This report is the first in a series that explores examples of watershed governance in action. The series explores how governance can evolve over time, and offers an understanding of specific successes, challenges, and barriers. This case study was inspired, in part, by the ongoing relationship between the Cowichan Watershed Board and the WSP. It offers a glimpse of the good work being done in the Cowichan watershed as the people there continue their efforts to build local trust, engage in genuine collaborative efforts to improve watershed management, and protect and enhance their home waters.
This document discusses resilience thinking and provides a summary of a resilience analysis workshop held in June 2013 in the Cowichan watershed on Vancouver Island. The two-day workshop introduced local stakeholders to incorporating the resilience perspective into watershed management and governance.
The event was held at the Quw'utsun' Cultural and Conference Centre in Duncan, B.C. and co-led by researchers from the University of Victoria's POLIS Project on Ecological Governance and Brock University's Environmental Sustainability Research Centre.
This water soft path case study examines the innovative water strategy planning process used in York Region, Ontario. In 2011, York Region set a forward-looking target of No New Water and is, to the authors’ knowledge, the first community in North America to explicitly approach its water strategy planning process from a soft path perspective. This case study marks the first investigation into the successes and challenges of putting soft path principles into practice.
The soft path pilot project for Fergus-Elora was initiated by the Grand River Conservation Authority (GRCA) in partnership with the POLIS Project on Ecological Governance, the Township of Centre Wellington (TCW), the Elora Environment Centre, and the University of Waterloo.
In Fergus-Elora, population and water use are expected to double between 2008 and 2040. The region is dependent on groundwater and if no conservation measures are taken the existing groundwater supply will likely require expansion by 2028.
The recommended approach for Fergus-Elora is to “use the same water tomorrow we use today,” which accommodates all future population and economic growth to 2040, and beyond, using the same amount of water used in 2008.
Click the links below to download PDF files of the report and technical appendices.
A 2010 report summarizing the results and analysis of a GRCA residential water use survey for Fergus-Elora is also provided. The survey focused on the usage of water-using fixtures and appliances, as well as water conservation efforts made by residents in the community.
This Soft Path Strategy for Salt Spring Island was developed by the Water Sustainability Project team in collaboration with the Salt Spring Island Water Council. Salt Spring is the largest and most populous of the Gulf Islands and has a year round population of approximately 10,000 which doubles during the summer with tourists and temporary residents. Water supply and quality are issues on parts of Salt Spring, with some drinking water lakes being close to their capacity to meet current demand and future commitments for additional supply, and difficulties with private wells particularly on the north end of the island.
This strategy offers direction to Salt Spring's growing water use by recommending a commitment to “preserving water supplies for the next generation.”
This case study investigates the water supply contexts and water conservation programs of three large cities in California: Los Angeles, San Francisco and San Diego. It is part of ongoing efforts by the Water Sustainability Project to highlight communities that are incorporating comprehensive demand management and “new water infrastructure” into their water management programs. Each city faces both growing populations and mounting water scarcity due to climate changes, new regulations and environmental concerns. Though they developed as cities in part thanks to supply-side approaches, each is now applying elements of the water soft path approach to address concerns about future water supplies.
This Soft Path Strategy for the City of Abbotsford and District of Mission was developed by the Water Sustainability Project team in consultation with Abbotsford Mission Water and Sewer Commission (AMWSC) staff beginning in December 2008. Heavy growth has increasingly strained the region’s water supplies, forcing the AMWSC to choose to either build costly infrastructure or to defer a need for new infrastructure by engaging in long-term water conservation planning.
The Strategy seeks to provide direction to this second option by recommending a commitment to “preserving water supplies for the next generation.”
This case study is a “real world” application of the soft path concept for the Town of Oliver in the Okanagan Basin, British Columbia. In this semi-arid area, the “myth of water abundance” remains firmly entrenched even though the region’s water supplies and aquatic ecosystems are under stress. Fortunately, a new paradigm of water management is emerging—an approach focused primarily on water conservation and efficiency, with the potential to ensure long-term sustainability and social and economic prosperity. This report provides an overview of the soft path approach, an analysis of three potential scenarios in the Okanagan, and recommendations for the community to take steps towards developing a sustainable approach to water management.