Abstract

Meeting the Government of Canada's renewed commitment to eliminate all drinking water advisories (DWAs) in First Nations communities within five years will require a multi-faceted approach. DWAs in First Nations communities are most often issued for equipment malfunction, inadequate disinfection and unacceptable microbiological quality; however, most DWAs are issued only on a precautionary basis. While the majority of DWAs are in place for long periods of time, they do not necessarily indicate unacceptable water quality. To this end, a method is proposed with considerable potential to decrease DWAs using real-time monitoring technology to monitor for flow rate, turbidity, pH, water temperature and free chlorine. Through real-time monitoring systems, communities can be re-empowered and gain increased control over their water systems, allowing operators to make corrections or repairs immediately, and to reduce the number of ‘precautionary-based’ DWAs, as well as reduce the frequency and duration of all DWAs. The potential decreases in the number of DWAs issued are estimated at likely greater than 36%, as determined from analyses of advisories.

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