January 2016

Baird, J., Plummer, R., Moore, M-L., & Brandes, O.M. (2016). Introducing Resilience Practice to Watershed Groups: What are the Learning Effects? Society & Natural Resources, 1–16, available online January 26, 2016.

Abstract

Resilience as an organizing framework for addressing dynamics of social-ecological systems has experienced strong uptake; however, its application is nascent. This research study aimed to address the gap between resilience thinking and practice by focusing on learning, a key aspect of resilience. Two Canadian watershed groups were led in 2-day workshops focused on resilience. Learning effects were measured using a survey administered both before and after the workshop, and a qualitative survey was administered 6 months later to understand longer term effects. Short-term learning effects were similar between the two case studies, with strong cognitive and relational learning and less normative learning. Longer term effects showed enduring cognitive and normative learning in both cases; however, relational learning persisted only in the watershed where a resilience practice approach to watershed planning had been incorporated. Future research directions include refinements to the learning measurement methodology and continuing to build resilience practice literature.

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Baird, J., Plummer, R., Moore, M-L., & Brandes, O.M.
February 2015

Plummer, R., Baird, J., Moore, M-L, Brandes, O.M., Imhof, J., & Krievens, K. (2015). Governance of Aquatic Systems: What Characterizes Resilience? International Journal of Water Governance, 4(2014), 1–18.

Abstract
Aquatic environments embody the characteristics of complex social-ecological systems and as pressures on them intensify so does concern about their resilience. Resilience research has advanced the conceptual understanding of how aquatic systems function and underscored the need for an adaptive approach to management. More recently, a growing emphasis has been placed on resilience concepts in relation to water governance and thereby the broader social, political, and economic contexts in which aquatic systems are embedded. Using a two round online Delphi survey of global experts and water governance, this study identifies governance attributes that support specified and general resilience in aquatic systems, and describes practices or activities that enhance governance ability to respond to shocks and disturbances. The results of the Delphi study offer a prioritized list of attributes of governance for aquatic system governance resilience, including being adaptive, polycentric, inclusive and maintaining strong leadership. Similar to the attributes described in the existing literature on resilience and water governance, those identified through the Delphi remain somewhat abstract. This research highlights the need for future studies exploring how these concepts can be applied in practice and the extent to which they can be traded off.

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Plummer, R., Baird, J., Moore, M-L, Brandes, O.M., Imhof, J., & Krievens, K.
January 2015

Renzetti, S., Brandes, O.M., Dupont, D.P., MacIntyre-Morris, T., & Stinchcombe K. (2015). Using demand elasticity as an alternative approach to modelling future community water demand under a conservation-oriented pricing system: An exploratory investigation. Canadian Water Resources Journal, available online January 26, 2015.

Abstract
Water managers lack practical and readily available tools to inform them about what impact price changes (or changes in other drivers of water use) will have on demand – and therefore revenue – over both the short and long term. This paper examines how the concept of demand elasticity can be used to model changes in annual aggregate water use in response to future changes in major demand drivers including water and electricity prices, average income, population, level of business activity and climate. It does so by describing a pilot investigation completed in York Region in Southern Ontario, where a range of assumptions about price elasticities were used to calculate the rate of growth for water demand over a 40-year period. This investigation was deliberately exploratory and the findings can only be considered indicative and preliminary. However, with further development, the modelling approach described could provide an additional tool to help water managers understand changes in demand, and communities make the transition to a conservation-oriented water pricing system.

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Renzetti, S., Brandes, O.M., Dupont, D.P., MacIntyre-Morris, T., & Stinchcombe K.
January 2015

Brooks, D.B., Maas, C., Brandes, O.M., & Brandes, L. (2015). Applying Water Soft Path Analysis in Small Urban Areas: Four Canadian Case Studies. International Journal of Water Resources Development, available online January 14, 2015.

Abstract
Water soft paths begin from the vision that future water management has more to gain from reducing demand than from increasing supply. This article reviews three case studies of water soft path analysis in small urban areas in Canada, and one study of an urban planning process incorporating soft path concepts. The analytical studies indicate how communities can avoid the need for expansion of water infrastructure with negligible impacts on lifestyles or livelihoods. The planning study demonstrates that it is possible to introduce water soft paths early in a review, and that this will stimulate more ecologically sensitive thinking among citizens, officials and political leaders. Similar conclusions can be expected from soft path studies in urban areas elsewhere in the developed world.

