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Über dieses Buch

This book provides an insightful and critical assessment of the state of Canadian water governance and policy. It adopts a multidisciplinary variety of perspectives and considers local, basin, provincial and national scales. Canada’s leading authorities from the social sciences, life and natural sciences address pressing water issues in a non-technical language, making them accessible to a wide audience.

Even though Canada is seen as a water-rich country, with 7% of the world’s reliable flow of freshwater and many of the world’s largest rivers, the country nevertheless faces a number of significant water-related challenges, stemming in part from supply-demand imbalances but also a range of water quality issues. Against the backdrop of a water policy landscape that has changed significantly in recent years, this book therefore seeks to examine water-related issues that are not only important for the future of Canadian water management but also provide insights into transboundary management, non-market valuation of water, decentralized governance methods, the growing importance of the role of First Nations peoples, and other topics in water management that are vital to many jurisdictions globally. The book also presents forward-looking approaches such as resilience theory and geomatics to shed light on emerging water issues.

Researchers, students and those directly involved in the management of Canadian waters will find this book a valuable source of insight. In addition, this book will appeal to policy analysts, people concerned about Canadian water resources specifically as well as global water issues.



Introduction and Background


Chapter 1. Introduction

Canada is widely seen as a water-rich country as it possesses 7 % of the world’s reliable flow of freshwater and has many of the world’s largest rivers. Nonetheless, Canada’s water resources face a number of significant challenges arising from population growth, natural resource –based developments, the looming implications of climate change, a growing reliance on large-scale irrigation, and a legacy of past laws and regulations unable to address these challenges adequately. This chapter sets out the objectives of this volume and summarizes the contributions made by each of its chapters.
Steven Renzetti, Diane P. Dupont

Chapter 2. The Hydrological and Policy Contexts for Water in Canada

The chapter focuses on the hydrological and policy contexts for water in Canada. Regarding the hydrological context, attention focuses upon available water quantity and quality related to the needs of humans and other living species; and, situations related to floods, droughts, wetlands and permafrost, especially in the context of anticipated climate change. Specific examples highlight the complexity and uncertainty involved. With regard to the policy context, consideration first is given to arrangements for the authority and responsibilities of the federal, provincial, territorial and municipal governments, as well as Indigenous peoples. Other aspects considered are the steady reduction in the federal commitment to, and engagement in, water illustrated by the federal water policy, flood damage reduction program, experimental lakes research area, and the ‘war on science’. A final matter addressed is the concept of water as a basic human right, with attention to evolution of thinking both internationally and within Canada. It is essential to have data, knowledge and appreciation for the hydrological reality across the nation, as well as of actions at various spatial scales to facilitate or limit such understanding. Context for policy is also very important. In particular, it is important to appreciate policy choices for related aspects, such as climate change.
Bruce Mitchell

Chapter 3. Water Policy in Canada

Canada’s provincial, territorial and federal governments face key water policy decisions about the process of water allocation and the outcomes associated with alternative approaches. Water allocation refers to the systems that are used to decide which users are allowed to draw water from which sources, for which purposes, and when. Especially when water resources are under pressure from competing demands, or when water quality is threatened, it is logical to question whether the available water resources are being used in the best way possible. Water allocation policy is a multifaceted and far reaching tool with which governments can influence the structure of the economy and quality of residents’ lives. Water allocation decisions influence numerous uses of surface and groundwater resources, including such non-extractive uses as providing environmental, recreational and aesthetic benefits when some of the water is left in situ. This chapter illustrates a range of specific water policy issues and considerations that relate to water allocation, and provides an overview of current practices in each jurisdiction. A number of challenges are highlighted that will have to be addressed if society is to benefit fully from the potential gains that effective water allocation can deliver.
Ted Horbulyk

Chapter 4. Changing Currents: A Case Study in the Evolution of Water Law in Western Canada

