Water - An Industrial Raw Material

CIM Bulletin, 1952


Both the quantity and quality of waters available as raw materials are important to Canadian industry and to the national economy. The huge demands of many Canadian industries is illustrated by tabulated figures, based on the 1950 Canadian production of certain products, and on United States figures for the gallons of water required to produce a unit quantity of each product. It is suggested from comparison with American survey results and figures that Canadian industrial water consumption is 1 to 11h billion Imperial gallons per day. Since present information on Canadian usage is meagre and it is not certain that American survey results can he directly applied to Canadian industry, this estimate must await confirmation in future studies. The hydrologic cycle and the principal factors affecting the quantity and quality of water, namely, climate and season, topography, geology, vegetation, and human activities, are discussed and the principal salts dissolved in water witch affect industrial use are enumerated. The present su1wey studies by the Mines Branch on water quality are outlined. Besides chemical analyses of municipal water supplies within a watershed, periodic sampling and analyses of major surface waters for a one year period is being carried out. The importance of studies on seasonal variation in quality is stressed by comparing the dissolved salts in various river waters with river flow. Figures showing such relationships in the Rideau river and Ottawa river at Ottawa, the Columbia river at Trail, B.C., and the Battle river at Unwin, Sask., are presented. Different rivers show different quality changes with changing flow, and possibly only after longterm studies can the relationships be predicted. Quality studies on water may be as important as studies on many other raw materials. The quantity of the raw material, water, is not inexhaustible nor is the quality indestructible, and more realization of its importance, followed by conservation and intelligent use, is desirable.
Keywords: Canada, Canadian West, United States, water quality, watershed, Canadian, Consumption, Demand, industrial, quality, Surveys, United States, Water, Waters