• Great Lakes Governance Reform for Place-based Regeneration of the Natural and Built Environment

      Krantzberg, Gail (2014)
      Canadian municipalities are confronted by challenges related to continued growth, climate change and aging infrastructure, and the increasingly limited ability of receiving waterways to absorb the impact of stormwater runoff and pollution. There is increased recognition that integrated water, wastewater and stormwater management is required to ensure cost-effective water services as well as sustainable water resources to support public health, economy and environment now and in the future. In particular, this is a defining moment for the Great Lakes St. Lawrence region, with the opportunity to update the approaches taken for ecosystem improvement and protection in the region. The outcome of a 2007 review of the binational Great Lakes Water Quality Agreement resulted in a broad call for revisions to the Agreement, so that it can once again serve as a visionary document driving binational cooperation to address both long-standing and emerging Great Lakes environmental issues in the 21st century. The focus of the new agreement emphasizes the creation of a nearshore framework. While this term is still undefined, it reflects a policy need for a framework for scientific cooperation in the nearshore zone. In parallel, there is a need for a governance framework that enables place-based decision making for appropriate interventions, in order to promote resilience at the land-water interface. Governance frameworks for integrated water management are limited in Canada, and this research seeks to identify the most promising models.

      Bunch, Martin (Canadian Water Network, 2016)
      The Credit River watershed is located in one of the most densely populated regions of Canada and home to some of the most diverse landscapes and ecosystems in southern Ontario. Within all watersheds, especially highly populated ones like the Credit River watershed, environmental health is intrinsically linked to human health. For example, the percentage of canopy cover in a given area is an indicator of human and watershed health; more shade lowers surrounding temperature and helps to reduce rates of heat stress and skin cancer caused by sun exposure. Human health and well-being are greatly impacted by the health and quality of services provided by local ecosystems. This project aimed to make this relationship more clear and to enrich peoples’ understanding of their impacts on nature and, in turn, nature’s impact on their well-being.

      Bunch, Martin (Canadian Water Network, 2015)
      Human health and well-being are intrinsically linked to ecosystem services. Ecosystem services can be described as “the benefits people obtain from ecosystems,”1 and include lower health care costs, improved water quality or reduced energy costs. For example, the shade and wind-breaking effects created from planting more trees and vegetation can lead to decreased energy use and decreased costs for heating and cooling, as well as a decrease in the severity of floods.2,3,4 Improved air and water quality can lead to a decrease in health care costs due to fewer water-borne illnesses and better respiratory health.5 In Toronto alone, the health perception of planting an additional 10 trees in a city block is equivalent to living in a community with an increase of $10,000 income for every household in that block, and the health benefits are comparable to adding 7 years onto someone’s life.6 It seems that residents’ perception of such improvements in their health is related to the visual and accessible presence of trees (which can reduce stress, improve mood, lower blood pressure, etc.) and the effect that trees have on improving air quality.
    • Human Well-being, Ecosystem Services and Watershed Management in the Credit River Valley: Web-distributed Mechanisms and Indicators for Communication and Awareness

      Bunch, Martin (2015)
      Human health and well-being is fundamentally dependent on services provided by ecosystems. However, the importance of ecosystem services to human well-being, and of managing ecosystem and watershed resources to maintain such services, is not commonly understood by the public, and not well-enough articulated by environmental management and governance organizations. Beneficiaries of such services are often unaware of the nature of their dependence upon supporting ecosystems. This is particularly true in urbanized watersheds. Watershed management organizations are aware of such benefits to watershed residents, but they very rarely track and report measures of human well-being to demonstrate the efficacy of their work. Relationships among environmental determinants of health and well-being are multiple, diffuse and interact in complex non-linear ways that are difficult to parse and isolate. This presents a problem for normal science, which reduces problems to smaller components in attempts to understand them. Without a way to demonstrate and communicate these relationships, the ecosystem services that underpin our health and well-being will continue to be ignored and undermined.
    • Improved Water Demand Forecasting to Promote Sustainable Water Management

