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Water 2016, 8(6), 224; doi:10.3390/w8060224

Contemporary Water Governance: Navigating Crisis Response and Institutional Constraints through Pragmatism

1
Environmental Sustainability Research Centre, Brock University, 1812 Sir Isaac Brock Way, St. Catharines, ON L2S 3A1, Canada
2
Stockholm Resilience Centre, Stockholm University, Stockholm 106 91, Sweden
3
Department of Environmental Studies and Sciences, Centre for Interdisciplinary Research, University of Winnipeg, 115 Portage Avenue, Winnipeg, MB R3B 2E9, Canada
4
Department of Economics, Environmental Sustainability Research Centre, Brock University, 1812 Sir Isaac Brock Way, St. Catharines, ON L2S 3A1, Canada
5
Department of Political Science, Environmental Sustainability Research Centre, Brock University, 1812 Sir Isaac Brock Way, St. Catharines, ON L2S 3A1, Canada
6
Department of Geography, Environmental Sustainability Research Centre, Brock University, 1812 Sir Isaac Brock Way, St. Catharines, ON L2S 3A1, Canada
7
Centre for Women’s and Gender Studies, Environmental Sustainability Research Centre, Brock University, 1812 Sir Isaac Brock Way, St. Catharines, ON L2S 3A1, Canada
8
Department of Biological Sciences, Environmental Sustainability Research Centre, Brock University, 1812 Sir Isaac Brock Way, St. Catharines, ON L2S 3A1, Canada
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Academic Editor: Tim Smith
Received: 4 April 2016 / Revised: 12 May 2016 / Accepted: 19 May 2016 / Published: 26 May 2016
View Full-Text   |   Download PDF [235 KB, uploaded 26 May 2016]

Abstract

Water has often been the source of crises and their frequency will intensify due to climate change impacts. The Niagara River Watershed provides an ideal case to study water crises as it is an international transboundary system (Canada-United States) and has both historical and current challenges associated with water quantity and quality, which resonates broadly in water basins throughout the world. The aim of this study was to understand how stakeholders perceive ecosystems and the relationship with preferences for governance approaches in the context of water governance. An online survey instrument was employed to assess perceptions of the system in terms of resilience (engineering, ecological, social-ecological, or epistemic), preferences for governance approaches (state, citizen, market, and hybrid forms), and the most pressing issues in the watershed. Responses showed that, despite demographic differences and adherence to different resilience perspectives, support was strongest for governance approaches that focused on state or state-citizen hybrid forms. The validity of the resilience typology as a grouping variable is discussed. The roles of institutional constraints, pragmatism in governance approach preferences, and the influence of multiple crises are explored in relation to the context of the study site, as well as to water governance scholarship more broadly. View Full-Text
Keywords: water governance; pragmatism; Niagara River; stakeholder perceptions; resilience water governance; pragmatism; Niagara River; stakeholder perceptions; resilience
This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited. (CC BY 4.0).

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MDPI and ACS Style

Baird, J.; Plummer, R.; Bullock, R.; Dupont, D.; Heinmiller, T.; Jollineau, M.; Kubik, W.; Renzetti, S.; Vasseur, L. Contemporary Water Governance: Navigating Crisis Response and Institutional Constraints through Pragmatism. Water 2016, 8, 224.

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