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Safe Drinking Water Policy for Canada - Turning Hindsight into Foresight

  • Steve E. Hrudey

    (University of Alberta)

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    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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    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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    7. John Richards, 2011. "School Dropouts: Who Are They and What Can Be Done?," e-briefs 109, C.D. Howe Institute.
    8. 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.
    9. 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.
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