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Safe Drinking Water Policy for Canada - Turning Hindsight into Foresight

Author

Listed:
  • Steve E. Hrudey

    (University of Alberta)

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.

Suggested Citation

  • Steve E. Hrudey, 2011. "Safe Drinking Water Policy for Canada - Turning Hindsight into Foresight," C.D. Howe Institute Commentary, C.D. Howe Institute, issue 323, February.
  • Handle: RePEc:cdh:commen:323
    as

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    File URL: https://www.cdhowe.org/public-policy-research/safe-drinking-water-policy-canada-%E2%80%93-turning-hindsight-foresight
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    References listed on IDEAS

    as
    1. 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.
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    Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)

    More about this item

    Keywords

    Water Series; Canada; safe drinking water;

    JEL classification:

    • Q53 - Agricultural and Natural Resource Economics; Environmental and Ecological Economics - - Environmental Economics - - - Air Pollution; Water Pollution; Noise; Hazardous Waste; Solid Waste; Recycling
    • Q58 - Agricultural and Natural Resource Economics; Environmental and Ecological Economics - - Environmental Economics - - - Environmental Economics: Government Policy

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