New social, economic and environmental priorities are challengeing the Canadian water law regime. Water law in western Canada, a direct product of the colonial legal system and European settlement, illustrates many of the emerging tensions associated with a modern water management regime in flux. In an age of increasing hydrologic uncertainty with drier summers followed by more extreme storm events, lawmakers are seeking to increase resilience both for the environment and also for the institutions and the laws that govern freshwater resources. In Canada evidence of an evolving water law and management regime is already apparent—from developments in Aboriginal law that are changing how and who governs water, retreat by the federal government as an active participant in water resource management, to increased provincial efforts to fill that void.This chapter explains the structure and foundations of Canada’s approach to water law, in particular in western Canada; and explores how water law is changing, and what this reveals about the potential of a twenty-first century approach to water management and governance. It will explicitly review the primary allocation regimes that exist across Canada: modified common law riparian rights in the Maritime provinces and Ontario; Quebec’s civil law tradition; the authority management approach in the North; and the prior allocation system that underpins the prairie provinces and British Columbia. Through this discussion the chapter will set out the foundational principles that characterize the current approach to western water law. Investigation into the recent law reform in British Columbia provides the focus to better understand Canadian western water law and to identify characteristics of an emerging regime based on partnership and with an explicit emphasis on protecting water for nature. This case study explores how modern water governance requires a more collaborative approach where all governments, rights holders, and stakeholders have roles and responsibilities, with creative integration of top-down and bottom-up planning and decision-making. The example of British Columbia demonstrates how this water law regime is “changing the current”—evolving gradually toward a more collaborative and adaptable system with the promise of its new Water Sustainability Act.
Oliver M. Brandes, Deborah Curran

Chapter 5. Reconciliation and Relationality in Water Research and Management in Canada: Implementing Indigenous Ontologies, Epistemologies, and Methodologies

Water-related issues disproportionately affect Indigenous communities in Canada. Despite millions in investment, Western-trained scientists, engineers, and other researchers as well as the government agencies that have constitutionally-mandated fiduciary responsibilities to address such issues have been rather unsuccessful in solving them. This has been due, in large part, to an overreliance on methods of Western science and management, ignoring the vast place-based wisdom of Indigenous knowledge systems and relational practices regarding water found across the country. The underlying reasons for this partiality are not innocuous; entrenched colonial and racist policies, programs, and practices have persisted across time and space. In recent years, there is increasing recognition of the importance of applying Indigenous approaches to water challenges in Canada. But strategies for successful implementation are only beginning to emerge. In an attempt to respond to this knowledge gap, our research has sought to systematically identify and assess how both Indigenous and Western ontologies, epistemologies, and methodologies have been implemented in water research and management. In doing so, this chapter identifies some of the most promising practices in Canada. We share these with the goal of contributing to processes of reconciliation and responsibility towards each other as well as our roles as water stewards across the country.
Heather Castleden, Catherine Hart, Ashlee Cunsolo, Sherilee Harper, Debbie Martin

International and Transboundary


Chapter 6. Placing Canada’s Water Policies in an International Context

Canada is a country rich in water resources that has mastered the management of its abundant water resources through effective policies. Similarly, effective and relatively conflict-free management of shared waters with its southern neighbor is also cited as a success story in popular discourse, with over a century of joint management since the Boundary Waters Treaty of 1909. This chapter undertakes a critical review of these commonly held notions in the context of evidence, particularly incorporating the challenges stemming from a limited federal role in water management and a non-existing national water policy. A key part of this evidence comes in the form of a comparative analysis of the policies adopted by other countries. There are three comparative approaches utilized in this chapter: similarity of geographic scale and economic development; similarity of economic development but not scale; and, contrast of economic development. Selection of countries for comparative analysis is based on: fit with the comparison criteria, availability of comparable data, and relative success in managing their respective circumstances. First, the chapter compares Canadian approaches with those applied in developed countries of similar geographic scale; the most comparable examples in this case are that of United States of America and Brazil. Second, a comparison is made with the policies utilized in developed countries that have demonstrated success in managing their own water resources as well as shared ones; the examples used here are Germany and the Netherlands. Third, the Canadian approach is contrasted with approaches deployed in water-scarce developing countries; the examples used in this case are Jordan and South Africa. This multi-faceted analysis is intended to contextualize Canadian successes and failures, while also charting the potential for further enhancements and modifications, learning from experiences of other countries presented in this chapter.
Zafar Adeel

Chapter 7. Water Security and Adaptation to Climate Extremes in Transboundary Rivers of North America

