Open Collections

UBC Theses and Dissertations

UBC Theses Logo

UBC Theses and Dissertations

Pipes, pennies, and politics : an exploration of water conservation in the Greater Vancouver area Uitto, Taina 2006

Your browser doesn't seem to have a PDF viewer, please download the PDF to view this item.

Notice for Google Chrome users:
If you are having trouble viewing or searching the PDF with Google Chrome, please download it here instead.

Item Metadata


831-ubc_2006-0329.pdf [ 5.16MB ]
JSON: 831-1.0075036.json
JSON-LD: 831-1.0075036-ld.json
RDF/XML (Pretty): 831-1.0075036-rdf.xml
RDF/JSON: 831-1.0075036-rdf.json
Turtle: 831-1.0075036-turtle.txt
N-Triples: 831-1.0075036-rdf-ntriples.txt
Original Record: 831-1.0075036-source.json
Full Text

Full Text

PIPES, PENNIES, and POLITICS: AN EXPLORATION OF WATER CONSERVATION IN THE GREATER VANCOUVER AREA. B y T A I N A U I T T O B.Sc. (Natural Resources Conservation), The University of Brit ish Columbia, 2001 A THESIS S U B M I T T E D I N P A R T I A L F U L F I L M E N T O F T H E R E Q U I R E M E N T S F O R T H E D E G R E E O F M A S T E R OF S C I E N C E in T H E F A C U L T Y O F G R A D U A T E S T U D I E S (Forestry) T H E U N I V E R S I T Y OF B R I T I S H C O L U M B I A March 2006 © Taina Uitto, 2006 11 ABSTRACT This thesis examines municipal water conservation activities in the Greater Vancouver area. First, I conducted a literature review to provide context for water management within the region, build a case for water conservation, and provide examples of barriers to and drivers of water conservation. Because limited studies exist that have sought to elicit the perceptions of water conservation administrators, I interviewed personnel involved with planning and implementing water conservation activities at the Greater Vancouver Regional District and in the region's municipalities. The results provide an indication of the current circumstances and potential for water conservation in the region. Interviewees identified perceived reasons for water conservation generally, and in relation to specific water conservation initiatives. They also identified positive drivers of change, and a number of obstacles that hinder the advancement of initiatives. In evaluating the potential for water conservation, I infer that there is room for improvement i f a change to the status quo is desired. Although interviewees identified a comprehensive array of reasons that necessitate water conservation, when it comes to reasons for specific initiatives, interviewees were principally motivated by practical, political, and financial benefits; environmental and associated social benefits were largely unmentioned, and in some cases, dismissed as insignificant. Only a few interviewees spoke of more holistic reasons. Based on these results, there is an apparent discrepancy between what interviewees think (and practise) and what is declared by literature as the full case for water conservation. Furthermore, interviewees did not live up to the expectations set by the local literature that environmental and social considerations have significance to decision-making when it comes to water conservation. Although interviewees placed much accountability to the public and politicians, overall, the full case for water conservation has not been articulated by water conservation administrators themselves; I infer this to be a shortcoming of the current circumstances. Furthermore, there is a lack o f water conservation advocates who view water management from a more holistic perspective; the results indicate the prevalence of perspectives more associated with supply and demand management. In turning the given barriers into drivers, positive opportunities for change can be found. ' Ill TABLE OF CONTENTS A B S T R A C T II T A B L E O F C O N T E N T S in L I S T O F T A B L E S .'. V LIST O F F I G U R E S VI A C K N O W L E G E M E N T S '. VII D E D I C A T I O N VIII C H A P T E R 1: I N T R O D U C T I O N A N D T H E S I S C O N T E X T 1 1.1 RESEARCH OBJECTIVES 2 1.2 HISTORICAL CONTEXT FOR WATER U S E AND MANAGEMENT IN CANADA 2 1.3 WATER CONSERVATION DEFINED 3 1.4 JURISDICTIONAL BREAKDOWN FOR WATER MANAGEMENT IN CANADA 4 1.4.1 Canada and British Columbia 5 1.4.2 Regional and municipal (Greater Vancouver area) 6 1.5 REASONS FOR W A T E R CONSERVATION (THE C A S E FOR WATER CONSERVATION) 9 1.5.1 General overview of global water management issues 9 1.5.2 Reasons for water conservation in Canada 10 1.5.3 Reasons for water conservation in the Greater Vancouver area 13 1.5.4 The benefits of water conservation activities 17 1.7 BARRIERS TO AND DRIVERS OF WATER CONSERVATION ACTIVITIES 18 1.7.1 Barriers 18 1.7.2 Drivers 19 1.8 SUMMARY 20 C H A P T E R 2: M E T H O D S 21 2.1 RESEARCH DESIGN AND METHODOLOGICAL FRAMEWORK 21 2.2 INTERVIEW DESIGN = 21 2.3 DATA ANALYSIS 23 2.4 S C O P E OF THE STUDY AND LIMITATIONS 25 C H A P T E R 3: R E S U L T S 27 3.1 GENERAL OBSERVATIONS '. 27 3.2 REASONS FOR W A T E R CONSERVATION (THE C A S E FOR W A T E R CONSERVATION) 28 3.2.1 Principal water management issues 28 Water supply/wastage and economic, environmental, and social costs 28 The need to improve system management 29 Water quality, metering, pricing, and other issues 30 3.2.2 Benefits-pursued by specific water conservation activities 30 Practical benefits 30 Financial benefits 32 Political benefits .• 34 Social, ethical, and environmental benefits 34 3.3 BARRIERS TO WATER CONSERVATION INITIATIVES 35 3.3.1 Perceptual and attitudinal barriers 36 3.3.2 Political barriers 38 3.3.3 Financial and informational/analytical barriers 39 3.3.4 Legal and regulatory barriers 41 3.4 DRIVERS OF W A T E R CONSERVATION EFFORTS 41 3.4.1 Political and perceptual drivers 42 3.4.2 Financial drivers 43 3.4.3 Informational drivers 44 3.4.4 Legal and regulatory drivers 45 iv 3.5 ALTERNATIVE EXPLANATIONS FOR THE FINDINGS 45 3.6 SUMMARY... 45 C H A P T E R 4: D I S C U S S I O N 48 4.1 REASONS FOR W A T E R CONSERVATION (THE C A S E FOR WATER CONSERVATION) 48 4.1.1 Interviewees were consistent with the literature regarding the general issues 49 4.1.2 Interviewees' responses regarding key issues and specific reasons for conservation were inconsistent 49 4.1.3 There is a disconnect between what the literature outlines as the case for water conservation and what interviewees think '. 50 4.1.4 Interviewees did not live up to the literature's assertions that social and environmental considerations need to be taken into account. 51 4.1.5 Dismissive views exist with regard to the environment and the benefits of conservation generally. 52 4.1.6 Overall, case units displayed characteristics associated with the Supply Management and Demand Management approaches 53 4.2 BARRIERS AND DRIVERS 54 4.2.1 The focus of financial goals may prevent creativity. 54 4.2.2 The lack of advocates may further prevent the progress of water conservation 55 4.2.3 Interviewees did not take much accountability for the current circumstances for water conservation 55 4.2.4 A multitude of factors may make a shared vision more difficult to achieve 56 4.2.5 Turning barriers into drivers 56 4.3 SUMMARY ' 58 4.4 CONCLUSIONS AND KEY FINDINGS , 59 4.5 LIMITATIONS AND IMPLICATIONS FOR FURTHER RESEARCH 61 5.0 R E F E R E N C E S 64 A P P E N D I X I: W A T E R U S E E F F I C I E N C Y T O O L S A N D C O N S I D E R A T I O N S F O R T H E I R U S E 69 A P P E N D I X II: L I S T O F G V R D M E M B E R M U N I C I P A L I T I E S A N D O N E E L E C T O R A L A R E A ....73 A P P E N D I X III: G V R D W A T E R C O N S E R V A T I O N A C T I V I T I E S A S I D E N T I F I E D IN T H E W A T E R C O N S E R V A T I O N P L A N 74 A P P E N D I X IV: E X A M P L E S O F B A R R I E R S S P E C I F I C T O D E M A N D - S I D E M A N A G E M E N T . . . . 7 5 A P P E N D I X V : N U M B E R O F I N T E R V I E W E E S A T E A C H C A S E UNIT 76 A P P E N D I X VI: I N T E R V I E W S C R I P T T H A T S E R V E D A S A B A S I S F O R D I S C U S S I O N 77 A P P E N D I X VII: P A R T I C U L A R L Y U N I Q U E T O P I C S F R O M I N T E R V I E W S T H A T W E R E N O T S I G N I F I C A N T B A S E D O N T H E C R O S S - C A S E A N A L Y S I S 78 LIST OF TABLES v Table 1.1: A spectrum of water management approaches VI LIST OF FIGURES Figure 1.1: Total storage for Greater Vancouver Water District usage in 2004 from source reservoirs 14 Figure 1.2: Peak hour, peak day, and annual average consumption o f the whole Greater Vancouver Water District from 1961- 2003 .15 Figure 1.3: Projected water demand and estimated water supply capacity of the Greater Vancouver Water District with future upgrades to the water distribution system 16 Vll ACKNOWLEGEMENTS I would like to thank my research supervisor Dr. Paul Wood for his immeasurable patience, support, and guidance during my graduate years. I would also like to express my appreciation to the rest of my thesis committee, Dr. Rob Kozak and Dr. Gary B u l l in the Faculty of Forestry, and Karen Bakker in the Faculty of Geography, for their advice. Thank you also to B i l l Rees, Tony Dorcey, and David Boyd for your input during the early stages of this project, and to Les Lavkulich my external examiner. I am also very thankful to all my interviewees who offered their valuable time and insights for the benefit of this research, and to the City of Coquitlam for giving me practical experience in the field of water conservation. O f course, none of this could have been possible without the moral and financial support of my parents, Julia and Dr. Jukka Uitto, and my grandfather Dr. Jorma Uitto. A special mention also goes to the family water-expert Dr. Juha Uitto. Last but not least, thanks to my friends and colleagues who have encouraged me and made my graduate years fun and memorable!!! DEDICATION This thesis is dedicated to my grandparents Fammu and Jorma. 1 CHAPTER 1: INTRODUCTION AND THESIS CONTEXT This thesis examines the current circumstances and potential for water conservation in Greater Vancouver area by way o f exploring the perceptions and attitudes o f local government water conservation administrators. In Chapter 1,1 introduce both my research objectives and contextual information on the topic gleaned from a literature review. First, I give a short historical perspective for water use and management in Canada. Then, I define water conservation, and show how it fits within paradigms o f water management and within the jurisdictional framework for water management in Canada and the Greater Vancouver area. Next, I make a case for water conservation, explaining why it is perceived to be a necessary and beneficial pursuit both globally and locally in the Greater Vancouver area. Last, I introduce the concepts of drivers and barriers to water conservation activities, providing some examples found in the literature. In Chapter 2,1 summarize the research methods. This project is consistent with exploratory case study research and relied on semi-structured interviews. I outline the research design and methodological framework, interview design, data analysis methods, and the scope of the study and its limitations. I present the results of my interviews in Chapter 3. This chapter begins with general observations followed by four sections dealing with specific interview questions: interviewees' perceptions about principal water management issues; the reasons behind specific water conservation activities; and the drivers and barriers that respectively hinder and promote efforts. Chapter 3 ends with an exploration of alternate explanations for these research results. In Chapter 4,1 discuss the significance o f these results to the current circumstances and potential for water conservation. These discussion points can serve as a basis for dialogue and further study i f a change to the status quo is desired. This last chapter ends with a summary, some limitations and implications for further research, and some concluding remarks on the topic. 