About the Water Survey of Canada


The Water Survey of Canada is the national agency responsible for the collection, interpretation and dissemination of standardized water resource data and information in Canada. The Water Survey of Canada can trace its beginnings to 1908 when Canada initiated a formal approach to determine the extent of the nation's water resources. As an emerging nation, Canada recognized the need for comprehensive water resource information to define reliable supplies of good quality water, to determine hydro power potential, to assess irrigation potential and to protect Canada's sovereignty over its water resources. All major water supply systems, hydro electrical generation facilities and irrigation projects in Canada have been designed, built and operated using the products and services of the Water Survey of Canada. Today, the Water Survey of Canada continues as the lead agency for collecting and disseminating relevant and reliable water resource information in Canada. Our agency continues to play a major role in the activities of numerous international and interprovincial boards and commissions involved in the management of Canada's water resources. It is the designated agency responsible for water resource monitoring in support of interjurisdictional agreements and treaties. The Water Survey of Canada's reputation for excellence is recognized internationally, and our agency continues to set the standard for environmental monitoring.


The Water Survey of Canada specializes in the field of monitoring science, in the design of survey and monitoring programs, and in the implementation of environmental monitoring networks and programs. The experience and expertise of our professionals spans the routine monitoring for water quantity, sediment transport and aquatic quality as well as providing specialist support to the scientific investigations of clients. Much of the investigative work involving ecosystem processes, river reach surveys, and lake studies is done through integrated field teams. This experience enables the skilled professionals of the Water Survey of Canada to understand the needs of clients and to effect the innovative solutions to environmental monitoring challenges.

Environmental Monitoring

The Water Survey of Canada's expertise in sectoral and integrated monitoring enables clients to have comprehensive data on aquatic quality, water quantity and sediment transport. Our agency's services include the measurement, acquisition, processing, transformation and management of environmental data. The Water Survey of Canada provides real-time, current year and historical information for a network of over 2,500 sites in Canada and maintains a database containing historic data for some 5,500 non-active sites for the country.

An Ecosystems Approach

The Water Survey of Canada's expertise enables clients to fullfil their project needs of integrating water quantity, water quality and climate information for basin to river reach studies. The agency's professional and technical staff routinely tailor monitoring programs and products for application to all aspects of environmental science.

The Leader in Technology

The Water Survey of Canada, through rigorous research and development, has made significant gains in applying advanced techniques and instrumentation to provide environmental monitoring solutions. The agency has incorporated proven microprocessor technology for data recording and storage with data collection platforms and land-line systems for real-time transmission.

Foreign Consultation

The Water Survey of Canada is proud to have been given the opportunity to lend its expertise to many overseas water-related projects. Our accomplishments have earned us a reputation for assisting governments and industry to achieve cost-effective solutions.


The Water Survey of Canada is committed to our employees, to our partners, to our clients, to society and to our environment. We encourage innovation, professional excellence and the highest standards of business practice in all our endeavours.


The Water Survey of Canada has built its reputation through a cooperative approach with all levels of governments and business sectors. Earlier ad-hoc arrangements with the provinces were replaced in 1975 with comprehensive and national partnership agreements. These agreements continue to this day, and have responded very well to changes in the resource information requirements, and to political and fiscal pressures. Through its partnerships, the Water Survey of Canada has built a standardized and credible environmental information base for Canada.

In recent years contracts and partnerships with the private sector have expanded the value of the information base and have provided the business sector with highly skilled monitoring expertise and project support. Joint ventures with Canadian consulting firms have taken the agency's expertise to all parts of the globe. This cooperative approach in environmental monitoring ensures all participants share the benefits of an integrated monitoring network and a coordinated approach to resolving water quantity and aquatic quality concerns.

Monitoring services from network design to data collection involving program and information management, continues to be provided under comprehensive partnership agreements.

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