Découvrez un Québec bleu

La gestion intégrée de l'eau par bassin

Overview about Quebec and Water into 2 mn

Overview of Canada and Québec

Covering a territory of 9,984,670 km², Canada is a country made of 10 provinces (Newfoundland and Labrador, Prince Edward Island, Nova Scotia, New-Brunswick, Québec, Ontario, Manitoba, Saskatchewan, Alberta and British Columbia), as well as three territories (Nunavut, Northwest territories, Yukon).

The province of Québec covers a total area of 1,667,000 km². With almost 17% of the total Canadian territory, Quebec is the largest province in the country. Québec has a population of 7,500,000 inhabitants, which makes it the second largest provinces after Ontario(1).

Québec: land of lakes and rivers

There are 430 major watersheds in Quebec; 100 of them cover a catchment area of more than 4,000 km². The province includes more than half a million lakes, of which 30 have an area greater than 250 km². There are also 4,500 rivers in the province(2) for a total of 355,315 km² of land covered with water(3), which can be compared to the total area of Germany

The St. Lawrence River is an important part of Quebec's hydrographical landscape. Its watershed makes up 40% of the province's renewable fresh water(4).

Québec: land of fresh water

Almost 10% of the Québec territory is covered with fresh water. Québec's 990 km³ per year of renewable water represents 3% of the planet's renewable fresh water.

Also, the important underground water reserves of the province are evaluated at 2,000 km³.(5)

Québec, land of forests

The Québec's forests cover almost 750,300 km², which represents almost half of the province's territory(6). This resource is also an important source of revenue. In 2005, the forest industry represented more than 18% of the total manufacturing industry incomes (679 039 000$(7).

Québec's water: an important source of energy

In 2000, the Quebec Province had a total of 145 hydroelectric plants. This signifies that around fifty rivers were harnessed, in 30 different hydrographic basins(8).

In 2006, 205,661 million kWh of hydroelectricity were produced, that is to say 96,8% of the total production in Quebec. The clear exports of electricity have been established at 6,3 TWh for the same year. This represents an increase of 75% compared to 2005(9). In 2004, Canada was the fourth producer of hydroelectricity on the planet after China, United States and Brazil and Quebec produced almost 50% of the total hydroelectricity in the country(10).

Québec: land of agriculture

In 2006, there were 30,000 farms in the province of Quebec, for a total agricultural area of about 63 000 km².(11) During the same year, the agricultural sector had revenues of about $6,3G(12).

Important efforts have been made in the last years by the agricultural sector regarding the soil and waterways conservation. As an example, 94% of farms with a declared waterway had 1 m vegetative buffer strips and 61% of them had 3 m strips(13).

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Québec: land of recreotourism

Québec is also a very in demand tourist destination, because of its geography, relief, landscapes, vegetation and, more than anything else, its diversified climate. With its big spaces and its typical four seasons, the province attracted more than 54 million tourists in 2005(14).

In 2005, the tourist industry generated alone 133 000 direct jobs. This puts that industry in the second position, just after the construction industry. Around 60% of those jobs were created in the rural regions. The GDP generated by the expenses in that sector of the economy was estimated at 7,6G$ in 2005(15).


A bloom of cyanobacterias (blue-green algae) affected 194 lakes and rivers in the summer of 2007 and 138 in 2008. Since the summer of 2007, important efforts have been made in many sectors to counter that problematic.

During the spring of the same year, the Quebec government announced an intervention plan to fight blue-green algae (2007-2017). The ROBVQ, a provincial network of watershed organizations, and its 41 member organizations, contributed to that plan by the realization of public education and awareness initiatives, monitoring and intervention in the buffer strips.


  1. Statistic Canada, 2006
  2. Québec Water Policy, 2002
  3. Institut de la Statistique du Québec
  4. Québec Water Policy, 2002
  5. Québec Water Policy, 2002
  6. Ministère des Ressources Naturelles et de la Faune (MRNF)
  7. Statistic Canada, 2005
  8. Québec Water Policy, 2002
  9. MRNF and Statistic Canada
  10. Hydro Québec and Agence Internationale de l'Énergie, 2007
  11. Institut de la Statistique du Québec
  12. Ministère de l'Agriculture, des Pêcheries et de l'Alimentation du Québec (MAPAQ)
  13. MAPAQ
  14. Tourisme Québec, 2006
  15. Statistic Canada, ISQ and Ministère du Tourisme du Québec