Greenland (the latter is the most prosperous country in water source). 

Indeed, with around 80,423 cubic meters for each capita, about 9%, or 891 163 square kilometers, of Canada's total area is covered by freshwater.

When freshwater trapped in glaciers, underground, or in lakes is included, the nation has 20% of the world's freshwater supply.

Who is responsible for Canada's freshwater supply?

Like other federal nations, the federal and local governments must settle on the choices that influence Canada's freshwater supply. Generally, the federal government has authority encompassing fisheries, routes, and international relations, while the provinces manage water licenses and contamination control laws. 

 As Canada imparts numerous streams to the adjoining United States – including the Great Lakes – administration of these areas is regularly governed by third parties like the International Joint Commission. Among different duties, the IJC can approve projects concerning the administration and protection of the lakes and river systems along the border. The Canada Water Agency is a recent action set up by the federal government to consolidate local authorities, provinces, Indigenous communities, and researchers to assist with discovering methods of working on the administration of Canada's water.

How much water is exported from Canada?

Canada exports huge amounts of water using different industrial and agricultural products in which it is rooted. 

With regards to bottled water items, Canada exported the US $17.9 million of water and ice in 2019, making it the nation exporting out the 10th highest dollar amount of the bottled resources. Contrasted with earlier years, this was a decrease (- 20.8%) from past global sales. 

Concerning the mass exportation of freshwater – the idea is a controversial one. Presently, freshwater isn't traded globally, and numerous Canadians go against transforming the valuable resource into an esteemed commodity. However, should Canada trade water to nations that may require it most? Research into ways that Canada can both benefit from and protect its freshwater supply by permitting mass exports is a subject that keeps on raising concerns.

How much water is consumed in Canada?

Usually, 335 liters of water daily is consumed typically, or what could be compared to 670 standard water bottles (500 ml size). This is 10x more than the average person in rural sub-Saharan Africa.

Cooking and drinking don't surpass 10% of this sum. Bathing comprises 35% of the day-by-day water usage or around 234 bottles. Toilet flushing alone uses what could be compared to 200 bottles, while laundry and cleaning include 25% of daily consumption or about 168 bottles.

By the last part of the 1990s, Canadian families were accounted to have consumed 7.9 billion liters of water daily. This sum is sufficient to fill the SkyDome five times! 

Measuring water flow and charging per volume consumed has decreased household usage. Overall, Canadians charged per volume drank 70% less water than those who paid a level expense. In 1999, around 44% of Canadians were charged a level expense for water use, which didn't motivate conservation.

Regional Facts


  • The wetlands of Lake Ontario have experienced grave misfortune in the course of the most recent two centuries because of agricultural drainage and urban encroachment. 
  • The first Canadian Heritage River was the French River in Ontario, assigned in 1986.

Great Lakes

  • The Great Lakes sustain 45% of Canada's industrial capacity. 
  • The Great Lakes support a $100 million commercial fishing industry and a $350 million recreational fishing industry.
  • The Great Lakes supply drinking water to 8.5 million Canadians.
  • 25% of Canadians agricultural capacity is sustained by the Great Lakes. 
  • Just 1% of the waters of the Great Lakes are replenished every year by snowmelt and rain. 
  • The Great Lakes are the most extensive system of fresh, surface water on Earth, containing generally 18% of the world's fresh surface water. 
  • The joined shoreline of the Great Lakes is equivalent to about 45% of the Earth's circumference. 
  • Extreme storms on Lake Erie can bring about short-term lake level changes of up to 4 meters.


  • The Prairie Provinces consists of about 770 dams.
  • About 75% of all agricultural water withdrawals in Canada happen on the Prairies, primarily for irrigation.
  • 15-25% of the Prairie Region is a wetland.
  • A homestead hole, a small on-ranch reservoir, is a typical sort of surface water source on the Canadian Prairies.


  • Quebec has a bigger number of dams than some other areas, with 333 large dams.
  • The 1996 Saguenay basin storm and related flood in Quebec prompted ten fatalities and more than $1500 million.
  • Levels of organic contaminants (PCBs) and inorganic pollutants (Cu, Zn, Pb, Hg, Cd, and As) in the sediments of northern Lake Saint-Pierre have fallen by half since 1986.
  • St. Lawrence–Great Lakes hydrographic system is one of the largest on the planet. It drains over 25% of the Earth's freshwater reserves and impacts natural cycles across a lot of North America.
  • St. Lawrence comprises five fundamental water masses and nine secondary water masses related to the major tributaries. Each of these water masses has its own unique natural physical, and chemical characteristics.
  • The Quebec part of the St. Lawrence River extends in three spots, shaping stretches of open water adequately huge to be viewed as lakes, however with a regular flow. These three fluvial lakes are Lake Saint-François, Lake Saint-Louis, and Lake Saint-Pierre.


  • Everyone on Prince Edward Island uses groundwater to meet their day-by-day water needs.
  • Most of Prince Edward Island (57%) rely upon private wells for their water supply.
  • The Eel River Bar is one of the longest natural reefs in North America. Freshwater laps its shores on one side, saltwater on the other. 
  • At low tide, watch the Saint John River crash through a narrow gorge and fall into the harbor, yet a similar river streams the other way during high tide. The Bay of Fundy's extraordinary tides is excellent for the Saint John River, constraining the waters to flow upstream twice a day, each day.
  • In 2000, the Kennebecasis Watershed Restoration Committee (KWRC) announced 24 unique types of fish from 13 distinct families. A portion of the more common species includes the Atlantic salmon, rainbow trout, and striped bass.
  • Great Bear Lake, situated in the Northwest Territories, is the largest lake in Canada at 31 328 square kilometers.
  • The deepest lake in Canada is Great Slave Lake, located in the Northwest Territories, with 614 meters being the deepest point. 
  • In Canada, the individual river system with the largest drainage region is the Mackenzie River, with 1 805 200 square kilometers.

Water Conservation in Canada

Municipalities and water management began to carry out water conservation techniques. For example, in 1993, Ontario became the first province to initiate plumbing codes that require all toilets, faucets, and showerheads in new buildings to be conserving water. It is assessed that 42% of households use low-flow showerheads while 15% allegedly use water-conserving toilets. 

The use of water in washing and cleaning consumes significantly more than drinking and cooking. In this way, using straightforward techniques can save a ton of water. Take note of the three R's (not for recycling, but rather for water conservation): reduce consumption, repair leaks and replace old fixtures with new, water-saving ones.

Regarding the daily protection of the freshwater supply, residences and commercial users must protect and conserve however much of this valuable resource as could be expected. Keep in mind: minor changes can have a lasting effect. Next time you top off your glass from the tap or stack your dishwasher after a family meal, think about the worth of each drop and do your part to lower your water traces.

Simple ways to save large amounts of water consumption in your household.

  • Upgrade faucets and showerheads with tap aerator 
  • Make use of a broom to clean the driveway rather than a hose. 
  • Water your garden in the early morning to stay away from unnecessary loss due to evaporation
  • Turn off the water tap when brushing your teeth. 
  • Use the laundry and dishwashing machines on full loads. 
  • Take shorter showers. Decreasing your shower time by 2 minutes can save 2,600 liters each month! 
  • Check your toilet for leaks and upgrade with water-saving gadgets.

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