The Environment and Climate Change Canada's Hydrometric Data

Year Published

1850 to present


Hydrometric data are standardized water quantity data and information. In Canada, they are collected, interpreted and disseminated by the Water Survey of Canada (WSC) in partnership with the provinces, territories and other agencies through the National Hydrometric Program. Two types of hydrometric data are available through the WSC website: “real-time” hydrometric data from over 1900 stations on rivers, streams, and lakes across Canada, and historical hydrometric data, which includes daily mean, monthly mean, annual maximum and minimum daily mean and instantaneous peak water level, streamflow (also known as discharge) and sediment concentration for over 2700 active and 5080 discontinued hydrometric monitoring stations across Canada.

Additional Documentation

There are a couple of different ways to access those hydrometric data. Depending on what type of data (i.e., real-time vs. historical) you are looking for, you can use either real-time station search tool or historical station search tool to conduct a station search by station name or station number, or browse a list of stations refined by an area (Province or Territory, Drainage Basin, Water Survey of Canada (WSC) Region or geographical coordinates). Similarly, you can use this real-time map search tool or historical map search tool to select stations of interest and to view hydrometric conditions at these stations. Data are presented in simple graphical and tabular formats.

If you would like to access data in bulk, you can download the real-time hydrometric data in CSV format by province or territory or download the HYDAT Database (WSC’s quarterly published archive of hydrometric data) in a format of Microsoft Access database file and sqlite3 file. However, the bulk data downloaded from the WSC website sometime can be messy and in a format that is likely unfamiliar to many users. A R package called “tidyhydat” has been developed to provide a standard method of accessing the WSC historical and real-time national hydrometric data and then apply tidy data principles to make the data easy to use. You can find a tutorial about how to use this package on our workshops and tutorials page.  
For the data on the hydrometric stations (including station name, station number, geographic coordinates), you can use this hydrometric station metadata index tool to download station metadata or browse this hydrometric station reference index listed in stream order beginning with the most upstream stations and extending to the most downstream stations.



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