All our publications can be accessed here. If you are interested in publications specifically related to one of our research themes, please visit Research Themes.
This report argues that the B.C. provincial government should safeguard the public interest by creating a robust, publicly accessible water-use database that covers all withdrawals from both surface and groundwater sources by major users. It recommends three immediate courses of action to set the stage for a robust water use reporting regime in future years.
This report was co-published by the POLIS Project on Ecological Governance and the Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives. It is the second report in a series addressing the water-energy nexus in B.C. Download the first report.
Although not highlighted in the Counting Every Drop, the BC Water Use Reporting Centre is a good existing pilot project. This voluntary program shows that a province-wide monitoring program is possible, and offers a viable model that could be expanded upon. This online water management and reporting system is an initiative of the Okanagan Basin Water Board, in partnership with the Province of B.C. and Environment Canada. It was designed to help utilities and large water users regularly record their water use. Learn more and download the Information Guide. In addition, further information on this topic is also provided in the 2012 BCWWA position paper “Reporting of Water Withdrawals.”
This research survey summary is the first phase in a larger project to assess the needs and priorities of watershed-based groups in British Columbia. It inventories and identifies many of the groups that are currently working at a watershed scale within B.C., and begins to determine the role these groups can play in more formalized decision-making going forward. This project was carried out by Brian Wilkes and Associates Ltd. with the support of the POLIS Project on Ecological Governance at the University of Victoria.
Maintaining Natural BC for Our Children: Selected Law Reform Proposals was published by the Environmental Law Centre (ELC) at the University of Victoria’s Faculty of Law. The book is a series of 35 short, readable articles that describe important environmental law reforms that the next B.C. provincial government should consider. The WSP was pleased to partner on this publication, and contributed background material on water law reform and sustainability priorities, including a chapter that Oliver M. Brandes co-authored with Calvin Sandborn (Legal Director, ELC and editor of Maintaining Natural BC) on the need to reinvent rainwater management in the province.
British Columbia's water and water-derived energy resources are vital assets that show signs of being under increased stress across the province—the result of mounting pressures such as population growth, climate change, and water-intensive industrial activities. This report examines the importance of policy coherence and improved governance around the management of these interlinked resources.
It was co-published by the POLIS Project on Ecological Governance and the Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives. It is the first report in a two-part series addressing the water-energy nexus in British Columbia.
Cross-Canada Checkup: A Canadian Perspective on Our Water Future offers a first-hand account of the state of fresh water across the country, and outlines the water challenges and priorities facing Canadians.
Capturing the national pulse on water, the report is a synthesis of themes, perspectives, and information from the Forum for Leadership on Water's fall 2011 cross-Canada water discussion series tour. It illustrates the interrelatedness of many water issues common to all Canadians, and documents the growing need for solutions that transcend chronic jurisdictional challenges. It also explores the Northwest Territories’ groundbreaking new water stewardship strategy as a model for water policy reform in the rest of Canada.
The report was co-published by the POLIS Project on Ecological Governance and the Adaptation to Climate Change Team (ACT) at Simon Fraser University.
To download a copy of the report, please click the links below. A two-page report summary is also available for download.
Peeling Back the Pavement: A Blueprint for Reinventing Rainwater Management in Canada’s Communities is part of POLIS' water sustainability handbook series for decision makers, community leaders, and municipal water management staff. It was developed in partnership with the Environmental Law Centre (ELC) at the University of Victoria and is based on the ELC's 2010 report Re-inventing Rainwater Management: A Strategy to Protect Health and Restore Nature in the Captical Region.
The handbook outlines the problems with conventional stormwater management and examines solutions for moving toward sustainability. It provides a comprehensive blueprint that outlines the crucial steps necessary to change the way communities manage and, importantly, govern stormwater. The blueprint describes detailed actions that local and senior levels of government can take to move from the current system of stormwater management to one focused on rainwater as a resource. A main focus is addressing the fragmented responsibility for fresh water across and within jurisdictions—one of the greatest challenges to reinventing rainwater management.
Check out the October 2011 Peeling Back the Pavement webinar here.
Worth Every Penny: A Primer on Conservation-Oriented Water Pricing provides an overview of conservation-oriented water pricing for decision makers, water utilities and service providers in Canada. It explains how water pricing works, what the benefits are, and how water utilities can implement conservation-oriented water pricing structures as a key tool in the water manager's toolkit. As well, it offers advice on how to address implementation challenges, including how to avoid penalizing low-income families and how to maintain revenue stability for water utilities. Check out the Worth Every Penny webinar here.
POLIS' second report on the water-energy nexus offers Ontario’s first estimate of the large quantities of energy used to pump, treat and heat water and to generate steam. The study reveals that pumping and treating water and wastewater consumes enough energy to light every home in the province. In addition, heating water for activities such as showering and doing laundry was found to be the second largest source of greenhouse gas emissions in the residential and commercial sectors because of the heavy reliance on fossil fuels. As a result of these findings, initiatives to support greater water conservation and efficiency could be a path to realizing future energy savings, to the benefit of municipalities, taxpayers and our environment.
Making the Most of the Water We Have is the first book to comprehensively present and apply the water soft path approach. Edited by the POLIS Project on Ecological Governance’s David B. Brooks and Oliver M. Brandes, and environmental consultant Stephen Gurman, it compiles the writings of more than 20 water scientists, policy advisors and analysts, and political ecologists. The publication focuses on detailed Canadian studies, and also takes a global perspective by looking at examples and experiences from around the world. Making the Most of the Water We Have demonstrates that soft path analyses are both analytical and practical, and emphasizes that soft paths are not only conceptually attractive, but can also be economically and politically feasible.
First published in June 2009, the paperback edition was released in March 2011. It is available at Chapters and Amazon, and can be purchased directly from the publisher for 20% off the list price.
- Four book reviews, published in The Environmental Forum, Water International, Critical Policy Studies, and Journal AWWA are provided below as downloadable PDFs.
- This book served as the backbone for an April 2010 Continuing Studies course on Contemporary Issues in Water Management and Protection offered at the University of Victoria. The course information is provided below.
Meeting Ontario’s commitment to slow the progression of climate change will take more than changing lightbulbs. It will require all sectors to diligently look for opportunities to reduce waste and increase efficiency. This study, the first of its kind in Canada, suggests that a significant, untapped opportunity exists for water conservation to reduce energy, save municipal dollars, and mitigate greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions.