sherilee harper

EcoHealth Research with Indigenous Communities

New Publication! Understanding source water protection in Indigenous communities

Rachael Marshall, PhD Candidate, School of Engineering, University of Guelph

Congratulations to Rachael Marshall for her new publication in the Journal of Hydrology.  The implementation of source water protection programs is relatively recent in Canada and the United States. Although protecting water at the watershed scale has been a focus of many of these programs, few Indigenous communities located within these watersheds are involved in the process. Therefore, we wanted to examine and map the extent, range, and nature of the published peer-reviewed literature on the adoption, implementation, and outcomes of source water protection programs involving Indigenous populations in Canada and the United States.

Rachael Marshal led the paper; she is a PhD Candidate in Environmental Engineering at the University of Guelph. She has worked in partnership with Indigenous communities in Guatemala, Nunatsiavut, northern and southern Ontario, and Saskatchewan to promote clean drinking water, appropriate water infrastructure, and healthy socio-ecological systems.

Citation:

Marshall, R., Levison, J., McBean, E., Brown, E., Harper, S.L. 2018. Source water protection programs and Indigenous communities in Canada and the United States: a scoping review. Journal of Hydrology. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jhydrol.2018.04.070

Abstract:

The implementation of source water protection programs is relatively recent in Canada and the United States. Although protecting water at the watershed scale has been a focus of many of these programs, few Indigenous communities located within these watersheds are involved in the process. The purpose of this scoping review was to examine and map the extent, range, and nature of the published peer-reviewed literature on the adoption, implementation, and outcomes of source water protection programs involving Indigenous populations in Canada and the United States. This review followed a systematic process to identify and evaluate the literature. Searches were conducted in three aggregator databases (Web of Science™, ProQuest®, and GreenFILE™). Two independent reviewers conducted a systematic two-stage screening process using inclusion and exclusion criteria in the software DistillerSR©. Articles that met inclusion criteria were analyzed using thematic qualitative and descriptive quantitative methods. The findings indicate that: a) there is a lack of peer-reviewed studies focusing on the ecological outcomes of source water protection programs that are inclusive of Indigenous populations in Canada and the United States; b) the depth to which the literature describes Indigenous involvement in source water protection programs is minimal; and c) Indigenous involvement in source water protection programs is generally not reported as substantial. This review provides several recommendations to improve both the peer-reviewed literature on the topic and source water protection programs. There is a need to improve reporting in the literature on quantitative program results, the nature of Indigenous involvement in source water protection programs, and Indigenous-inclusive inter-jurisdictional success stories. It is also recommended that source water protection programs recognize Indigenous peoples as more than stakeholders groups, and that future studies pull from innovations in other fields to address complex problems and provide new insights to the field of source water protection. The methodology presented in this paper provides a template for researchers in engineering and environmental fields, such as hydrology, to identify and review published literature in a systematic, transparent, and rigorous manner.

 

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