Agricultural practices and water quality in Saskatchewan : the social ecology of resource management
This thesis presents the results of exploratory sociological research designed to better understand how farmers select agricultural practices with the potential to effect water quality. The primary research methodology is a Rapid Rural Appraisal of thirty farms in five rural municipalities in Saskatchewan, Canada during the year 2000 growing season. The data establishes that a variety of economic, institutional, organizational, and social factors interact in dynamic ways to influence farmer resource management decisions and that the resulting agricultural practices have the potential for subtle and dramatic effects on water quality in Saskatchewan. Risk-mitigating farming methods known as “Best Management Practices” (BMPs) are interpreted by farmers in the field research as being both appropriate and problematic. Alternative initiatives and communication strategies are identified in the field data that offer support to production and productivity in the agriculture sector while also promoting water quality. The research suggests that measures such as providing accessible public water quality data, promoting water treatment for individual households, and educating rural women and youth about water quality issues may merit further investigation.
water policy, water quality, watershed management, water planning, water analysis, sociology, political economy, water consultant, best management practices, development, beneficial management practices
Master of Arts (M.A.)