Water Facts

Water Facts         

  • Canada’s water consumption ranks 28th (2nd worst) in the developed world, the USA 29th. (Organization Economic Co-operation and Development –OECD)
  • Minimum water requirements per person per day for survival: 50 litres (drinking 5, sanitation 20, bathing 15, cooking 10) (World Health Organization)

Daily consumption

Somalia            9      litres
Uganda             19
Ghana               38
Fiji                    41
Jamaica            60
France              150
UK                    200
Sweden            200
Canada             340
USA                 425

  • Canada’s water use has increased by 26% since 1980.  The average increase of OECD countries is 4.5%. Sweden, the UK, Luxembourg, Finland, the USA have decreased their water consumption.  Our per capita water consumption is 65% above the OECD average.
  • 9% of water taken in Canada is for agricultural use with less than 30% returned to its source.
  • Animal Use of water (varies with size and temperature)

Beef cattle         35 – 80 kilos per day
Dairy cattle        40 – 80 kilos
Hog                  9           litres
Horse                55         litres

  • 2/3 of the worlds fresh water supply is underground
  • High levels of consumption place stresses on rivers, lakes and aquifers.
  • At one time in the not to distant past, the city of Toronto sludge was spread on the fields near Dundalk. This the recharge area for the aquifer that covers most of southwestern Ontario, the source of much drinking water. It is estimated that it takes 25 years for this product to be part of the aquifer flow.
  • According to Environment Canada, trace amounts of drugs have found in municipal drinking water. (Caffeine, growth hormones, birth control pills, pain pills, chemotherapy drugs etc.)
  • 39 pesticides were detected in well water in a recent North American survey (including Ontario)
  • It requires 40 litres of water to extract 1 litre of oil.
  • 1 litre of oil can contaminate 2 million litres of water.
  • 60% of the fuel/oil in a “seadoo” is unburned and released to the water.
  • Each year, 1.5 millions recreational boaters use the Great Lakes.
  • About 38,500 new wells are drilled each year in Canada
  • 1000 kilograms of water is required to grow 1 kilogram of potatoes.
  • 295,000 litres of water is required to produce 910 kilos of steel.
  • Canadians consume in excess of 703 million litres of bottled water per year.
  • In summer, 50% of treated water is used on lawns.
  • A single lawn sprinkler spraying 19 litres per minute uses 50% more water in just one hour than a combination of ten toilets flushes, two 5 minute showers, two dishwasher loads and a full load of clothing.
  • 80% of the world’s illnesses are water related and 90% of the victims are children.
  • Health problems related to water cost Canadians $300 million per year.
  • Canada holds 20% of the world’s fresh water but 60% of that amount is ice. (or was!)
  • 27% of Canadians and 11% of Americans depend on the Great Lakes for water using 140,000 litres of water per second.
  • 60% of Canada’s fresh water flows north while 80% of the population lives within 300 Km of the USA border.
  • The Great Lakes contain 18% of the world’s fresh water surface supply.
  • 1% of the water in the Great Lakes is renewed each year by snow melt or rain.
  • 13% of piped water in Canada is lost to pipeline leaks in some cases up to 30%
  • The Great Lakes support 25% of Canada’s agricultural capacity.
  • Typical water costs not including waste treatment (1992)

Canada             .40
Norway             .46
USA                 .54
Ireland               .68
Finland              1.06
UK                    1.18
France              1.30
Australia           1.57
Germany           1.72

Sources: Agriculture Canada, Environment Canada, Natural Resources Canada, World Health Organization, OECD.