Environment Canada
Symbol of the Government of Canada

Departmental Sustainable Development Strategy
Departmental Website Component:
Section IV of the 2011–2012 Report on Plans and Priorities

3. Description of Environment Canada’s Activities Supporting FSDS Themes I, II and II

Theme II: Maintaining Water Quality Availability

Goal 4: Water Availability
Target 4.1: Water Resource Management and Use – Promote the conservation and wise use of water to affect a 30 per cent reduction or increased efficiency in water use in various sectors by 2025 (based on 2009 water use levels)
FSDS Implementation Strategies Further Details on This Implementation Strategy Alignment with the 2011–2012 Program Activity Architecture (PAA)
Provide non-financial support for a partnership consortium that will implement a water labeling and certification program to Canadians. (EC)
WaterSense-labelled products and fixtures will be promoted to Canadians in general and to federal facilities, other levels of government, industry and the retail sector in particular, so that consumers and managers can make responsible decisions relating to efficient water use.

Performance expectations:
  • Starting in 2012–2013, the performance of the program will be documented by Environment Canada in its annual reports of partner activities, successes, challenges and other feedback including data, such as retail sales of WaterSense products.
1.2 Water Resources
Enhance and expand effective partnerships that enable the voluntary and regulatory means of managing the demand for water towards its sustainability. (EC)
EC collaborates with federal colleagues, research institutions, other jurisdictions, and environmental non-governmental organizations to promote sustainable water management tools and mechanisms, including information on water pricing, modelling and incentive programs.

Performance expectations:
  • Metrics are under development and would include the number and variety of partners and the number and reach of promotional material developed to inform Canadians.
1.2 Water Resources
Improve knowledge of water, its nature, extent, availability, sector use and best management practices such as Integrated Watershed Management to Canadians (EC, NRCan)
A variety of Web- and print-based information is available to Canadians regarding water science, extent, availability, sector use and best management practices. The following is a list of some of the websites: Performance expectations:
  • Analyse the Web metrics of the Water section of EC’s website to indicate reach and use of comprehensive and timely information on water-related issues designed to improve knowledge of water.
1.2 Water Resources
Provide web and print based information on the science and knowledge of water to Canadians in a comprehensive and timely manner to enable responsible decision. (EC, NRCan)
A variety of Web- and print-based information is available to Canadians regarding water science, extent, availability, sector use and best management practices. The following is a list of some of the websites:
  • The Water website is the most comprehensive site regarding Environment Canada's role in water management.
  • The Water S&T website provides access to information on water research (Research), water science expertise (Water S&T Experts), Key Water S&T Reports, and the S&T Into Action series documenting the benefits of EC’s water research programs and projects to Canadians.
  • The Water Science News is e-published and disseminated externally every two months and provides updates on current water research and new journal articles published by EC scientists.
  • The Canadian Environmental Sustainability Indicators (CESI) initiative reports on environmental indicators that track the long-term trends for issues of key concern to Canadians, including national, regional and local changes in water levels.
  • Historical water level and streamflow data is available from Canada's national HYDAT archives.
  • Real-time and historical (archived) water levels and streamflow is publicly available from the Water Survey of Canada Real-Time Data.

Performance expectations:

  • Analyse the Web metrics of the Water section of EC’s website to indicate the reach and use of comprehensive and timely information on water-related issues designed to improve knowledge of water.
  • Number of site visits to the Freshwater Web pages of the Environment Canada website.
  • Number of site visits to the S&T Water pages of Environment Canada.
  • Growth in requests for a subscription to Water Science News.
1.2 Water Resources
Continue work on collection of hydrometric data through the Water Survey of Canada. (EC, HC)
The Water Survey of Canada is the national authority responsible for the collection, interpretation and dissemination of standardized water resource data and information in Canada. In partnership with the provinces, territories and other agencies, the Water Survey of Canada operates over 2500 active hydrometric gauges across the country. For further information, please visit Environment Canada’s water survey website.