2 1.1 Research Objectives There is ample literature dealing with water conservation, but in moving from the global to the local scale, research specific to the Greater Vancouver area is more limited. In addition, very few studies have sought to elicit the perceptions o f water conservation administrators themselves. Based on these gaps in knowledge, the objectives o f my research were: • To describe the context for water conservation in the Greater Vancouver area according to relevant literature. • To describe perceived reasons for water conservation activities in the Greater Vancouver area, and to describe perceived barriers and drivers that respectively hinder and promote water conservation in the area, according to water conservation administrators. • To explore the potential for water conservation in the Greater Vancouver area based on the current circumstances. 1.2 Historical Context for Water Use and Management in Canada There are notable characteristics about water in Canadian history that have implications for water management. Since the first estimated human arrivals to Canada, Canadian social, economic, and political life has revolved around water. It has been central to the culture of aboriginal peoples and to activities such as exploration, expansion of trade and settlement, population increase, urbanization, and industrialization (Environment Canada 2004a). In fact, it was largely Canada's seemingly unlimited supply of water and other natural resources that impressed early European explorers like Cartier (Gossage 1985: 30). Within Canada, many of the water-use trends and problems with water supply have roots in the 19 Century, when the arrival of new industries and cities, the extension of the agricultural frontier, and even the expansion of water-related recreation produced higher demands for water (Gossage 1985: 3). In the 20 t h Century, with the development of hydroelectric power, increased water storage, and flood control, perceptions were still rooted in the notion of unlimited supply, but in addition, "Canadians no longer sought to adapt to their water environment, they sought to adapt that environment to the expanded needs" (Gossage 1985: 4). Light et al. (1995: 104) call this a "quest for control" over hydrology. Postel (1992: 19) laments that " in the quest for better l iving standards and economic gain, modern society has come to view water only as a resource that is there for 3 the taking, rather than a l iving system that drives the workings of a natural world we depend on." 1.3 Water Conservation Defined Clearly "poor water management degrades and squanders a precious resource" (United Nations Secretary-General K o f i Annan 1 ) and good water governance is essential for the appropriate management and distribution of water for human societies and the ecosystems upon which we depend. Emphasizing the central importance of water to human societies, the Prince of Orange simply stated that "no water, no future". According to many water experts, there is a need to shift away from the more traditional supply-oriented approach o f managing water. Under this paradigm, through bigger pipes and pumps, and higher and more dams "rising demand is continually met" (Maas 2003: 2). Brandes and Brooks (2005) identify a spectrum of management approaches, moving away from the supply-oriented approach. Table 1.1 describes the details of the supply-oriented approach, as well as the Demand Management approach and what they call the "Soft Path." For the purposes of this thesis, the term water conservation refers to the reduction o f water throughput in the water supply system by means of activities that lower water use or water loss. It hence fits best under the Demand Management and the Soft Path paradigms described in Table 1.1. These new paradigms for water management place a greater emphasis on water conservation measures in order to redistribute water, maintain and enhance ecosystem health, and avoid the depletion of water supplies (Brandes and Ferguson 2004: i i i ) . According to water experts, the Soft Path is the most comprehensive and long-term solution because it "fundamentally challenges today's patterns o f freshwater consumption" (Brandes and Brooks 2005:9). It "works within ecological limits and promotes public participation to ensure sustainability o f our water resources" and "allows us to unleash the full potential of Demand Management" (Brandes and Brooks 2005: 4). ' United Nations Secretary-General's remarks to the UN Commission on Sustainable Development, New York, 28 April 2004. 2 Statement of His Royal Highness the Prince of Orange at the opening session of the twelfth meeting of the Commission of Sustainable Development of the United Nations, New York, 19 April 2004. 3 Brandes and Brooks (2005:16) explain that the Soft Path does not refer literally to one sole avenue but rather refers to "different policy and program combinations [that] will lead us to the desired future." 4 Table 1.1: A spectrum of water management approaches (Source: Brandes and Brooks 2005:4) Policy Range of Policy Choices Dominant Discipline Fundamental Question Planning Process Outcome Supply Management Engineering Policies based on presumed need for new infrastructure How can we meet projected water needs given current trends in water use and population growth? Planners extrapolate from current consumption patterns to determine future "requirements" and then locate and develop new sources of supply to meet this projected demand. Construction of dams, pipelines,' canals, wells, desalination systems, and interbasin transfers, where necessary. Demand Management Economics Policies based on short-term cost-benefit calculations. How can we reduce needs for water to conserve the resource, save money and reduce environmental impacts? Planners incorporate efficiency and information programs together with improved pricing patterns to maximize use of existing infrastructure. Increasing capacity is only one option among others in a least-cost approach. Efficiency gains through technical fixes and consumer education. Soft Path Social sciences with recognition of bio-physical limits. Policies based on stakeholder consultation and political review. How can we deliver seivices currently provided by water in ways that recognize the need for economic, social and ecological sustainability? Planners model a sustainable future state for water use with attention to long-term economic and social prosperity. They then "backcast" to devise a feasible and desirable path to reach that state. Ecological sustainability is fundamental to all economic, political and socio-cultural choices. Options to reduce water use through innovation, conservation, water reallocation and changing patterns of use and re-use. More water is left in situ. 1.4 Jurisdictional Breakdown for Water Management in Canada Water management in Canada is split among various levels o f government and the numerous groups within. With increasing scale and complexity of water use, even up until present, come conflicts between uses and users, and the need for various management agencies. According to Gossage (1985: 86), 5 The period after 1900 saw a multiplication o f a publicly funded and/or , administered projects for hydro-development, navigation, water conservation, recreation, irrigation, drainage and flood control. A l l three levels o f government and a growing number of special agencies became involved with Canada's water resource in the 20 t h century. This "serious regulation of water resources by Canadian authorities" (Gossage 1985: 90) reflects the attitude that "water is part of the public domain, and that its use, particularly for commercial and industrial purposes, has to be supervised and regulated for the common good" (Gossage 1985: 91). There are a vast number of government agencies, private organizations, and other groups that play some role in water management in Canada. Related to each are also a vast variety of laws, procedures, regulations, arrangements, and informal and customary relationships for sharing responsibilities. This is in addition to all activities and their agents, all the interests and their representatives, and all the organized and unorganized groups that have some effect on or concern with water (Sproule and Peterson 1967: 152). Sproule and Peterson (1967: 152) further point out that there is "no neat dividing line" between what the primary interest of each is. Given this substantial number o f considerations, I limit the focus of this thesis to the following formal framework. I outline the basic regulatory framework for water management and conservation in Canada and British Columbia (BC), and at the regional and municipal levels in the Greater Vancouver area. A n y other significant considerations are restricted to those identified by the chosen interviewees. 1.4.1 Canada and British Columbia The federal government has responsibilities for fisheries and navigation issues, and shared responsibilities in the areas concerning interprovincial water issues, agriculture, significant water issues, and health (Environment Canada 2003b). One document pertaining to water conservation at this level is the Federal Water Policy. Though it has been commended as being a show of interest in water management by the federal government, unfortunately most of its recommendations have not been implemented (Boyd 2003: 15). Maas (2003: 7) claims that federal involvement in the water management is "for the most part irrelevant at this point." 6 Under the Constitution Act, 1867, the provinces have control and ownership o f fresh water as well as other natural resources. Hence in B C , all the fresh water is owned by the Crown. In B C , the primary responsibilities for water management are split between the Ministry o f Environment (MoE) and Land & Water B C Inc. ( L W B C ) , a special operating agency. Roughly speaking, M o E is responsible for protecting the water resource, while L W B C is responsible for access to the resource.4 For example, M o E is concerned with protection of fish habitat and sets water quality objectives and flood protection measures, whereas L W B C adjudicates applications under the Water Act for rights to use and divert water, such as the licenses held by B C Hydro and the Greater Vancouver Regional District ( G V R D ) . Currently, about 97% of water volume licensed in B C is for power production (including storage),5 and the remainder of licenses handle consumptive uses ( M W L A P 2002: 21). Two guiding strategies for water conservation in B C include the Freshwater Strategy for British Columbia (1999), and the Water Conservation Strategy for British Columbia (1998). Water conservation in Canada and B C involves various structural, operational, economic, and socio-political strategies. These management options range from more lenient conservation measures such as voluntary restrictions and education (Ministry of Water, Land and A i r Protection 2001b) to more coercive measures including the use of operations, management, legal, economic, and financial tools (Ministry o f Water, Land and A i r Protection 2001c). See Appendix I for a list o f possible water conservation tools and some considerations for their use. 1.4.2 Regional and municipal (Greater Vancouver area) In the Greater Vancouver area, the G V R D provides water, on a cost recovery basis, to its 21 member municipalities and one electoral area ( G V R D 2005b). 