Billions of litres of water are used yearly by Quebec’s mining and metal industry, data reveals – by Jaela Bernstien and Naël Shiab (CBC News Climate – February 2, 2024)

Advocates hope more transparency will help towns struggling with water shortages

Quebec has lifted the veil of secrecy around the province’s biggest water users, revealing that billions of litres of water are withdrawn yearly by the mining and metal industry, along with pulp and paper manufacturing.

The data dump, which includes records going back a decade, also lists golf clubs, ski hills, water bottling plants and food processors among the companies that are withdrawing tens of millions — sometimes hundreds of millions — of litres in a year.

The records don’t specify the quality or amount of water withdrawn by each organization that’s returned to the environment after use. Although Quebec is abundant in freshwater, holding three per cent of the world’s renewable supply, regions in the south that rely on groundwater for agriculture and drinking water are often more vulnerable to shortages.

Calls for more transparency have mounted in recent years after towns in the south of the province struggled with water shortages and, in some cases, were even forced to restrict water usage.

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