Since the POLIS Water Sustainability Project began in 2003, our team has played a leadership role in advancing watershed governance, both in concept and in practice. Watershed governance involves reorganizing and focusing decision-making to better align with ecological boundaries, and addressing ecological health and function to enhance social, community, and ecosystem resilience.
Seminal research in At a Watershed: Ecological Governance and Sustainable Water Management in Canada (2005) and A Blueprint for Watershed Governance in British Columbia (2014) built a strong foundation for understanding and progressing institutional, legal, and governance reform.
This work still remains a high-priority, and in recent years our team has started to grow it further by “looking beyond” ideas of watershed governance toward the broader concept and emerging research theme of watershed security. Watershed security is about the fundamental need to responsibly and sustainably manage and govern water in its entirety—which means its sources and the surrounding landscape. We are alert to how watershed security links the top issues of our time—from climate change adaptation and reconciliation and implementation of the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples, to wild salmon survival and our collective health, spiritual well-being, quality of life, and prosperity.