Special Issue "Source Water Protection: State of the Art and Science"

A special issue of Water (ISSN 2073-4441). This special issue belongs to the section "Water Resources Management, Policy and Governance".

Deadline for manuscript submissions: closed (30 April 2017).

Special Issue Editor

Prof. Dr. Robert Patrick
Website
Guest Editor
Department of Geography and Planning, University of Saskatchewan, Saskatoon SK, S7N 5C8 Canada
Interests: watershed planning; source water protection; Indigenous People
Special Issues and Collections in MDPI journals

Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

The protection of drinking water sources, or source water protection, is often described as the first barrier in the multi-barrier approach to safe drinking water. Source water protection is practiced through land use planning and management activities aimed at reducing the risk of water supply contamination. The premise behind source water protection is that it is far more cost effective, ecologically sustainable and socially responsible to protect a drinking water source than it is to remediate a contaminated source.

While the rationale for source water protection is obvious, the practice and uptake of source water protection is less well understood. There are few standardized models or accepted beneficial practices for source water protection planning. In addition, capacity needs to support source water protection further restrict both small and large public water supply operators from engaging in source water protection. Fragmented and often ill-defined water governance structures add further complexity to the practice of source water protection. As a result, water treatment technologies and other ‘end-of-pipe’ approaches continue to over-shadow the more preventative, and proactive, source water protection planning approach.

This Special Issue will bring together a collection of diverse papers with a focus on local experiences with source water protection planning and practice. The purpose of this Special Issue is to better understand the art and science of source water protection. The disciplinary contributions will come from public health, geography, law, policy studies, sustainability science, land use planning, and the physical sciences. 

Dr. Robert J Patrick
Guest Editor

Manuscript Submission Information

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. All papers will be peer-reviewed. Accepted papers will be published continuously in the journal (as soon as accepted) and will be listed together on the special issue website. Research articles, review articles as well as short 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 thoroughly refereed through a single-blind peer-review process. A guide for authors and other relevant information for submission of manuscripts is available on the Instructions for Authors page. Water 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 1800 CHF (Swiss Francs). Submitted papers should be well formatted and use good English. Authors may use MDPI's English editing service prior to publication or during author revisions.

Keywords

  • Source water protection
  • Groundwater supply
  • Surface water supply
  • Public health
  • Public drinking water
  • Land use planning
  • Drinking water contamination
  • Water governance
  • Capacity-building

Published Papers (7 papers)