6 The G V R D is responsible for the Seymour and Capilano reservoirs, dams, regional water mains, pumping stations, and peaking reservoirs. Individual municipalities manage how water is 4 Peter Jones, Ministry of Sustainable Resource Management, Lower Mainland Planning- South Coast Regional Manager, personal communication, February 1, 2005. 5 Most of this water used for power generation in BC is considered in-stream use because it is not actually withdrawn from the system (Ministry of Water, Land and Air Protection 2002: 20). 6 See Appendix II for a list of these GVRD members. 7 distributed and used within their respective jurisdictions. The municipalities distribute water to residential or business properties ( G V R D 2005b: 8). The G V R D holds storage and diversion licenses for potable water use from L W B C in the Capilano and Seymour watersheds. Wi th these licenses come terrestrial rights that allow the G V R D to restrict development in the watersheds that might impact water. These licenses were negotiated in the 1920s for 999 years. In the Coquitlam watershed, although B C Hydro currently has a large share o f the water for storage and diversion for electrical power generation, the G V R D has a small withdrawal license there for potable water use. Water licenses come with conditions regarding how much can be stored and withdrawn based on peak withdrawal, and the fees are based on the amount of water used out o f that system. In addition, the G V R D buys a substantial amount of water annually from B C Hydro's licence in the Coquitlam watershed. The two-tiered governance structure for water in the Greater Vancouver area creates wide-ranging opportunities for water conservation activities. Activities that are intended to conserve water can fall within the jurisdiction of either the G V R D or the member municipalities depending on the specific nature of the program. A s the regional authority, the G V R D plays a lead role in water conservation, although its action plans are prepared in collaboration with member municipalities. The G V R D plans require approval by the G V R D Water Board (or other applicable boards), which are made up of politicians from each o f the municipalities, who in turn represent their constituents. Decisions are made collectively on a representation-by-population basis. The Board is advised on issues and policies by various standing and advisory committees ( G V R D 2003b). The public is directly engaged through public consultation processes. Future plans o f the G V R D include an increased emphasis on water conservation through the Drinking Water Management Plan ( D W M P ) . The D W M P is a guiding document for drinking water initiatives in the region. According to the G V R D , it takes into account the full water cycle, and the underlying belief that healthy watershed ecosystems are the basis for a secure drinking water supply. The plan considers expansions in source and system capacity to meet the drinking water needs of the region, as well as investments in infrastructure and conservation, and initiatives for wise use of 7 Paul Archibald, GVRD Systems Operations Division Manager, personal communication, February 15 2005. 8 water resources to improve efficiency and cost-effectiveness. The plan also sets performance measures for these goals, strategies, and actions ( G V R D 2005a). Another similar document, the Water Conservation Plan (WCP) was developed as one of the conditions o f a $100 mil l ion grant from the Canada-British Columbia Infrastructure Program for the Seymour-Capilano Filtration Project ( G V R D 2005c: 1). Though it considers the same goals and actions as the D W M P , the W C P delves into more detail about water conservation actions. It states that the region "stil l has significant potential to improve its water use efficiency" ( G V R D 2005c: 4). Both the D W M P and the W C P fit under the framework G V R D ' s Sustainable Region Initiative and link to other plans such as the Watershed Management Plan, the Liveable Region Strategic Plan, the Demand Side Management Policy, the Water Shortage Response Plan, and the Liquid Waste Management Plan, which all deal with issues relating to water supply and demand to varying degrees ( G V R D 2005b: 5). These plans act as guiding documents for activities at the G V R D level but also encourage and set an example for activities within the municipalities. Various residential, industrial, and business programs are currently underway through the G V R D that target water conservation either directly or indirectly. Appendix III contains a list o f G V R D conservation activities identified in the W C P . In addition, the G V R D is continuously researching opportunities for changes in policy or legislation, new incentives, or in some cases new technologies that could be brought in to reduce the demand for resources. Wi th regard to water use, historically the role o f the municipal waterworks has been solely to secure adequate water for their commercial, industrial and residential needs (Gossage 1985: 95). Increasingly, however, it is becoming necessary for Canadian municipalities to confront the population's high water demands (Environment Canada 2004b). Among the region's municipalities, there are slight differences in the approaches taken to reduce the use and loss of water, and the degree to which these activities have been or are being implemented. Most municipalities are also taking part in various complementary activities such as those involving water quality. In the Greater Vancouver area, along with their other responsibilities, water conservation development and implementation is generally handled by city planners, engineers, and other staff. Only a few municipalities have special staff dedicated to water \ 9 conservation, and/or have an environmental department that handles conservation activities exclusively. These administrators liaise with the city council, other staff within the city, the G V R D and other government agencies, and the public (including special advisory committees and interest groups). A l l decisions to pursue water conservation activities must be passed by city council, although the origin of the ideas can be varied. 1.5 Reasons for Water Conservation (The Case for Water Conservation) Based on a literature review, this thesis began with the assumption that water conservation in the Greater Vancouver area is necessary and beneficial for the reasons explained below, and that water conservation administrators in the Greater Vancouver area have accepted these reasons cited in local literature. These reasons, which make up the case for water conservation, were to be the backdrop for exploring drivers and barriers to water conservation initiatives. In this section, I first present a general overview of some global water management issues and then outline some principal reasons that may necessitate water conservation in Canada and in the Greater Vancouver area. Last, I add to these principal reasons, by explaining the main benefits of water conservation, and thereby complete the case for water conservation. 1.5.1 General overview of global water management issues The all-embracing nature of water, alongside its "fugitive" properties8 makes water management a demanding task. Globally, water management faces numerous challenges worldwide, including concerns about water quality, quantity, accessibility, transboundary sharing o f the resource, fragmentation of management, financial resources, and lack of awareness by decision makers and the public. Ultimately, these are issues that relate to social wellbeing through human and environmental health and world security and peace (Abu-Zeid: 1998). Wi th population growth, increasing per capita demand, climate change, pollution, and land degradation among other things, the uncertainty surrounding water resources grows. The United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) (1995: 2) calls water a "fugitive resource" because it flows, evaporates, seeps, and transpires. 10 Dorcey (1991: 9) explains that principles of sustainable development imply increasing difficulties for water resources management. This is due to growing appreciation for the complex interdependencies between natural, economic, and social systems linking "the regions of the world as well as past, present, and future generations" (Dorcey 1991: 5). The search for solutions places growing demands on science, balanced with "shifting values, changing attitudes to risk and uncertainty, accepting greater responsibility towards future generations, and recognizing the rights of minorities and other species" (Dorcey 1991: 5). 1.5.2 Reasons for water conservation in Canada The literature suggests three principal reasons that necessitate conservation in Canada: concerns over water supplies, the environment, and finances, all o f which tie in to social considerations indirectly. Concern over meeting demand for water is the first principal reason for water conservation in Canada because diminishing per capita water supplies are prevalent. To this day, with an estimated 9 percent of the world's renewable water supply (Environment Canada 2004d), Canada is by no means deprived o f the resource. This endowment, traceable back to the retreat of the last continental glaciers during 20 000 to 6 000 years before present (Gossage 1985: 1), should be sufficient to meet the country's needs. However, to the extent that water is available to be captured, stored, and distributed locally, 9 supplies can get stressed. On a national level, Environment Canada (2001) attributes this to the fact that the majority of Canada's population is concentrated in the southern regions of the country, whereas 60% of the water supply flows north. Due to the high demands in these southern areas, local water supplies can experience moderate to severe shortages as well as water quality concerns. The British Columbia Ministry of Water, Land, and A i r Protection ( M W L A P ) (2001a) reports that even in British Columbia, "over 17% of our surface water sources have reached, or are nearing, their capacity to reliably supply water for extractive uses." Not all of the water that is able to be captured and stored is available for consumptive uses, since a portion of it is "needed to support the myriad of other species and ecosystems with which we share the planet, and . on which we depend" (Postel 1992: 21). 11 McFarlane and Nilsen (2003: ii) specify the factors affecting diminishing urban water availability in Canada as being growth in suburban and metro-adjacent communities, high consumption habits, 1 0 deteriorating infrastructure, water contamination from increasing municipal, industrial, and agricultural activities, and long-term trends in climate change. In addition, land degradation is another trend that can reduce water supplies. 