Enforceable Water Quality Standards
Measures the number of provinces and territories that have enforceable surface water quality standards.

Getting data to report on this impact measure is a work in progress. This shared measurement system belongs to all members of the Our Living Water Network, so if you have any data or ideas to share with us on this measure, please send us an email at info@ourlivingwaters.ca.

Overview

Many factors influence the health of our lakes, rivers, wetlands and other surface waters - many of which result from human caused threats. To determine whether water is of good quality, many parameters are analyzed such as the amount of heavy metals, nutrients and bacteria within it. Further complicating the matter, naturally occurring environmental factors can influence what’s in our water or how clean it is. For example, one river may have a high amount of sediment in it because it runs through sand, whereas another may be clear because it runs through bedrock. In the same way, some rivers may have more heavy metals in them because they run through a naturally occurring source.

The complexity and variation of surface water quality across the country means a single standard for all water quality parameters is problematic, though not impossible to overcome. Each province and territory should develop their own legally enforceable standards that reflect specific watershed contexts in their regions.

While a full analysis of this impact measure has not been completed, it is apparent that a patchwork of water quality ‘guidelines’, ‘objectives’, ‘standards’ and ‘criteria’ exist across the country. Each term with its own definition and enforceability. To get data for this impact measure, further research is required to determine, for each province and territory, whether these ‘guidelines’, ‘objectives’, ‘standards’ or ‘criteria’ are legally enforceable across the jurisdiction and whether they ensure high enough water quality to support healthy ecosystems.

5-Year target: To establish a process for, and identify, an initial benchmark for this impact measure.

Last updated November 2017

Note: The data presented here represents our best research given the time and resources at hand. We acknowledge there may be errors. This shared measurement system belongs to all members of the Our Living Water Network, so if you have any corrections for us, or ideas to share on this measure, please send us an email at info@ourlivingwaters.ca.

Enforceable Water Quality Standards|Measures the number of provinces and territories that have enforceable surface water
Enforceable Water Quality Standards|Measures the number of provinces and territories that have enforceable surface water quality standards.
Imagine a Canada where all waters are in good health: