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Enhancing water quality

Goal 3: Water quality – Protect and enhance the quality of water so that it is clean, safe and secure for all Canadians and supports healthy ecosystems.

Progress towards Goal 3: Freshwater quality indicator for the protection of aquatic life (Water Quality Index)

Overall, the national freshwater quality indicator has remained stable between 2003 and 2009.

For the period 2007 to 2009, freshwater quality was rated as excellent or good at 41% of stations, fair at 39% and marginal at 17%.

Overall, the national freshwater quality indicator remained stable between 2003 and 2009. For the period from 2007 to 2009, freshwater quality in rivers in populated regions of Canada was rated excellent or good at 71 monitoring stations (41%), fair at 67 stations (39%), marginal at 30 stations (17%) and poor at 5 stations (3%). Figure 3.4 demonstrates the freshwater quality ratings for the 2007 to 2009 period.

Factors affecting freshwater quality include the amount of pollution released directly into water and the amount of pollution from land and air that reaches water. Human activities, like urban growth, agricultural activities and industrial development, change how water moves across the land and can also directly pollute water. Freshwater quality is also affected by natural changes in rain and snowfall. These precipitation changes vary the amount of water runoff from the land and the pollutants transported to rivers, lakes and reservoirs. For the most up-to-date information on this indicator, please visit CESI.

Figure 3.4: National freshwater quality indicator for 2007 to 2009, Canada

National freshwater quality indicator for 2007 to 2009, Canada

Long description

The bar graph presents the status of freshwater quality for the period 2007 to 2009 at 173 river monitoring stations selected to be representative of 16 drainage regions in Canada where human activities are most intense. The bars show the number of stations where freshwater quality for the protection of aquatic life was rated excellent (9), good (62), fair (67), marginal (30) and poor (5).

Drinking water advisories

The government has been working to expand the adoption of a realtime, secure alerting and surveillance system that allows jurisdictions to track drinking water information, particularly boil-water advisories and their root causes. The system is fully developed and continues to adapt to meet the needs of drinking-water oversight agencies. Work continues with Canadian jurisdictions to support and enhance its use and provide expert assistance in this area. The system respects jurisdictional ownership of the information, but will provide Canada-wide information on the context and numbers of drinking-water advisories on a national basis, and will help characterize the needs of the drinking-water systems and communities affected. To date, six provinces/territories and two First Nations Regions have either fully implemented the system or are currently preparing to do so.

Information for this indicator will be available on the CESI website at a later date.

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