Thompson Rivers University
Thompson Rivers University

Sources of Water

Water in Canada

Most people picture Canada as a country with an abundance of water—even if you’re not by a stream, river, or lake, water isn’t very far away.

However, as in every other country, water supplies in Canada are under pressure; the quality is deteriorating, and the amount of available water is shrinking.

The Water Cycle


The Sources of Surface Water

Water on the planet is recycled in a process called the hydrologic cycle. In this cycle, water is used by plants and animals or evaporates into the air and then returns to the earth in the form of rain or snow.

Surface Water and Ground Water

There are two basic sources of water:

Surface water
  • found on the surface of the earth
  • easy to develop, but easily contaminated by animal waste and human activity
  • requires treatment to remove hazards so that it is safe to drink
Ground water
  • found underground and generally obtained from a well
  • has few microbiological hazards if well is protected from animal waste and human activity
  • may contain harmful minerals and require treatment (type and amount depends on source and construction of the water system)

Small Water System Flow Chart: Water Source