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Water Sustainability Project

 Water Sustainability Project

Water scarcity is largely a social dilemma that cannot be solved by technical innovations alone. Instead, it must be addressed through new, integrated approaches to water management and decision-making.

The POLIS Water Sustainability Project (WSP) began in 2003 as part of the POLIS Project on Ecological Governance. It works to develop innovative legal, institutional, and practical approaches that embody the principles of ecological governance, providing the foundation for a comprehensive legal and policy framework for sustainable water management.

Sustainable water management must focus on ensuring all “new” water comes from better use of existing supplies, and from changes in attitudes and water-use habits. By demonstrating the powerful potential of new approaches, new perspectives, and innovation, the WSP team works to develop a clear model for ecosystem-based water governance in Canada—a model based on conservation, stewardship, and sustainability. By examining all actions in the context of the watershed, we can move toward a governance system that is rooted in ecological principles, and shift the focus towards managing the people within a watershed, rather than controlling the watershed itself.

The WSP is led by Oliver M. Brandes and hosts a number of researchers and advisors who focus on the organization’s four core research themes:

For further information and a complete list of WSP research publications, visit

Key Publications

Recent Publications

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Page last updated: 09/06/2014