Performance expectations:
  • 100% availability of preliminary water level and discharge data available via the Internet for real-time hydrometric stations within 24 hours of occurrence.
1.2 Water Resources
Conduct research and modeling with respect to water use and management particularly in the design and implementation of integrated decision systems such as Integrated Watershed Management. (EC)
Use of coupled and ensemble modelling approaches for water cycle and environmental prediction to better inform water resource management decision making—this is being conducted by MSC and S&T (e.g. operationalizing the model for the Upper Great Lakes will be completed next year).

We also develop and test a numerical water analysis model for the integrated assessment of water use and availability at the watershed level, and apply the water analysis model to areas of federal interest. In addition, a numerical model (RIVICE) for the analysis of flooding due to river ice jams will be developed and tested and also applied to areas of federal interest.

The development of water models will provide a tool for developing solutions for wise water management and support the decision system for assessing impacts of changes in water use.

Performance expectations:
  • Testing and documentation of a new version of the Water Analysis Model.
  • Initial Water Analysis Model applications completed and documented for the Okanagan River Basin and South Saskatchewan River Basin.
  • First version of RIVICE tested by provincial and private sector collaborators.
1.2 Water Resources
Conduct surveys on water use such as the Municipal Water and Wastewater Survey (EC) and the CESI Industrial Water Use Survey, Survey of Drinking Water Plants and Agriculture Water Use Survey. (Stats Can, EC)
The four surveys assist in establishing 2009 sectoral water use baseline data. The 2009 Municipal Water and Wastewater Survey data has been collected and is currently undergoing quality control and analysis.

The CESI surveys are conducted by StatsCan and managed by Environment Canada. However, to be verified with StatsCan, the 2009 industrial water survey collection period is finished and publication is scheduled for early 2012. The 2010 Agriculture water survey collected information for the 2010 growing season and data will become available this spring 2011. The next survey of drinking water plants is scheduled for launch in early 2012 and will collect 2011 information.

The Municipal Water and Wastewater Survey assists in tracking progress of the FSDS Target 4.1 and Goal 4.

Performance expectations:
  • Quality control and analysis of 2009 Municipal Water and Wastewater Survey; data will be publically available by end of year 2011.
1.2 Water Resources
Continue the development and implementation of Water Availability Indicators. (HC, EC, NRCan)
To ensure continued sustainability of freshwater for human use and ecosystem support, water availability status in Canada must be tracked. “Water availability” refers to the volume of water in our rivers compared with the amount of water we are using. A water availability indicator (WAI) is currently under development.

Performance expectations:
  • Publication of the water availability indicator for all sub-drainage areas in Canada.
  • Water demand and availability ratio for the Mixed Grassland Case Study will be reported in the Clean Water Act annual report to be released in 2011.
1.2 Water Resources
Conduct hydrological and hydraulic studies in support of key environmental projects/programs of federal interest (e.g. oil sands). (EC)
Hydological and hydratic studies support the assessment of surface water quantity issues related to the wise use of water in specific watersheds and international river improvements and environmental assessment of the Major Projects Management Office infrastructure projects in areas of federal interest (e.g. oil sands).

Performance expectations:
  • Completion of the International River Improvements Act (IRIA) licensing process for the Long Lake Hydro project in British Columbia.
  • Publication of five Major Projects Management Office project assessments.
1.2 Water Resources
Develop appropriate tools to ensure federal leadership in water efficiency in the Federal House. (EC)
Develop, with federal colleagues, a federal specification for retrofitting or building new facilities, including a water efficiency objective and specifications.

Promote with administrators of federal infrastructure funding programs (Federation of Canadian Municipalities and Industry Canada) the need to include water efficiency requirements as criteria for funding allocations.

Performance expectations:
  • Environment Canada will provide annual reports to Environment Canada’s senior management on activities, successes and challenges.
1.2 Water Resources