Bottled Water Use On the Land: Economic, Social and Policy Implications of Water Consumption Choices While Pursuing Livelihoods and Undertaking Recreational Activities
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Defensive expenditures on bottled water for home use are related to: incomes, aesthetics (taste, convenience) and health risk perceptions (Dupont and Jahan, 2010; Lloyd-Smith et al., 2014). The previous literature is silent on two issues of relevance to WEPGN’s mandate of improving understanding of water’s role in Canadian society and economy. The first issue is identifying what are the determinants of water consumption choices on the land (particularly, water used in pursuit of livelihoods and/or recreational activities that require travel from home, including trapping, hunting and fishing practices). The second is an investigation of water choices and health risk perceptions of individuals in Canada’s Northern communities. Nickels et al., (2006) notes the use of bottled water by Aboriginal peoples as a substitute for streams/rivers due to perceptions of poor water quality. Project partners are interested in learning whether this is an increasing phenomenon in the Northwest Territories (NWT). This is of concern for two reasons: such expenditures may be wasteful for individuals and also result in potential pollution. The research team will design and implement a survey to elicit perceptions and relate them to defensive expenditures. Researchers will also examine methods for communicating and eliciting risk perceptions to provide the project partners with knowledge to improve communications about water quality. This research will inform decisions around programming, specifically, source water protection planning.
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