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Safe Drinking Water Policy for Canada - Turning Hindsight into Foresight

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  • Steve E. Hrudey

    (University of Alberta)

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    Abstract

    Much of Canada lags international leaders in adopting management systems for assuring safe drinking water. Despite some clear progress in individual provinces, Canada, and small communities in particular, need a system that better promotes and rewards competence among drinking water providers. In much of the developed, industrialized world, including most of urbanized Canada, public drinking water poses a negligible health risk. But in the wake of a series of management failures with severe negative health consequences, Canada’s drinking water regulation is still managed in a fragmented way that leaves us vulnerable to water-quality failures, most likely in small systems. The problem is not that numerical water safety criteria are inadequately stringent; the documented failures have been caused by an inability to operate water systems effectively, pointing to poor operator competence and inadequate support systems. Canada needs the universal adoption of a “know your own system” water safety plan approach, based on a tangible demonstration of operator competence in understanding and delivering safe drinking water.

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    Bibliographic Info

    Article provided by C.D. Howe Institute in its journal C.D. Howe Institute Commentary.

    Volume (Year): (2011)
    Issue (Month): 323 (February)
    Pages:

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    Handle: RePEc:cdh:commen:323

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    Related research

    Keywords: Water Series; Canada; safe drinking water;

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    1. Diane P. Dupont & W.L. Adamowicz & Alan Krupnick, 2009. "Differences in Water Consumption Choices in Canada: the Role of Socio-demographics, Experiences, and Perceptions of Health Risks," Working Papers 0906, Brock University, Department of Economics.
    2. John Richards, 2011. "School Dropouts: Who Are They and What Can Be Done?," e-briefs 109, C.D. Howe Institute.
    3. Jotham Peters & Chris Bataille & Nic Rivers & Mark Jaccard, 2010. "Taxing Emissions, Not Income: How to Moderate the Regional Impact of Federal Environment Policy," C.D. Howe Institute Commentary, C.D. Howe Institute, issue 314, November.
    4. Philippe Bergevin & David Laidler, 2010. "Putting Money Back into Monetary Policy: A Monetary Anchor for Price and Financial Stability," C.D. Howe Institute Commentary, C.D. Howe Institute, issue 312, October.
    5. Philippe Bergevin & William B.P. Robson, 2011. "The Costs of Inflexible Indexing: Avoiding the Adverse Fiscal Impacts of Lower Inflation," C.D. Howe Institute Commentary, C.D. Howe Institute, issue 322, February.
    6. Angelo Melino, 2011. "Moving Monetary Policy Forward: Why Small Steps - and a Lower Inflation Target - Make Sense for the Bank of Canada," C.D. Howe Institute Commentary, C.D. Howe Institute, issue 319, January.
    7. David Longworth, 2010. "Warding Off Financial Market Failure: How to Avoid Squeezed Margins and Bad Haircuts," C.D. Howe Institute Backgrounder, C.D. Howe Institute, issue 135, December.
    8. Alexandre Laurin & William B.P. Robson, 2011. "A Faster Track to Fiscal Balance: The 2011 Shadow Budget," C.D. Howe Institute Commentary, C.D. Howe Institute, issue 320, February.
    9. Pierre Siklos & Andrew Spence, 2010. "Faceoff: Should the Bank of Canada Release its Projections of the Interest Rate Path? – The Cases For and Against," C.D. Howe Institute Backgrounder, C.D. Howe Institute, issue 134, October.
    10. David M. Cutler & Grant Miller, 2004. "The Role of Public Health Improvements in Health Advances: The 20th Century United States," NBER Working Papers 10511, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
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