- Health Canada
- Environment Canada
- Environment and Climate Change Canada (ECCC)
- Natural Resources Canada
- Statistics Canada
- Department of Indigenous and Northern Affairs
- Government of Ontario
- Conference Board of Canada
- Canadian Water Network
- Walkerton Clean Water Centre (an agency of the government of Ontario)
- Blue Economy Initiative
- Smart Prosperity Institute (formerly the Sustainable Prosperity Institute)
- The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency
- United Nations Water Programme
- United Nations Habitat Programme
- World Health Organization (WHO)
See below a variety of water-related resources and reports published by Canadian and international government and non-governmental agencies.
The Guidelines for Canadian Drinking Water Quality are established by the Federal-Provincial-Territorial Committee on Drinking Water (CDW) and published by Health Canada. This summary table is updated regularly and published on Health Canada’s website (www.healthcanada.gc.ca/waterquality). It supersedes all previous electronic and printed versions, including the 6th edition of the Guidelines for Canadian Drinking Water Quality (1996). [Health Canada 2017]
The primary goal of the Guidelines for Canadian Recreational Water Quality is the protection of public health and safety. This document provides guidance on the factors that can interfere with the safety of recreational waters from a human health perspective. It is intended to guide decisions by provincial and local authorities that are responsible for the management of recreational waters. [Health Canada 2012]
The Canadian Guidelines for Domestic Reclaimed Water for Use in Toilet and Urinal Flushing have been developed as an option to reduce water consumption, in response to the growing interest in water conservation in Canada. The use of domestic reclaimed water can make significant contributions to reducing water use. However, domestic reclaimed water must be treated and managed effectively, as there is a potential health risk to users, particularly from pathogens that can be responsible for severe gastrointestinal illness. Although the long-term goal is to develop comprehensive guidelines to allow the safe use of reclaimed water for many beneficial purposes, the focus of this version of the guidelines is limited to the specific end use of toilet or urinal flushing. [Health Canada 2010]
Microbiological parameters, bacteriological quality, chemical/physical parameters, and radiological parameters.
Environment Canada’s Municipal Water and Wastewater Survey (MWWS) contributes to Canada’s goal of promoting the wise and efficient management and use of water by providing a principal source of information on municipal water use and pricing in Canada. This survey—along with its predecessor, the Municipal Water Use and Pricing Survey (MUD/MUP)—has been conducted every two or three years by Environment Canada since 1983. The resulting data is geocoded and can be analyzed in several ways, such as by survey year, province/territory and size of municipal population.
The pricing of water and wastewater services is an important aspect of both water conservation and the generation of revenue needed to maintain and expand infrastructure. The 2011 Municipal Water Pricing Report provides information on how and how much Canadian homes and businesses pay for water and wastewater services. It includes updates (2009 data) of statistics that were published in summary tables for 2006 data. This water pricing report complements the companion 2011 Municipal Water Use Report: 2009 Statistics, which highlighted key statistics associated with water use in Canadian municipalities.
Published in 2003, the report includes a comprehensive review of the current state-of-the-art methods for chlorine-based disinfection, residual chlorine control, dechlorination chemicals and procedures, and the related chlorination and dechlorination equipment used in the wastewater treatment.
Published in 2003, the manual reviews ultraviolet disinfection technology and advancements for application in disinfecting effluents from municipal wastewater treatment plants (WWTPs). This manual’s purpose is to provide information and guidance to communities investigating UV technology for application at their wastewater plants.
Published in 2003, the manual describes techniques to identify and evaluate technological options for application at municipal wastewater treatment plants (MWWTPs) for the removal of total ammonia-nitrogen (the sum of un-ionized ammonia-nitrogen and ammonium nitrogen) from wastewaters. The report is intended to serve as a reference and decision-support tool to assist municipal engineers, managers and senior process staff at MWWTPs.
The Canada Water Act, proclaimed on September 30, 1970, provides the framework for cooperation with the provinces and territories in the conservation, development and use of Canada’s water resources. Section 38 of the Act requires that a report on operations under the Act be laid before Parliament as soon as possible after the end of each fiscal year. This annual report covers progress on these activities from April 1, 2015, to March 31, 2016. Click here for links to reports from previous years.