      Renzetti, Steven (2015)
      The Region of Durham in Ontario is a fast growing urban area east of Toronto and has a population of 650,000, covering an area of 2500 km2. It has a single tiered water supply system with the regional agency acting as a retailer to provide water to households, businesses, institutions and farms. In 2014 its output was 63,555 Mega Litres. The Region of Durham’s water agency faces many challenges including growing demands, ageing infrastructure, water quality concerns and rising costs operations. Forecasting water demands on a daily basis is remarkably difficult. Variables such as weather conditions, operational changes, watermain breaks, business cycles, human behaviour, economic and social factors effect water demand forecasting, but it is difficult to quantify those factors and thus difficult to make an accurate prediction. The water industry has responded to this challenge by developing sophisticated procedures for forecasting. The approaches used include Artificial Neural Networks (ANN) and time series statistical modeling, which takes into consideration all possible factors as input variables to build forecasting model. The Region of Durham has thus far relied upon ANN with mixed results. Through several years of observation, overall the ANN forecasting model can predict a relatively accurate water demand for next 24 hour period (R2 >0.7) in some pressure zones. Winter forecasting is more accurate than summer because outdoor water use is extremely variable.
    • Indigenous Water Co-Governance: Emerging Models of Distributed Water Governance in British Columbia and Alberta

      Bourassa, Carrie (2015)
      The emphasis on Indigenous law is of pressing importance given that evolving legal frameworks have created expanded approaches to Indigenous title, rights, and traditional territories and hence expanded roles for Indigenous peoples in resource governance. This creates a challenge for all levels of government (including Indigenous governments), as new models of governance (and stakeholder relationships) are being debated and indeed created. This challenge has inter-related economic, policy and governance dimensions. Indigenous communities in Canada are currently grappling with a range of water-related issues, including access to safe drinking water, environmental water quality, and associated health and livelihoods issues. In some regions, particularly Western and Northern Canada, these issues are exacerbated by development pressures associated with resource extraction (e.g. oil and gas development, forestry, hydro-electricity). In this context, there are number of challenges that stem from legal and regulatory frameworks, including inadequate consultation, lack of community capacity to participate in engagement and consultation processes, insufficient transparency, and outdated regulations (e.g. with respect to new pollutants) and perceived regulatory capture. In the absence of effective responses to these challenges, there are a number of potential consequences, including expensive and protracted litigation, higher appeals to (and thus increased caseloads for) regulatory oversight bodies, and political mobilization and protest.
    • Integrated Analysis of Land Use and Water Quality: Economic, Hydrological and Policy Analysis

      Bateman, Ian (2017)
      Land use and changes in that use play a major role in determining the quality of rivers and lakes. Indeed the effectiveness of water quality management will always be compromised without a clear understanding of land use influences. However, land use is determined by a complex array of drivers including policy (e.g. the EU’s Common Agricultural Policy), market forces (e.g. changes in commodity prices, input costs, etc.), cross-sectional environmental variation (e.g. soil type, rainfall, etc.) and temporal environmental variation (e.g. the effects of climate change such as temperature variance, etc.). While controlling for these drivers the project focuses upon the role of policy making. However, land use policy suffers from systematic inadequacies in that it often focuses upon a single issue (e.g. increasing agricultural production) without considering the indirect effects of such changes (e.g. water pollution). Furthermore, many of these indirect effects occur outside the remit of market values, further impeding their incorporation within decision-making systems.
    • La gouvernance de l’eau et la planification relative aux bassins hydrographiques dans les communautés des Premières Nations de la Colombie-Britannique

      Harris, Leila (2016)
      Les processus de gouvernance des Premières Nations sont particulièrement complexes puisqu’ils mettent en jeu toute une série de lois et d’institutions fédérales ainsi que le plus vaste contexte de l’autonomie gouvernementale de première importance pour ces communautés. Cette recherche améliorera la compréhension globale des interactions entre les Premières Nations et le cadre actuel de la gouvernance de l’eau en Colombie-Britannique et des interactions complexes entretenues par les Premières Nations au sein de ce cadre. En outre, elle dégagera les perspectives des Premières Nations concernant les barrières et les priorités relatives à l’amélioration de la gouvernance de l’eau en Colombie-Britannique, à l’échelle provinciale, tout en mettant l’accent sur la gouvernance au niveau de bassins hydrographiques individuels. L’examen de ces dimensions illuminera les types de réactions nécessaires à la réalisation de réels progrès relativement à ces enjeux.
    • Managing Water and Watersheds for Co-benefits: Human well-being and ecosystem services in the Credit River Watershed

