Harmful contaminants in our water can significantly hurt the environment, our communities that rely on that water, and our ability to swim, bathe and recreate in the water. Ensuring good water quality is essential to good water health, and as a result, is one of our key indicators.
In June 2017, WWF-Canada released their country-wide assessment of all Canada’s waters. The Watershed Reports included four key factors, including water quality. The other three factors WWF-Canada measured are water flow, fish and benthic invertebrates. Each of these factors were individually evaluated, and an overall health score was assessed by averaging the score of these four factors.
Watersheds across Canada are given a rating for water quality by WWF-Canada based on the levels of a set of contaminants in rivers - e.g. chloride, phosphorus, heavy metals - compared to standards or guidelines set by provincial/territorial and federal governments (note: these standards or guidelines are set for aquatic life, and differ from the ones used for human health and drinking safety). Long-term trends in substance levels are also considered.
Part of our goal of all Canada’s waters in good health by 2030 includes ensuring good water quality by limiting the amount of contaminants in our water so that our aquatic ecosystems can thrive.
Last updated June 2018