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Special Issue "Access, Health, Regulations, and Policy: Exploring Rural and Remote Drinking Water Supplies in North America"

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A special issue of International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health (ISSN 1660-4601).

Deadline for manuscript submissions: closed (15 February 2014)

Special Issue Editor

Guest Editor
Prof. Dr. Cheryl Waldner

School of Public Health University of Saskatchewan Saskatoon, SK S7N 5E5, Canada
Website | E-Mail

Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

Limited access to safe water and sanitation is one of the most important global threats to human health. International studies have linked poor quality drinking water to chronic disease and cancer in addition to water-borne infections such as diarrhea and hepatitis A. While this is a critical issue in developing nations, many North American’s don’t realize that drinking water quality is a concern for many people in Canada and the USA who live outside major urban centers. Families in many areas still rely on inadequately tested and treated surface or groundwater to supply their homes. Access to safe drinking water is a particular concern for First Nations communities. There are many outstanding questions regarding the most appropriate policies and regulations for training, testing, treatment, and enforcement outside of major population centers. However, there is currently very little epidemiologic research focusing on water quality and health in rural and remote areas of North America. This special issue will focus on gathering evidence to inform policy and regulations, as well as highlighting community-based strategies to increase local capacity to address challenges related to poor drinking water quality.  Papers addressing issues relevant to water quality and health in rural and remote areas of North America are invited and particularly those using community-based methods to work towards more equitable access to clean and safe drinking water.

Cheryl Waldner
Lalita Bharadwaj
Guest Editors

Submission

Manuscripts should be submitted online at www.mdpi.com by registering and logging in to this website. Once you are registered, click here to go to the submission form. Manuscripts can be submitted until the deadline. Papers will be published continuously (as soon as accepted) and will be listed together on the special issue website. Research articles, review articles as well as communications are invited. For planned papers, a title and short abstract (about 100 words) can be sent to the Editorial Office for announcement on this website.

Submitted manuscripts should not have been published previously, nor be under consideration for publication elsewhere (except conference proceedings papers). All manuscripts are refereed through a peer-review process. A guide for authors and other relevant information for submission of manuscripts is available on the Instructions for Authors page. International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health is an international peer-reviewed Open Access monthly journal published by MDPI.

Please visit the Instructions for Authors page before submitting a manuscript. The Article Processing Charge (APC) for publication in this open access journal is 1600 CHF (Swiss Francs).


Published Papers (4 papers)

