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Water is used for a wide variety of purposes in Yukon. Some industries, such as agriculture and placer mining, depend entirely on the availability of water. Hydro power plants need reliable river flows, as well as water storage, in order to meet energy demands. Hard rock mines often have too much water and have to manage it carefully to minimize impacts on surrounding water quality. In communities, groundwater is the main source of drinking water, and after treatment our sewage is discharged to surface and groundwater sources. We use water bodies and waterways for travel, firefighting, recreation, and harvesting. Water also has great cultural significance for many Yukoners. Most importantly, water provides ecosystem services, helping to maintain the natural environment we rely on.
Ecosystem services is a catch-all term for things water, in its natural setting, does for us. Generally, ecosystem services are broken into four categories.
Water use information as it relates to hydro power, mining, agriculture, fisheries & aquaculture, oil & gas and forestry.
We use water in our communities for drinking, cooking, toilets, bathing or showering, laundry, cleaning, and other household needs including lawn and garden watering, and car washing. Water use surveys conducted by Environment Canada over the past number of years indicate that Yukoners use consistently more water per person than the average Canadian does for residential use.
Water presents both a threat and a safeguard to public safety. Precipitation can impact the safety of our roads, and combined with other factors, such as glacial melt, may lead to extensive flooding. Alternatively, water is vital to the protection of our homes and forests from fires. Finally, the prevention and remediation of pollution helps to safeguard our water supplies from contamination.
© Government of Yukon and F. Mueller