Abstract

Drinking water advisories (DWAs) are used as a tool for identifying water safety concerns in many jurisdictions. Evidence from previous research demonstrates a lack of improvement in water system operations over time, with an increase in the total number of DWAs in place. DWAs are predominantly issued due to operational concerns within a water system, implying a lack of proactive management measures for preventable issues. Therefore, DWAs represent a chronic issue for many water systems, particularly those lacking resources to implement operational improvements. This study explores DWA characteristics in Atlantic Canada, including frequency and duration, focusing on municipal and private water systems. Seasonality was identified as a trend in DWA issuance in Nova Scotia, and reasons for DWA issuance are largely unchanged over time. Neither of these identified concerns has led to a change in DWA reporting or issuance procedures. Additionally, this study identifies a lack of a common reporting format, leading to the proposal of a template of minimum characteristics for future DWA reporting. Overall, this study highlights deficiencies in the DWA issuance process as a water safety measure and suggests alternative methods for risk management in water systems to alleviate the persistence and prevalence of DWAs in Canada.

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