      Bunch, Martin; Morrison, Karen (2015)
      The importance of ecosystem services (ES) to human well-being, and of management of water and other watershed resources in maintaining such services, is not commonly understood by the general public, and not well-enough articulated by environmental management and governance organizations. Beneficiaries of such services are often unaware of the nature of their dependence upon supporting ecosystems. This is particularly true in urbanized watersheds, to the point where researchers discuss “nature deficit disorder” as an aspect of this disconnection. Watershed management organizations are aware of such benefits to watershed residents, but they very rarely track and report measures of human well-being to demonstrate the efficacy of their work. In managing water and watersheds such as the Credit River watershed, managers and policy makers deal with complex coupled human and natural systems that are characterized by irreducible uncertainty, multiple stakeholders, relationships that are often multiple, diffuse and interacting, and that are affected by strong driving forces such as urbanization and climate change. In such problematic situations the positioning of interventions on the landscape is an area of increased interest.
    • Measuring and Mobilizing Citizen Preferences for Source Water Protection

      Janmaat, John (2015)
      Three themes dominate environmental management: public participation, use of the best science, and cost effectiveness. While economic valuation has grown in prominence as an aid to achieving cost effectiveness, its methodology has been challenged as inappropriate for complex situations outside of respondents’ knowledge and experience. Preferences may be constructed through education and experience. Further, particularly for public goods, preferences may develop through a social discourse that confronts multiple value frames and in response to equity concerns. Some recent experiments have sought to elicit values for cost benefit analyses from deliberative groups with access to scientific information or expertise. This project furthers the development of deliberative valuation techniques through application in the Okanagan, and collaborative adaptation with other projects in the network. With a focus on source water protection in the Central Okanagan, a series of choice experiments will be conducted.
    • Mesurer et mobiliser les préférences des citoyens concernant la protection des sources hydriques

      Janmaat, John (2015)
      Trois thèmes dominent la gestion environnementale : la participation du public, le recours aux meilleures connaissances scientifiques et la rentabilité. Alors que l’évaluation économique prenait une importance croissante en tant que moyen d’atteindre la rentabilité, certains avançaient que sa méthodologie ne convenait pas aux situations complexes dépassant les connaissances et l’expérience des sujets interrogés. Il est possible que les préférences résultent de l’éducation et de l’expérience. De plus, il se peut que, dans le cas des biens publics, les préférences se développent par le biais d’un discours social confrontant de multiples cadres de valeurs et abordant des préoccupations en matière d’équité. De récentes expériences ont tenté de cerner les valeurs pouvant servir dans le cadre d’analyses coûts-bénéfices, et ce, auprès de groupes de délibération ayant accès à de l’information ou de l’expertise scientifique. Ce projet contribue au développement de techniques d’évaluation par la délibération, par le biais de l’application dans l’Okanagan et d’une adaptation de collaboration avec d’autres projets du réseau. Une série d’expériences sur le choix sera menée dans la région Central Okanagan en mettant l’accent sur la protection des sources hydriques.
    • Municipal Water Demand Simulation and Projection Project

      Renzetti, Steven; Dupont, Diane; Price, James (2015)
    • Navigating the Tensions in Collaborative Watershed Governance: Water Governance and Indigenous Communities in British Columbia, Canada

      Simms, Rosie; Harris, Leila; Joe, Nadia; Bakker, Karen (EDGES, 2016-06)
      First Nations in British Columbia (BC), Canada, have historically been—and largely continue to be—excluded from colonial governments’ decision-making and management frameworks for fresh water. However, in light of recent legal and legislative changes, and also changes in water governance and policy, there is growing emphasis in scholarship and among legal, policy and advocacy communities on shifting water governance away from a centralized single authority towards an approach that is watershed-based, collaborative, and involves First Nations as central to decisionmaking processes. Drawing on community-based research, interviews with First Nations natural resource staff and community members, and document review, the paper analyzes the tensions in collaborative water governance, by identifying First Nations’ concerns within the current water governance system and exploring how a move towards collaborative watershed governance may serve to either address, or further entrench, these concerns. This paper concludes with recommendations for collaborative water governance frameworks which are specifically focused on British Columbia, but which have relevance to broader debates over Indigenous water governance.
    • A pilot project to develop an integrated Canadian hydro-economic model

