The Value of Water in Canada

  • Muller R
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This research study was one of twenty commissioned by an Inquiry on Federal Water Policy, called the Pearse Inquiry. This inquiry was established in January, 1984, by the Canadian government to examine the supply and management of water resources. For this secondary study, a variety sources and results from other studies were used to estimate the value of water for two categories of uses: a) withdrawl uses such as municipal, irrigation and industrial, and b) instream uses such as hydroelectricy and sport fishing. These estimates suggest water contributes services to the Canadian economy in the range of $7.5 to $23 billion dollars or 2 to 5 percent of Gross National Product. (See tables 1 and 2 for values). The study concluded that instream uses of water are likely to dominate withdrawal uses in the future. For this study, instream uses such as sport fishery and hydoelectricity had a total value of $15.13 billion compared to $7.89 billion for withdrawl uses such as irrigation and industry. Furthermore, this study observed that water benefits in a natural setting are probably greater than those associated with industrial use. As a result, the authors caution there should be careful consideration of recreational and non-use values of water in future development proposals. (Values in 1984 Canadian Dollars).

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  • R. Andrew Muller

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