Watershed governance is a manifestation of ecological governance as it relates to water. A key factor for its success is improved collaboration and connections between citizens and decision-makers at the watershed scale. The overarching goal is to provide alternatives to current systems of water governance and planning that are focused too narrowly on water—isolating the resource from its broader interactions across sectors and within ecosystems.
Watershed governance is emerging as a viable approach to achieving long-term sustainability. The WSP’s watershed governance work focuses on:
- providing quality research that can help guide Canada's senior governments in their efforts to develop water sustainability through institutional, legal, and governance reform; and
creating and supporting opportunities for on-the-ground watershed groups to build their capacity to better engage in decision-making processes and to learn from similar groups in peer-to-peer learning environments.
This research survey summary is the first phase in a larger project to assess the needs and priorities of watershed-based groups in British Columbia. It inventories and identifies many of the groups that are currently working at a watershed scale within B.C., and begins to determine the role these groups can play in more formalized decision-making going forward. This project was carried out by Brian Wilkes and Associates Ltd. with the support of the POLIS Project on Ecological Governance at the University of Victoria.
A report that provides concise direction on how citizens expect governments to manage freshwater resources.
This report focuses on the enabling environment that ensures holistic water management is institutionally embedded. Water is the strategic resource of the 21st century and Canada stands “at a watershed” in freshwater management. Attitudes, institutions, and policies are changing, but an outdated supply-oriented paradigm still dominates. Ultimately, the goal is “ecological governance,” where natural ecosystem processes are carefully considered at all levels of decision-making. The strength of this report lies in the rich mosaic of experiences and examples from around the world where theory and concept inform practice.
This synthesis report summarizes key aspects of the discussions and themes explored at a two-day expert roundtable hosted by the WSP and the Water Policy and Governance Group in June 2012. The roundtable focused on the potential for developing a watershed-based approach to water and resource governance in British Columbia.
This detailed policy paper explores the options and opportunities for water governance reform in British Columbia. The paper was developed to assist the Ministry of Environment with its commitment to address water management and modernize the 100-year-old Water Act that is no longer able to deal with existing and emerging water issues in the province. Recognizing that governance alone cannot correct inadequate water management, but poor governance will almost certainly prevent effective management, the report outlines three possible paths forward and emphasizes the need to build institutional and ecosystem resilience.
This introductory briefing note is authored by POLIS' partners at the Water Policy and Governance Group, Rob de Loë and Georgia Simms. This publication launched the multi-year, Canadian Water Netork research project, "Governance for Watershed-Based Source Water Protection in Canada: A National Assessment."
Authored by the WSP's Oliver M. Brandes, this briefing note provides an overview of the concept of "watershed governance" and current water policy opportunities in Canada.
A working paper, first presented at the Canadian Water Resources Association 59th Annual Conference in in Toronto, Ontario, June 4-7, 2006. The concept of ecological governance is applied to investigate why and how current approaches to water allocation must evolve to address scarcity and protect ecosystems.
In Toward Sustainable Communities: Solutions for Citizens and their Governments, 4th Edition. Gabriola Island: New Society Publishers.
This article, authored by the WSP's Oliver M. Brandes, was published in the November 2005 issue of Journal of Environmental Law & Practice, 16(1):79-97, 2005.