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Thinking Like a Watershed - Ecological governance concepts, trends and applications

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Thinking Like a Watershed - Ecological governance concepts, trends and applications A presentation by Oliver M. Brandes, Associate Director POLIS Project on ... – PowerPoint PPT presentation

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Title: Thinking Like a Watershed - Ecological governance concepts, trends and applications


1
Thinking Like a Watershed -Ecological governance
concepts, trends and applications
  • A presentation by
  • Oliver M. Brandes, Associate Director
  • POLIS Project on Ecological Governance
  • University of Victoria

2
The challenge ahead
  • In a healthy society, economy always follows
    ecology, and education precedes them both
  • Ken Carey
  • Starseed
  • The Third Millennium, Living in the Posthistoric
    World
  • Harper, San Francisco,1991

3
Presentation overview
  • Ecological governance
  • Key water governance trends
  • Thinking like a watershed and some thoughts on
    the path forward

4
Ecological governance
  • What it is NOT!
  • One size fits all
  • instead it must evolve in place
  • Neat and tidy models
  • instead it is messy and complex
  • Applicable to individual sectors or industries
  • instead it is about whole system change
  • eg must address markets, education, law and
    policy, governments, planning and management, and
    whole cities and communities)

5
Ecological governance
  • Embeds environment in all levels of decision
    making
  • Environment not an add on but central
  • Asks how we might foster circular systems
    reducing demand on distant and local ecosystems
  • With the fundamental question
  • What does governance shaped by the principles of
    ecological sustainability look like?

6
Ecological governance - Foundations
  • Economy is a subset of the ecosystem
  • Biophysical limits (including water) exist
  • Emphasize circular systems
  • no such thing as waste - simply an input for
    other processes
  • Take uncertainty and complexity seriously by
    managing adaptively
  • Cultivate feedback loops through decentralized
    power and institutions
  • Develop social resilience and ensure ecological
    resilience
  • Reconnect humans (and communities) to the natural
    world

7
Key water governance trends
  • Climate change represents a
  • CLEAR AND PRESENT LONG TERM DANGER (and
    opportunity)
  • More than just the issue of the day, week, month?
  • Carbon reduction is all about Mitigation
  • Water (and watersheds) is where we will feel the
    impacts
  • Water is all about Adaptation
  • changing climate will directly impact watershed
    and ecological function and therefore influences
    community prosperity

8
Key water governance trends
  • Government to Governance
  • Governance is more than just government --
    includes other critical actors such as
    associations, universities, civil society and
    business
  • drivers of innovation and change
  • Governance, alone, cannot correct poor management
  • yet poor governance often leads to ineffective
    management and unsustainablesocial, economic and
    ecologicaloutcomes

9
Key water governance trends
  • Watersheds, catchments and basins
  • Water and watersheds are the integrators of the
    landscape and the source of key ecological goods
    and services
  • drinking water, flood control, biodiversity and
    food and resource production
  • Watersheds have long been recognized as the
    appropriate scale for management (Dublin
    Principles) and are increasingly recognized as
    the key scale for governance
  • YET no current governance model integrates
    management of the terrestrial resources with
    water-based management or atmospheric carbon as a
    coherent ecological system.

10
Key water governance trends
  • New conception of infrastructure

11
Foundation of Research
  • At a Watershed
  • Ecological Governance and Sustainable Water
    Management in Canada (May 2005)

12
Primary conclusions
  • Watershed Sustainability is a socialNOT a
    technicalchallenge
  • Maintaining ecosystem health and function as the
    priority
  • Water conservation and changing behaviour must be
    the foundation to water management
  • Innovation, adaptive management and whole system
    thinking is critical
  • Local solutions must be allowed to develop in
    place -- requiring senior government to move from
    top down managers to facilitators of local action
  • Watersheds must be managed and governed as whole
    units with attention to linkages across sectors
  • REQUIRESattention to governance

13
Where do we go from here?
  • Some suggestions on the path forward to
  • developing water sustainability in Canada

14
Guiding principles for reform
  • A Conservation Ethic
  • create H2O IQ and dispel the myth of abundance
  • leave more water in the system to enhance
    ecological resilience
  • A Citizen-Centered Vision
  • maintain community prosperity by linking the
    economy and ecology through water
  • entrench water as a public trust legally and
    institutionally
  • Thinking Like a Watershed
  • complexity and uncertainty requires adaptive
    integrated thinking
  • Healthy functioning watersheds must be the
    foundation of our resource decision-making

15
Basic Roles and Responsibilities
  • Federal Government
  • Engage (and enforce) on Constitutional
    responsibilities -- fisheries, navigation,First
    Nations, infrastructure, national
    issues,international engagement, trade and export
  • Good Science and data -- climate change,
    hydro-ecology, adaptation, water use
  • Support institutions and processes that think
    like a watershed through resources and best
    practices and information exchange
  • Provinces
  • Manage adaptively -- Ecosystem based allocations
    and integrated land-water use in the face of a
    changing climate
  • Source Protection and Conservation -- as priority
    water infrastructure
  • Address cumulative impacts -- by enabling good
    governance at the watershed scale and whole
    system thinking
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