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Research

Open AccessArticle
The Agricultural Community as a Social Network in a Collaborative, Multi-Stakeholder Problem-Solving Process
Water 2017, 9(10), 750; https://doi.org/10.3390/w9100750 - 30 Sep 2017
Cited by 2
Abstract
Collaborative approaches are being promoted as inclusive forums for bringing state and non-state interests together to solve complex environmental problems. Networks have been recognized through previous research as important ways to involve stakeholders in such forums with members participating in knowledge creation and [...] Read more.
Collaborative approaches are being promoted as inclusive forums for bringing state and non-state interests together to solve complex environmental problems. Networks have been recognized through previous research as important ways to involve stakeholders in such forums with members participating in knowledge creation and sharing as part of deliberative processes. Less well understood is the effectiveness of network creation and promotion by external actors, especially in relation to knowledge creation and sharing. A case study approach was used to evaluate the efforts of a farm organization to organize a provincially-cohesive network of locally-elected agricultural representatives in Ontario, Canada. Network structure and function were evaluated using a combination of participant observation and Social Network Analysis as part of a mixed methods research approach. The results indicate that stakeholder network development can be actively supported, and that knowledge creation and sharing in these networks occurs within a complex structure of local and provincial-scale relationships. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Source Water Protection: State of the Art and Science)
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Open AccessFeature PaperArticle
Source Water Protection in Rural Newfoundland and Labrador: Limitations and Promising Actions
Water 2017, 9(8), 560; https://doi.org/10.3390/w9080560 - 26 Jul 2017
Cited by 1
Abstract
The purpose of this paper is to exemplify through recent research in Newfoundland and Labrador (NL) the extent of the current limitations for source water protection and potential opportunities for improvement in the province, particularly for rural communities. The findings of this paper [...] Read more.
The purpose of this paper is to exemplify through recent research in Newfoundland and Labrador (NL) the extent of the current limitations for source water protection and potential opportunities for improvement in the province, particularly for rural communities. The findings of this paper draw from the results of four related studies led by the co-authors. These four studies took place in NL between 2012 and 2016, and derived data through a mixed-method approach using literature reviews, key informant interviews, surveys, and consultations. The article provides an overview of the state of source water protection in NL and the challenges faced, with case examples to illustrate key points. Findings indicate there is currently a source water protection gap in NL limiting local governments in implementing their source water protection obligations under provincial policy and regulations. This implementation gap has been attributed to a lack of capacity for watershed monitoring, a lack of awareness of the need for source water protection and of municipal responsibilities, conflicts over multi-use watersheds and a lack of watershed planning and management. Greater education and collaboration in source water protection efforts amongst all watershed users, watershed groups, local governments and the provincial government could offer promise to fill this gap. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Source Water Protection: State of the Art and Science)
Open AccessArticle
Source Water Protection Planning for Ontario First Nations Communities: Case Studies Identifying Challenges and Outcomes
Water 2017, 9(7), 550; https://doi.org/10.3390/w9070550 - 22 Jul 2017
Cited by 2
Abstract
After the Walkerton tragedy in 2000, where drinking water contamination left seven people dead and many suffering from chronic illness, the Province of Ontario, Canada implemented policies to develop Source Water Protection (SWP) plans. Under the Clean Water Act (2006), thirty-six regional Conservation [...] Read more.
After the Walkerton tragedy in 2000, where drinking water contamination left seven people dead and many suffering from chronic illness, the Province of Ontario, Canada implemented policies to develop Source Water Protection (SWP) plans. Under the Clean Water Act (2006), thirty-six regional Conservation Authorities were mandated to develop watershed-based SWP plans under 19 Source Protection Regions. Most First Nations in Ontario are outside of these Source Protection Regions and reserve lands are under Federal jurisdiction. This paper explores how First Nations in Ontario are attempting to address SWP to improve drinking water quality in their communities even though these communities are not part of the Ontario SWP framework. The case studies highlight the gap between the regulatory requirements of the Federal and Provincial governments and the challenges for First Nations in Ontario from lack of funding to implement solutions to address the threats identified in SWP planning. This analysis of different approaches taken by Ontario First Nations shows that the Ontario framework for SWP planning is not an option for the majority of First Nations communities, and does not adequately address threats originating on reserve lands. First Nations attempting to address on-reserve threats to drinking water are using a variety of resources and approaches to develop community SWP plans. However, a common theme of all the cases surveyed is a lack of funding to support implementing solutions for the threats identified by the SWP planning process. Federal government initiatives to address the chronic problem of boil water advisories within Indigenous communities do not recognize SWP planning as a cost-effective tool for improving drinking water quality. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Source Water Protection: State of the Art and Science)
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Open AccessArticle
Ontario’s Clean Water Act and Capacity Building: Implications for Serviced Rural Municipalities
Water 2017, 9(7), 538; https://doi.org/10.3390/w9070538 - 18 Jul 2017
Cited by 2
Abstract
This research explores Ontario’s Clean Water Act (S.O. 2006, c. 22) and its contribution to capacity building for rural municipalities impacted by source protection plans created under the Act. Source water protection (SWP) under the Clean Water Act (S.O. 2006, c. 22) [...] Read more.
