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1st International Conference on Rain Water Cistern Systems
Honolulu, Hawaii, USA - June 1982

Section 3: Design, Cost, And Policy

Page 202

Rain Water as an Alternative Source in Nova Scotia

D.H. Waller
Technical University of Nova Scotia, Canada

D.V. Inman
Nova an Alberta Corporation, Canada


The Canadian province of Nova Scotia includes a population of 856,600 persons in an area of 52,840km2. Approximately one-half of this population is served by municipal water distribution systems. Most of the remainder are served by private wells. Groundwater in some parts of the province is inadequate in quantity, or is made undesirable or completely unacceptable for domestic uses because of excessive mineral concentrations.

Arsenic and uranium have recently been added to a list of natural contaminants that includes iron, manganese, and hardness. In one small municipality, 294 wells were tested for arsenic. Arsenic concentrations exceeded 0.01 mg/l in water from 130 wells of which 51 had concentrations greater than 0.05 mg/l (Division of Public Health Engineering 1979), compared with a recommended objective concentration equal to or less than 0.005 mg/k and a maximum acceptable level of 0.05 mg/l (Health and Welfare Canada 1978).

In another area, water in 101 of 299 wells tested for uranium contained an excess of the maximum acceptable concentration of 0.02 mg/l, and water in a further 58 wells contained concentrations between 0.01 and 0.02 mg/l (Bower 1981).

For many years-, rain water collected on roofs has served as a complete or a supplementary domestic water source in parts of Nova Scotia where water quantity or quality is inadequate, but no documented evidence of roof water systems was available. In 1977, the authors undertook an exploratory study of roof water use in Nova Scotia. The study was initiated with a newspaper enquiry and followed by a questionnaire, personal interviews, limited water quality analysis and analysis of precipitation data.

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