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.

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
March 2013

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.

Brian Wilkes, Jason Collier & Oliver M. Brandes
December 2012

Maintaining Natural BC for Our Children: Selected Law Reform Proposals was published by the Environmental Law Centre (ELC) at the University of Victoria’s Faculty of Law. The book is a series of 35 short, readable articles that describe important environmental law reforms that the next B.C. provincial government should consider. The WSP was pleased to partner on this publication, and contributed background material on water law reform and sustainability priorities, including a chapter that Oliver M. Brandes co-authored with Calvin Sandborn (Legal Director, ELC and editor of Maintaining Natural BC) on the need to reinvent rainwater management in the province.

November 2012

British Columbia's water and water-derived energy resources are vital assets that show signs of being under increased stress across the province—the result of mounting pressures such as population growth, climate change, and water-intensive industrial activities. This report examines the importance of policy coherence and improved governance around the management of these interlinked resources.

It was co-published by the POLIS Project on Ecological Governance and the Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives. It is the first report in a two-part series addressing the water-energy nexus in British Columbia.

Ben Parfitt with Jesse Baltutis & Oliver M. Brandes
May 2012

Cross-Canada Checkup: A Canadian Perspective on Our Water Future offers a first-hand account of the state of fresh water across the country, and outlines the water challenges and priorities facing Canadians.

Capturing the national pulse on water, the report is a synthesis of themes, perspectives, and information from the Forum for Leadership on Water's fall 2011 cross-Canada water discussion series tour. It illustrates the interrelatedness of many water issues common to all Canadians, and documents the growing need for solutions that transcend chronic jurisdictional challenges. It also explores the Northwest Territories’ groundbreaking new water stewardship strategy as a model for water policy reform in the rest of Canada.

The report was co-published by the POLIS Project on Ecological Governance and the Adaptation to Climate Change Team (ACT) at Simon Fraser University.

To download a copy of the report, please click the links below. A two-page report summary is also available for download.

Jesse Baltutis & Timothy Shah
with Oliver M. Brandes, Nancy Goucher, Deborah Harford & Robert Sandford
October 2011

This handbook outlines the problems with conventional stormwater management and examines solutions for moving toward sustainability. It provides a comprehensive blueprint that outlines the crucial steps necessary to change the way communities manage and, importantly, govern stormwater. A main focus is addressing the fragmented responsibility for fresh water across and within jurisdictions—one of the greatest challenges to reinventing rainwater management.

This handbook was developed in partnership with the Environmental Law Centre (ELC) at the University of Victoria and is based on the ELC's 2010 report Re-inventing Rainwater Management: A Strategy to Protect Health and Restore Nature in the Captical Region.

Check out the October 2011 Peeling Back the Pavement webinar here.

Susanne Porter-Bopp, Oliver M. Brandes & Calvin Sandborn with Laura Brandes
May 2010

Worth Every Penny:  A Primer on Conservation-Oriented Water Pricing provides an overview of conservation-oriented water pricing for decision makers, water utilities and service providers in Canada. It explains how water pricing works, what the benefits are, and how water utilities can implement conservation-oriented water pricing structures as a key tool in the water manager's toolkit. As well, it offers advice on how to address implementation challenges, including how to avoid penalizing low-income families and how to maintain revenue stability for water utilities. Check out the Worth Every Penny webinar here.

Oliver M Brandes, Steven Renzetti and Kirk Stinchcombe
April 2010

POLIS' second report on the water-energy nexus offers Ontario’s first estimate of the large quantities of energy used to pump, treat and heat water and to generate steam. The study reveals that pumping and treating water and wastewater consumes enough energy to light every home in the province. In addition, heating water for activities such as showering and doing laundry was found to be the second largest source of greenhouse gas emissions in the residential and commercial sectors because of the heavy reliance on fossil fuels. As a result of these findings, initiatives to support greater water conservation and efficiency could be a path to realizing future energy savings, to the benefit of municipalities, taxpayers and our environment.

Carol Maas

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