All our publications can be accessed here. If you are interested in publications specifically related to one of our research themes, please visit Research Themes.

June 2016

Recent reports and events exploring the concept of watershed governance have laid a foundation for reform in British Columbia. However, considerable knowledge gaps still exist in turning concept into practice. Through an extensive investigation involving interviews, surveys, and a First Nations roundtable, this study illuminates the practical needs and capacities required to implement watershed governance in B.C. Key findings and critical insights include that the current system of water management and governance is not working, and that collaborative watershed governance is critical for better decision-making.

Oliver M. Brandes and Tim Morris
with Jennifer Archer, Laura Brandes, Michele-Lee Moore, Jon O'Riordan, and Natasha Overduin
November 2015

In May 2014, the Province of British Columbia enacted the new Water Sustainability Act, which provides an unprecedented opportunity to fully modernize British Columbia’s water law regime. This report provides an analysis of the Water Sustainability Act and the core regulations required to bring its sustainable aspects into full effect. It outlines leading best practices from around the globe and offers clear recommendations for WSA regulation development in five key areas: (1) Groundwater licensing; (2) Environmental flows; (3) Monitoring and reporting; (4) Water objectives; and (5) Planning and governance.

Oliver M. Brandes, Savannah Carr-Wilson, Deborah Curran, and Rosie Simms
October 2015

This primer is a first step in establishing resources that practitioners can turn to when applying resilience thinking to watershed governance. It introduces key ideas associated with resilience and how they may be applied by those engaging in various facets of governance in Canada. Released by Brock University's Environmental Sustainability Research Centre, the primer is the product of collaboration involving Canadian and international researchers as well as Canadian watershed practitioners.

Katrina Krievins, Julia Baird, Ryan Plummer, Oliver M. Brandes, Allen Curry, Jack Imhof, Simon Mitchell, Michele-Lee Moore, and Åsa Gerger Swartling
October 2015

This report identifies the key water governance challenges specific to hydraulic fracturing across Canada (with a particular focus on British Columbia, New Brunswick, the Northwest Territories, and Nova Scotia) and those knowledge gaps that need to be addressed to resolve such challenges. It emphasizes that the use of water in hydraulic fracturing activity in Canada has not caused, but has certainly illuminated, the fractured nature of existing water governance arrangements. The authors conclude there is an urgent requirement for generative actions that build capacities for accountability, transparency, engaging and co-governing with Indigenous Nations and non-Indigenous communities, and making informed decisions.

The report is based on research undertaken as part of one of five projects within the Canadian Water Network (CWN) hydraulic fracturing program. See CWN's 2015 Water and Hydraulic Fracturing Report for a high level assessment of program activities and identified knowledge gaps.

Michele-Lee Moore, Karena Shaw, and Heather Castleden
with Rosanna Breiddal, Megan Kot, and Mathew Murray
June 2015

British Columbia can learn valuable lessons from California’s extreme drought and recent groundwater law reforms as it drafts its own groundwater regulations under the new B.C. Water Sustainability Act. This report analyzes California’s legislation while taking into account the climatic, social, and legal differences between the state and province. It offers a number of key findings and insights including the urgent need to begin piloting groundwater sustainability plans in critical watersheds in B.C.; the necessity for clear performance standards, timelines, and accountability for local decision-making bodies to ensure successful watershed or aquifer plans; and the importance of shared responsibility between senior government and local decision-makers.

Randy Christensen and Oliver M. Brandes
November 2014

The Watersheds 2014 edited proceedings organizes and summarizes the presentations given, questions raised, and discussions held during the forum. This written record is not simply intended as a summary for those who attended Watersheds 2014. It is also designed to be a resource and reference document for anyone researching or working on implementing innovative new decision-making practices and processes within their watershed.

Edited by Jesse Baltutis, Laura Brandes, Oliver M. Brandes, Michele-Lee Moore, Natasha Overduin, and Ryan Plummer
January 2014

This compilation of research provides supplementary readings on watershed governance and selected related themes. It is a collection of existing research, reports, and water management and planning tools that were developed by researchers, governments, and water-focused organizations who were partners on the forum, Watersheds 2014: Towards Watershed Governance in British Columbia and Beyond, which was held in Duncan, B.C. in January 2014. 

January 2014

This report focuses on current water governance issues in British Columbia and offers a path forward for how the Province could transform its current approaches to decision-making to ensure a more sustainable and resilient future—especially given the provincial government’s commitment to new water legislation by later in 2014. It sets out a strategic 10-year program and proposes nine winning conditions to ensure success. Recognizing the unique institutional, legal, cultural, and geographic challenges of the province, this Blueprint outlines a timeline and clear milestones for moving towards watershed governance in B.C.

Oliver M. Brandes & Jon O'Riordan with Tim O'Riordan & Laura Brandes
July 2013

This report compiles the perspectives and opinions of a diverse mix of British Columbia’s water leaders; a survey was sent to over 230 water groups and interviews were conducted with 11 selected water champions. Based on the responses received, there is a clear feeling amongst B.C.’s water leaders that the province has the potential to become a global leader in freshwater protection and sustainability. But, there are a number of challenges to achieving this vision. The authors present a series of recommendations for addressing key needs and gaps in the B.C. water community and for strengthening the collective water movement.

This report was co-published by the POLIS Project on Ecological Governance and the Real Estate Foundation of British Columbia, in partnership with the Polis Foundation, to better understand the capacity, needs, and priorities of the freshwater community in B.C., and to identify some priorities for building the necessary leadership and capacity for freshwater protection in the province.

Tim Morris & Oliver M. Brandes
June 2013

This report argues that the B.C. provincial government should safeguard the public interest by creating a robust, publicly accessible water-use database that covers all withdrawals from both surface and groundwater sources by major users. It recommends three immediate courses of action to set the stage for a robust water use reporting regime in future years.

This report was co-published by the POLIS Project on Ecological Governance and the Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives. It is the second report in a series addressing the water-energy nexus in B.C. Download the first report.

Although not highlighted in Counting Every Drop, the BC Water Use Reporting Centre is a good existing pilot project. This voluntary program shows that a province-wide monitoring program is possible, and offers a viable model that could be expanded upon. This online water management and reporting system is an initiative of the Okanagan Basin Water Board, in partnership with the Province of B.C. and Environment Canada. It was designed to help utilities and large water users regularly record their water use. Learn more and download the Information Guide. In addition, further information on this topic is also provided in the 2012 BCWWA position paper “Reporting of Water Withdrawals.”

Ben Parfitt

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