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Rural Heath and Household Water Adaptions in Response to Extreme Weather Events

Authors: Sheryl-Ann Simpson*, Carleton University
Topics: Medical and Health Geography, Qualitative Research, Rural Geography
Keywords: health, qualitative methods, rural, water,
Session Type: Paper
Presentation File: No File Uploaded


This meta-review focuses on relationships between health and household-level water quality including drinking water, water used for cooking, bathing and other sanitation uses. The focus is on cases in rural contexts in high-income countries. Specifically the review evaluates the knowledge, perceptions and communication associated with successful of adaptive behaviours that respond to extreme weather events related to climate change.

There is extensive research linking water quality and health at various scales, individual, community and public. Climate change exacerbates these health concerns, for example through associated outcomes such as an increase in extreme weather events including extreme heat, flooding and drought. These weather events may increase the concentration of contaminants, increase or alter run-off patterns, and increase both water sacristy and demand which can impact sanitation uses, and more generally result in stress-related physical and mental illness. The episodic nature of extreme weather events adds additional stressors as weather patterns become more unpredictable.

This meta-review focuses on rural contexts because of the particular conditions in rural areas related to health vulnerability related to water quality and climate change. At the same time rural communities often have distinct relationships and understanding of water related to land-dependent work, cultural practices, and even patterns of migration. There is a great deal of diversity in the ways in which members of rural communities relate to and define health, risks associated with climate change and appropriate and feasible adaptive behaviours. A meta-review of case studies provides an opportunity to compare and contrast these perceptions.

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