Joint publication of ECCC and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. The Great Lakes contain one fifth of the world’s fresh surface water supply and are one of the most ecologically diverse ecosystems on earth. They provide drinking water to tens of millions of Canadians and Americans and are important to the economies of both Canada and the United States, supporting manufacturing, transportation, farming, tourism, recreation, clean energy production, and other forms of economic growth. The 2012 GLWQA recognizes that the effective implementation of management decisions, policies and programs must be based on the best available science, research and knowledge. The Science Annex (Annex 10) of the 2012 GLWQA commits the United States and Canada to enhancing the coordination, integration, synthesis, and assessment of science activities across all Annexes of the Agreement. Science provides the foundation for management actions and policy decisions in support of meeting the objectives of the Agreement.
The Great Lakes program is comprised of three program components – the Great Lakes Nutrient Initiative (GLNI), the Great Lakes Action Plan (GLAP) and the Action Plan for Clean Water (Great Lakes Sediment Remediation Projects or GLSRP). These three programs support actions to address commitments stemming from the Canada–US Great Lakes Water Quality Agreement (GLWQA) and Canada–Ontario Agreement Respecting the Great Lakes Basin Ecosystem (COA).
The purpose of the evaluation was to assess the relevance and performance of the Great Lakes program.
This report and the accompanying compendium summarize the degree to which adaptation considerations have been integrated – ‘mainstreamed,’ if you will – into water resource management practices and policies across Canada. They also identify strategic directions that, if pursued, will strengthen the resilience of our water resources for generations to come.
Coasts are an important component of the Canadian identity, economy and culture. Fronting on three oceans — Atlantic, Arctic and Pacific—Canada’s coasts, the longest in the world, are diverse and dynamic regions whose biodiversity, beauty and resources contribute to the country as a whole. The impacts of climate change on Canada’s coasts, which extend far beyond changes in sea level, present both challenges and potential opportunities for coastal communities, ecosystems and economic activities. How we adapt to the coming changes will be critical to the sustainability and continued prosperity of Canada and its coastal regions.
This analytical article 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.
Households can have a significant impact on the environment. The Households and the Environment Survey (HES) aims to measure the behaviours of Canadian households with respect to the environment. First conducted in 1991, it has since been conducted in 1994, 2006, 2007, 2009, and most recently in 2011. Some of the environmental variables from the first cycle continue to be measured, but many new topics have been introduced over the years.
The purpose of the National Assessment is to define current deficiencies and operational needs of water and wastewater systems, to identify long-term water and wastewater needs for each community and to review sustainable, long-term infrastructure development strategies for the next ten years. The recommendations are grouped according to infrastructure needs, operations and capacity, and reflections on regulations and guidelines.
In March 2006, the Government of Canada announced a Plan of Action for Drinking Water in First Nations Communities to ensure that all First Nation reserves have access to safe drinking water. The first Progress Report was tabled in Parliament on December 7, 2006. Subsequent Progress Reports were tabled in Parliament in March 2007, January 2008 and Jun 2009. This report is the fifth in a series of updates on ongoing water progress in First Nation communities.
Through Showcasing Water Innovation, Ontario supported 32 high value projects in Ontario’s cities, towns and First Nation Communities. Projects used innovative technologies and approaches to solve drinking water, wastewater, and stormwater challenges. They enabled communities to optimize existing infrastructure, defer capital investments, stabilize operating costs, prioritize water investments, conserver water, and lower energy use and carbon emissions.
Canadians are just beginning to understand that fresh water is both precious and scarce. Renewable freshwater is approaching full allocation in many regions. This has prompted debate on reforming water allocation policies to promote the long-term sustainability of our renewable freshwater resources.
This report highlights some of the advantages and disadvantages of using water market mechanisms to allocate water resources. It suggests that a pre-requisite to developing effective markets is a policy and administration framework that is based on ecosystem protection and that reflects a broader set of water policy goals.
This report discusses the value of using better rate structures, demand management, conservation, investments, and other methods so that water use is more efficient.
Water and wastewater infrastructure planning is based on the essential services that water provides. Access to potable water, wastewater gathering, and wastewater treatment are key contributors to healthy citizens and communities. A reliable supply of water that meets appropriate quality standards is considered essential in Canadian society.
The primary focus of this report is on investment in municipal water infrastructure. The investment funds come from a variety of sources. Given the long-term and capital-intensive nature of water infrastructure, observers stress the importance of long-term stability in revenue sources and financings. There is broad evidence of a water infrastructure deficit in Canada, suggesting that an imbalance currently exists. As a starting point, the report describes the broad revenue sources and financing methods available to municipal water providers.
