Costing climate change: A case study of employing climate, land-use and water quality data to assess the economic impacts of climate change on local public health

Water Economics, Policy and Governance Network (WEPGN)




Costing climate change: A case study of employing climate, land-use and water quality data to assess the economic impacts of climate change on local public health


Project Description:

One of the potential linkages between climate change and public health stems from the way climate change may increase the likelihood of human exposure to water-borne pathogens. Climate change may have this effect due to 1) increased survival of fecal pathogens on land mediated by temperature and precipitation, 2) transport of pathogens over land and loading to water sources, and 3) increased risks from failure of water treatment and disinfections arising from flooding, and storm-water and sewage/septic overflows.

The linkage between climate change and the presence of water-borne pathogens and health risks may have significant economic, policy and governance implications for local communities. Many communities in Canada do not have the capacity to study, assess and act upon these sources of risks to public health.  

The purpose of the proposed research, then, is to build on an existing set of field studies being undertaken by Mazumder in order to do three things:

  1. Investigate statistically the linkages between observed extreme weather events, observations of water quality and incidences of water-borne diseases.
  2. Assess the potential costs of the climate change → water quality → public health linkage.
  3. Employ the findings of (1) and (2) to inform policy discussions regarding best adaptation strategies.

Researchers:

Asit Mazumder, & Steven Renzetti

Partners: 

Capital Region Water District; Cowichan Valley Region District; Comox Valley Region District; and the City of Nanaimo