1 1 Environment Canada (2003a) confirms that demand is still on the rise from the commercial, residential, and industrial sectors, alongside demand for water for agriculture, power generation, exports, and hydrological diversions. They affirm that " in no part of Canada is water of sufficient quality and quantity that it can continue to be overused and abused in the way it has been in recent decades" (Environment Canada 2003a). The second principal reason for water conservation is concern for environmental protection. When water supplies are stressed and water levels and stream flows decrease, not only are direct human uses compromised, but also at risk is the health o f freshwater ecosystems. This is because water levels (and stream flow variability) can be a limiting factor affecting the functionality o f ecosystems and the associated aquatic and terrestrial components. Healthy freshwater ecosystems (including biodiversity), are in turn are a prerequisite for clean water, and they provide numerous other services such as wildlife habitat, climate control, and pollution assimilation (World Water Assessment Program 2003: 14). Human extractions of water can reduce the amount o f suitable fish habitat for example, leading to reductions in fish populations (Postel 1985: 9). This is especially pronounced during times of drought, when wildlife and human uses compete for limited supplies. If water diminishes to a level insufficient to support human demands, According to MacLaren (1985: 5) "per capita water consumption varies with climate, standard of living, extent of sewerage, extent of commercialization and industrial development, cost of water, quality of water, system pressure, extent of metering and system management" as well as with "the seasons, with the days of the week and with the hours of the day" (MacLaren 1985: 6). 1 1 Just one example of how land degradation can affect water quantity is related to groundwater. Surface flows increase when the vegetative cover is removed and/or soils are degraded so they cannot absorb and hold as much moisture. Since infiltration is thereby reduced, groundwater recharge processes decrease (Postel 1992: 35). 12 additional damming and diversions also threaten ecosystems and the life they support. Furthermore, for surface waters, reduced water levels also affect water quality, because when reservoirs are below full capacity erosion processes are heightened. In addition, all water use lowers the quality of water downstream because less water is available for pollution assimilation, and wastewater released after treatment is usually o f inferior quality (Environment Canada 2001). Conservation is equally as important when water is relatively abundant, because "protecting wetlands, deltas, lakes, and rivers, as well as safeguarding water quality, requires that a substantial share of this stable flow be left alone to run its natural course" (Postel 1992: 28). Postel (1992: 36) adds that, "water is only a renewable resource i f we respect the ecological processes that maintain and give stability to the water cycle ." 1 4 Rees (1991) refers to the maintenance of these natural processes as non-negotiable limitations on our use of ecosystems; they are essential for sustainability. Others have also provided definitions o f sustainability in this context. The Canadian federal government specifies that sustainability means developing water resources in harmony with the natural ecosystem so that neither the water resource nor the plant and animal life dependent on it are depleted or destroyed for short-term gain and at the expense of future generations. Long-term economic growth depends on a healthy environment. (Natural Resources Canada 2005) Gleick et al. (1995) define sustainable water use as supporting "the ability o f human society to endure and flourish into the indefinite future without undermining the integrity o f the hydrological cycle or the ecological systems that depend on it." Bakker (2003: 4) reaffirms that sustainability requires the consideration of social, environmental, and economic interests, but she also states that in fulfilling many and sometimes competing functions, "the management of our water supply services has not always been sustainable in the past." Rees (1998: 49) warns that the conventional view is to regard the economy 1 2 In the Greater Vancouver area, for example, the construction of the Cleveland and Capilano dams meant the loss of 95% of spawning and approximately 75% of rearing habitat for Steelhead (Oncorhynchus mykiss) and Coho (Oncorhynchus kisutch) (Fisheries and Oceans Canada 2004). 1 3 Within the GVRD, "collected wastewater flows to one of the GVRD's five sewage treatment plants to be treated before being released into the Fraser River, Burrard Inlet or the Strait of Georgia" (GVRD 2004d) 1 4 This statement does not apply to non-renewable groundwater resources such as "fossil aquifers, underground reservoirs that...receive little replenishment from rainfall today" (Postel 1992: 31). 13 and the environment as "separate and rather independent systems" leading to the belief that growth can occur without the physical limits o f the ecosphere, making the need for an "appropriate economic scale" quite irrelevant (Rees 1998: 50). Mostly, these kinds of pursuits run at the expense'of ecosystem health (Rees 1998: 50). The third principal reason for water conservation is concern about financial costs. Supporting high demands, and increasing supply capacities are expensive due to the associated waste treatment, energy, material, and chemical costs among other costs like of the water itself. Ultimately, it is not only imprudent to spend endless resources to build water systems enabling unlimited use of water, but there are also financial limitations on the continued reliance on supply options for water management. Bakker (2003: 5) lists these limitations as being lack of funding for infrastructure renewals and replacement, past under-investment in infrastructure renewals and maintenance, lack o f full-cost recovery and o f reliable funding sources, and dependence upon ad hoc government funding. Canada rates high in terms of resources, access, capacity, and environment but low in the use-category for wasteful of inefficient use in industry and for domestic supply 1 5 (World Water Council and the Center for Ecology and Hydrology 2002). Although there are disagreements about how water should be managed, potential exists to lower water use at the municipal level as the average Canadian uses approximately twice as much water than the average European, for example (Boyd 2003: 44; Environment Canada 2003c). 1 6 A large amount of water in Canada is generally used for "convenience and comfort" ( F A O 1995: 1). 1 7 1.5.3 Reasons for water conservation in the Greater Vancouver area The aforementioned issues that necessitate water conservation in Canada are applicable to the Greater Vancouver area context as well . Three watersheds serve as the sources o f G V R D water, the Coquitlam, Capilano, and Seymour watersheds, with snowmelt, creeks, 1 5 Canada ranked 129th out of 147 countries in the "use" category. Canadians are the second highest per-capita consumers of water in the world (Environment Canada 2001; Boyd 2003: 42). 1 6 Care should be taken looking at these consumption figures, as figures are not standardized and prediction is difficult. 1 7 This is not to say that lowering water consumption has to lower quality of life by any means, particularly given technological innovation that improves water efficiency. 14 and streams fdling G V R D supply lakes ( G V R D 2003a). Although generous, the water storage capacities associated with these and the connected reservoirs are limited. The region is susceptible to water shortages, especially during summer months when supply is the lowest and demand the highest. 1 9 Figure 1.1 illustrates the total usage in 2003 and 2004 from source reservoirs. According to the G V R D (2004a), If storage drops into the Assessment Zone [as in Figure 1.1], the G V R D considers whether to increase supply from the Coquitlam source and/or to act on the Water Shortage Response P lan . 2 0 Decisions are based on recent precipitation amounts, weather forecasts, water demand trends and current reservoir levels. Figure 1.1: Total storage for Greater Vancouver Water District (GVWD) usage in 2004 from source reservoirs (Source: G V R D 2004a) Total Storage for GVWD Usage in 2004 front Source Reservoirs The District of West Vancouver also has its own secondary supply source from the Eagle Lake reservoir, and the District of Maple Ridge, the Township of Langley, and the Corporation of Delta use wells in addition to GVRD water (GVRD 2002a: 3). 1 9 At any given time, water quantity for the GVRD is related to inflows and outflows, reservoir levels and recovery, snow pack levels, amount of water in the alpine reservoirs (GVRD 2002b: 4) and water quality. These in turn depend on a variety of climatic and ecological conditions (GVRD 2002b: 74). 2 0 The Water Shortage Response Plan includes measures of water conservation (namely outdoor watering restrictions), which are aimed at reducing water demand in times of high demand and low supply, and in times of emergency (GVRD 2004b). 15 Although per-capita (annual average) daily water use has declined since the 1980s by about 15% to under 600 litres ( G V R D 2005b: 4), total water consumption has been on a slow increase with population as in Figure 1.2. Figure 1.2: Peak hour, peak day, and annual average consumption (millions of litres per day) of the whole Greater Vancouver Water District from 1961- 2003 (Source: G V R D 2004c: 37) Greater Vancouver Water District Whole System I- 500 With growing numbers of people comes higher demand for water, which translates to more pressure on local supplies. From the figure above, we can see that, on an annual average basis, daily water use was well over one bi l l ion litres (Clift 2004). On top of this already high volume, current estimates for the region predict that the "demand for water w i l l grow by 60% over the next 50 years" (Clift 2004). Without significant reductions in water use, the G V R D predicts that it w i l l have to increase water supply by mid century ( G V R D 2005a: 2). This can happen by way o f upgrading the storage capacities of the Capilano or Seymour watersheds, by tapping into a new source such as Pitt, Stave, Alouette, or Harrison Lake, or by renegotiating a portion of the power production licence in the Coquitlam watershed for extractive uses. Figure 16 1.3 depicts how some of these changes could increase the amount o f available water from reservoirs; however, it also shows that demand is nonetheless likely to outstrip the estimated supply capacity, 21 Figure 1.3: Projected water demand (based on historical trends) and estimated water supply capacity (ML/d) of the Greater Vancouver Water District (GVWD) with future upgrades to the water distribution system (Source: Clift 2004) 2.500 T3 C n E Q i _ to S O 1 000 Additional Water Supplies Needed Coquitiam Pump Station Demand New Treatment at Coquitlnm Lower Intake and Increase Treatment Capacity at Coquitiam j< »*—Capildno ^ump Station 2000 2100 Yeari Climate change is also mentioned as a concern for future water supplies in the Greater Vancouver area. The G V R D suggests one such scenario, albeit acknowledging uncertainty ( G V R D 2002b: 4). They state that in the Greater Vancouver area, climate change could lower water levels in source reservoirs due to "warmer annual temperatures that could reduce the snow pack and extend the dry summer conditions" ( G V R D 2002b: 3). Further^ climate change may put stress on the surrounding ecosystems, "with the result being alteration to water quality and water supply" ( G V R D 2002b: 7). Cost-effectiveness and protection of the environment are also perceived to be important concerns for the G V R D and the associated municipalities. For example, the 2 1 This 100-year forecast must be taken with caution because projecting demand based on historical trends may be inaccurate, and predicting so far into the future is unreliable due to, for example, the uncertain effects of climate change. 