Water is essential for supporting life, economic development and robust aquatic systems. This briefing reveals significant challenges faced by water managers, and provides six recommendations for improving Canadian water governance and management practices.
In March 2016, Canadian Water Network invited a team of leading international scientists to deliberate over two days on the current understanding of nutrient source, fate and transport in freshwater systems. Their discussion informed the insights that Canadian Water Network developed for those who make decisions about nutrient management actions. [Canadian Water Network 2017]
In Canada, water touches every facet of our lives — connecting our economy, our ecosystems and the health of our communities. Addressing each of these areas through a “water lens” can lead to integrated approaches that can achieve more resilient communities across Canada. In 2014, four priorities critical to water management decisions were identified by the Canadian Municipal Water Consortium’s (Consortium) Leadership Group (CLG). The value of these priorities was reaffirmed by the CLG in 2015 to guide national discussions on what municipalities need, want and can address in order to collectively move forward. This report expands upon each of the four priority areas, demonstrating how pursuit of key knowledge within them can lead to solutions.
The Walkerton Clean Water Centre (WCWC) is pleased to announce a new online service, the Drinking Water Resource Library. The Drinking Water Resource Library was developed to provide easy access to trusted resources related to drinking water. The library consists of a catalog of documents and features multiple search functions to ease the research of information.
For over a year, WCWC has been developing the Drinking Water Resource Library and piloting its content with the support of clients and an advisory committee. This initiative is part of WCWC’s strategy to enhance the transfer of knowledge to owners, operators and operating authorities of Ontario’s drinking water systems. Feedback collected from the trial phase demonstrated overwhelming support to continue the development of this resource.
The world faces unprecedented food shortages as global demand for nutrition is set to double by 2050. Canada is one of very few countries that can expand its agricultural exports in a significant way. This presents our nation with a major economic opportunity and a significant responsibility. To capitalize on this opportunity and help feed the world, we must invest in our agri-food sector in an intentional, responsible and effective way, recognizing fresh water as an essential input in agricultural production. Without water, there are no crops, no livestock, and no agri-food industry. This means Canada must implement strategies typically associated with the world of finance – leverage (maximizing the productivity of limited fresh water) and arbitrage (allocating water to a preferred mix of agricultural production and processing) to ensure water is used strategically and sustainably. Governments and water managing bodies must support and enable farmers and ag-producers so they can appropriately adjust and innovate around water use. [Blue Economy Initiative 2013]
Canadians consistently rank water as this country’s most important asset. Climate change, growing industrial use and population growth are stressing water supply and fueling international sales of water-related services. Realizing the greatest benefit from Canada’s water requires a capacity to distinguish which uses generate the most value. The first estimate of water’s contribution to the economy in a quarter-century suggests that while the rest of the economy has almost doubled over that period, water’s measured contribution has apparently declined. The analysis clearly reveals how many “known unknowns” hold us back. [Blue Economy Initiative 2011]
This is a story about what is possible in urban water sustainability. The Water Sustainable City of the Near Future (the City) is an idea that is emerging and well within reach for most communities. It is not a utopian fantasy. The elements that make the City exemplary are occurring in real places across Canada and around the world. The City described herein combines these characteristics into a single, fictional location, and in so doing demonstrates an end state towards which real cities can aspire. It is what any place could look like if water really mattered. [Blue Economy Initiative 2014]
With water spending expected to reach $1 trillion a year by 2020, ours is a world where the need for water solutions will become increasingly urgent. But this is also Canada’s opportunity. If we make water our focus, Canada can become a leading water solutions country. If we combine our investment in research, our experience with water challenges, our water management systems, skilled workers and the array of Canadian companies that deliver water-related goods and services, Canada’s water potential is truly promising. [Blue Economy Initiative 2013]
In order to provide community services in a cost effective and sustainable manner now and in to the future, local governments are looking for ways to improve management of the critical assets that supply these services. Asset management–the process of inventorying a community’s existing assets, determining the current state of those assets, and preparing and implementing a plan to maintain or replace those assets–allows municipalities to make informed decisions regarding a community’s assets and finances.
As the municipal infrastructure asset management process evolves, it will be critical to ensure that all community assets that may provide municipal services–lakes, wetlands, green spaces and trees as well as roads, bridges, buildings–are appropriately identified and managed.
