Perceptions of public drinking water in Newfoundland and Labrador: a mixed methods study

Butt, Kelly Dawn (2010) Perceptions of public drinking water in Newfoundland and Labrador: a mixed methods study. Masters thesis, Memorial University of Newfoundland.

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From a health promotion perspective, it is important to understand what water sources the public is using and why, and to address any potential health risks relating to public and alternative water sources before negative health outcomes relating to water-borne contaminants are experienced. This study examined perceptions of public drinking water in Newfoundland and Labrador (NL) including factors that influence public drinking water consumption patterns, reported reasons for alternative water use, and the expressed need for information on drinking water. Three focus groups were conducted in October 2006 and a telephone survey in March and April 2007 with residents of NL. Consumers appeared to use water aesthetics as a proxy measure of water safety for tap water and alternative water sources. When participants were unsure about the quality and safety of their tap water, they tended to find an alternative drinking water source. Low compliance with boil water advisory notifications was also observed, which may increase risk of waterborne illness in this population. Transparent communication enhanced trust and general perceptions by public water consumers. In general, public tap water consumers in NL felt that more information about their household drinking water quality would provide more confidence in the product. Enhanced information dissemination may improve perceptions of the safety of drinking water, and minimize health risks to the general public. No single information dissemination method was found to be extensive enough to communicate with the entire population; a combination of distribution methods is recommended to ensure widespread and timely information transfer. A health promotion framework was used to make upstream recommendations for changes in drinking water policy and programs in NL.

Item Type: Thesis (Masters)
Item ID: 8898
Additional Information: Includes bibliographical references (leaves 106-113).
Department(s): Medicine, Faculty of
Date: 2010
Date Type: Submission
Geographic Location: Canada--Newfoundland and Labrador
Library of Congress Subject Heading: Drinking water--Risk assessment--Newfoundland and Labrador--Public opinion; Health risk communication--Newfoundland and Labrador--Public opinion; Water quality--Newfoundland and Labrador--Public opinion
Medical Subject Heading: Drinking--Newfoundland and Labrador; Public Opinion--Newfoundland and Labrador; Water--Newfoundland and Labrador

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