17 following is an excerpt from the G V R D ' s Drinking Water Management Plan, which I have pointed out earlier to be a guiding strategy approved by G V R D and municipal representation: Social, environmental, and economic sustainability is a fundamental objective to all aspects of G V R D activity, from the corporate level through to the service delivery mandates, and from the various management plans to partnerships with external agencies for actions beyond the G V R D mandates. The D W M P w i l l contribute to a healthy, sustainable region through wise stewardship of our drinking water resources. ( G V R D 2005a: 3) The G V R D (2005b) further refers to the "three dimensions of sustainability: economic, social, and environmental" where "each element is critical to the stability o f the whole, and that it would be unwise to seek success in only one dimension, at the expense of the others." 1.5.4 The benefits of water conservation activities The literature suggests three principal benefits of water conservation, which are reasonably universal. These reasons, in combination with the reasons explained above, complete the full case for water conservation. They include the ability to meet current and future water demands, environmental protection, and the avoidance o f excessive financial expenditures, all o f which translate into indirect social benefits. The practical benefits of conservation are the avoidance of human-induced water shortages and being proactive in light of uncertainty with regard to water supplies. Leaving more water for its in-situ uses (for freshwater ecosystems and the services they provide) and releasing less wastewater translate into direct environmental and economic benefits. Conserving water also means reductions in pumping and water costs, and financially and environmentally expensive treatment before and after use. Reducing the need for expansion and/or maintenance o f water and wastewater infrastructure and water supply area is another financial and environmental benefit. 2 2 The more general social benefits are derived more indirectly, such as from having a clean and healthy environment and adequate water supplies available for extractive uses, water for touristic and recreational uses, and spending tax money prudently. In addition, there are specific 2 2 Water supply infrastructure is built to handle the peak flow of water through the system with some anticipation for future growth. Therefore managing both the peak demand and day-to-day demand can lower infrastructure requirements, though different conservation initiatives may target one or the other. 18 social benefits from some conservation initiatives, such as better system information and social equity. Taking all these benefits into account, as a general rule the total 'costs' o f conservation are usually less than the costs of supporting high consumption habits or increasing supply (Postel 1985: 6). Postel (1992: 24) advocates conservation and more efficient water use as they are "the most economical and environmentally sound water supply options available for much o f the world." 1.7 Barriers to and Drivers of Water Conservation Activities The presence or absence o f policy drivers and barriers during any stage o f a planning or implementation process can have a large impact on the outcome o f water conservation programs. In this section, I explain the concepts o f barriers and drivers, and provide some examples. 1.7.1 Barriers In this thesis, a barrier refers to any influence that hinders an activity relating to water conservation, hence impacting the outcome. The literature lists examples of these barriers at various levels, and under different categories. In describing the history of water management in the Fraser River Basin, Dorcey (1991: 7) explains that delays in putting sustainability principles into practice have been caused by complexities relating to interdisciplinary analyses, inter-organizational relations, and understanding natural and human systems, alongside general frustrations, problems with the Canadian economy, and a lack o f political w i l l and budgetary commitments. Through interviews with water experts, Maas (2003: i i i) identifies overarching institutional and administrative obstacles to urban Water Demand Management in Canadian municipalities, 2 4 including "entrenched, supply-oriented approaches; fragmentation in management, both horizontally among various agencies and vertically between different levels o f government; and lack of political leadership." See Appendix IV for more examples of barriers to Demand Management. Roach et al. (2004: These are two of the mentioned social benefits of water metering. In terms of social equity, the idea is that customers only pay for the amount of water they use. Low users do not have to pay for others' usage, and high users compensate the municipalities accordingly. 2 4 As mentioned earlier, water conservation is one tool under the Water Demand Management approach. 19 11) sum up the problem as a general "lack o f a policy environment conducive to water conservation." The Ministry of Environment, Lands and Parks (1999) stresses that Canadians harbour deeply ingrained beliefs, perceptions, and practices related to our water resources that often lead to its misuse. One opinion is that existing allowances for waste by the government reinforce false perceptions of water availability, leading to high consumption throughout the year ( M W L A P 2000). Fortunately these barriers can be overcome, although this often requires creativity as Postel (1985: 42) remarks, and "there is no ready-made package that w i l l prove effective and economical for every community." 1.7.2 Drivers For the purposes of this thesis, the term driver refers to any influence that promotes water conservation initiatives. In this thesis, these drivers are distinct from the reasons for (including the benefits of) water conservation. Roach et al. (2004: 14) provide one such insight in stating that "having the appropriate personnel in place within municipal government structures [such as water conservation specialists], is instrumental in ensuring that water conservation tools are implemented in an integrated fashion and on a long-term basis." Wong et al. (1999) outline some lessons and recommendations when it comes to the accomplishing successful water conservation projects in California. Bringing competing and conflicting stakeholders together is one of the identified approaches (Wong et al.1999: 4). "Demonstration programs, technical assistance, and education programs that introduce water users to existing technologies" and adequate funding and financial incentive programs for new technologies are also identified (Wong et al.1999: 4). Also encouraging is the use o f "umbrella policies" or of new and inventive economic strategies (Wong et al. 1999: 5). The availability of good information is another often-mentioned driver (Wong et al. 1999: 6). Wong et al (1999: 7) conclude that the underlying motivation for all o f these policies is the "great competition among different users," and mention that, as unwanted as these pressures may be, they "serve to stimulate innovation and new thinking." 20 1.8 Summary Water has and will always be a valuable resource for Canadians. Based on a literature review, there is good indication that water conservation is and will increasingly be essential for the avoidance of water shortages and for the general pursuits of sustainability both globally and locally. In the Greater Vancouver area, as anywhere else, water conservation is a worthwhile endeavour particularly in times of drought and other crises, but also year-round, promoting proactiveness and overall sustainability. Currently, Canadians are among the world's largest consumers of water, and water management in Canada has been criticized for being unsustainable in the past. Many regions have experienced water shortages, and the Greater Vancouver area is no exception despite the relative abundance of water in the region. Although many Canadian municipalities make use of some of the available conservation options, present efforts have been criticized for their reactive, ad hoc, and limited nature. Principles of sustainable development do complicate water management, in addition to other barriers to water conservation more specifically. In contrast, some positive drivers of water conservation can also be found in the literature. Based on these assumptions, in investigating the perceived drivers, barriers, and reasons for water conservation in the Greater Vancouver area, the objectives of this thesis were to provide a case description of the current circumstances, and explore the potential for water conservation in the region, hence informing policymaking and its outcomes. 21 CHAPTER 2: METHODS This chapter provides the details o f my research methods. In Section 2.1,1 outline the~ approach used. In Section 2.2,1 explain how I designed my interviews, including the types of interviewees involved and the dialogue areas covered in each interview. In section 2.3,1 describe how I interpreted the interview results from the raw data stage to the final research results. Last, I explore some of the limitations of this type of research and delineate its scope. 2.1 Research Design and Methodological Framework This project is consistent with exploratory case study research. Because the intention was to describe the circumstances and explore the potential for water conservation, I did not attempt to test a hypothesis but rather strived to "gain a better understanding o f the dimensions of problems" as Zikmund (2000: 55) describes. I therefore provide a case description of the reasons for, barriers to, and drivers of, water conservation in the Greater Vancouver area as per interviewees' perceptions and a cross-case analysis o f multiple case units. These single jurisdictional units of analysis are embedded within the larger context of the Greater Vancouver area, which became the ultimate focus of the study ( Y i n 1994: 120). Within these jurisdictional units, the number of individuals interviewed varied from one to seven depending on availability. See Appendix V for a diagrammatical representation o f the case units, showing the total number o f interviewees. I used multiple case study design because it allows for focus on an event, process, or program (Creswell 1998: 95), and for identification of "relationships among functions, individuals, or entities" (Zikmund 2000: 143). 2.2 Interview Design The focus o f this type of research is on words and observation as opposed to numbers (Zikmund 2000: 136). While the literature review supplied the wider context of the cases, semi-structured interviews with experienced individuals in the field of water conservation provided the details. To identify the groups and specific individuals to be interviewed, I used non-probability sampling techniques, specifically judgement (or 22 purposive) sampling, 2 5 and snowball sampling. 