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Exploring solutions for sustainable rural drinking water systems: a study of rural Newfoundland and Labrador drinking water systems

The report, Exploring Solutions for Sustainable Rural Drinking Water Systems, led by Dr. Kelly Vodden, of the Grenfell campus Environmental Policy Institute and a eam of Memorial researchers, is the first province wide, comprehensive, multi-disciplinary, publicly-engaged investigation of the challenges rural Newfoundland and Labrador faces in accessing safe drinking water.

Funded through the Harris Centre-RBC Water Research and Outreach Fund, which has funded over a dozen research projects on drinking water in Newfoundland and Labrador over the last four years, this report looks at issues related to source water, drinking water infrastructure and operations, public perceptions of water quality, demand for drinking water, as well as policy and governance. The report also identifies possible solutions and will serve as a guide to policy makers and future research.

“Small rural communities in this province face unique challenges when it comes to providing safe drinking water to residents,” said Dr. Vodden. “One of the most interesting challenges we observed was in public perception of drinking water – in Newfoundland and Labrador, many residents often turn to alternative unmonitored drinking water sources, such as roadside springs or bottled water, because they believe them to be safer; this leaves communities footing the bill for services not being utilized, and residents putting themselves at risk by using unmonitored water sources.”

The report identifies several potential solutions to drinking water issues, including increased public education, and regional collaboration on infrastructure, operations and management. The researchers also recommend further research into water supplies, technology and operations as well as health implications of disinfectant by-products, and alternatives for policy and governance.

Click here to download the report, or view it interactively below.

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