A new project report has been released for the PoWG project on First Nations and the shifting water governance landscape of British Columbia, part of the SSHRC-funded WEPGN: Water Economics Policy and Governance Network.
The project report by PoWG co-director Dr. Leila Harris and PoWG alumna Rosie Simms summarizes the findings of Rosie’s masters research into the shifting roles and experiences of First Nations in water governance in British Columbia. In particular, it identifies key concerns about water licensing; barriers and challenges in colonial and water governance; and opportunities and tensions surrounding collaborative watershed governance.
Harris, L. & Simms, R. (2016). “All of the water that is in our reserves and that is in our territories is ours”: Colonial and indigenous water governance in unceded indigenous territories in British Columbia. Project Report. Canadian Water Network & Water, Economics, Policy and Governance Network. French version available here.
The main findings of this research and insights for decision makers are summarized in a policy brief, available in English and French.
PoWG co-director Leila Harris has contributed a chapter to a new book on the ‘politics of fresh water’, exploring the intersection of gender, ethnic difference, and equality in water access and politics. The edited collection forms part of EarthScan’s Studies in Water Resources Management book series. It will be released in December 2016, and is currently available for pre-order.
Harris, L. (in press) Theorizing Gender, Ethnic Difference and Inequality in Relation to Water Access and Politics in Southeastern Turkey. In: C. Ashcraft and T. Mayer (Eds) The Politics of Freshwater: Access, Conflict and Identity, Routledge, Earthscan.
Dr Harris’ chapter makes two assertions. First, one cannot assess, and fully understand the politics of fresh water without attention to inequality, notably with respect to gender and other axes of difference. Second, water access and politics often play a central role in constituting key categories of difference and inequality. As such, these categories are not static, but shift and change in relation to the changing waterscape and associated environmental dynamics. This chapter elaborates these assertions with examples based on earlier work examining complex waterscape changes underway in the upper Tigris-Euphrates basin, also highlighting key concepts from several decades of work in feminist political ecology.
A pre-publication version of Dr Harris’ chapter is also available here.
Members of the Program on Water Governance recently released a policy brief on microbial water quality risk assessment practices in Canada, based on research conducted in 2014. The purpose of this research was to help understand how new technologies associated with metagenomics could improve microbial water quality testing, and how such technologies might fit within existing water quality governance frameworks. The policy brief summarizes the main findings from this research, and identifies key insights for policy makers, practitioners, and the public.
Full details on the study can be found in:
Dunn, G., Harris, L. Cook, C. and Prystajecky, N. (2014). A comparative analysis of current microbial water quality risk assessment and management practices in British Columbia and Ontario, Canada. Science of the Total Environment 468-469: 544-552.
Members of the Program on Water Governance have just released a new policy brief, which summarizes their analysis of the BC Water Act Modernization consultation process, and identifies key implications for policy-makers and participants. Their findings are described in greater detail in a journal article that is currently under review, and will be made available on the website once published.
Jollymore, A. McFarlane, K. and Harris, L.M. 2016. Whose input counts? Public consultation and the BC Water Sustainability Act. Policy Brief. Vancouver: Program on Water Governance.
The policy brief summarizes the results of an analysis of the large-scale consultation process undertaken for British Columbia’s Water Act Modernization between 2008-2013. Submissions were analysed from the three stages of consultation that informed the development of the Water Sustainability Act (2014), to explore variability in the policy preferences of submitter groups, and compare those preferences with policy outcomes in the Act. The results of this analysis indicate uneven alignment between policy outcomes and the policy preferences of different groups. Submitter perspectives on the consultation process were also analysed, highlighting key ways in which the consultative process could be improved.
On May 16th, 2016 a workshop on Community-Based Research (CBR) and Water was held at the Peter Wall Institute for Advanced Studies. This workshop was organised as part of a joint project on CBR by the Institute of Resources, Environment and Sustainability (IRES–UBC), the Program on Water Governance (UBC) and the UNESCO Chair on Community Based Research and Social Responsibility in Higher Education (UVic). More information on the CBR partnership project can be found here.
The workshop consisted of two sessions combining theory and practice of CBR. A workshop report has since been compiled, summarising the key discussions and conclusions from each session, and is available here.
Thank you to all who made this workshop possible!
Lucy Rodina recently published a new paper on the ‘human right to water’, drawing on her case study research in Khayelitsha, South Africa. The article is published in Geoforum, and can be accessed at http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0016718515301767
Rodina, L. (2016). Human right to water in Khayelitsha, South Africa – Lessons from a ‘lived experiences’ perspective. Geoforum, 72: 58-66.