2 6 This method provided a sample of individuals who were particularly knowledgeable about the topic. These individuals were valuable because they could articulate, "which qualities or characteristics are associated with an object, situation, or issue" (Zikmund 2000: 137) allowing for problem clarification and definition. Open-ended questions were more useful because the range o f responses was not known in advance (Zikmund 2000: 415). Further, respondents were free to offer insights into the topic that were "uppermost in their minds" (Zikmund 2000: 415), reflecting "the flavour of the language that people use" (Zikmund 2000: 416). Some respondents preferred to respond to the interview questions by email, and I incorporated these survey-type answers into the results as well . Most o f these required follow-up phone calls or emails for clarification. I conducted the first set o f interviews at the G V R D because of its central role in water management in the Greater Vancouver area. In particular, I interviewed those involved in water conservation or demand side water management activities for the region, including engineers, policy and planning staff, and managers. G V R D respondents identified issues within the region, and drivers of or barriers to their activities. They also identified issues within municipalities. Interviewees suggested additional potential respondents within the G V R D and identified other key player groups. In addition to taking suggestions from G V R D interviewees, I chose municipalities that were in the process of change, or had recently gone though changes in water conservation activities. This ensured that issues were current and the personnel involved in the activities were available for comment. I also chose a range of municipalities based on perceptions of differences among them, such as proximity to water sources, urban/rural diversity, and water consumption statistics, so as to include a wide spread o f conditions for exploring reasons, drivers, and barriers. A t the municipality level, I interviewed staff involved in water conservation who inform or influence municipal decision makers, including various engineers, utilities managers, and water conservation and environmental coordinators. Each respondent 2 5 "A non-probability sampling technique in which an experienced individual selects a sample based on his or her judgement about some appropriate characteristics required of the sample member" (Zikmund 2000: 475). 2 6 Snowball sampling refers to a variety of procedures in which "additional respondents are obtained from information provided by the initial respondents" (Zikmund 2000: 476). 23 identified other key interviewees within their specific municipalities, and key groups of players outside the government realm. Near the end of the interviews, I also targeted those interviewees that other interviewees regarded as "outliers." Each interview at the G V R D and at the municipalities covered four main themes, and I provided interviewees with many opportunities to offer helpful insights that could further my understanding o f the situation. The theme areas included in each interview were: • What interviewees perceived to be the principal water management issues in the 97 region and the municipalities • What interviewees perceived to be the reasons for (or goals of) specific water conservation activities • Respondents' experiences about what hinders water conservation activities • Respondents' experiences about what promotes water conservation activities Discussion centered around numerous water conservation initiatives, both operational and prospective. I recorded all the interviews to allow for detailed transcription and data analysis. See Appendix V I for the interview script that served as a basis for discussion. Once I established that the respondents were repeating the majority of responses within and among case units, and no new individuals or stakeholder groups were identified, I recognized this as the point of saturation (Lincoln and Guba 1985: 202); no additional interviews were required. This is consistent with a grounded theory approach. 2.3 Data Analysis I analyzed the data in six stages consistent with analytical procedures common to qualitative research (Lincoln and Guba 1985; Y i n 1994; Creswell 1998; Huberman and Miles 1998; and Seidman 1998). In the first stage, I made intuitive observations about each interview, and marked off and/or labelled any cohesive passages. In particular, I looked for particular passages that stood out, as suggested by Seidman (1998.T09ff). These were passages that: connected to literature were repetitive were unique and interesting were told in a striking manner or highlighted a dramatic incident were contradictory (to other passages) This question was aimed at eliciting the possible reasons that necessitate water conservation in the region. 24 were surprising (unanticipated results that I had not encountered in the literature) were consistent or inconsistent with literature provided new understandings confirmed prior understandings In the second stage, I explored each interview transcript to determine the range o f topics discussed and identified the themes that were included in the interview design (i.e. whether the content of a passage addressed a principal water management issue, a reason for a specific water conservation activity, or something that promotes or hinders water conservation activities). I then classified the content under more specific sub-themes. For example, once I had concluded that an interviewee was discussing a driver for water conservation, I would specify whether the driver was a political, perceptual, financial, or informational driver. In the third stage, i f there was more than one interviewee at a particular location, I amalgamated these interviewees' responses to create an overall data set and description of each case unit. In contrast, one individual's responses may have exclusively made up the results of one case unit. In the fourth stage, I performed an analysis across cases, looking for any correspondence or divergence of content across case units (as described by Y i n 1994: 120). Except for minor differences regarding principal water management issues specific to a particular jurisdiction, I found no differences in the factors that influence water conservation activities. In the fifth stage, because I found no major differences in the sub-themes mentioned among the case units, I aggregated the results to provide an overall case-study description. In other words, in the absence o f major differences, in the results section I provide a summary o f the similarities common to all case units as per the cross-case analysis. In the sixth stage, I analyzed the results for topics I deemed significant for clarifying the current circumstances and potential for water conservation in the region. I provide these insights in the Discussion chapter. 25 2.4 Scope of the Study and Limitations The scope o f this study is limited to interview data gathered from respondents at the G V R D and six municipalities. 2 8 Within these interview groups, the study only included individuals identified as being influential to water conservation activities within the G V R D , as identified by the snowball sampling method. Many interviewees were consequently not independent, and the number o f individuals interviewed at each case site varied. 2 9 This non-probability method of sampling has its limitations; because the cases are not meant to serve as representative sampling units, projecting the data beyond the sample is statistically inappropriate. However, this "bounding of the study" is consistent with qualitative exploratory case study design (Creswell 1998: 361), and further, the saturation design o f the research provides for a good level of understanding about the situation in the Greater Vancouver area, though no extensive "lawlike generalizations" were sought (Lincoln and Guba 1985: 42). In addition to the case description, within and beyond the Greater Vancouver area, the discussion topics that are the products of this research, can serve as a basis for dialogue and further study. Outside the Greater Vancouver area, these are useful to the degree that transferability can be assessed based on the context in which the information is received, as long as differences unique to each locale are appreciated and given proper weight (Lincoln and Guba 1985: 124). Other errors, biases, or misrepresentations relate to qualitative research using interviews. According to Lincoln and Guba (1985: 37), it is expected that the researcher and the respondent "interact to influence each other; knower and known are inseparable." Examples of these include interviewer influence (Zikmund 2000: 254) and order bias (Zikmund 2000: 427). For example, some interviewees may have slanted their discussion to appear more inclined towards water conservation because they knew that was my interest. Further, because this topic involves somewhat controversial topics including politics, I suspect that some respondents were wary of the tape recorder and therefore did not speak freely, even given the confidentiality agreement. Some spoke of certain issues only "off record." This fear o f getting into trouble, especially in the presence o f the recorder, may have led to some inaccurate reporting. Also , readers are encouraged to 2 8 Some respondents have involvement in both a municipality and the GVRD. 2 9 This was also due to time limitations and the lack of availability of certain interviewees. 26 keep in mind that the interviews elicited interviewees' perceptions regarding issues relating to water conservation and that one individual's understanding of reality may differ vastly from another's depending on how information is organized and interpreted. A n inherent limitation of data analysis in qualitative research is that it is subjective in nature and therefore depends largely on evaluation by the researcher. To make the study as inclusive of the participants' views as possible, I designed the interviews to give respondents many opportunities to clarify their understandings o f the terms and concepts involved. However, because reality can only be known "imperfectly and probabilistically because o f the researcher's limitations" (Robson 2002: 27), the following are just one set of many possible interpretations of the constructions o f meaning and knowledge provided by the interviews. The discussion provided is my interpretation of the results, whereas other discussion points are sure to exist. 2.6 Summary In keeping with exploratory-case-study research, this project did not involve the testing of a hypothesis. Rather, I performed an analysis of the interview data within each embedded case unit, and then examined the similarities across cases to build an explanation at the level of the whole. While this kind of research has its limitations, it provided an understanding of the circumstances and potential for water conservation in the Greater Vancouver area. 27 CHAPTERS: RESULTS This chapter is organized by the four interview headings. Within these sections, I present the sub-themes that were common to all case units, offering details and individual comments for clarity. I give particular emphasis to those topics that were mentioned by all interviewees, and for contrast, I also provide quotes and description of topics that were particularly atypical. First, I give general impressions of interviews in Section 3.1. Section 3.2 provides interviewees' perceptions of the principal water management issues in the Greater Vancouver area. In Section 3.3,1 explain what interviewees provided as reasons for specific water conservation activities. Sections 3.4 and 3.5 deal with what interviewees perceive to be the barriers to and drivers o f water conservation efforts. Section 3.6 provides alternative explanations for my findings. Because interviewees mentioned the same topics under differing headings, the topics are not necessarily mutually exclusive. For example, while one interviewee may have viewed the price of water as a "principal water management issue" others may have discussed it under the heading of "barriers to water conservation" depending on how the question was interpreted by the interviewee. Particularly unique quotations are shown either in Appendix VI I or included in-text where relevant for contrast or emphasis. 