This research explores Ontario’s Clean Water Act (S.O. 2006, c. 22) and its contribution to capacity building for rural municipalities impacted by source protection plans created under the Act. Source water protection (SWP) under the Clean Water Act (S.O. 2006, c. 22) is explored drawing from a capacity framework. A nested case study approach has been employed to allow for in depth exploration of the experience within the Cataraqui Source Protection Area and the North Bay-Mattawa Source Protection Area, where key informant interviews were conducted. Findings are outlined looking at four elements of capacity for SWP: institutional, financial, social, and technical/human. It was found that the process was successful for building capacity in the serviced rural municipalities involved, but did not provide any meaningful protection for areas reliant on private drinking water systems such as wells. Several improvements to the legislated process were suggested including greater flexibility for local circumstance and better methods for engagement of First Nations and the general public. It is unknown if this capacity will be sustained as the program continues and provincial funding is reduced. Reduced funding will particularly impact rural communities that lack the internal human and financial capacity to implement SWP policies without the assistance of provincial funding and conservation authority staff (who also rely on provincial/municipal funding sources). Ultimately, it was found that SWP in rural areas requires enforceable mandatory legislation; sustainable provincial funding and municipal fiscal frameworks to support ongoing SWP planning and implementation; technical aid at the regional level; and support and commitment to SWP at the local level (e.g., municipalities, local health units, landowners, residents and watershed users). Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Source Water Protection: State of the Art and Science)
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Open AccessFeature PaperArticle
Source Water Protection Planning and Management in Metropolitan Canada: A Preliminary Assessment
Water 2017, 9(7), 497; https://doi.org/10.3390/w9070497 - 07 Jul 2017
Cited by 4
Abstract
Source Water Protection (SWP) is the process of protecting a drinking water source through land use planning policies and land management activities. The risk of source water contamination is a human health concern even in developed countries such as Canada. Much of the [...] Read more.
Source Water Protection (SWP) is the process of protecting a drinking water source through land use planning policies and land management activities. The risk of source water contamination is a human health concern even in developed countries such as Canada. Much of the existing SWP literature in the more developed world is centred on small and rural water systems with a focus on capacity needs to support SWP activities and planning. These capacity needs tend to centre on five key elements: political, financial, human, technical and legal. While these contributions have added value to the water resource planning literature in rural areas, there remains a noticeable gap in the literature with respect to SWP activities in metropolitan areas. The purpose of this paper is twofold: first, to report the kinds of source water threats facing metropolitan water systems in Canada; and, second, to explore the utility of the capacity literature with respect to SWP planning in metropolitan Canada. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Source Water Protection: State of the Art and Science)
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Open AccessFeature PaperArticle
The Rocky Path to Source Water Protection: A Cross-Case Analysis of Drinking Water Crises in Small Communities in Canada
Water 2017, 9(6), 388; https://doi.org/10.3390/w9060388 - 01 Jun 2017
Cited by 6
Abstract
Source water protection (SWP) is increasingly seen as effective in reducing the incidence and extent of drinking water crises, yet its facilitation requires certain measures. Canada has one of the most decentralized water governance systems in the world. We sought to understand the [...] Read more.
Source water protection (SWP) is increasingly seen as effective in reducing the incidence and extent of drinking water crises, yet its facilitation requires certain measures. Canada has one of the most decentralized water governance systems in the world. We sought to understand the experience and impacts of drinking water crises at community and government levels in a decentralized context: the Canadian province of Newfoundland and Labrador through cross-case analysis. We selected our three study communities through a database of media reports in 2014 followed by invitations to community leaders. We used descriptive and qualitative methods, specifically structured interview schedules with both closed- and open-ended questions, and interviewed four community leaders and three provincial government officials. We used NVivo in data analysis, especially in the identification of themes. While government officials defined water crises largely in terms of SWP, this was not the same for communities, whose concern was mainly water access, specifically water shortages. Thus, while the prioritizing of SWP can be useful, the current focus on SWP has the potential to overlook aspects of water security, particularly in some rural and Indigenous communities in Canada. If we envision water security as a ladder representing a hierarchy of needs, some communities are too far down on the ladder to operationalize SWP because their water problems are more extreme. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Source Water Protection: State of the Art and Science)
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Open AccessFeature PaperArticle
Monitoring, Restoration, and Source Water Protection: Canadian Community-Based Environmental Organizations’ Efforts towards Improving Aquatic Ecosystem Health
Water 2017, 9(3), 212; https://doi.org/10.3390/w9030212 - 13 Mar 2017
Cited by 7
Abstract
In Canada, environmental monitoring has been the responsibility of government for decades; however, funding cutbacks have left many agencies unable to provide comprehensive coverage. This has stimulated a rise in community-based water monitoring (CBWM) organizations. These organizations, operating at multiple scales, have tasked [...] Read more.
In Canada, environmental monitoring has been the responsibility of government for decades; however, funding cutbacks have left many agencies unable to provide comprehensive coverage. This has stimulated a rise in community-based water monitoring (CBWM) organizations. These organizations, operating at multiple scales, have tasked themselves with monitoring aquatic ecosystems. Additionally, they often engage in restoration projects stemming from their monitoring work. Despite the growing abundance of CBWM organizations, there is uncertainty as to whether their activities lead to aquatic ecosystem benefits. A thematic analysis of photographic and qualitative interview data was employed to examine restoration projects conducted by five CBWM organizations, and the projects’ potential impact on source waters. Findings show that while they are conducting activities that show physical change, which is indicative of ecosystem improvement, examples of measurable responses within aquatic ecosystems remain rare. Monitoring, restoration, and source water protection processes are challenged by a lack of funding, capacity, and monitoring procedures. Funding, particularly, restricted the extent to which monitoring could be conducted and influenced project scope and scale. This leads to a lack of capacity to conduct large-scale restoration and rigorous scientific monitoring. Consequently, our findings highlight the issues with detecting effects of small-scale projects at the watershed scale. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Source Water Protection: State of the Art and Science)
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