ReFRESH: Canada-US Transboundary Water Governance and the Columbia River Treaty Renegotiations
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The Columbia Basin is at a crossroads due to the potential termination of the 1964 Canada-US Columbia River Treaty. Once widely recognized as a world-leading, innovative approach to transboundary water governance, concerns are mounting about whether the renegotiation process can address the numerous issues that have emerged since 1964 and regain the Columbia River’s status as a recognized global leader in transboundary governance. In preparation for this milestone, Canadian and US agencies have begun to address what Kenney (2009) calls the “omissions of the past”: ecosystem integrity, cultural flows, indigenous values, and climate change (see Province of BC, 2013; U.S. Entity, 2013). The small body of scholarship that has characterized Canada-US transboundary water governance has primarily highlighted challenges, such as the limited power of local actors (Norman and Bakker, 2009) and the lack of resilience planning (Cosens and Williams, 2012). Questions remain about how to apply the emerging research on innovative governance approaches and water security, in light of these challenges. That is, how can governance innovation be supported in Canada’s transboundary basins, specifically in the Columbia given the critical juncture poised by the Treaty renegotiation process?
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