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Water: How We Use It

Water: How We Use It

  • In 1999, 26.5 million Canadians (87%) received central water services and 23.5 million (77%) were connected to central sanitation services. These included Canadians in rural areas but which are served centrally. There were approximately 4.0 million Canadians (13%) in rural areas with self-supply water services and 7.05 million Canadians (23%) with individual sanitation services (essentially all on-site septic tanks and drainage fields). Almost 9 million, or 30.3% of all Canadians, rely of groundwater for domestic use. Approximately two-thirds, or 5 million, of these users live in rural areas.
  • In 1996, over 40% of Canada's municipal water systems were reliant on groundwater.
  • In 1996, the average daily flow of drinking water was 14.3 million m3, with 2.7 million m3 (18%) coming from groundwater. In 2001, the average daily freshwater domestic use per capita was 335 litres, of which 35% is for bathing, 25% for laundry and cleaning, 30% for toilet flushing, and 10% for cooking and drinking.

Canada's watery lifestyle [3.2 MB]

Water uses

Use Amount
Toilet flush 15-19 L
Shower (5 minute) 100 L
Tub bath 60 L
Hand washing (with tap running) L
Teeth brushing (with tap running) 10 L
Outdoor watering 35 L/min
Automatic dishwashing 40 L
Dishwashing by hand 35 L
Washing machine 225 L
  • In 1999, total Canadian household use was estimated at 7.9 billion litres per day, enough to fill 91 000 rail tank cars.
  • In 1999, Canadians charged prices based on the volume of water used had a consumption level of 269 litres per person per day. Those paying flat rates used 457 litres per person per day, or 70% more water.
  • In 1999, 56% of the municipal population had water meters.
  • In 1999, over 37% of residential customers were charged a flat rate for water, providing no conservation incentive. In 1999, almost 50% of all rate types applied (commercial and residential) were the flat rate type.
  • According to latest figures, 42% of households reported using low flow showerheads and 15% reported using water-conserving toilets.
  • In 1993, Ontario became the first province to introduce plumbing codes that require all toilets, showerheads, and faucets in new buildings to be water conserving.

Source: Environment Canada

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