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Brooks D.B.,Friends of the Earth Canada | Brandes O.M.,University of Victoria
International Journal of Water Resources Development | Year: 2011

The best way to achieve a sustainable future for fresh water is to develop decisionmaking processes, institutions, and technologies that emphasize both efficiency and conservation. These two terms are commonly treated as synonyms, but, respectively, they reflect anthropogenic and ecological bases for making decisions. Recognizing that both perspectives are valid, this article outlines a new approach to water planning and management called the water soft path. This approach differs fundamentally from conventional, supply-based approaches. The article reviews the transfer of the original soft path concept from energy to water, and summarizes the first applications of water soft path analytics to specific geographic areas: one urban area, one province, and one watershed in Canada. The article concludes with suggestions for further research, as well as steps to improve recognition of the water soft path as a planning tool that can move management and policies towards economic, ecological, and social sustainability. © 2011 Taylor & Francis.

Forsyth S.,Friends of the Earth Canada | Brooks D.B.,University of Victoria
Water International | Year: 2011

The current study extends past work on water soft path analysis in breadth and in depth: in breadth by studying an area devoted to large-scale prairie agriculture, and in depth by adding direct interaction with water managers and citizens of the Pembina Valley Conservation District in the Province of Manitoba, Canada. The main conclusion from the study is that the region can continue to be a prosperous and attractive place in which to live and to farm for at least 30 years without a single additional drop of water. © Copyright 2011 International Water Resources Association.

Brooks D.,Friends of the Earth Canada | Trottier J.,French National Center for Scientific Research
Journal of Hydrology | Year: 2010

Trans-boundary water agreements are usually conceived as allocation agreements. In other words, water is treated as if it were a pie to be divided among the riparian states. The treatment of water as if it were as immobile as land may be useful in the short term, but it is fundamentally flawed as a means to avoid conflict as well as to ensure efficient, equitable, and sustainable management of water over the long term. This article proposes to avoid quantitative allocations within international water agreements, whether they be presented as percentage or fixed allocations or whether or not accompanied by a periodic revision clause. It proposes instead an ongoing joint management structure that allows for continuous conflict resolution concerning water demands and uses in a manner that effectively de-nationalises water uses. As well, it builds on existing, functioning institutions that are already active over a variety of scalar levels. It disaggregates what is usually perceived as a national water demand into its component institutions and re-aggregates them within an international institutional context. Though this approach for building trans-boundary water agreements can prove useful in any geographical situation, this article uses the Israeli-Palestinian conflict as a model. It proposes to respect the existing differences in the institutional management of water between the two entities and to reach four general objectives: economic efficiency, social and political equity, ecological sustainability, and the ability to implement the agreement in practice. The institutional design and proposed mechanisms follow five key principles for shared management: water allocations that are not fixed but variable over time; equality in rights and responsibilities; priority for demand management over supply management; continuous monitoring of water quality and quantity; and mediation among competing uses of fresh water. This institutional structure balances water quantity and water quality issues and economic and environmental goals in a de-securitised fashion. Though specifically applied to water shared by Israelis and Palestinians, the objectives, principles and institutional structure are relevant to any place in the world where trans-boundary water divides rather than unites two or more peoples. © 2009 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.

Rached E.,International Development Research Center | Brooks D.B.,Friends of the Earth Canada
International Journal of Water Resources Development | Year: 2010

All aspects of the fresh water situation in the Middle East and North Africa are underlain by the scarcity of fresh water in the region compared with the demands for it. However, physical scarcity has been worsened by institutions that may once have been adequate but that are increasingly failing to meet modern needs for water to be extracted in ways that are ecologically sustainable, used in ways that are economically efficient, and distributed in ways that are socially equitable. Despite this discouraging picture, the thesis of this article is that, in response to both internal and external forces, water-related institutions in MENA are slowly changing in ways that seem likely to improve the situation. Of three key goals identified early in the article-greater attention to demand management, wider stakeholder participation, and adoption of pro-poor strategies-modest gains are evident on the first two, but little on the third. © 2010 Taylor & Francis.

Linton J.,Queen's University | Brooks D.B.,Friends of the Earth Canada
Water International | Year: 2011

This paper discusses the emerging role of water governance as applied to transboundary aquifers. To allow for important differences in governance principles from transboundary surface water, the authors suggest that greater attention be paid to the scale of the aquifer when developing interest-articulation and decision-making processes. The authors further introduce five objectives that, if met, would help realize equitable and reasonable use of these aquifers. Good governance can best be met through appropriate scales of interest articulation and decision making, and involvement of a broad range of non-state actors as well as formal agencies of the state. © 2011 International Water Resources Association.

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