NUNARISK: Early warning system for drinking water management and monitoring through the analysis of online and continuous environmental data
Due to climate change, drinking water systems in Nunavik northern villages are facing water supply challenges in terms of quality and quantity. According to model projections, climate change will be more pronounced at high latitudes, inducing an increase in rainfall among other effects. Recent studies outlined correlations between meteorological events such as heavy rain and water quality degradation. Moreover, small surface water systems are more vulnerable to water quality variations and degradation associated with global changes than larger systems. In Nunavik, some villages are already facing water supply challenges in terms of quantity due to freezing and drying of source waters . Because Nunavik communities have small surface water systems that are vulnerable to climate change, careful management of these systems is important so as to ensure a reliable, safe and sustainable drinking water supply. In order to achieve this goal, new strategies of data analysis, diagnosis, predictive modeling and early warning can be used to anticipate and better manage environmental crises in such small water systems.
Significant advances have been made in recent years in technologies for on-line monitoring of water systems and drinking water quality, opening the possibility for proactive real-time management of water quality from source to tap. The objective of this project is to develop a tool intended for Nunavik drinking water operators for early warning of water quality. Such a tool will consider meteorological and source water variability, through the use of high-performance on-line continuous monitoring systems. This tool for adaptation to climate variability will optimize water treatment in order to reduce chemical and microbiological risks for the population. As a proof of concept, the tool will be developed and implemented in one northern village, Kangiqsualujjuaq, as part of this project. However, the methodology developed could be generalized to other northern water treatment plants.