Currently in Canada, no central location or repository exists for fresh water-related indicators and their associated data. Little attention has been given to characterizing and analyzing the types of environmental indicators currently available in the water sector. Our policy report “Canadian Approaches to Assessing Water Security: An Inventory of Indicators“ attempts to fill this gap. In this report we provide a review and evaluation of existing fresh water-related indicators in Canada and analyze the capacity of these indicators to aid decision-making. Specifically, we present our inventory of 365 Canadian fresh water-related indicators, the first of its kind.
The inventory is analyzed and the key gaps and overlaps are highlighted. In addition, we explore the impact of jurisdictional fragmentation in federal and provincial/territorial government on the uptake of indicators. Focusing at the federal and provincial/territorial levels, we identify key drivers and trends in indicator development and identify major obstacles in Canada’s capacity to assess water security. We present recommendations designed to increase the effectiveness of water security assessments in Canada.
Once compiled the inventory was analyzed and common themes were identified. The inventory was then sub-divided into the 9 most common themes and where possible, comparison tables were created to enable further analysis, and identify gaps and overlaps. The 9 most common freshwater indicator themes were: water quality, water quantity, ecosystem health, human health, surface water, groundwater, integrated (surface and groundwater) infrastructure and governance.