Three basins in North America are used to examine how transboundary water governance arrangements have developed and performed in the face of recent severe droughts: the Colorado and Rio Grande Rivers on the US-Mexico Border and the Columbia River on the Canada-US border. The chapter delivers insights about water governance responses to the key problems in each basin, as well as the opportunities and limits to transfer policy lessons across basins. The findings illustrate the: (a) importance of proportional resource sharing mechanisms that spread risk and benefits in ways that are more likely to be perceived as fair; (b) potential for economic instruments and fiscal decentralization to reduce risks of natural hazards by enabling more localized responses; and (c) the need to establish, and strengthen, coordination mechanisms (e.g. river basin authorities, joint monitoring, conflict resolution venues) that are well matched to local conditions, including informal institutions (e.g. working groups, networks, joint studies). The chapter concludes with lessons about adaptation to extreme climate events in transboundary rivers of North America, including governance insights and practices that have enhanced (or reduced) freshwater security.
Dustin Evan Garrick

Chapter 8. Transcending Borders Through Postcolonial Water Governance? Indigenous Water Governance Across the Canada-US Border

This chapter explores the evolution of transboundary water governance along the Canada-US border. We examine two key examples in two eras of water management across the Canada-US border, separated by more than a century. First, we examine the Boundary Waters Treaty (a bi-national agreement between the federal governments of Canada and the United States), as an emblematic example of the dominant concerns that underpinned (colonial settler) water governance at the turn of the twentieth century, creating the framework in which nation-state governance mechanisms were dominant. Second, we examine the development of Indigenous-led transboundary governing bodies, focusing on the Yukon River Intertribal Watershed Council. We argue that the YRITWC is emblematic of a new era of transboundary water governance: participatory, and (in an increasing number of cases) Indigenous led – which implies new principles for water governance, involving an expanded network of actors beyond the nation-state.
Emma S. Norman, Karen Bakker

Chapter 9. The Great Lakes, Water Quality and Water Policy in Canada

This chapter focuses on water policy in the Great Lakes region to illustrate the complexities of transboundary, multi-level water governance and policy regimes in Canada. The chapter begins with an introduction of the Great Lakes as a natural resource that provides multiple ecological and human uses. The evolution of policy challenges and responses are introduced along with the various policy stakeholders. The second section reviews the transboundary water policy regime that has evolved to govern this complex system with a particular emphasis on water quality and the Great Lakes Water Quality Agreement. The third section focuses on analyzing what the Great Lakes case illustrates about water policy in Canada from a historical and comparative perspective. The focus in this section is on answering two key questions: How does the Great Lakes case help us understand water policy in Canada and how does this regional transboundary water policy regime impact water policy in Canada? The final section of the chapter focuses on the lessons and insights that can be drawn from the case of the Great Lakes for water policy in Canada and beyond.
Carolyn M. Johns



Chapter 10. Water Valuation

Canadians reap the benefits of having an abundance of good quality water. In some cases, however, decisions regarding water resource allocation, quantity allocation decisions or investments in quality improvement, need to be made. A better understanding of the economic value of water would be helpful in these decision contexts. However, most of the values associated with water are not easily calculated since the benefits arise from goods/services for which there are no explicit markets or market prices, and values vary over space and time and differ across people. The goals of this chapter are threefold: (1) briefly outline and provide a critical assessment of the approach and methods associated with the Total Economic Value (TEV) framework for obtaining non-market water values; (2) illustrate a number of case studies of whether or not (and how) market and non-market values have been used for the purposes of allocating water or making investments in improved water management; and (3) identify important gaps in both available data and information for applying valuation information to support policy analysis. In particular, the chapter focuses on policy around improvements in water quality and aquatic ecosystems. The chapter concludes with an evaluation of the availability of Canadian water value estimates. This reveals both data and information gaps. The chapter discusses the importance of filling these gaps, along with the need to develop a systematic approach to their use in policy discussions around water quality, in particular.
Diane P. Dupont, Wiktor L. Adamowicz

