Canada–more than most countries–benefits from readily available sources of freshwater. This explains why Canada is often perceived as a water–rich country. However, the amount of water that is available to ecosystems and citizens varies widely across the country, and so does water use. Until recently, there existed no systematic measurement of the spatial and temporal distribution of water renewal and water use for Canada.
The publication of Freshwater Supply and Demand in Canada in September of 2010 was the outcome of years of development and inter-departmental cooperation: The water yield model and time series analysis is the result of advanced research involving different groups inside StatCan, but also relying on inter-departmental information and cooperation. A good set of national water use data resulted from several new surveys funded through the Canadian Environmental Sustainability Indicators initiative. The use of a national digital drainage area framework, of standard classifications, and the guidance offered by SEEA-W, all helped to produce statistics that are nationally coherent and internationally comparable. Finally, the development of the water accounts has allowed the generation of the extra value only available through the use of the System of National Accounts, namely the analysis of water use from the final demand perspective, i.e. the virtual water content of Canada's goods and services.
Keywords: Freshwater supply and demand; Water accounts; Water yield; Water use
Biography: François Soulard is Chief of the Research and Development Section in the Environmental Accounts and Statistics Division at Statistics Canada. François has been working in the field of Environmental Statistics at Statistics Canada for over 14 years, leading the development of the Water Accounts program. Over the years he has been involved in the creation of several new national water-related surveys, indicators, as well as with the development of water assets and water flows accounts. François holds a Bachelor's and a Master's degree in Geography from Université de Montréal, and a Ph. D. (Geo) from the Chinese University of Hong Kong.