Traditional grey infrastructure (pipes & culverts) is costly to maintain yet lacks dedicated and sustainable funding. Urbanization is creating more hard surfaces contributing higher volumes of stormwater runoff that is polluting our rivers, creeks and lakes and increasing urban flooding. Finally, changing weather patterns are overwhelming the capacity of existing infrastructure and putting people and property at risk. Local governments, on the frontlines of the urban stormwater management challenge, face two key struggles: funding and flooding & pollution. The current funding mechanisms in place are flawed, and the traditional infrastructure system is not cost-effective and contributes to a number of urban stormwater pollution and flooding problems. Local governments are struggling to address these challenges and are in need of new solutions that are more financially sustainable, less polluting, and more resilient.
The United States (U.S.) Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is directed by the Safe Drinking Water Act (SDWA) to annually report on public water system (PWS) compliance in the United States. To meet this requirement, EPA’s Office of Enforcement and Compliance Assurance (OECA) publishes the annual National Public Water Systems Compliance Report (Report) summarizing the incidence of significant violations, which include all health-based violations and a subset of other violations, as shown in Table A-1 (Appendix A). The Report for 2013 documents that, while the majority of the U.S. population served by PWSs receives safe drinking water, many PWSs incurred significant violations of federal drinking water quality standards. The number of PWSs with at least one significant violation increased from 36,536 in 2012 to 40,338 in 2013. However, the number of systems that are priorities for enforcement actions decreased from 6,352 in 2012 to 5,026 in 2013. Systems typically become priorities for enforcement action after multiple violations over a sustained period.
Drinking water sources may contain a variety of contaminants that, at elevated levels, have been associated with increased risk of a range of diseases in children, including acute diseases such as gastrointestinal illness, developmental effects such as learning disorders, endocrine disruption, and cancer. Because children tend to take in more water relative to their body weight than adults do, children are likely to have higher exposure to drinking water contaminants.
What if we were to consider the vast quantities of domestic, agricultural and industrial wastewater discharged into the environment everyday as a valuable resource rather than costly problem? This is the paradigm shift advocated in the United Nations World Water Development Report, Wastewater: the Untapped Resource, launched 22 March 2017 on the occasion of World Water Day.
A large proportion of wastewater is still released into the environment without being either collected or treated. This is particularly true in low-income countries, which on average only treat 8 % of domestic and industrial wastewater, compared to 70% in high-income countries. As a result, in many regions of the world, water contaminated by bacteria, nitrates, phosphates and solvents is discharged into rivers and lakes ending up in the oceans, with negative consequences for the environment and public health. The volume of wastewater to be treated will rise considerably in the near future especially in cities in developing countries with rapidly growing populations. “Wastewater generation is one of the biggest challenges associated with the growth of informal settlements (slums) in the developing world. [United Nations 2017]
Three out of four of the jobs worldwide are water-dependent. In fact, water shortages and lack of access may limit economic growth in the years to come, according to the 2016 United Nations World Water Development Report, Water and Jobs, launched on 22 March 2016, World Water Day, in Geneva.
From its collection, through various uses, to its ultimate return to the natural environment, water is a key factor in the development of job opportunities either directly related to its management (supply, infrastructure, wastewater treatment, etc.) or in economic sectors that are heavily water-dependent such as agriculture, fishing, power, industry and health. Furthermore, good access to drinking water and sanitation promotes an educated and healthy workforce, which constitutes an essential factor for sustained economic growth.
In its analysis of the economic impact of access to water, the report cites numerous studies that show a positive correlation between investments in the water sector and economic growth. It also highlights the key role of water in the transition to a green economy. [United Nations 2016]
Water is at the core of sustainable development. Water resources, and the range of services they provide, underpin poverty reduction, economic growth and environmental sustainability. From food and energy security to human and environmental health, water contributes to improvements in social wellbeing and inclusive growth, affecting the livelihoods of billions.
In a sustainable world that is achievable in the near future, water and related resources are managed in support of human well-being and ecosystem integrity in a robust economy. Sufficient and safe water is made available to meet every person’s basic needs, with healthy lifestyles and behaviours easily upheld through reliable and affordable water supply and sanitation services, in turn supported by equitably extended and efficiently managed infrastructure. Water resources management, infrastructure and service delivery are sustainably financed.