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Research

Open AccessArticle Associations between Perceptions of Drinking Water Service Delivery and Measured Drinking Water Quality in Rural Alabama
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2014, 11(7), 7376-7392; doi:10.3390/ijerph110707376
Received: 17 March 2014 / Revised: 3 June 2014 / Accepted: 30 June 2014 / Published: 18 July 2014
Cited by 6 | PDF Full-text (398 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text | Supplementary Files
Abstract
Although small, rural water supplies may present elevated microbial risks to consumers in some settings, characterizing exposures through representative point-of-consumption sampling is logistically challenging. In order to evaluate the usefulness of consumer self-reported data in predicting measured water quality and risk factors for
[...] Read more.
Although small, rural water supplies may present elevated microbial risks to consumers in some settings, characterizing exposures through representative point-of-consumption sampling is logistically challenging. In order to evaluate the usefulness of consumer self-reported data in predicting measured water quality and risk factors for contamination, we compared matched consumer interview data with point-of-survey, household water quality and pressure data for 910 households served by 14 small water systems in rural Alabama. Participating households completed one survey that included detailed feedback on two key areas of water service conditions: delivery conditions (intermittent service and low water pressure) and general aesthetic characteristics (taste, odor and color), providing five condition values. Microbial water samples were taken at the point-of-use (from kitchen faucets) and as-delivered from the distribution network (from outside flame-sterilized taps, if available), where pressure was also measured. Water samples were analyzed for free and total chlorine, pH, turbidity, and presence of total coliforms and Escherichia coli. Of the 910 households surveyed, 35% of participants reported experiencing low water pressure, 15% reported intermittent service, and almost 20% reported aesthetic problems (taste, odor or color). Consumer-reported low pressure was associated with lower gauge-measured pressure at taps. While total coliforms (TC) were detected in 17% of outside tap samples and 12% of samples from kitchen faucets, no reported water service conditions or aesthetic characteristics were associated with presence of TC. We conclude that consumer-reported data were of limited utility in predicting potential microbial risks associated with small water supplies in this setting, although consumer feedback on low pressure—a risk factor for contamination—may be relatively reliable and therefore useful in future monitoring efforts. Full article
Open AccessArticle Drinking Water Management: Health Risk Perceptions and Choices in First Nations and Non-First Nations Communities in Canada
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2014, 11(6), 5889-5903; doi:10.3390/ijerph110605889
Received: 7 March 2014 / Revised: 23 May 2014 / Accepted: 26 May 2014 / Published: 30 May 2014
Cited by 8 | PDF Full-text (246 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
The relationship between tap water and health has been a topic of public concern and calls for better management in Canada since well-publicized contamination events in two provinces (Ontario and Saskatchewan) in 2000–2001. This study reports the perspectives on health risks from tap
[...] Read more.
The relationship between tap water and health has been a topic of public concern and calls for better management in Canada since well-publicized contamination events in two provinces (Ontario and Saskatchewan) in 2000–2001. This study reports the perspectives on health risks from tap water and corresponding use of, and spending on, bottled water in a number of different communities in Canada. In 2009–2010, four First Nations communities (three from Ontario and one from Saskatchewan) and a geographically diverse sample of non-First Nations Canadians were surveyed about their beliefs concerning health risks from tap water and their spending practices for bottled water as a substitute. Responses to five identical questions were examined, revealing that survey respondents from Ontario First Nations communities were more likely than non-First Nations Canadians to believe bottled water is safer than tap water (OR 1.6); more likely to report someone became ill from tap water (OR 3.6); more likely to express water and health concerns related to tap water consumption (OR 2.4); and more likely to spend more on bottled water (OR 4.9). On the other hand, participants from one Saskatchewan First Nations community were less likely than non-First Nations Canadians to believe that someone had become ill from drinking tap water (OR 3.8), less likely to believe bottled water is safer than tap (OR 2.0), and less likely to have health concerns with tap water (OR 1.5). These differences, however, did not translate into differences in the likelihood of high bottled water expenditures or being a 100% bottled water consumer. The paper discusses how the differences observed may be related to water supply and regulation, trust, perceived control, cultural background, location, and past experience. Full article
Open AccessArticle Drinking Water Quality Guidelines across Canadian Provinces and Territories: Jurisdictional Variation in the Context of Decentralized Water Governance
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2014, 11(5), 4634-4651; doi:10.3390/ijerph110504634
Received: 17 February 2014 / Revised: 8 April 2014 / Accepted: 17 April 2014 / Published: 25 April 2014
Cited by 4 | PDF Full-text (210 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
This article presents the first comprehensive review and analysis of the uptake of the Canadian Drinking Water Quality Guidelines (CDWQG) across Canada’s 13 provinces and territories. This review is significant given that Canada’s approach to drinking water governance is: (i) highly decentralized and
[...] Read more.
This article presents the first comprehensive review and analysis of the uptake of the Canadian Drinking Water Quality Guidelines (CDWQG) across Canada’s 13 provinces and territories. This review is significant given that Canada’s approach to drinking water governance is: (i) highly decentralized and (ii) discretionary. Canada is (along with Australia) only one of two Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) member states that does not comply with the World Health Organization’s (WHO) recommendation that all countries have national, legally binding drinking water quality standards. Our review identifies key differences in the regulatory approaches to drinking water quality across Canada’s 13 jurisdictions. Only 16 of the 94 CDWQG are consistently applied across all 13 jurisdictions; five jurisdictions use voluntary guidelines, whereas eight use mandatory standards. The analysis explores three questions of central importance for water managers and public health officials: (i) should standards be uniform or variable; (ii) should compliance be voluntary or legally binding; and (iii) should regulation and oversight be harmonized or delegated? We conclude with recommendations for further research, with particular reference to the relevance of our findings given the high degree of variability in drinking water management and oversight capacity between urban and rural areas in Canada. Full article
Open AccessArticle Risk Factors Associated with the Choice to Drink Bottled Water and Tap Water in Rural Saskatchewan
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2014, 11(2), 1626-1646; doi:10.3390/ijerph110201626
Received: 12 November 2013 / Revised: 30 December 2013 / Accepted: 22 January 2014 / Published: 30 January 2014
Cited by 3 | PDF Full-text (578 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
A cross-sectional study investigated risk factors associated with choices to drink bottled water and tap water in rural Saskatchewan. Of 7,500 anonymous postal questionnaires mailed out, 2,065 responses were analyzed using generalized linear mixed models. Those who reported a water advisory (p
[...] Read more.
A cross-sectional study investigated risk factors associated with choices to drink bottled water and tap water in rural Saskatchewan. Of 7,500 anonymous postal questionnaires mailed out, 2,065 responses were analyzed using generalized linear mixed models. Those who reported a water advisory (p < 0.001) or living in the area for £10 years (p = 0.01) were more likely to choose bottled water. Those who reported tap water was not safe to drink were more likely to choose bottled water, an effect greater for those who had no aesthetic complaints (p ≤ 0.001), while those with aesthetic complaints were more likely to choose bottled water if they believed the water was safe (p < 0.001). Respondents who treated their water and did not use a community supply were more likely to choose bottled water (p < 0.001), while those who did not treat their water were more likely to choose bottled water regardless of whether a community supply was used (p < 0.001). A similar pattern of risk factors was associated with a decreased likelihood of consuming tap water daily; however, the use of a community water supply was not significant. Understanding the factors involved in drinking water choices could inform public health education efforts regarding water management in rural areas. Full article
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