Enhancing source water protection in rural regions: exploring the role of capacity and collaborative watershed governance in rural Ontario

Minnes, Sarah Rose Lynda (2018) Enhancing source water protection in rural regions: exploring the role of capacity and collaborative watershed governance in rural Ontario. Doctoral (PhD) thesis, Memorial University of Newfoundland.

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The primary goal of this research was to examine the implementation of Ontario’s source water protection (SWP) policies and explore implications for rural regions. The research was particularly focused on relationships between the implementation of the Clean Water Act, 2006, S.O. 2006, c. 22 (CWA) and capacity, as well as collaboration in governance, two areas identified as key concerns in other contexts. The research explored the successes and challenges with SWP planning and implementation in Ontario, implications of the CWA for capacity building and collaborative watershed governance, as well as the available capacity for SWP in privately-serviced areas. This research derived findings from 30 key informant interviews conducted in two case study areas in Ontario (the Cataraqui Source Protection Area and the North-Bay Mattawa Source Protection Area), extensive document and literature review, and member checking. The SWP process under the CWA raised capacity for SWP in the rural municipalities impacted by the legislation and has contributed positively to enhancing collaborative watershed governance in the province. Particularly, the CWA improved communication, collaboration, transparency, integration, knowledge sharing, and trust amongst watershed actors. However, there needs to be careful attention as the program continues to support the capacity built. The lack of a reliable financial commitment to the process by the provincial government disproportionately impacts rural communities, which often lack the internal technical and financial capacity for SWP. The absence of a continued provincial commitment to the SWP program under the CWA (financially and otherwise), will impact the collection and maintenance of required data and monitoring of source water supplies, enforcement of source protection plan policies, and public outreach and education efforts. Furthermore, greater attention to flexibility for identified local concerns is important. The CWA’s focus on SWP for exclusively municipal drinking water systems left privately-serviced communities out of the process. A new, strategic, implementable, and integrated institutional framework for SWP in privately-serviced areas needs to be created, together with capacity building efforts for these areas, in order to properly protect all drinking water sources in rural Ontario.

Item Type: Thesis (Doctoral (PhD))
URI: http://research.library.mun.ca/id/eprint/13581
Item ID: 13581
Additional Information: Includes bibliographical references.
Keywords: source water protection, source water protection policy, rural, capacity, rural drinking water, watershed management, collaborative watershed governance
Department(s): Grenfell Campus > School of Arts and Social Science > Environmental Studies
Grenfell Campus > School of Science and the Environment > Environmental Studies
Date: September 2018
Date Type: Submission
Library of Congress Subject Heading: Wellhead protection--Law and legislation--Ontario; Water-supply, Rural--Government policy--Ontario; Watershed management--Ontario.

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