3.1 General Observations Overall, interviewees' reactions to my questions showed a mix of optimism and conviction, but also frustration, pessimism, and concern. From interviews, it is apparent that water management is a highly diverse field, and those managing the resource must continually adapt to changing politics, environmental conditions, perceptions and behaviours, and new ideas, initiatives, and technologies. However, despite the changing nature of the field and the demographic and geographic diversity o f the municipalities, I found that interviewees gave surprisingly congruent responses. 3 0 A s stated in the Data Analysis section, I found no significant differences concerning the interview themes and sub-themes among case units. Every case unit addressed the Because of this, it was not difficult to come up with categories in which to fit responses. 28 four interview topics, and consistently emphasized issues belonging to the same sub-themes within. I present these sub-themes under the four interview topic headings. 3.2 Reasons for Water Conservation (The Case for Water Conservation) 3.2.1 Principal water management issues The principal water management issues mentioned by the interviewees give insight into the state of water supplies and provide some indication as to why water conservation might be necessary in the Greater Vancouver area. A l l case units identified the same issues as primary concerns for the geographic region, although the issues specific to individual municipalities varied slightly. The sub-themes I extracted from the interviews include: Water supply/wastage and economic, environmental, and social costs; The potential for improving system management; and Water quality, metering, pricing, and other issues. Water supply/wastage and economic, environmental, and social costs First, no interviewee suggested that there is any kind of current or impending crisis concerning total water supplies. Many case units acknowledged that there are numerous potential water sources to turn to in case storage capacities in the region become too limiting. However, even i f we could supply a very large quantity of water, all case units agreed that supply should be restricted because of the multiple costs of supplying water. Conservation, therefore, may be necessary despite the large potential of Greater Vancouver's water supplies. One interviewee said that three kinds of costs were the main barriers to increasing water supplies: If people were willing to pay the economic, environmental, and social costs of humongous reservoirs, yes we could flood the whole lower half of the province. We would have enough water built up over the course of the year that people could run their sprinklers 24/7. But are people really willing to pay that price? Another said that the region has an abundance o f water, but also emphasized the social, environmental, and economic costs that may hinder development of water supplies: From a water supply view, I think that there is always water available. Now where it gets interesting is the cost to develop those supplies, be it socially, environmentally, or economically. I think some of those additional considerations may affect DSM [Demand Side Management]. Like, for example, the reason that 29 the region might go down the DSM road is not because there aren't watersheds that we can secure for getting that water. But the cost of treating that water, the cost of transmitting that water, and even the social and environmental costs of raising a dam or something, I'm not sure whether the region is willing to pay those kinds of costs rather than trying to cut back on some of the demand. The major challenge for the G V R D and local municipalities is supplying water during the summer months when demand is highest and supplies tend to dwindle. A t this time of year especially, water conservation is useful for its various benefits (explained in detail in sections 3.2.2). A l l case units alluded to the fact that during these times, there is a certain degree of water "wastage" from outdoor residential uses. One interviewee said that there are two considerations for dealing with depleted water supplies during the summer by saying that, "We can attack it from both sides; one is adding more supplies; the other is asking people to stop wasting water. Yes , there's a lot of water but we do have an issue with wasting." Another said that, "Just because we are water rich in many ways, doesn't mean that we have water to waste." The need to improve system management A second principal issue common among case units is the opportunity for improving upon the management of the water supply system. One interviewee said that constant improvement should be the mandate of water management: Since day one, the job of any utility is to serve the public in the best way: economically, environmentally, and socially. This will be the number one focus into the future. With a system so large and complex, there are always things that can and should be improved. More specifically, among case units there was the desire to improve upon water conservation. One interviewee's opinion was that "There are plenty of opportunities and we are really just scratching the surface." Under this heading o f improving upon water conservation were additional concerns, the most often mentioned o f which was public perceptions regarding water supply and conservation. Some interviewees linked these negative perceptions to a lack o f education. A few interviewees, however, believed these improvements to be less urgent. For example, when asked whether we were doing enough for water conservation in the region, one noted that, even though currently there is no need to conserve water, it is nevertheless beneficial to start making changes now in anticipation of future problems. 30 This individual said, "Right now we don't really have to [conserve], but 20 years from now, maybe. It's easier to start making changes now." Another said that instead of having to improve upon current efforts, it is a matter of following through on existing conservation plans: We are most of the way there. We have a program in place and if we can carry that through. I mean we can't change things overnight but we've made a good start five, six, seven years ago, and in another five years we '11 be where we want to be I think. Water quality, metering, pricing, and other issues Among discussions about water quantity, all cases brought up the topic o f water quality, some case units indicating that this was currently the most urgent issue to manage. Another issue that came up frequently was water metering. For example, many discussions centered around complications with the implementation of water metering. Somewhat related to this is the low price of water, which seemed to be an extremely pervasive topic. Other oft-mentioned issues included: more emphasis on long-term planning; understanding the barriers to desired behavioural changes; and governing in-house uses of water within the municipalities (for example leaks, un-metered uses, and installing low-flow fixtures in government facilities). 3.2.2 Benefits pursued by specific water conservation activities This section describes the main reasons interviewees cited for pursuing specific water conservation activities. Across all case units there were notable similarities in the responses to these questions, and I outline the main concepts below. The sub-themes I identified under this heading were: Practical benefits; Financial benefits; Political benefits; and Social, ethical, and environmental reasons. Practical benefits Among case units, the most intuitive and consistently mentioned goal or benefit o f conserving water is that water consumption w i l l stay within the capacities of the water supply system. Presently, water demand is most likely to exceed the system's capacities to supply water during the summer peak. There are two reasons for this. One is that the 3 1 The reason that this was perhaps not discussed as much could be due to the fact that interviewees were trying to accommodate my obvious interest for water conservation. 31 regional water supplies can become threatened and tenuous during the summer as regional storage capacities are limited. The second is that municipal infrastructure may be inadequate for supporting the peak water needs of the population. Wi th regard to regional water supplies, one interviewee reminded me that, "we have come dangerously close to running out of water a few times." This concern was mentioned not only as solely one o f the past and present but implied a need for future drought management in a growing region. Many case units mentioned climate change as contributing to growing insecurity with regional supplies. One interviewee said that climate change wi l l unquestionably affect water supplies: " A l l the projections, well , many of the projections are calling for warmer wetter winters, and drier summers, which is exactly what we don't want. It's a recipe for problems for water supply." The same interviewee, however, added that, "Even within this building, not everyone agrees on climate change. There are people in the supply side that think it's a bunch o f hooey." In light of the uncertainties surrounding water supplies, interviewees clearly saw the benefits of water conservation in terms of bringing more security. One noted that, "The only thing we can do in a drought situation is to turn you off which is what we had to do. We turned off everything and watered nothing. We need a managed situation, not an on or off!" Another individual suggested that efficiency is the key to being prepared for the future: From the long-term point of view, the more efficient resource use, will give us much better assurance to be on the safe side rather than on the emergency side. If we are planning long-term, if a drought hits, suppose we didn't do anything; we would be in a dire situation. But if we had been efficient and don't need as much water in the first place or we don't use as much and a drought hits, it hits us less. In contrast, this long-term perspective was not shared by all interviewees, given that some seemed to be more motivated to react only in times of water shortages. For example, one person suggested that clamping down on water use would be unfair during times of abundance: If there's no water shortage, you really don't need to ask people to conserve too much. It's pointless to ask them to conserve when you 're spilling everywhere. As much as you don't want to see that ethic develop, when you've got an abundance, you hate see people being screwed down too tightly; but when we need them to be screwed down, then we try to. That's what the Water Shortage Response Plan is for. 32 One other opinion was that there is no true reason for water conservation in the Greater Vancouver area. This individual stated that the region's water supply is in no danger of depletion saying, "There's no compelling reason to save water, I mean, it's cheap and it's plentiful. It's not like we are in California and we have to bring it across the desert. We're not in that situation at a l l . " In addition