MRO Magazine

New survey shows how industry uses water in Canada

Ottawa, ON Statistics Canada's new Industrial Water Survey, released in March 2008, gathered information on the i...

Ottawa, ON Statistics Canada’s new Industrial Water Survey, released in March 2008, gathered information on the intake and discharge of water by three groups of industries: manufacturing, mining and thermal-electric generating industries. It provides results for the year 2005.

The survey was sent to thermal-electric power generating plants (including nuclear electric power generators), coal mines, metal mines, non-metallic mineral mines (excluding sand, gravel, clay and ceramic and refractory mines and quarries) and manufacturers.

The survey collected information on sources of water, purposes for which the water was used, whether water was re-circulated or re-used, where the water was discharged and what treatments were used. It also collected information on water acquisition costs, treatment costs and operating and maintenance expenses related to water intake and discharge.

The survey found that these three industry groups had a total water intake in 2005 of nearly 40.4 billion cubic metres. This was enough to fill more than 16 million Olympic-sized swimming pools.


Thermal-electric power producers accounted for 80% of this intake, while manufacturers withdrew 19%, and mines took 1%.

These three groups discharged 38.6 billion cubic metres in wastewater in 2005. Again, thermal-electric power producers accounted for almost 81% of the total, manufacturing industries just over 17%, and the mining industries nearly 2%.

These industries recycled about 9.6 billion cubic metres of water. The thermal-electric power producers accounted for about 44% of this total, while manufacturing industries recycled about 35% and mining industries the remaining 21%.

The three groups had total water costs amounting to just over $2.8 billion.

Note: The 2005 Industrial Water Survey was conducted under the umbrella of the Canadian Environmental Sustainability Indicators project, a joint initiative of Statistics Canada, Environment Canada and Health Canada. It is the successor to the Water Use Survey last conducted by Statistics Canada for Environment Canada in 1996. This survey will be a biennial survey with the next version collecting data for 2007.