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.
Escalating water challenges in BC require a better understanding and coordinated work to avoid future crisis. Drawing on an extensive review of media, court and tribunal cases, and insights from attending over 100 recent events related to water issues, this report documents dozens of examples of why and where critical water issues exist in the province’s watersheds. It focuses on 5 key issues: (1) Building resilience to droughts & floods; (2) Sustaining water for nature; (3) Understanding the state of B.C.’s watersheds; (4) Protecting water quality for drinking, swimming & fishing and (5) Reconciling the water-energy nexus. The report also suggests possible solutions to these five water challenges to create water security and sustainability over the coming years.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.