Chapter 11. Water Pricing in Canada

Water pricing has historically not played an important role in most facets of water policy in Canada. Specifically, policies relating to the allocation of water across major water-using sectors, water quality and even the provision of potable water and sewerage services have not relied heavily on prices or other economic instruments (Conference Board of Canada. How Canada performs: Water withdrawals. http://​www.​conferenceboard.​ca/​hcp/​details/​environment/​water-consumption.​aspx. Accessed 3 Apr 2014, 2014). For example, in many provinces, self-supplied water users face minor administrative fees to access raw water supplies. At the municipal level, inadequate pricing has meant consumers have not faced the full cost of water supply and sewage treatment and has left water agencies with aging infrastructure. The first half of this chapter discusses this feature of past and current Canadian water policies at the provincial and municipal levels and critically assesses its implications for the efficiency and sustainability of Canadian water use. The second half of the chapter presents evidence of recent changes to Canadian water pricing policies, assesses their implications and discusses opportunities and challenges for future pricing reforms. Interestingly, there are a number of initiatives underway that signal provincial and local governments’ greater reliance on prices and, more generally, market forces. In a number of provinces, fees for water withdrawals permits are rising. At the municipal level, some water agencies are developing charges associated with the cost of stormwater management. These trends have not been without controversy, however, and raise questions about a shifting in attitudes towards the potential ‘commodification’ of water as well as the distributional consequences of these policy reorientations (Bakker K. Ann Rev Environ Resour 39:469–494, 2014).
Steven Renzetti

Politics and Governance/Management


Chapter 12. The Politics of Water Policy Development in Canada

The aim of this chapter is to take stock of Canada’s water policy processes and to identify some general trends in Canadian water policy-making. To this end, it argues that water policy development in Canada has a pluralist character involving multiple organized interests, but is typically dominated by established, region-specific water user groups. The dominance of user groups is largely the product of economic, historical, and institutional factors which have given water users considerable political power and influence over Canada’s water policy decision-makers. The other organized interests typically involved in water policy development – environmentalists and First Nations – have increasingly challenged and opposed the water user groups by using the courts, cultivating favourable public opinion, and using science-based arguments to promote their causes. Though environmentalists and First Nations have achieved some notable policy successes, the preponderance of power still lies with the water user groups. These arguments are explored by comparing water policy development in two distinctive Canadian regions: the southern Prairies where irrigation is the dominant water use and the Great Lakes-St. Lawrence where hydro-electric generation, shipping, industrial, and other water uses must be balanced.
B. Timothy Heinmiller

Chapter 13. Coordinating Water Policies: Necessary, But Not Sufficient

Responsibility for water is divided between the federal, provincial and territorial governments in Canada, and each government has pursued its own path. The resulting water policy landscape is highly fragmented. Issues exist that may warrant regional or national policy coordination. Examples relate to climate change adaptation, water exports and ecosystem protection, to name a few. Previous efforts to coordinate water policy in Canada have largely resulted in failure. This appears to leave Canada in a trailing position relative to numerous countries around the world that have pursued a more coordinated approach to water policy. Paradoxically, however, the failure of previous water policy coordination efforts creates an opportunity. A strong national policy that compartmentalizes water and isolates it from related social, environmental and economic concerns may be counterproductive in an increasingly inter-connected world where water has become material to a host of new actors. In this chapter, I argue that the most viable way to establish a more coordinated, strategic approach to water policy in Canada may be to shift attention to the ways in which water matters to other actors and sectors whose support is needed to achieve water policy objectives.
Rob de Loë

Chapter 14. Managing the Fraser River Basin

The Fraser River Basin is British Columbia’s largest watershed (240,000 km2) boasting a wide diversity of plants, wildlife and natural resources, and home to 2.7 million people. From its headwaters to the Fraser River Estuary, the Fraser River Basin is a place where people of many cultures, languages and religions thrive. Yet, there are social, economic and environmental challenges that confront communities of the Basin. These include serious impacts from climate change, air and water pollution, multiple demands on natural resources, strains on ecosystems, downturns in local economies, changing demographics and a growing demand for public services. How well people manage these issues over time will depend on a common understanding of – and commitment to – sustainability, that being ‘social well being supported by a vibrant economy and sustained by a healthy environment’. Drawing on over 20 years of experience working on these issues in the Fraser River system this chapter will focus on the evolution of river basin management in Canada ranging from traditional river basin management approaches to more comprehensive methodologies. The significance of recognizing that comprehensive river basin management extends well beyond water-related considerations to include other environmental media such as air shed and land use matters as well as economic, institutional, legal, social and political aspects will be revealed. Examples of this evolution and the translation of the theoretical goal of sustainability into tangible realities will be used to demonstrate the value and contributions to improved policy and decision-making. The importance of collaborative governance processes will be highlighted as well as the usefulness of measuring performance through the development and application of sustainability indicators. Links to recent court decisions will also demonstrate the emerging significance of the accommodation of Aboriginal interests in this new approach to river basin management. Lessons learned from the Fraser River Basin experience will be made to provide guidance to the management of river basins elsewhere.
David Marshall, Steve Litke, Theresa Fresco

