Wednesday, 22 March 2017 14:18

More well water users sought to help guide research project

Written by 
Rate this item
(0 votes)
Abraham Munene, who is working on his doctorate with the University of Calgary Faculty of Veterinary Medicine, talks about the study he has undertaken around perceptions of water quality in rural Alberta associated with livestock. Abraham Munene, who is working on his doctorate with the University of Calgary Faculty of Veterinary Medicine, talks about the study he has undertaken around perceptions of water quality in rural Alberta associated with livestock. Photo by Rose Sanchez

With about half of the respondents so far to his well water user survey, a University of Calgary PhD student is hopeful there will still be some more well owners who are willing to take part in his research.


Abraham Munene, is using a research project about perceptions of water quality in rural Alberta associated with livestock as the basis for earning his PhD . He spoke more about the project and some preliminary findings at the March 10 Environmental Stewardship on the Farm event in Medicine Hat hosted by the South East Alberta Watershed Alliance.
Munene told the interested crowd the objectives of his study are to describe the perceptions, knowledge and beliefs rural Albertan residents have of well water quality and how and whether they associate livestock with well water contamination.
He is also looking at what the barriers are that prevent well water owners from using water management practises such as water testing and wants to determine if the presence of livestock and well water practices are associated with the presence or absence of total coliform/E. coli within water wells.
The study aims to help people understand water quality of well water and find solutions for proper testing and treatment.
Last fall, Munene started the work to gather information on an anonymous questionnaire. It was sent to about 1,200 water well owners based on the Alberta water well database information.
The survey seeks to gather data on rural residents’ backgrounds, as well as attitudes to well water and well management and perceptions of risk. He is also asking for well water samples to be submitted for testing for E.coli and the results anonymously shared. A third part to the study includes small focus group sessions which likely won’t take place until mid-year.
So far Munene has received back about 220 filled-in surveys.
Results of those surveys so far show:
• less than half of participants indicated having water treatment devices in their well water systems;
• the majority of respondents indicated having taken a micro-bacterial water test in the past;
• a low proportion of water tests conducted were positive for E.coli.
Also, shared Munene, a majority of well owners did not report proximity to livestock as a concern. They also reported satisfaction with the qualityof their drinking water.
With more than 1,000 well water owners in the province, Munene would like to see at least half respond to his survey request. Anyone who owns a water well and would like to contribute to the research  can contact Munene by email at abraham.munene2@ ucalgary.ca.
 The results of the study will be shared with local information sources, including print and other media outlets, published in academic journals and presented at scientific conference.
It is also the expectation that a policy advisory brief will be written on the findings to assist watershed management groups and various levels of government in decision making.

Read 812 times
Rose Sanchez

Assistant Managing Editor

More Ag News...