The Government of Canada invests $89.7 million to transform water monitoring across the country

News release

June 20, 2019 – Ottawa, Ontario

The science is clear: Canada is warming twice as fast as the global average. A warmer climate means more weather extremes—higher storm surges as well as increasing coastal flooding, rainfall, and urban flood risks. Better information on the water levels of Canada’s rivers, lakes, and coasts means Canadians will have the information they need to be prepared.

Today, the Member of Parliament for Hull–Aylmer and Parliamentary Secretary to the President of the Treasury Board and Minister of Digital Government, Greg Fergus, on behalf of the Minister of Environment and Climate Change, Catherine McKenna, announced that the Government of Canada is investing $89.7 million over five years to modernize Canada’s water-monitoring services. Through these investments, the Government is helping Canadians continue to get the most timely and accurate information possible on water flow and water levels across Canada’s rivers and lakes.

The funding will help the National Hydrological Service hire new employees, strengthening its engineering and technical capacity. Funding will also allow for the modernization of the national hydrometric network’s stations and infrastructure, facilitating continuous collection and dissemination of data on water flow and water levels, across the country. Funding will also allow Environment and Climate Change Canada to test and implement new data gathering and data analysis technologies.

Canada’s National Hydrological Service is responsible for monitoring water quantity and flow, across Canada, in partnership with the provinces and territories. This investment supports National Hydrological Service research on the impacts of climate change on freshwater resources, ensuring all levels of government, businesses, and Canadians are prepared in the event of flooding or drought or any other water-related disasters.


“Climate change is bringing increasingly severe floods and droughts to Canada. By modernizing our water-monitoring infrastructure, we’re making sure Canadians and all orders of government have the information needed to anticipate and prepare for extreme weather events. Investments like this one help us protect ourselves and our loved ones from the worst impacts of climate change and ensure we are building a better future.”
– Catherine McKenna, Minister of Environment and Climate Change

“This investment will revitalize water-monitoring stations across the country especially the Ottawa River and implement new and innovative technologies, making sure Canadians continue to get the most accurate, real-time information so they can be prepared in case of an emergency..”
– Greg Fergus, Member of Parliament for Hull–Aylmer

“With the unprecedented frequency of severe flooding that our region has experienced, we appreciate the need to have real-time information about water levels so that we can better prepare. Climate change will continue to increase the frequency and severity of disasters like floods, so I am glad that our government is taking this important step to ensure the safety of our citizens.”
 – William Amos, MP for Pontiac

Quick facts

  • Over the next four years, the Government of Canada will begin to provide water quantity and flow prediction services for five of Canada’s most important water basins: Great Lakes–St. Lawrence River, Saskatchewan–Nelson, Mackenzie, Columbia, and Churchill rivers. It will also develop coastal-water-level information and services for flood-risk-alert management on the Atlantic coast.

  • The upgrades to the national monitoring system will significantly enhance Canadian capabilities, on par with the United States, which has been developing its national capability for the past three years.

  • The National Hydrological Service provides expert advice and recommendations to inter-jurisdictional and international water boards and other decision makers to support informed decisions on a range of water-related issues, including environmental assessments, and it is responsible for management of water flow between Canada and the United States.

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Sabrina Kim
Press Secretary
Office of the Minister of Environment and Climate Change

Media Relations
Environment and Climate Change Canada
819-938-3338 or 1-844-836-7799 (toll-free)

Environment and Climate Change Canada’s Twitter page

Environment and Climate Change Canada’s Facebook page

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