Charting Global Water Volume
Water is so ubiquitous, that to consider its totality is as daunting a task as measuring every molecule of oxygen on earth or the number of words spoken in a single day. But science, mixed with a heavy dose of statistical modeling, has given us such a number and (drum roll please) it is 1,385,984,000 km³.
The shocker here for us humans, is that while there is plenty of water, most of it is littered with salt. In the first illustration below, you’ll notice that fresh water—on which human and industrial survival is predicated—is in the minority.
But this is still a lot of water. If you expand one of the square grid spaces above into 3D and have a 747-400 fly across it at a maximum airspeed of 915 km/h, the journey would take a little over an hour.
Now with a more detailed look fresh water, H2O’s premium brand, we find it is mostly locked-up in glaciers or underground. Readily available fresh water in lakes and rivers make up a relatively miniscule total of the global stock.
But again, this is still a lot of water. To get a sense of scale—it would take the elevator in the CN Tower going at its speed of 22 km/h about 14.4 hours to climb from the bottom of one of our cubes to the top.
Canadian Water Use
Geologically, Canada is loaded with fresh water. About 20 percent of the world's water supply is within Canada, but most of it is locked-up underground or in the frozen north. This works out to about half of our water draining into the Arctic Ocean and Hudson Bay, meaning it is inaccesable to the 85% of the Canadian population that lives next to the United States.
This is still a lot of water for 34 million Canadians! According to statistics Canada the total water withdrawn in a year is around 43 billion cubic meters. The majority is consumed in the power generation and manufacturing sectors. The residential figure is refering to municipal water system delivery, so this number isn't only household use but also businesses who draw municipal water. The figure for crop production (irrigation) is interesting because globally the trend is for this to be the number one use of water.
So there you have it. We have considered the billions and billions of litres of water found everywhere on earth. When you tally it all up, we see that the world is really an ocean.