Developing a strategy for ensuring confidence in drinking water quality for First Nations

A First Nations community in Alberta relies on groundwater aquifers for its water. In the past year, this Nation has faced worsening water quality that has resulted in the issue of more than 65 boil-water advisories to residences, affecting almost ten percent of the wells on the reserve. The source of the problem is unclear, and residents are concerned for their safety. This study aims to 1) determine the source of the well-water contamination, 2) understand water use and the nature of exposure to water-borne pathogens, and 3) develop best management practices to ensure reliable water quality and supply for the Nation. We will use a combination of water tests and meters at individual well-sites, computer simulation models, and geographic visualization tools to understand the problem, develop solutions, and represent our findings in an approachable, user-friendly format. The project team will include students and researchers from the University of Alberta, water quality experts from Health Canada, and health care professionals, engineers, and students from the First Nation, and will involve the participation of residents from a cross-section of households.

Fraser Mah
Faculty Supervisor: 
Drs. Evan Davies & Ania Ulrich