Water Vulnerability in Arctic Households: A Literature-based Analysis

Keywords: vulnerability; Arctic; household

Abstract

There is an urgent need to understand the contextual factors that influence water vulnerability of households in the Arctic. To evaluate the existing knowledge of Arctic household water vulnerability, this paper presents the results of a narrative review with a systematic search. The review identified 112 documents, including peer-reviewed articles, reviews, book chapters, proceedings papers, and meeting abstracts. The documents were analyzed for the main factors affecting water vulnerability in Arctic households, which fell into two categories: biophysical factors and anthropogenic factors. Within the biophysical category, the majority of documents noted climate change impacts on freshwater supplies and water systems, followed by attention to extreme weather and the seasonality of water supplies. Within the anthropogenic category, the vast majority highlighted infrastructure as the primary issue affecting water access, followed by economic, governance, socio-cultural, and demographic factors. Through these diverse influencing factors, this review situates the discussion of household water vulnerability in the Arctic in a more nuanced light. The categories illuminate patterns between factors, which can worsen, assuage, or mitigate water vulnerability. The complex relationships between these factors influence the degree and nature of water vulnerability in Arctic households. In order to successfully address household water vulnerability in the Arctic, these factors and their dynamic relationships must be considered in freshwater policy and management frameworks.

Published
2019-09-09