Water safety plans as a tool for drinking water regulatory frameworks in Arctic communities


Arctic communities often face drinking water supply challenges that are unique to their location. Consequently, conventional drinking water regulatory strategies often do not meet the needs of these communities. A literature review of Arctic jurisdictions was conducted to evaluate the current water management approaches and how these techniques could be applied to the territory of Nunavut in Canada. The countries included are all members of the Arctic Council and other Canadian jurisdictions considered important to the understanding of water management for Northern Canadian communities. The communities in Nunavut face many challenges in delivering safe water to customers due to remoteness, small community size and therefore staffing constraints, lack of guidelines and monitoring procedures specific to Nunavut, and water treatment and distribution systems that are vastly different than those used in southern communities. Water safety plans were explored as an alternative to water quality regulations as recent case studies have demonstrated the utility of this risk management tool, especially in the context of small communities. Iceland and Alberta both currently have regulated water safety plans (WSPs) and were examined to understand shortcomings and benefits if WSPs were to be applied as a possible strategy in Nunavut. Finally, this study discusses specific considerations that are necessary should a WSP approach be applied in Nunavut.

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Correspondence to Graham A. Gagnon.

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Responsible editor: Philippe Garrigues

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Lane, K., Stoddart, A.K. & Gagnon, G.A. Water safety plans as a tool for drinking water regulatory frameworks in Arctic communities. Environ Sci Pollut Res 25, 32988–33000 (2018). https://doi.org/10.1007/s11356-017-9618-9

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  • Arctic communities
  • Water safety plans
  • Drinking water regulatory frameworks