• Understanding institutional and social factors relating to the provisioning of water and sanitation services in rural Alaska: perspectives on community self-reliance from nine Native villages of Interior Alaska

      Ochante Cáceres, Mercedes Fátima (2013-05)
      The global community acknowledges the essential nature of potable water and proper sanitation to the realization of human rights. Since 1959 federal, state and tribal efforts have focused on the goal of equitably providing these services to Alaska Native villages. However, demographic and geographical realities along with limited resources pose formidable challenges to achieving this lofty goal. This thesis explores the challenges to providing safe drinking water in remote Interior Alaska villages and their impact on self-reliance from the perspectives of knowledgeable village residents. Findings from a grounded theory analysis reveal that despite competence and concerted efforts to meet community needs, social and institutional dimensions pose difficulties to sustainable water services. Such challenges include community perceptions about treated water, communication barriers, unharnessed local expertise and opportunities to develop local capacity, complicated needs assessment and resource acquisition processes, mismatched policies and technology vis-a-vis the realities of village living, and resident out migration.