Ensuring access to safe drinking water is a major public health concern. The outbreaks of disease from water-borne pathogens in communities like Walkerton and North Battleford alerted the federal government to the need for a standardized multi-barrier approach to managing public drinking water distribution systems. Although many provinces and territories have adopted such an approach, there are problems with water quality throughout Canada. Between 1997 and 2004, the authors conducted a community health needs and resources assessment study in Newfoundland and Labrador to assess health beliefs and practices, satisfaction with health and community services and concerns in relation to community health. The data collection methods used were a random household survey (N = 2,842), key informant interviews (N = 86) and focus group sessions (N = 22). The results indicated that the quality of drinking water was of serious concern. In this article, the authors discuss the study findings and the implications for nursing practice in relation to developing healthy public policy and population health initiatives.
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