Fresh Water-Related Indicators in Canada: An Inventory and Analysis

Dunn, Gemma; Bakker, Karen
June 2011
Canadian Water Resources Journal/Revue Canadienne des Ressources;Summer2011, Vol. 36 Issue 2, p135
Academic Journal
The number of fresh water-related assessment indicators in Canada has proliferated rapidly over the past decade. This article presents a comprehensive review and evaluation of existing fresh water-related indicators in Canada, and analyzes the extent to which these indicators can be (and are being) used to guide effective water assessment. Specifically, the article presents an inventory of over 300 fresh water-related indicators, the first of its kind in Canada. This inventory is analyzed with respect to jurisdictional scale (federal and provincial), method, and topic/issue of focus. The results drawn from a national-level survey and follow-up interviews regarding the effectiveness and utility of assessment indicators are presented. The key drivers and trends in indicator development are then explored. These findings suggest that certain types of indicators and topics are under-represented, that important gaps and overlaps exist, and that indicators are not sufficiently adapted to the needs of decision-makers. This has resulted in systemic barriers to the effective use of indicators, which has reduced water assessment capacity in Canada.


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