Increasing stress on water resources is driving urban water utilities to establish new concepts for water supply. This paper presents the consequences of proposed alternative water supply options using a unique combination of quantitative and qualitative methods from different research fields. A former industrial harbor area in Copenhagen, Denmark, is currently under development and all infrastructure will be updated to accommodate 40,000 inhabitants and 40,000 jobs in the future. To reduce stress on water resources it has been proposed to establish a secondary water supply in the area as an alternative to the conventional groundwater-based drinking water supply. Four alternative concepts for a secondary water supply have been considered: 1) slightly polluted groundwater for use in toilets and laundry, 2) desalinated brackish water for use in toilets, laundry, and dishwashers, 3) desalinated brackish water for all uses, including drinking water, and 4) local reclamation of rain and gray water for use in toilets and laundry. The concepts have been evaluated for their technical feasibility, economy, health risks, and public acceptance, while the concepts' environmental sustainability has been assessed using lifecycle assessment and freshwater use impact methods. The holistic assessment method exposes conflicting preference solutions depending on assessment criteria, and reveals multi-faceted consequences for choices in urban water management. Not one concept turns out unambiguously positive based on the evaluation criteria included here, but the systematic evaluation will leave decision-makers informed on the consequences of their choices.
The first objective of this study was to investigate the public perceptions of private water and alternative sources with respect to safety, quality, testing and treatment in Newfoundland and Labrador (NL), Canada. The second objective was to provide public health practitioners with recommendations for improving knowledge translation (KT) efforts in NL, based on assessments of respondents' perceived information needs and preferred KT methods.
A cross-sectional telephone survey of 618 households with private water supplies was conducted in March-April, 2007. Questions pertained to respondents' perceptions of their tap water, water concerns, alternative water use, well characteristics, and water testing behaviours.
Approximately 94% of households were supplied by private wells (50% drilled and 50% dug wells), while 6% obtained water from roadside ponds, rivers or springs (RPRS). While 85% rated their water quality highly, 55% nevertheless had concerns about its overall safety. Approximately 11% of respondents never tested their water, and of the 89% that had, 80% tested at frequencies below provincial recommendations for bacterial testing. More than one-third of respondents reported treating their water in the home, and 78% employed active carbon filtration methods. Respondents wanted more information on testing options and advice on effective treatment methods. Targeted advertising through television, flyers/brochures and/or radio is recommended as a first step to increase awareness. More active KT methods involving key stakeholders may be most effective in improving testing and treatment behaviour.
The results presented here can assist public health practitioners in tailoring current KT initiatives to influence well owner stewardship behaviour.
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Source water protection has gained considerable attention in the water resources literature particularly after several well publicized (non-First Nations) water contamination events in Canada. This short report explores health and place through an examination of access to safe drinking water in a developed country. For First Nations in Canada, safe drinking water remains a serious, albeit under-reported, problem. The incidence of contaminated drinking water is pervasive in many First Nations communities. Attempts to "fix" water quality problems using technology alone have produced only limited success. It will be shown that greater attention to source water protection has potential for both to improve drinking water quality as well as to re-connect health and place for First Nations in Canada.