The capacity of Montreal Lake, SK to provide safe drinking water
Lebel, Pierre Mathieu
Recent waterborne disease outbreaks in Canada have brought national awareness to drinking water safety. In particular, the long history of poor water quality plaguing First Nations communities has received substantial public attention. Despite several initiatives from the federal government and considerable financial support, the quality of drinking water on reserves has shown little improvement and continues to pose health risks. As a result, there is a growing interest in the ability of First Nations communities to effectively manage their drinking water resources. The purpose of this study was to assess the capacity of Montreal Lake, SK to provide its residents with safe drinking water, both now and into the future. This research employed a mixed methods approach in the examination of the community’s water system and management practices. Data sources included individual interviews, a public workshop, documents and inspection reports, and water quality data. Water system capacity was considered in terms of financial, human resources, institutional, social/political, and technical dimensions. An analytical framework was developed through a literature review where each dimension of capacity was rated based on a series of indicators. It was determined that there are no serious deficiencies in the management of Montreal Lake’s drinking water. However, a number of flaws in each aspect drinking water management were detected. These include weak linkages between the agencies responsible for drinking water provision, and a low level of drinking water safety for community residents served by the truck haul distribution system. This research confirms the multi-dimensional aspects of water system capacity, reveals the necessity for the different levels of authority to work together, and provides an analytical framework which may be applicable to future studies examining First Nations and small-scale drinking water systems.
DegreeMaster of Arts (M.A.)
CommitteeNoble, Bram F.; de Boer, Dirk H.