Variations in resident appraisals of groundwater quality on Saskatchewan farms
Martz, Diane Janese Forsdick
Due to climatic and lithologic factors groundwater in Saskatchewan is often of poor quality. Common problems include high levels of iron, manganese, hardness, sulfates, nitrates, and total dissolved solids. These water quality problems may impose economic health and aesthetic costs on Saskatchewan farmers. Groundwater quality data from Saskatchewan Research Council was combined with data gathered by mailed questionnaires to define four groups of farmers based on the water quality analyses and the farmers' assessment of his water quality. Discriminant analysis was used to determine whether those variables found to be important in explaining variations in perception in previous research were useful in explaining variations in perception of groundwater quality as illustrated by these groups. Respondents considered water quality to be less important than problems relating to production and economic issues. They have a high awareness of the presence of general water quality problems, however when asked to identify specific water quality problems, variations begin to arise in perception. The analysis indicates that the severity of the problem and the value of water to the farming operation are positively related to perception of poor quality groundwater. Age and experience with the resource are negatively associated with perception.