POLIS Publications Library

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    From Stream to Stream: Emerging Challenges for BC's Interlinked Water and Energy Resources
    (POLIS project on Ecological Governance, University of Victoria & Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives, 2012-11-01) Parfitt, Ben; Baltutis, Jesse; Brandes, Oliver M.
    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.
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    Cross-Canada Checkup: A Canadian Perspective on our Water Future
    (POLIS Project on Ecological Governance, University of Victoria & Adaptation to Climate Change Team, Simon Fraser University, 2012-05-01) Baltutis, Jesse; Shah, Timothy; Brandes, Oliver M.; Goucher, Nancy; Harford, Deborah; Sandford, Robert
    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. 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.
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    Peeling Back the Pavement: A Blueprint for Reinventing Rainwater Management in Canada's Communities
    (POLIS Project on Ecological Governance, University of Victoria & Environmental Law Centre, University of Victoria, 2011-10-01) Brandes, Oliver M.; Porter-Bopp, Susanne; Sandborn, Calvin; Brandes, Laura
    This 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. A main focus is addressing the fragmented responsibility for fresh water across and within jurisdictions—one of the greatest challenges to reinventing rainwater management.
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    Worth Every Penny: A Primer on Conservation-Oriented Water Pricing
    (POLIS Project on Ecological Governance, University of Victoria, 2010-05-01) Brandes, Oliver M.; Renzetti, Steven; Stinchcombe, Kirk
    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.
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    Ontario's Water-Energy Nexus: Will We Find Ourselves in Hot Water... or Tap into Opportunity?
    (POLIS Project on Ecological Governance, University of Victoria, 2010-04-01) Maas, Carol
    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.
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    Greenhouse Gas and Energy Co-Benefits of Water Conservation
    (POLIS Project on Ecological Governance, University of Victoria, 2009-03-01) Maas, Carol
    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.
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    Going with the Flow? Evolving Water Allocations and the Potential and Limits of Water Markets in Canada
    (Conference Board of Canada, 2008-12-01) Brandes, Oliver M.; Nowlan, Linda; Paris, Katie
    This report describes some of the key mechanisms available to allocate water in times of scarcity, with a particular focus on markets and market mechanisms. It highlights some of the advantages and disadvantages, as well as recent experiences in jurisdictions—such as Alberta—that have begun to include markets formally in their water allocation framework.
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    Water Licences and Conservation: Future Directions for Land Trusts in British Columbia
    (Prepared for The Land Trust Alliance of BC. Victoria, Canada: POLIS Project on Ecological Governance, University of Victoria & Environmental Law Centre, University of Victoria., 2008-05-13) Brandes, Oliver M.; Curran, Deborah
    This water law report was prepared with the University of Victoria's Environmental Law Center for the Land Trust Alliance of BC. It explains the water management regime in British Columbia in the context of ecosystem health, in order to assist land trusts to evaluate how best to protect instream flows, or the quantity of water in a stream, for conservation.
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    The Soft Path for Water in a Nutshell
    (Friends of the Earth Canada & POLIS Project on Ecological Governance, University of Victoria, 2007-08-01) Brandes, Oliver M.; Brooks, David B.
    The Soft Path for Water in a Nutshell provides an overview of the steps involved in soft path planning, illustrates how soft path planning differs from conventional supply-side management, and discusses the potential for this innovative approach to develop water sustainability in Canada. Originally published in November 2005, a revised and updated version was released in September 2007.
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    Changing the Flow: A Blueprint for Federal Action on Water
    (Gordon Water Group of Concerned Scientists and Citizens (Now FLOW), 2007-02-01) Morris, T.J.; Boyd, D.R.; Brandes, Oliver M.; Bruce, J.P.; Hudon, M.; Lucas, B.; Maas, T.; Nowlan, L.; Phare, M.
    This report outlines the steps necessary to create an effective freshwater strategy in Canada, created by the Gordon Water Group of Concerned Scientists and Citizens (now FLOW). The Gordon Water Group was founded in part by three POLIS Research Associates. The Group brings together a number of organisations, including the Water Sustainability Project and scientific expertise on sustainable water management.
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    Thinking Beyond Pipes and Pumps: Top 10 Ways Communities Can Save Water and Money
    (POLIS Project on Ecological Governance, University of Victoria, 2006-10-01) Brandes, Oliver M.; Maas, Tony; Reynolds, Ellen
    Thinking Beyond Pipes and Pumps presents an expanded definition of urban water infrastructure—one that goes beyond the existing physical infrastructure of pipes, pumps and reservoirs. This new infrastructure includes innovative physical components, water sensitive urban design and conservation programs designed to complement existing water supply networks. By developing such an infrastructure, water management shifts its focus beyond expensive, expansive and ecologically damaging physical infrastructure, toward dramatically increased water productivity. In this context, increasing water efficiency and conservation is more than just the right thing to do. It is the only way to address the dual goals of meeting human water demands and sustaining aquatic ecosystem health—foundations of lasting water security.
