Characteristics of Small Residential and Commercial Water Systems that Influence their Likelihood of Being on Drinking Water Advisories in Rural British Columbia, Canada

Description:Many parts of Canada still rely on drinking water supplies that lack proper maintenance and fall below current health standards. Several reports have highlighted these shortcomings, suggesting that the high number of persistent boil water advisories indicates that several regions have made little progress towards providing safer drinking water. While health officials agree that the number of drinking water advisories is a concern, there is limited information about the characteristics that predict which water systems are most likely to be placed on advisory and persist on advisory. Research suggests that long lasting drinking water advisories occur most often among small water systems (SWS) and experts agree that SWS face a number of challenges meeting current water quality standards.Here we use data collected by the Interior Health Authority (IHA) in British Columbia to characterize water systems on advisory, and to identify the variables associated with advisory status and length. Through a systematic extraction of key characteristics from reports within the IHA database, we explored how advisory status and length is associated with water systems size, geographic location, governance structure, water source, treatment level, and service type (e.g. commercial versus residential / community systems). Our results highlight the importance of governance structure and support the need for targeted interventions and support for residential small water systems not operated by local governments or utilities. Lastly, these results demonstrate how health officials can use administrative data to identify trends and challenges for program planning and evaluation.

Authors: Edwards, Joanne

Subjects: Small Water Systems, Drinking Water

Tags:local government,drinking water advisories,small water systems,ac2012

Citation:2012 BCWWA Annual Conference, Session 10, Penticton

Publication Date:Aug 7th, 2012 Upload Date:Aug 7th, 2012

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