About Project

In rural Newfoundland and Labrador (NL), watersheds provide drinking water supplies while also supporting other resources and activities that form our culture, identity, and economy. Healthy drinking water supplies are dependent on healthy watersheds as well as on supporting water policies, practices and infrastructure.

This study will identify the types of risks and challenges influencing drinking water quality and availability in rural areas, with a particular emphasis on communities of 1,000 residents or less in NL. There are four major components of this research study that will be assessed:

Source Water Quality and Quantity: This project will explore concerns related to drinking water supplies in the province and associated health risks, with a focus on boil water advisories.

Public Perception, Awareness, and Demand: Recognizing the unique and varied circumstances rural residents face, attitudes towards water in NL and innovative approaches to issues of water supply, demand management and education efforts will be investigated.

Policy and Governance: The policies and governance structures surrounding water and water management greatly influence drinking water supplies and municipal operations.  The project team will explore options for policy and governance solutions to achieve sustainable drinking water systems in rural NL.

Drinking Water Infrastructure and Operations: Throughout Canada current water infrastructure in rural areas is often out of date and no longer viable for the needs of the 21st century. The study will examine the current condition of water infrastructure in rural NL, operations of drinking water treatment systems and what investments are needed to improve drinking water systems.

This interdisciplinary research addresses knowledge gaps related to drinking water systems in NL by providing a current and comprehensive picture of drinking water issues in small communities from a multitude of angles. This will be accomplished by drawing from current and past research and existing sources at federal, provincial and municipal levels, as well as research from other jurisdictions. Dialogue with stakeholders will also be a key component for understanding issues and solutions for drinking water systems in NL.

This research is led by Kelly Vodden (Memorial University, Grenfell Campus) in collaboration with Municipalities Newfoundland and Labrador (MNL) and Professional Municipal Administrators (PMA). Funding support from the Harris Centre – RBC Water Research and Outreach Fund is gratefully acknowledged. For more information contact Sarah Minnes (project coordinator): sminnes@grenfell.mun.ca. Also please visit the rural resilience website, profiling this project as well as other rural and regional development focused research initiatives at: http://ruralresilience.ca