Chapter 15. Indigenizing Water Governance in Canada

Water-related governance challenges confronting Indigenous people are well documented and have significant implications for water governance in Canada. Indigenous people have traditionally had a lack of voice, and little participation or significant representation at higher political points of authority to influence or sanction laws of water protection, regulation and enforcement on traditional territories. Canadian water policy and management decision processes are dominated by Western scientific viewpoints and exclude Indigenous values, norms and conceptions of water governance. Indigenous people’s relationship to water is often strongly connected to the spiritual world. Water is thought of as sacred, a sentient being, a gift from, and the life breath of the Creator, and, is fundamental for the wellbeing of the earth and all people. This worldview defines unique socio-cultural relationships with water and informs Indigenous water management and governance processes which are divergent from, and unrepresented within current Canadian water governance frameworks. Indigenous people are responding to water-related governance challenges by voicing their concerns, reclaiming their roles in water governance and calling for adaptation and realignment of current Canadian water policy regimes to include Indigenous water governance processes. This chapter will give historical, social and political context to the water-related governance challenges facing Indigenous peoples of Canada. Water governance challenges will be explored through discussions on Treaty Rights and jurisdictional fragmentation which at times, impedes those rights. We explore how community engagement, participation and empowerment and the duty to consult are challenging for issues of water governance. We find insight in the reclamation of sense of place through water in Indigenous communities. Indigenous socio-cultural relations to water, and traditional strategies of water resource use, monitoring, management and protection will be highlighted drawing on examples across Canada and globally. It will provide a review of literature on some principles of, and models for Indigenous governance of water. A critical discussion of the commonalities and diversities between Indigenous and Western Scientific approaches to water governance will be woven through the text and include debate on the creation of new governance and decision making frameworks that are truly inclusive, respect ancestral knowledge, and introduce culture and governance mechanisms so that Indigenous people can fully participate in the political, organizational, administrative and decision making processes and approaches to water governance in Canada.
Lori E. A. Bradford, Nicholas Ovsenek, Lalita A. Bharadwaj

Drinking Water Policy


Chapter 16. Canadian Drinking Water Policy: Jurisdictional Variation in the Context of Decentralized Water Governance

This chapter reviews Canada’s approach to drinking water governance, focusing on the regulations, policies, practices and institutions related to the management and provision of drinking water. This review is significant given Canada’s highly decentralized approach to water governance. We critically evaluate the implications of decentralization for drinking water safety, examining both the uptake of voluntary national guidelines across Canadian jurisdictions, as well as application of day-to-day microbial risk assessment and management practices in various agencies in two provinces (Ontario and BC). Learning from these analyses, we identify a high degree of variability, specifically: (1) variation in the uptake of national Drinking Water Quality Guidelines across provinces and territories; and (2) considerable variability in microbial risk assessment and management practices across provinces and between agencies. We discuss the implications of these findings in light of ongoing harmonization and subsidiarity debates, as well as discussions as to whether compliance should be voluntary or legally binding. Our analysis indicates that the Canadian approach has contributed to data gaps and urban-rural disparities, and reduced capacity for integrated decision-making and effective oversight.
Gemma Dunn, Leila Harris, Karen Bakker

Chapter 17. Preparing for Success – Drinking Water Safety Plans and Lessons Learned from Alberta: Policy Considerations Contextualized for Small Systems