Water is duly valued in all its forms, with wastewater treated as a resource that avails energy, nutrients and freshwater for reuse. Human settlements develop in harmony with the natural water cycle and the ecosystems that support it, with measures in place that reduce vulnerability and improve resilience to water-related disasters. Integrated approaches to water resources development, management and use − and to human rights − are the norm. Water is governed in a participatory way that draws on the full potential of women and men as professionals and citizens, guided by a number of able and knowledgeable organizations, within a just and transparent institutional framework. [United Nations 2015]
Water and energy are closely interconnected and highly interdependent. Choices made and actions taken in one domain can greatly affect the other, positively or negatively. Trade-offs need to be managed to limit negative impacts and foster opportunities for synergy. Water and energy have crucial impacts on poverty alleviation both directly, as a number of the Millennium Development Goals depend on major improvements in access to water, sanitation, power and energy sources, and indirectly, as water and energy can be binding constraints on economic growth – the ultimate hope for widespread poverty reduction.
The Report provides a comprehensive overview of major and emerging trends from around the world, with examples of how some of the trend-related challenges have been addressed, their implications for policy-makers, and further actions that can be taken by stakeholders and the international community.
The WWDR 2014 on Water and Energy is the first that follows the new “formula” agreed by UN-Water in 2012. Indeed, the WWDR is now an annual and thematic report with a focus on different strategic water issues each year. It is shorter – in the order of 100 pages – with a standardized structure and data and case studies annexes related to the theme.
Starting in 2014, the theme of the World Water Development Report and that of World Water Day will be harmonized in order to provide a deeper focus and in-depth analysis of a specific water-related issue every year. [United Nations 2014]
Visit U.N. Water for earlier water development reports and other resources.
Distasteful though the subject may be to some, the treatment of human waste – or its lack of treatment – poses an important problem facing the world’s populations, particularly in developing countries and particularly in cities. As everyone knows, sewage containing human excrement, as well as wastewaters and other sorts of wastes, poses a serious health threat unless treated properly. Unfortunately, in much of the world such proper treatment is absent or rare. In this atlas, a variety of countries and regions in the world report on sanitation in their respective jurisdictions. They range from developing countries with substantial portions of the population without access to modern plumbing or sanitation, to developed countries with sophisticated treatment plants linked to elaborate sewerage systems. They range from countries trying to deal with outmoded sanitation systems to others that have been able to invest in the most modern technology and equipment.
A series of publications by U.N. Special Rapporteur Catarina de Albuquerque. Topics include: Principles, Justice, Monitoring, Services, Checklists, Frameworks, and Finance.
Water and Sanitation in the World’s Cities is the first attempt by the United Nations Human Settlements Programme (UN-HABITAT) as the ‘city agency’ of the United Nations to monitor, analyse and report on a major area of the Habitat Agenda, namely ‘Environmentally sustainable, healthy and liveable human settlements’.1 It also responds to the need for international action to achieve Millennium Development Goal 7, specifically addressing two targets: to reduce by half the proportion of people without sustainable access to safe drinking water by 2015; and to achieve significant improvement in the lives of at least 100 million slum dwellers by 2020 (with a specific indicator on sanitation for slum dwellers).
The Global Analysis and Assessment of Sanitation and Drinking-Water (GLAAS) is led and produced by WHO on behalf of UN-Water. It provides a global update on the policy frameworks, institutional arrangements, human resource base, and international and national finance streams in support of sanitation and drinking-water. It provides substantive evidence for the activities of Sanitation and Water for All (SWA).
Every day, diarrhoeal diseases from easily preventable causes claim the lives of approximately 5000 young children throughout the world. Sufficient and better quality drinking water and basic sanitation can cut this toll dramatically, and simple, low-cost house-hold water treatment has the potential to save further lives. As we enter the International Decade for Action Water for Life 2005–2015, this report makes clear that achieving the target of the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) for access to safe drinking water and basic sanitation will bring a pay-back worth many times the investment involved. It will also bring health, dignity and transformed lives to many millions of the world’s poorest people. The humanitarian case for action is blindingly apparent. The economic case is just as strong.
The WHO/UNICEF Joint Monitoring Programme for Water Supply, Sanitation and Hygiene (JMP) has produced regular estimates of national, regional and global progress on drinking water, sanitation and hygiene (WASH) since 1990. The JMP service ‘ladders’ enable benchmarking and comparison of progress across countries at different stages of development. This 2017 report introduces updated water and sanitation ladders which build on established indicators and establish new rungs with additional criteria relating to service levels. A third ladder has also been introduced for hygiene. The JMP will continue to monitor all rungs on each ladder, with a particular focus on those that relate to the Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) global targets and indicators.