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 2009

Making the Most of the Water We Have is the first book to comprehensively present and apply the water soft path approach. Edited by the POLIS Project on Ecological Governance’s David B. Brooks and Oliver M. Brandes, and environmental consultant Stephen Gurman, it compiles the writings of more than 20 water scientists, policy advisors and analysts, and political ecologists. The publication focuses on detailed Canadian studies, and also takes a global perspective by looking at examples and experiences from around the world. Making the Most of the Water We Have demonstrates that soft path analyses are both analytical and practical, and emphasizes that soft paths are not only conceptually attractive, but can also be economically and politically feasible.

First published in June 2009, the paperback edition was released in March 2011. It is available at Chapters and Amazon, and can be purchased directly from the publisher for 20% off the list price.

  • Four book reviews, published in The Environmental Forum, Water International, Critical Policy Studies, and Journal AWWA are provided below as downloadable PDFs.
  • This book served as the backbone for an April 2010 Continuing Studies course on Contemporary Issues in Water Management and Protection offered at the University of Victoria. The course information is provided below.
David Brooks, Oliver Brandes, and Stephan Gurman
March 2009

Meeting Ontario’s commitment to slow the progression of climate change will take more than changing lightbulbs. It will require all sectors to diligently look for opportunities to reduce waste and increase efficiency. This study, the first of its kind in Canada, suggests that a significant, untapped opportunity exists for water conservation to reduce energy, save municipal dollars, and mitigate greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions.

Carol Maas
February 2009

This report describes some of the key mechanisms available to allocate water in times of scarcity, with a particular focus on markets and market mechanisms. It highlights some of the advantages and disadvantages, as well as recent experiences in jurisdictions—such as Alberta—that have begun to include markets formally in their water allocation framework. To access this report on the Conference Board of Canada website click here.

Oliver M Brandes
Linda Nowlan
Katie Paris
May 2008

This water law report was prepared with the University of Victoria's Environmental Law Center for the Land Trust Alliance of BC. It explains the water management regime in British Columbia in the context of ecosystem health, in order to assist land trusts to evaluate how best to protect instream flows, or the quantity of water in a stream, for conservation.

Oliver M Brandes
Deborah Curran
September 2007

The Soft Path for Water in a Nutshell provides an overview of the steps involved in soft path planning, illustrates how soft path planning differs from conventional supply-side management, and discusses the potential for this innovative approach to develop water sustainability in Canada. Originally published in November 2005, a revised and updated version was released in September 2007.

Oliver M. Brandes & David B. Brooks
February 2007

This report outlines the steps necessary to create an effective freshwater strategy in Canada, created by the Gordon Water Group of Concerned Scientists and Citizens. The Gordon Water Group was founded in part by three POLIS Research Associates. The Group brings together a number of organisations, including the Water Sustainability Project and scientific expertise on sustainable water management.

T.J. Morris
D.R. Boyd
O.M. Brandes
J.P Bruce
M. Hudon
B. Lucas
T. Maas
L. Nowlan
R. Pentland
M. Phare
October 2006

This handbook provides a practical resource on how individuals, utilities, and, most importantly, communities can save water and money. Designed for community leaders, water managers, and policy makers, this handbook seeks to inspire and facilitate action. It promotes an expanded definition of "urban water infrastructure" that includes innovative physical components, water sensitive urban design, and conservation programs designed to complement existing water supply networks.

Oliver M. Brandes, Tony Maas & Ellen Reynolds
May 2005

This report focuses on the enabling environment that ensures holistic water management is institutionally embedded. Water is the strategic resource of the 21st century and Canada stands “at a watershed” in freshwater management. Attitudes, institutions, and policies are changing, but an outdated supply-oriented paradigm still dominates. Ultimately, the goal is “ecological governance,” where natural ecosystem processes are carefully considered at all levels of decision-making. The strength of this report lies in the rich mosaic of experiences and examples from around the world where theory and concept inform practice.

Oliver M Brandes
Keith Ferguson
Michael M'Gonigle
Calvin Sandborn
May 2004

This report focuses on identifying benefits as well as the barriers to water demand-side management in Canada. The interconnected and interrelated nature of barriers creates a gridlock that resists the adoption of a comprehensive approach to demand management for urban water in Canada. The report exaplains why a comprehensive and long-term approach to demand-side management is necessary and provides action plans for all levels of government and other stakeholders for implementation.

Oliver M. Brandes & Keith Ferguson
December 2003

Urban water management poses many logistical and financial challenges in Canadian communities. By increasing water use efficiency, Demand Side Management can mitigate many of the impacts of human water use on overstretched municipal infrastructure and overstressed aquatic systems. Despite these benefits, Demand Side Management is seriously underutilized in Canada. What the Experts Think draws on interviews with Canadian experts in the field of water resource management and initiates a national network of water demand management practitioners.

Tony Maas

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