Safe drinking water is best ensured through a proactive, multiple barrier water management approach. A water safety plan is an internationally-recognized framework for managing drinking water resources, one that emphasizes multiple barriers between the water source and the consumer’s tap, and facilitates competence-building among those responsible for ensuring safe drinking water. In 2011 the province of Alberta required all public water utilities to implement Drinking Water Safety Plans (DWSPs), a first in Canada. With examples from international water safety plan implementation, and from the province of Alberta, we raise questions around the ability of communities, in particular those that are small, to effectively implement and utilize water safety plan policy. Drawing from the health literature, we examine the water policy uptake challenge through a lens of community readiness, and propose readiness for change as a first step in preparation for new water policy. By raising the issue of readiness, we facilitate a discussion around water policy implementation and common reasons for failure, while offering an approach for making ‘good ideas’ a reality on the ground. An emphasis on readiness challenges both communities and regulators to first examine whether the foundational groundwork and preparedness to support a particular policy is in place, and removes the expectation of a positive policy outcome away from implementation alone.
Megan Kot, Heather Castleden, Graham A. Gagnon

Chapter 18. Public Health at the Watershed Scale

Public health is usefully defined and managed at a variety of spatial spaces. This place-based, healthy settings approach has led to the formation of a number of successful programs and policies, such as the healthy cities, healthy neighborhoods, healthy schools and healthy homes movements. The application of a healthy settings approach to watersheds creates a powerful frame for public policy that enhances both natural and social systems, and is particularly relevant to discussions around climate change. Health and well-being are impacted by the governance and management of watersheds, at multiple scales, in ways that go well beyond the traditional focus on flooding or drinking water. Drawing on examples from watersheds, this chapter outlines the policy implications of watersheds as a setting for health and well-being. It highlights the need for a more strategic approach to watershed governance that actively seeks linkages with public health institutions in order to more effectively leverage scarce resources to meet common goals. It fills a gap in our understanding of the links between watershed-level programming and public health.
Karen Morrison, Martin J. Bunch, Lars Hallström

Chapter 19. Chlorination of Drinking Water – Scientific Evidence and Policy Implications

Identification of the value of chlorine as an efficient oxidant and disinfectant resulted in its subsequent worldwide application for disinfecting water, and is considered one of most important discoveries of the early twentieth century, improving public health. The use of chlorine in various forms continued at worldwide scale, for subsequent decades, until the 1970s when it was identified that chlorine reacts with naturally occurring organic compounds, producing potentially harmful disinfection byproducts (DBPs). Regardless, despite widespread concerns around DBPs and the inclusion in drinking water guidelines and regulations for some DBPs, many communities (especially small and rural communities with limited resources) rely solely on chlorine as primary disinfectant. Also, the use of chlorine as a secondary disinfectant to ensure residual disinfectant in the distribution system is required in many parts of the world, including in Canada. Public resentment to having chlorine in their water is a challenge associated with the use of this disinfectant in drinking water supplies, especially in aboriginal communities, with many disliking the taste and odour of chlorine, making the policy around chlorination of water very difficult and complicated. While science supports the benefits of maintaining residual chlorine in water supplies, it warns of DBP formation and its potential impact to public health. Hence, resistance to implementation of policy due to public perception and resentment continues. The work presented will describe the role of science in shaping the policy and public opinion around the use of chlorine in drinking water supplies, with particular emphasis on small and rural communities.
Madjid Mohseni, Edward A. McBean, Manuel J. Rodriguez

Case Studies


Chapter 20. Patchy Resources for the Governance of Canada’s Resource Patches: How Hydraulic Fracturing Is Illuminating the Need to Improve Water Governance in Canada

Hydraulic fracturing emerged in the mid-2000s, with polarizing results across Canada. Provincial governments either embraced the technology for energy development as a key component of their economic strategy, or put moratoriums in place. These two extreme responses have emerged worldwide, and thus, much can be learned from the varying experiences across the Canadian landscape. However, everywhere that exploration and development has taken place, has been met with significant opposition by Indigenous and non-Indigenous communities, largely due to the concerns about the associated use of water in the hydraulic fracturing process, and the potential impacts to quality and quantity. Therefore, we argue that hydraulic fracturing has shone a spotlight on, although not caused, existing water governance concerns in Canada and the contestation that underpins many water decision-making processes. This chapter will examine three main challenges. First, we illustrate how water governance approaches across the provinces and territories are patchy and fragmented, which leads to a perceived lack of transparency in the system. Second, we explain how capacity across the many actors involved in governing water or using water is not uniform and we reveal how this affects individual and collective abilities to make substantive changes that would improve the various water governance approaches across the country. On this matter, we add that the allocation of water for industrial use is often perceived as government favouring economic interests over all other values, which can lead to a perceived lack of accountability and conflicts of interest by those responsible for governing water use. Third, we describe how water governance has failed to adequately include Indigenous peoples vis-à-vis free, prior, and informed consent. Many Indigenous peoples are Treaty and Aboriginal rights holders with active land-based livelihood practices in regions affected by extractive activities. Thus, there are unique and significant impacts related to water use for hydraulic fracturing that must be resolved through Nation-to-Nation negotiations with Indigenous peoples. Each of these challenges will be explored in detail in the remainder of this chapter as a means to identify priority areas for change and governance innovation.
Michele-Lee Moore, Karena Shaw, Heather Castleden, Joanna Reid

