Canada is widely seen as a nation rich in water resources, accounting for 8% of the world's renewable freshwater resources. A comparison of total annual water renewal rates vs. total annual demand puts Canada in the top tier of countries whose gross renewable supplies far exceed its water-use demands. The perception of abundance masks other realities concerning the availability of these resources and discounts the significance of the mounting list of situations where sustainable-use concerns exist at the local and regional levels.
Hospitals are often the largest water users in a community. Inefficient and non-productive uses of water continue to drive avoidable expenditures and debt accumulation for the construction, expansion, operation and rehabilitation of municipal and private water infrastructure. They also result in excessive energy consumption and contribute to the inefficient use of other resources.
Much of Canada's water wealth is situated in areas far removed from the point of need thereby limiting its availability and potential for development. The cumulative demand for water results in competition for locally available supplies and threatens aquatic ecosystems and environmental health. Climate change predictions show that many parts of the country are likely to experience increasing risks from reduced water availability and increased water demand.