Understanding Changes in the Freshwater Ecosystems and Drinking Water in Northern Canada

Regions: Dehcho Region, South Slave Region

Tags: physical sciences, water quality, climate change, freshwater ecosystem

Principal Investigator: Spicer, Neal (1)
Licence Number: 16045
Organization: University of Alberta
Licenced Year(s): 2017
Issued: Feb 09, 2017
Project Team: Brenda Parlee (co-investigator, University of Alberta), Wiktor Adamowicz (co-investigator, University of Alberta)

Objective(s): To determine where participating communities obtain their drinking water from, both within their home and while on the land, and why.

Project Description: The Objectives of this research are to:
1) determine where the participating communities obtain their drinking water from within their home and while on the land and why; and determine the areas of each region that are considered valuable and important areas of water quality; and
2) determine what the concerns are concerning the sources of water, both within the homes and natural water sources, currently and in the future.

The first step to this research is consultation with Chief and Band council to determine level of interest and appropriateness of the research, and then semi-structured interviews with community members.

The first step for the NWT portion of this research has already occurred in the end of August 2016 with the discussion and consultation of the Chief and band council members to see the appropriateness and requirement for this research.

The Chief has stated that he feels that this research could help to develop a better understanding of people's perception of risk to their drinking supply. He has agreed to allow this research to happen and the questions that will be asked will be forwarded prior to the interviews for their perusal, input and final approval.

The second step will be individual, semi-structured interviews (20 to 30 minutes in duration) that will be conducted with community members to fully develop a better understanding of the situation and how individuals view this topic.

If the interviewee agrees, the interview will be recorded audio digitally so that the researchers can refer back to the conversation if clarification is required. Additionally, the interviewer will be recording the answers to the set of questions with pen and paper.

There will be a research assistant from within the community that has been selected by the Chief and band council that will be utilized to help organize and facilitate the interviews.

The expected outcomes are that the participating First Nations communities will indicate concerns over impacts on their water sources possibly from a variety of reasons; and it is expected that there may be changes to water usage due to contamination or degradation of the water source caused by resource extraction processes.

The results from the interviews, where the interviewees agree to its release, will be given back to the community. This will allow the community a better understanding of their community member's concerns and habits over drinking water sources, both within their homes and while out on the land. As well, any papers and thesis will be accessible to the community so that they can better understand the area of research.

The communities involved will receive a copy of all interviews where the interviewees has agreed to the release of the information. The results and compilation of the interviews and research will also be returned to the communities so that they can retain ownership of it for future consultation and retention of community knowledge. Additionally, any publications resulting from this research will be forwarded to the community. If required, any information, prior to its usage, will be clarified and confirmed by the interviewer with the interviewees so to ensure results are properly understood and released.

The fieldwork for this study will be conducted from February 9, 2017 December 31, 2017.