Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2014, 11(5), 4634-4651; doi:10.3390/ijerph110504634
Article

Drinking Water Quality Guidelines across Canadian Provinces and Territories: Jurisdictional Variation in the Context of Decentralized Water Governance

1,* email, 1,2email and 1,3email
Received: 17 February 2014; in revised form: 8 April 2014 / Accepted: 17 April 2014 / Published: 25 April 2014
This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.
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 (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.
Keywords: drinking water guidelines; drinking water standards; decentralized water governance; water policy; heterogeneity; Canada
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MDPI and ACS Style

Dunn, G.; Bakker, K.; Harris, L. 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, 4634-4651.

AMA Style

Dunn G, Bakker K, Harris L. Drinking Water Quality Guidelines across Canadian Provinces and Territories: Jurisdictional Variation in the Context of Decentralized Water Governance. International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health. 2014; 11(5):4634-4651.

Chicago/Turabian Style

Dunn, Gemma; Bakker, Karen; Harris, Leila. 2014. "Drinking Water Quality Guidelines across Canadian Provinces and Territories: Jurisdictional Variation in the Context of Decentralized Water Governance." Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 11, no. 5: 4634-4651.

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