Water use in a global context indicator: data sources and methods, chapter 2


2. Description and rationale of the Canada's Water Use in a Global Context indicator

2.1 Description

The Canada's Water Use in a Global Context indicator reports on the amount of water removed from the environment per person per year (cubic metres [m3]/capita/year) for use in agriculture, manufacturing and in homes, and as a percentage of each country's total renewable water supply for nine countries, including Canada.

2.2 Rationale

Freshwater is withdrawn from ground or surface water sources, either permanently or temporarily, for public water supplies, irrigation and industrial processes. Human population growth, lifestyle changes, and growth in gross domestic product (GDP) are the main causes of increases in water demand, and as the human population continues to grow, so will the pressure exerted on freshwater resources.

Water use, or abstraction, exerts a major pressure on water resources, impacting both water quantity and quality. Proper monitoring of water resources is critical to ensure this resource is well managed so that lakes, rivers and aquifers are not subjected to undue stress from human activity. Excessive water removal can lead to rivers drying up or to an unacceptable drop in the level of groundwater aquifers.

2.3 Recent changes to the indicator

This indicator replaces the Canada's Water Quantity in a Global Context indicator. This new indicator reports on how much water in a country is abstracted per person per year and the corresponding percentage of a country's renewable water supply. The previous indicator reported total renewable water resources and water supply per person.

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