PUTTING A PRICE ON HOW MUCH ALBERTANS VALUE THE RELIABILITY OF THEIR DRINKING WATER SUPPLY
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The importance of safe and reliable drinking water to human health is paramount. Water utility service providers aim to provide quality water to their customers at all times, minimizing disruptions to water systems that may impact the delivery of water. The impacts from increased frequency and severity of summer droughts and forest fires in regions like Alberta are becoming a growing concern, which could lead to increased risks in drinking water system outages or reliability problems (i.e. the interruption of the supply of high quality drinking water) for communities. A vast majority of drinking water in Alberta comes from the Eastern forested slopes of the Canadian Rocky Mountains, and researchers have suggested forest and watershed management as a method of improving drinking water reliability. These practices include the placement of buffer strips along streams to reduce the amount of sediment and debris entering drinking water sources, and reducing of the amount of hazardous forest fuels such as stands of dry trees in the watershed to prevent wildfires. These forest management practices can potentially reduce risks to drinking water reliability and the need for increased investments in drinking water treatment infrastructure.
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