      Dupont, Diane (2015)
      Governments in Canada currently do not have the capacity to analyze the two-way relationship between economic activities and hydrologic conditions at the river basin level. Canada also does not have an integrated hydro-economic computer model for practical policy and decision-making towards sustainable water use. This project will demonstrate the feasibility and efficacy of developing such integrated models. Furthermore, the model will provide governments with new ways to assess both the implications of economic development strategies on water resources and the implications of water allocation policies on local economic activity.
    • Promoting Conservation and Social Justice Through Next-Generation Water Prices

      Scott, Dayna (2014)
      It is well understood that water is becoming increasing scarce and that water supply systems are becoming increasingly unreliable in many parts of the world. One part of the solution to these challenges lies in adequately pricing potable water. Proposals to increase prices to encourage conservation and spur innovation, however, have been met with concerns regarding the impact of price increases on the poor. Evidence from a number of jurisdictions indicates that poor households spend a larger share of their income on necessities such as water and, as a result, could be disproportionately harmed by efforts to raise water prices. Moreover, few debates include gendered analyses of the implications of water management models, or an investigation of how women might be differentially affected even though it is likely that higher water prices will mean unequal access to water, along the familiar social gradients of race, class, and gender. This project is an integrated research program that advances the state of knowledge of the economic and social impacts of water pricing reforms and provides project partners with the analytic tools to support their rate setting.
    • Promouvoir la conservation et la justice sociale grâce à la tarification de l’eau de la prochaine génération

      Scott, Dayna (2014)
      Il est largement admis que l’eau devient de plus en plus rare et que les systèmes d’approvisionnement en eau deviennent de moins en moins fiables dans de nombreuses régions du monde. La résolution de ces problèmes repose, en partie, sur la tarification appropriée de l’eau potable. Les propositions concernant l’augmentation des prix en vue d’encourager la conservation et de stimuler l’innovation ont cependant été accueillies avec des réserves liées à l’incidence des hausses de prix pour les pauvres. Les données émanant de diverses instances indiquent que les ménages pauvres consacrent une plus grande proportion de leurs revenus aux nécessités de la vie comme l’eau et que, par conséquent, ils pourraient être lésés de façon disproportionnée par les efforts visant à augmenter le prix de l’eau. De plus, les débats n’incluent pas habituellement d’analyses comparatives entre les sexes sur les répercussions des modèles de gestion de l'eau ni de recherches sur la manière dont les femmes pourraient être touchées différemment, bien qu’il soit probable que la hausse du prix de l’eau entraîne des inégalités dans l'accès à l'eau en fonction des gradients sociaux communs que sont la race, la classe et le sexe. Ce projet est un programme de recherche intégré qui développe l'état des connaissances concernant les impacts économiques et sociaux des réformes de la tarification de l’eau et fournit aux partenaires du projet les outils analytiques dont ils ont besoin pour étayer leur tarification.

      Adamowicz, Vic (Canadian Water Network, 2016)
      The importance of safe and reliable drinking water to human health is paramount. Water utility service providers aim to provide quality water to their customers at all times, minimizing disruptions to water systems that may impact the delivery of water. The impacts from increased frequency and severity of summer droughts and forest fires in regions like Alberta are becoming a growing concern, which could lead to increased risks in drinking water system outages or reliability problems (i.e. the interruption of the supply of high quality drinking water) for communities. A vast majority of drinking water in Alberta comes from the Eastern forested slopes of the Canadian Rocky Mountains, and researchers have suggested forest and watershed management as a method of improving drinking water reliability. These practices include the placement of buffer strips along streams to reduce the amount of sediment and debris entering drinking water sources, and reducing of the amount of hazardous forest fuels such as stands of dry trees in the watershed to prevent wildfires. These forest management practices can potentially reduce risks to drinking water reliability and the need for increased investments in drinking water treatment infrastructure.