• Social Justice Aspects of Water Allocation Mechanisms

      Bjornlund, Henning (2015)
      Water is scarce in southern Alberta, and climate change predictions suggest that water might be even scarcer. There is increasing pressure to leave more water in rivers for environmental purposes, which will further increase water scarcity for extractive users. There is also an urgent need to find mechanisms to allocate and reallocate water among competing uses, such as water for the environment and for extractive uses. Achieving these objectives within current water dependent communities will involve different socioeconmic impacts. The level of impact will depend on the policy choices made, the acceptability of such policies among stakeholders, water users reactions to such policies, and the ability of current water users to cope with less water. These issues are examined in this project.
    • A Social Network Analysis For Knowledge Integration and Extension of WEPGN Research

      Bharadwaj, Lalita; Dupont, Diane; Bradford, Lori (2015)
      Solutions for complex water challenges not only require the development of novel data collection and modeling tools, but also the creation of strong research clusters and innovative knowledge mobilization instruments. There is a need to understand the focus and nature of interdisciplinary collaborative research, as well as the functionality and collaborative nature of the networks of researchers, extension and integration of partnerships. Deriving these solutions is essential for the integration and extension of research knowledge beyond disciplinary silos so that deeper understanding and relationship building between those who make water policy decisions and those who are impacted by them can be made.
    • Using Economics to Understand the Implications of Wildfires: An Alberta Case Study

      Dupont, Diane (2016)
      Forested regions in northern and western Alberta provide approximately 88% of surface water supplies to Alberta’s population. It is critical that the risks associated with changes in water quality and the connections to upland forests are understood. One of the key risks arises from wildfires as these disturbances release a variety of contaminants into surface waters. These contaminants travel downstream to water utilities and may result in a range of possible outcomes from less severe (small change in operating costs) to more severe (shut-down of water utility and importation of water supplies). Recent increases in the magnitude of wildfires, along with increased provincial water demand, have resulted in a need to evaluate wildfire risk to downstream municipal drinking water supply and treatment systems. The project models the magnitude and likelihood of wildfire occurrences in source water regions in Alberta and combines fire/water transport and water utility cost models in order to undertake a cost-benefit analysis of existing and future management strategies for drinking water security.
    • Using Economics to Understand the Implications of Wildfires: An Alberta Case Study

      Dupont, Diane (2016)
      Les régions forestières du nord et de l’ouest de l’Alberta comptent environ 88 % de l’eau de surface utilisée par la population de l’Alberta. Il est essentiel de comprendre les risques associés aux changements dans la qualité de l’eau et les liens avec les forêts de montagne. Un des risques principaux concerne les feux de forêt, puisque ces incidents libèrent de nombreux contaminants dans les eaux de surface. Ces contaminants se déplacent ensuite en aval pour atteindre les réseaux d’adduction d’eau et peuvent entraîner une gamme de conséquences légères (p. ex., hausses des coûts d’exploitation) ou plus graves (fermeture de services d’approvisionnement et importation d’eau). De récentes hausses dans l’intensité des feux de forêt, ainsi que l’augmentation de la demande provinciale en eau ont mené au besoin d’évaluer les risques liés aux feux de forêt pour les systèmes de traitement et d’approvisionnement d’eau municipale en aval. Le projet modélise l’amplitude et la probabilité des feux de forêt dans les régions riches en eau de source en Alberta et combine des modèles de feux/transport de l’eau avec des modèles des coûts liés aux services d’eau afin de réaliser une analyse des coûts-avantages des stratégies de gestion existantes et futures, dans le but ultime d’améliorer la sécurité de l’eau potable.
    • Water Governance and Watershed Planning in British Columbia First Nations Communities

      Harris, Leila (2016)
      First Nations governance processes are particularly complex, with a suite of legislation and federal institutions, as well as the broader context of self-governance important for these communities. This research will contribute to a more complete understanding of the interactions between First Nations and the current water governance framework in British Columbia and the complex interactions First Nations have had within this framework. Further, it will highlight First Nations perspectives on barriers and priorities for enhanced water governance in British Columbia, at a provincial scale and with particular focus on watershed-level governance. Considering these dimensions will inform the types of responses that are required to make meaningful progress on these issues.
    • Water Policy and Extreme Climate Events

      Horbulyk, Ted; Naima, Farah (2015-09-03)
    • Water Policy and Extreme Climate Events

      Horbulyk, Ted (2015)
      Canadians are at increasing risk from water‐related events such as multiyear droughts, flooding and/or significant changes in historical precipitation patterns. Extreme hydrological events can also hinder our ability to protect and manage groundwater resources. The sets of specific precautionary measures and responses that are available to private versus public water users and stakeholders are not well understood, nor are they necessarily enabled or encouraged by existing water policies. For example, there may be beneficial roles for selective infrastructure investments, revised water management protocols, or legal and regulatory changes, where these approaches can be considerably more effective, if undertaken in a coordinated manner. Some effects of increased flooding or drought can be more readily accommodated by some water using sectors than others, yet mechanisms to coordinate beneficial actions across sectors may be lacking. Although the returns to specific investment alternatives will be highly location and context‐specific, some types of prior investments or actions might have relatively higher returns than would come from remedial or adaptive measures alone.
    • Whose input counts? Public consultation and the BC Water Sustainability Act

      Jollymore, Ashlee; Mcfarlane, Kiely; Harris, Leila (2016)
      Public consultation has become an increasingly important feature of policy-making, intended to enhance democratic engagement by enabling citizens to influence plans and policies that affect them (Patten, 2001; Kaehne & Taylor, 2016). Consultation processes provide broad public input, with the intention of improving the outcomes (in terms of equity, sustainability, and so forth), as well as the legitimacy of government decisions (Shipley & Utz, 2012). However, consultation’s poor alignment with decisionmaking processes, lack of transparency, and limited influence on policy and planning have at times earned it a reputation as tokenistic (Carr, 2012; Carvalho et al., 2016; Cheeseman & Smith, 2001). Thus, a key question for policy-makers and the public is whether public consultation is delivering more democratic policy outcomes. Here we investigate precisely whether, and the degree to which, public input influences policy outcomes. Specifically, this study provides a detailed analysis of the large-scale consultation process undertaken for British Columbia’s Water Act Modernization (WAM), which received significant public attention and government investment. During this process, the provincial government held three rounds of public consultation from 2008-2013, resulting in over 4000 submissions that were used to refine BC’s new Water Sustainability Act (WSA, 2014). We critically examined the influence of different submitter groups on policy outcomes, and thus the role of consultation in the broader policy-making process. To do this, we developed a novel quantitative approach to systematically analyze participants’ submissions on policy proposals, and compare those responses with resultant policies.