New Book: Leaky Governance by K. Furlong

Dr Kathryn Furlong, Assistant Professor of Geography at the Université de Montréal and Program on Water Governance alumnus, has just published her new book titled ‘Leaky Governance’ with UBC Press. Congratulations Kathryn!

About the Book

Municipalities face important water supply challenges. These are widely attributed to local government politicization. Neoliberal reforms have only exacerbated the strained relationships between water utilities and local governments. In response, organizational reform to increase utility autonomy through alternative service delivery (ASD) has been promoted around the world. For its proponents, ASD offers independence from municipal government without relinquishing control over the utility; for its detractors, it is privatization under another name. Yet the organizational barriers offered by ASD are at best leaky. Deeply interdependent, both water management and municipal governance must be strengthened to meet contemporary water supply needs.

Leaky Governance explores ASD’s relation to neoliberalization, water supply, and local governance. Drawing on economic geography and political ecology, Kathryn Furlong examines organizational models for water supply and how they are affected by shifting governance and institutional environments. Her analysis of Ontario paints a complex picture of both ASD and municipal government.

Leaky Governance addresses urgent and topical questions in urban governance and water management, tackling increasingly pressing environmental, political, and social issues surrounding water supply and their relationship to urban governance and economics, as well as to broader issues in public policy.

For further information and a time-limited discount, see the attached flyer.

The WALL Papers: The water issue

The Wall Papers, the Peter Wall Institute’s quarterly magazine, recently published a special issue on water.

The special issue features an article titled ‘Water insecurity requires interdisciplinary solutions‘, which builds upon the recent workshop on water and innovation held at the Peter Wall Institute at UBC. In this article Dr. Karen Bakker highlights growing water security risks, and the need for interdisciplinary research to address multifaceted science and policy issues. Karen argues for a ‘regenerative sustainability’ approach to water innovation, in which solutions are targeted at leaving the environment better off than it was before.

Other articles in the special issue focus on solutions to aboriginal water health issues; the effects of climate change on ocean conflict; the science of ice sheet melting; and an arts-based competition on water.

Workshop video: What is healthy water?

The Peter Wall Institute for Advanced Studies at The University of British Columbia (UBC) in Vancouver, Canada, recently hosted an international Exploratory Workshop on water and innovation, led by principal investigators Dr. Karen Bakker and Dr. Leila Harris from UBC’s Program on Water Governance.

Watch the short video to learn more about what UBC’s experts are saying about the world’s most pressing water issues: Water and innovation: Peter Wall exploratory workshop

Further information on the outcomes of the workshop can be found in the final report on the workshop website.

Interdisciplinary workshop on water and innovation

Bakker EW group 1An interdisciplinary workshop on ‘water and innovation’ was held at the Peter Wall Institute for Advanced Research on January 29th-30th. It was attended by scholars from the humanities and social sciences, natural sciences and medicine from UBC and other North American universities. In addition, representatives of global, national and regional organizations attended, including the OECD Water Governance Program, the UN’s Advisory Board on Water and Sanitation and the BC Ministry of Technology, Innovation and Citizens’ Services.

The workshop sought to explore concerns for water security from an interdisciplinary perspective, identifying potential innovative strategies and solutions. Its three key objectives were to (1) foster interdisciplinary dialogue on innovative solutions to some of our most pressing water problems; (2) identify key areas for cutting-edge interdisciplinary research on water issues; and (3) support the development of major research grant applications.

The workshop was comprised of seven closed sessions held over two days, together with a public talk, which focused on interdisciplinary perspectives on water health. The closed sessions involved presentations from key scholars on contemporary water issues, global water governance, innovations in sustainability and water research, water values and innovation in the public sector. In each session, panelist presentations were followed by an open floor discussion of the ideas and questions raised by the presenters. The workshop sessions concluded with a small group strategizing session, in which groups were challenged to present proposals for innovative interdisciplinary research projects on water.

For more information, please see