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    At a Watershed: Ecological Governance and Sustainable Water Management in Canada
    (Polis Project on Ecological Governance, University of Victoria, 2005-05-01) Brandes, Oliver M.; Ferguson, Keith; M'Gonigle, Michael; Sandborn, Calvin; Reynolds, Ellen (ed)
    This report focuses on the enabling environment that ensures holistic water management is institutionally embedded. Water is the strategic resource of the 21st century and Canada stands “at a watershed” in freshwater management. Attitudes, institutions, and policies are changing, but an outdated supply-oriented paradigm still dominates. Ultimately, the goal is “ecological governance,” where natural ecosystem processes are carefully considered at all levels of decision-making. The strength of this report lies in the rich mosaic of experiences and examples from around the world where theory and concept inform practice.
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    The Future in Every Drop: The Benefits, Barriers and Practice of Urban Water Demand Management in Canada
    (POLIS Project on Ecological Governance, University of Victoria, 2004-04-01) Brandes, Oliver M.; Ferguson, Keith
    This report focuses on identifying benefits as well as the barriers to water demand-side management in Canada. The interconnected and interrelated nature of barriers creates a gridlock that resists the adoption of a comprehensive approach to demand management for urban water in Canada. The report explains why a comprehensive and long-term approach to demand-side management is necessary and provides action plans for all levels of government and other stakeholders for implementation.
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    Flushing the Future? Examining Urban Water Use in Canada
    (POLIS Project on Ecological Governance, University of Victoria, 2003-08-01) Brandes, Oliver M.; Ferguson, Keith
    The majority of Canadians live in large urban and regional centres, and municipal water use represents a significant portion (12 percent) of overall water withdrawals in Canada. Urban users in Canada use more than twice as much water as their European counterparts, with significant levels of wastage and inefficiency. Such high levels of urban water use have resulted in expensive supply and disposal infrastructure expansions, ecological impacts in developed areas where environmental stresses are already high, and increasing pressure on water treatment facilities to treat all water to drinking quality standards. Demand-side management (DSM) is an alternative (or, more accurately, complementary) approach to increasing supply infrastructure. It involves decreasing the demand for water through a mix of education, technology, pricing reform, regulation and recycling. This report provides insight into water use and supply in Canadian cities and the potential for demand side management.
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    What the Experts Think: Understanding Urban Water Demand Management in Canada
    (POLIS Project on Ecological Governance, University of Victoria, 2003-12-01) Maas, Tony
    Urban water management poses many logistical and financial challenges in Canadian communities. By increasing water use efficiency, Demand Side Management can mitigate many of the impacts of human water use on overstretched municipal infrastructure and overstressed aquatic systems. Despite these benefits, Demand Side Management is seriously underutilized in Canada. What the Experts Think draws on interviews with Canadian experts in the field of water resource management and initiates a national network of water demand management practitioners.
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    Inventory And Research Survey Summary: Needs And Priorities of Watershed-Based Groups in British Columbia
    (POLIS Project on Ecological Governance, University of Victoria, 2013-03-01) Wilkes, Brian; Collier, Jason; Brandes, Oliver M.
    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.
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    Counting Every Drop: The Case for Water Use Reporting in B.C.
    (POLIS Project on Ecological Governance, University of Victoria & Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives, 2013-06-01) Parfitt, Ben
    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.
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    The State of the Water Movement in British Columbia: A Waterscape Scan & Needs Assessment of B.C. Watershed-Based Groups
    (POLIS Project on Ecological Governance, University of Victoria & Real Estate Foundation of British Columbia, 2013-07-01) Morris, Tim; Brandes, Oliver M.
    This report compiles the perspectives and opinions of a diverse mix of British Columbia’s water leaders; a survey was sent to over 230 water groups and interviews were conducted with 11 selected water champions. Based on the responses received, there is a clear feeling amongst B.C.’s water leaders that the province has the potential to become a global leader in freshwater protection and sustainability. But, there are a number of challenges to achieving this vision. The authors present a series of recommendations for addressing key needs and gaps in the B.C. water community and for strengthening the collective water movement.
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    A blueprint for watershed governance in British Columbia
    (POLIS Project on Ecological Governance, 2014-01) Brandes, Oliver M.; O'Riordan, Jon; O'Riordan, Tim; Brandes, Laura
    This report focuses on current water governance issues in British Columbia and offers a path forward for how the Province could transform its current approaches to decision-making to ensure a more sustainable and resilient future—especially given the provincial government’s commitment to new water legislation by later in 2014. It sets out a strategic 10-year program and proposes nine winning conditions to ensure success. Recognizing the unique institutional, legal, cultural, and geographic challenges of the province, this Blueprint outlines a timeline and clear milestones for moving towards watershed governance in B.C.
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    California's oranges and B.C.'s apples? Lessons for B.C. from California groundwater reform
    (POLIS Project on Ecological Governance, University of Victoria/Ecojustice, 2015-06) Christensen, Randy; Brandes, Oliver M.
    British Columbia can learn valuable lessons from California’s extreme drought and recent groundwater law reforms as it drafts its own groundwater regulations under the new B.C. Water Sustainability Act. This report analyzes California’s legislation while taking into account the climatic, social, and legal differences between the state and province. It offers a number of key findings and insights including the urgent need to begin piloting groundwater sustainability plans in critical watersheds in B.C.; the necessity for clear performance standards, timelines, and accountability for local decision-making bodies to ensure successful watershed or aquifer plans; and the importance of shared responsibility between senior government and local decision-makers.