Chapter 21. Agricultural and Water in Canada – Challenges and Reform for the 21 C

Agriculture is the dominant water use in Canada and the main contributor to non-point source pollution in agricultural watersheds contributing to toxic algal blooms in some of Canada’s and the world’s largest freshwater lakes. Water governance in Canada is fragmented, with water resources managed separately from land uses that contribute to water challenges. The performance of agri-environmental policies encouraging the adoption of beneficial management practices is also mixed. Efficient and effective farm level water management strategies will increase in importance over the next century as climate change and increasing demands for food put pressure on water quality and quantity. This chapter examines farm level decisions that affect water quality and quantity, and the factors that contribute to adoptability of beneficial practices. Decentralized and fragmented governance contributes to weak institutions for integrating water and agricultural land management resulting in poor monitoring and governance gaps at scales required to manage nutrient loads into major freshwater lakes as well emerging threats from unregulated pollutants. The potential for water quality trading to address risks from non-point source pollution is examined, along with opportunities for reform in Canada.
Marian Weber, Marius Cutlac

Emerging Issues and Perspectives


Chapter 22. Shifting Perspectives in an Era of Complexity and Change: Incorporating Resilience into the Water Governance of Canadian Drainage Basins

Governance has emerged as a central issue in addressing contemporary and future water challenges. Many shortcomings of past approaches to water policy in Canada are revealed in this volume as they relate to conservation (Changing Currents: A Case Study in the Evolution of Water Law in Western Canada and Patchy resources for the governance of Canada’s resource patches: How hydraulic fracturing is illuminating the need to improve water governance in Canada) and health (Public Health at the Watershed Scale). A fundamental shift in the prevailing mindset of government control of the hydrological cycle for human use is necessary. Resilience offers a radical departure from dominant approaches of the past and conceptual developments inform the future of water governance in an era of complexity and change. Incorporating resilience thinking into the governance of drainage basins is critical in this context. Four cases from Canada are presented to illustrate how resilience is emerging in policy and practice. Taken together, resilience thinking and resilience practice, provide a fertile ground for re-envisioning water resources and their governance.
Ryan Plummer, Julia Baird, Katrina Krievins, Jennifer Fresque-Baxter, Jack Imhof, Simon J. Mitchell

Chapter 23. Geomatics and Water Policy

Geomatics including remote sensing and geographic information system (GIS) is the geospatial technology for gathering, management, analysis, and dissemination of spatially referenced information. Water policy is the governance framework including legislation/regulation, standard, planning and management of water resources. Water policy involves complex physical, biological, economic, social, and political processes, and manifests at location, subbasin, watershed, regional, national, and international scales. Water policy has an inherently spatial dimension which offers opportunities for Geomatics support. The applications of Geomatics for supporting water management and policy can be classified into three categories: Firstly, Geomatics supports acquisition, storage, management, visualization, and distribution of water and related datasets. Secondly, Geomatics supports spatial analysis of water resources including GIS and water modelling integration. Lastly, Geomatics supports decision making in water policy including the development of water related spatial decision support systems. While Geomatics has a great potential to support water management and policy in Canada, several strategic issues needs to be addressed. A Geomatics framework needs to be developed for water data gathering, analyzing and visualizing. Technology standards need to be developed for integrating Geomatics with water models. Particularly, Geomatics visualization technologies needs to be further developed to improve accessibility of water information for non-technical users.
Wanhong Yang


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