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David B. Brooks, Carol Maas, Oliver M. Brandes, Laura Brandes
February 2014

Moore, M-L., von der Porten, S., Plummer, R., Brandes, O.M., & Baird. J. (2014). Water policy reform and innovation: A systematic review. Environmental Science & Policy, available online February 6, 2014.

Abstract
A growing need for innovation in water policy is increasingly recognized within water policy and governance scholarship, but the types of innovation and changes being considered or undertaken, and the conditions that enable or hinder those changes remain unclear. A systematic review of water policy reform literature was undertaken to investigate how innovation is defined in this area of scholarship and the enabling conditions or barriers shaping the innovation process. The findings of the review demonstrated that the mainstream water policy reform scholarship that examines innovation is limited. A small portion of the water policy reform literature that addresses innovation considers different types of policy changes as innovative. Therefore, the results are used to propose a typology of water policy innovations. Furthermore, the results demonstrated that preliminary knowledge about the role of policy entrepreneurs, networks, social learning, adaptive approaches, and niche experiments in the innovation process emerge in a sub-set of the water policy reform literature.

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Michele-Lee Moore, Suzanne von der Porten, Ryan Plummer,Oliver Brandes, Julia Baird
July 2012

Brandes, O.M. (2012). Thinking Like a Watershed: Watershed Governance, the Future for Water Sustainability. In Roseland, M., Toward Sustainable Communities: Solutions for Citizens and their Governments, 4th Edition. Gabriola Island: New Society Publishers.

Oliver M. Brandes
April 2012

Jackson, S., Brandes, O.M., & Christensen, R. (2012). Lessons from an ancient concept: How the Public Trust Doctrine will meet obligations to protect the environment and the public interest in Canadian water management and governance in the 21st century. Journal of Environmental Law and Practice, 23(2), 175–199.

Abstract

The Public trust doctrine is a longstanding legal principle that has the poten- tial to provide protection to ecological values, ensure water for future needs, and protect public uses and interests. While application of the principle is widespread in the U.S., it has yet to be fully articulated in Canada. This paper will outline the opportunity to enshrine the Public trust doctrine into Canadian water law by high- lighting the foundational aspects required in any legal framework. It will highlight key cases in which courts in other common law jurisdictions have applied Public Trust principles, and discuss the interplay between the development of this princi- ple at common law and in legislation. It will provide an overview of the core legal principles of the Public Trust that already exist in Canada’s common law tradition, and discuss the potential to develop these principles in the context of modern water governance using the current water law reform process in British Columbia to il- lustrate the powerful potential of this ancient concept to address modern fresh- water challenges.

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Sarah Jackson Oliver M. Brandes Randy Christensen
November 2011

Forsyth, S., & Brooks, D.B. (2011). Applying water soft path analysis in an agricultural region of Canada. Water International, 36(7), 894–907.

Abstract

The current study extends past work on water soft path analysis in breadth and in depth: in breadth by studying an area devoted to large-scale prairie agriculture, and in depth by adding direct interaction with water managers and citizens of the Pembina Valley Conservation District in the Province of Manitoba, Canada. The main conclusion from the study is that the region can continue to be a prosperous and attractive place in which to live and to farm for at least 30 years without a single additional drop of water.

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Sheila Forsyth
David B. Brooks
April 2011

Brooks, D.B., & Brandes, O.M. (2011). Why a Water Soft Path, Why Now and What Then? International Journal of Water Resources Development, 27(2), 315–344.

Abstract

The best way to achieve a sustainable future for fresh water is to develop decision-making processes, institutions, and technologies that emphasize both efficiency and conservation. These two terms are commonly treated as synonyms, but, respectively, they reflect anthropogenic and ecological bases for making decisions. Recognizing that both perspectives are valid, this article outlines a new approach to water planning and management called the water soft path. This approach differs fundamentally from conventional, supply-based approaches. The article reviews the transfer of the original soft path concept from energy to water, and summarizes the first applications of water soft path analytics to specific geographic areas: one urban area, one province, and one watershed in Canada. The article concludes with suggestions for further research, as well as steps to improve recognition of the water soft path as a planning tool that can move management and policies towards economic, ecological, and social sustainability.

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David B. Brooks
Oliver M. Brandes
September 2009
Oliver M Brandes, David Brooks and Stephen Gurman

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