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  Sulphur Dioxides
  Nitrogen Dioxides
  Volatile Organic Compounds
  Carbon Monoxide
  Greenhouse Gas Emissions
  Water Consumption
  Municipal Sewage Treatment
  Energy Consumption
  Energy Efficiency
  Municipal Waste
  Hazardous Waste
  Nuclear Waste
  Ozone Depletion
  Pesticide Use
  Fertilizer Use
  Species at Risk
  Protected Areas
  Road Vehicles
  Distance Traveled
  Official Development Assistance



Water Consumption

High levels of water use cause both environmental and economic problems. On the environmental side, high consumption places stress on rivers, lakes and groundwater aquifers and may require dams and flooding with serious ecological impacts. As well, the discharge of polluted water once it has been used damages aquatic ecosystems.

On the economic side, high levels of water use require ever-increasing and expensive investments in water system infrastructure needed to gather, deliver and dispose of water (dams, reservoirs, water treatment facilities, distribution networks and sewage treatment).

Canadians obtain the majority of their water from surface sources such as lakes, rivers and reservoirs. However pressure on groundwater (water drawn from aquifers by wells) is increasing rapidly in Canada.

Canada’s OECD Ranking
Canada ranks a dismal 28th among the 29 nations of the OECD in terms of per capita water consumption. Only Americans use more water than Canadians.

Canada uses 1,600 cubic metres of water per person per year. This is more than twice as much water as the average person from France, three times as much as the average German, almost four times as much as the average Swede and more than eight times as much as the average Dane. Canada’s per capita water consumption is 65% above the OECD average.

In terms of total water consumption, Canada is 26th out of 29 OECD nations, with the United States, Japan and Mexico using more water, in total, than Canada.

Canada has been criticized repeatedly by the OECD for our excessive use of water.12

Since 1980, overall water use in Canada has increased by 25.7%. This is five times higher than the overall OECD increase of 4.5%. In contrast, nine OECD nations were able to decrease their overall water use since 1980 (Sweden, the Netherlands, the United States, the United Kingdom, the Czech Republic, Luxembourg, Poland, Finland and Denmark).

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