Potentials for Public Engagement in Source Water Protection in Newfoundland and Labrador

Lay Summary 

This literature review explores the role of citizen engagement in watershed planning, governance, and management, and more specifically, the implications for increased citizen engagement in source water protection efforts in Newfoundland and Labrador. This is particularly of concern for rural Newfoundland and Labrador, which suffers from a lack of capacity to adequately manage source water supplies that contribute to their drinking water systems. It has been found in other areas of Canada and beyond that increased citizen engagement can have a myriad of benefits for watershed stewardship in general, and can help to address the lack of human and financial capacity to sustainably plan, govern and manage source water supplies. Potential for more opportunities for public engagement and better methods of public engagement in source water protection have been provided, according to the literature, as well as potential areas for future research related to this topic.

Recommendations include:
* Employment of better engagement strategies that facilitate meaningful public engagement using the enablers listed in Section 4 and avoiding the barriers outlined in Section 5 of this report.

* More opportunities for education and outreach events relating to source water protection at either the local and/or regional level.

* Greater support for the local/regional level (where appropriate) to create source water protection plans.

* Amendments to the document "A Municipal Guide to the Development of a Watershed Management Plan" to include public consultation in every stage of watershed planning and governance, and outline community-based monitoring activities for watershed monitoring efforts.

* More technical and financial support at the provincial, municipal and non-governmental organization level for the involvement of the public in community-based monitoring efforts.

* Creation of a provincial wide water stewardship strategy that emphasizes and explains efforts for public engagement as part of the stewardship process.

* Collaboration between the Office of Public Engagement, the Department of Environment and Conservation, and local governments to create better ways to involve citizens in source water protection planning, governance and management.

* Strengthen efforts of Memorial University of Newfoundland faculty to engage the public in academic research and community-based monitoring activities. The Memorial University Office of Public Engagement could aid in the facilitation of a Memorial University of Newfoundland Water Network, with a mandate to engage the public in water research.

Environmental Policy Institute
The Harris Centre - The Student Research Fund
Newfoundland and Labrador
Environment and Conservation
Water quality
Water Resources
Industry Sectors 
Water, Sewage and Other Systems