Lucy Rodina and Leila Harris recently published an article on the relationship between urban water service infrastructures and narratives of the state and citizenship.
The full text version of this article is freely available on the Water Alternatives website: http://www.water-alternatives.org/index.php/alldoc/articles/vol9/v9issue2/319-a9-2-9
Rodina, L. and Harris, L. (2016). Water services, lived citizenship, and notions of the state in marginalised urban spaces: The case of Khayelitsha, Cape Town, South Africa. Water Alternatives 9(2): 336-355.
ABSTRACT: In this paper we argue that in South Africa the state is understood and narrated in multiple ways, notably differentiated by interactions with service provision infrastructure and the ongoing housing formalisation process. We trace various contested narratives of the state and of citizenship that emerge from interactions with urban water service infrastructures. In effect, the housing formalisation process rolls out through specific physical infrastructures, including, but not limited to, water services (pipes, taps, water meters). These infrastructures bring with them particular logics and expectations that contribute to a sense of enfranchisement and associated benefits to some residents, while others continue to experience inadequate services, and linked exclusions. More specifically, we learn that residents who have received newly built homes replacing shack dwellings in the process of formalisation more often narrate the state as legitimate, stemming from the government role as service provider. Somewhat surprisingly, these residents at times also suggest compliance with obligations and expectations for payment for water and responsible water consumption. In contrast, shack dwellers more often characterise the state as uncooperative and neglectful, accenting state failure to incorporate alternative views of what constitutes appropriate services. With an interest in political ecologies of the state and water services infrastructures, this paper traces the dynamic processes through which states and citizenship are mutually and relationally understood, and dynamically evolving. As such, the analysis offers insights for ongoing state-society negotiations in relation to changing infrastructure access in a transitioning democracy.
Rosie Simms and colleagues recently published an article on collaborative watershed governance with First Nations in BC, based on research conducted with the Lower Similkameen Indian Band in 2013. The full text can be accessed via Geoforum: http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0016718515300701
The article draws on the research Rosie conducted for her Masters thesis, which can be accessed here.
Simms, R., Harris, L., Joe, N., and Bakker, K. (2016). Navigating the tensions in collaborative watershed governance: Water governance and indigenous communities in British Columbia, Canada. Geoforum, 73: 6-16.
First Nations in British Columbia (BC), Canada, have historically been—and largely continue to be—excluded from colonial governments’ decision-making and management frameworks for fresh water. However, in light of recent legal and legislative changes, and also changes in water governance and policy, there is growing emphasis in scholarship and among legal, policy and advocacy communities on shifting water governance away from a centralized single authority towards an approach that is watershed-based, collaborative, and involves First Nations as central to decision-making processes. Drawing on community-based research, interviews with First Nations natural resource staff and community members, and document review, the paper analyzes the tensions in collaborative water governance, by identifying First Nations’ concerns within the current water governance system and exploring how a move towards collaborative watershed governance may serve to either address, or further entrench, these concerns. This paper concludes with recommendations for collaborative water governance frameworks which are specifically focused on British Columbia, but which have relevance to broader debates over Indigenous water governance.
The Institute of Resources, Environment and Sustainability (IRES–UBC), the Program on Water Governance (UBC) and the UNESCO Chair on Community Based Research and Social Responsibility in Higher Education (UVic) are pleased to invite you to the workshop Community Based Research and Water on May 16 from 9:00 am to 3:00 pm at the Peter Wall Institute for Advanced Studies.
The event will consist of two different sessions combining theory and practice of community-based research (CBR). In the morning session (9:00 am – 12:00 pm), several panels and roundtables will present and discuss relevant issues regarding CBR theory and practice, with a special focus on water. On the afternoon (1:00 pm – 3:00 pm), two interactive workshops will be offered to learn and explore different research methodologies and approaches to CBR.
To register and for a more detailed description of the workshop, please click here.
We hope this event, and others to follow, will continue to build on our UBC Water Ways workshop held last month.
PoWG post-doctoral fellow Crystal Tremblay recently completed the participatory video component of a community-based research project on water and sanitation in Teshie, Ghana and Khayelitsha, South Africa. Both videos are now final and available on YouTube. ‘Water is Life’ (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rVZblhLGNqU) documents the situation of water and sanitation in Teshie, Accra and ‘It’s Your Chance’ (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NbG_ljQ-hVo) is a co-production with the Iliso Care Society in Khyaletisha based on youth interviews on water and sanitation concerns in the community (Site C, Khayletisha).
More information on the participatory videos from Teshie and Khayelitsha and the community-based research project can be found on Crystal’s website http://www.crystaltremblay.com/