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Environ Manage. 2017 Aug;60(2):243-262. doi: 10.1007/s00267-017-0873-9. Epub 2017 Apr 19.

Drinking Water Management and Governance in Canada: An Innovative Plan-Do-Check-Act (PDCA) Framework for a Safe Drinking Water Supply.

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School of Engineering, University of British Columbia, Kelowna, BC, V1V 1V7, Canada.
ESAD, Laval University, Quebec City, QC, G1V 0A6, Canada.
School of Engineering, University of British Columbia, Kelowna, BC, V1V 1V7, Canada.


Drinking water management in Canada is complex, with a decentralized, three-tiered governance structure responsible for safe drinking water throughout the country. The current approach has been described as fragmented, leading to governance gaps, duplication of efforts, and an absence of accountability and enforcement. Although there have been no major waterborne disease outbreaks in Canada since 2001, a lack of performance improvement, especially in small drinking water systems, is evident. The World Health Organization water safety plan approach for drinking water management represents an alternative preventative management framework to the current conventional, reactive drinking water management strategies. This approach has seen successful implementation throughout the world and has the potential to address many of the issues with drinking water management in Canada. This paper presents a review and strengths-weaknesses-opportunities-threats analysis of drinking water management and governance in Canada at the federal, provincial/territorial, and municipal levels. Based on this analysis, a modified water safety plan (defined as the plan-do-check-act (PDCA)-WSP framework) is proposed, established from water safety plan recommendations and the principles of PDCA for continuous performance improvement. This proposed framework is designed to strengthen current drinking water management in Canada and is designed to fit within and incorporate the existing governance structure.


Continuous performance improvement; Drinking water management; Plan-do-check-act; SWOT analysis; Water safety plan

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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