Regional Water Quantity in Canadian Rivers

In 2011, water quantity conditions in most drainage regions across Canada were normal. Lower-than-normal water quantity was observed at the majority of monitoring stations in the Winnipeg drainage region. Higher-than-normal water quantity was observed at the majority of monitoring stations in the Missouri, Assiniboine–Red and Lower Saskatchewan–Nelson drainage regions. Most drainage regions have a mix of low, normal or high water quantity at their stations. For example, while normal water quantity was observed at the majority of monitoring stations in the South Saskatchewan, there were a large number of monitoring stations where conditions were higher-than-normal.

Percentage of monitoring stations in each drainage region with low, normal or high quantity with inset map of water quantity status of the majority of stations in each drainage region, Canada, 2011

Percentage of monitoring stations in each drainage region with low, normal or high quantity with inset map of water quantity status of the majority of stations in each drainage region, Canada, 2011

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How this indicator was calculated

Note: The 2011 water quantity classification for a station is based on comparison of the most frequently observed condition for that year with typical water quantity at that station between 1981 and 2010. Normal water quantities are specific to each region, and do not refer to the same amount of water in each drainage region (e.g., the normal water quantity on the Prairies is different from normal water quantity in the Maritimes). The numbers on the map refer to the drainage region numbers on the graph. There were not enough data to describe the Northern Quebec (18), North Shore–Gaspé (22), and Keewatin–Southern Baffin (16) drainage regions. The water quantity for the Great Lakes drainage region is based on rivers draining into the Great Lakes and not on the Great Lakes themselves. Classification of the Arctic Coast Islands is based on six stations located mostly on the mainland.
Source Water Survey of Canada, Environment Canada (2013) HYDAT Database. Retrieved on 19 August, 2013.

A drainage region is an area of land where all the water on it drains to the same river, lake, wetland or ocean. Stations within a drainage region are connected by a common water source, such as groundwater or a glacier. Every dam, municipal drinking water and wastewater treatment plant, and industrial facility affects the quantity of water at the next station downstream.

Canada’s five major river basins can be divided into 11 major drainage areas and 25 drainage regions. The drainage regions are large and generally named for the major river or lake systems in Canada. Natural changes in temperature, rainfall and snowfall each year affect the water quantity in a river for that year.

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