to concerns about water quantity and storage capacities, the municipal infrastructure may be inadequate for the peak needs of the population. For example^ it may not always be possible to pump water fast enough to where it is needed. One municipality encountered this problem; the pumps were not sufficient to service all parts of the city during the summer peak, leaving some areas without water. Since implementing water conservation measures, this municipality has not had the same problem, and has been able to defer large upgrades to water supply infrastructure. Financial benefits O f all the underlying reasons to conserve, all case units indicated that water conservation is pursued because of positive financial benefits. In fact, the majority of interviewees reported that these benefits were o f utmost importance to the topic of conservation, although there were a variety of reasons offered. Some interviewees said that saving money was one o f their main priorities: It's money first, because if something has an economic driver, then as a group of professionals that's our job to find it because the expectation from the public and the council is that we deliver at the lowest possible cost, the service that they want. Some were driven by the possibility of future economic benefits, pointing out that economic considerations are a large component of sustainability: In terms of conservation, it's not really just a side benefit. It's more than that. It's really where we want to be in the future, but when there is no economic payback, it's hard to say it's sustainable. Others cited a combination of philosophical and financial motivations: With the water conservation, we had some debate internally. There were some people that were more philosophically inclined towards it. Certainly if it's economically a good thing to do, then we should do it. Interviewees also gave more specific financial reasons for conservation, which I w i l l detail below. 33 The most often-mentioned benefit o f conserving was to delay or avoid the costs of upgrading infrastructure, including large capital supply projects in the future. Interviewees brought up the "the bottom line," saying that there was an expectation to deliver water at the lowest possible cost, and that to spend money endlessly on energy, maintenance, and new infrastructure would be inappropriate. Another mentioned benefit o f water conservation efforts was to avoid the operating costs of supplying water or the costs of having to buy water from the G V R D . One o f these operating costs is for the energy required to pump water to customers. Interviewees also explained that, because the price o f water is expected to increase in the next few years, conservation is becoming more attractive. In addition to using less water, initiatives such as recycling water within a municipality can reduce reliance on the G V R D and allow for more self-sufficiency, though local supplies may be more limited. The last major financial benefit for water conservation mentioned was to prevent water supplies from becoming the limiting resource for economic development or the region's "viability." The following quote expresses the notion that adequate water supplies are key for development: / think the importance is in the role that we play in keeping this society and area economically viable, in other words that there's no question as to whether there is enough water to provide industries. Industrial development is welcome here. Economic development is in some areas dependent on an adequate supply of water, which we have, and we are able to provide that water rather inexpensively. Another interviewee made the connection between water supply, economic development, and jobs: [It's important to] set ourselves up for a sustainable future, and by that I mean knowing that we are not going to run out of water, knowing that we 're not going to run out of money. And from a social perspective that we are not driving out potential users of water based on putting out poor policies on water use. And I'm talking about industrial uses. It would be a shame to lose [our biggest customer] based on a change in water policy. That translates into jobs and economic sustainability of the entire community. One interviewee mentioned the economic "edge" of keeping the region's water clean, thereby avoiding the costs o f expensive environmental abatement. Cases also specified that building infrastructure that would sit idle during months of lower consumption would be especially undesirable. 34 Political benefits A l l case units spoke generally o f political motivations for conservation efforts. For example, when politicians perceive an activity as popular with the public, this activity may be pursued, regardless of other considerations. Similarly, some municipalities or politicians may want to appear active in conservation, to maintain their status as sustainability leaders, to keep up with other locations, and to maintain a good international reputation. Social, ethical, and environmental benefits Although the abovementioned reasons were most typical of the responses I collected, some case units did speak of a few other motivations, which, albeit not significant according to the cross-case analysis, are worthy of mention for the purposes of discussion. First, a few individuals spoke o f the desire to achieve equity and fairness through conservation activities. Although this came up a few times during my interviews, it was only in reference to water metering, as opposed to applying to water conservation more broadly. Furthermore, according to some interviewees, water metering also gives high volume users more of a "right" to use water for their purposes. The last mention goes to the individuals who voluntarily offered environmental motivations for conservation. There were only a few people that were keen on this topic, offering to share their knowledge about the multiple environmental benefits o f conserving water. If the environment did come up within other cases, it was only in reference to the idea that using less energy for pumping would benefit air quality or in reference to the environmental costs of building new dams. Otherwise, I had to probe further to find whether those environmental benefits found in the literature were a motivation for interviewees. For example, when respondents concentrated on just economics, I would question them about the environmental and the associated social reasons to conserve. Following are some quotes that provide further insight into the underlying motivations for water conservation in the Greater Vancouver area. For example, when asked about environmental reasons for conservation, one interviewee declared me an idealist. This person said: 35 Well [the environment] is not really an issue for us because the lakes are already there, and they do have agreed release rates to maintain the fish flows. So it's not an issue on the environmental side and there's enough water in Coquitiam lake to supply us until the middle of the next century. I mean we will all be dust in the ground until this region needs to look for another supply. Another explained that environmental concerns tend to conflict with developmental concerns: Well the thing that is the most damaging to the ecosystems is the dam construction and that outweighs anything else. It is one of those conundrums; do we limit the growth of the community? You would have had to say that in the 30's or 40's that we are as big as we are going to be. While others thought that there were bigger environmental issues to deal with: We don't really have an issue with the environment, at least for another 20 years. And in fact that should be the least of our worries; we have other problems like air pollution we should be worrying about; if it ain't broke, don't fix it kind of thing. Another suggestion was that benefits to the environment are intuitively known, but that the economics are simply easier: I'm sure there are environmental benefits but I haven't seen anyone can actually quantify to say if you save this much water, you would save this many fish, you would save that much of aquatic life or habitat. I haven't seen anyone who can actually do that. We all know that if we use less water we leave more for fish or streams. The healthy watersheds or streams produce lots of healthy stuff, trees, grass, and aquatic life. How you present that to politicians and decision makers is a difficult task. Intuitively we all know that. The easy part is the economic analysis of building a pipe or a pump, or doing a toilet rebate program.^ 3.3 Barriers to Water Conservation Initiatives In this section, I describe some of the difficulties interviewees have encountered while pursuing water conservation activities. These barriers have hindered past or present efforts, up to the point of preventing activities in some cases. Whi le many o f the barriers applied to specific initiatives, some clear categories emerged from the interviews that were common to all case units. I classified these responses under the sub-themes of: Perceptual and attitudinal; Political; Financial and informational/analytical; and Legal and regulatory. These categories, however, have a large amount o f overlap and cannot be regarded as mutually exclusive. 3 3 This last quote is qualifies under other categories as well, such as the analytical and financial/economic categories. 36 3.3.1 Perceptual and attitudinal barriers Every interviewee mentioned perceptual barriers to conservation initiatives. Interviewees pointed to alleged perceptions of the media, politicians, and administrators, but based on the cross-case comparison, the prime constraint for water conservation activities is that the public does not perceive conservation as a necessity. The belief that water is infinite and inexhaustible does not promote a widespread conservation ethic. Interviewees explained that this was largely due to the deceptive climate in the region: yearly extremes of rain and hot weather, infrequent water shortages, and perceptions that are rooted in the more abundant past (such as that described by the early explorers). People's preferences and behaviours are connected to these perceptions and are therefore difficult to change. One interviewee mentioned that conservation messages from the G V R D have lost legitimacy because o f a history of abundance: You can go for 10 years without dry summers, and it keeps the reservoirs full and it naturally waters the lawns so people aren't using as much. You can get through a summer without having to utter one word about having to conserve. And then you get a year like 2003, and they 're saying 'Here they go again, the GVRD are crying poor with respect to water.' and ' I remember such and such a year when we had no problems. They are crying wolf.' Another reason that interviewees provided was that people are physically distant from the source and generally do not understand the workings of the water supply system or local conditions. One interviewee explained how perceptions are at the root o f people's unwillingness to change and said that it is money rather than the environment that w i l l speak to people: People, we are all just creatures of habit and people look at the world with a certain perception. They think that the problem with climate change is not real, and have no environmental motivation to change. They might change if they can save a lot of money but the environmental aspect does not speak to them. That's probably why they are not willing to change. Many case units suggested that, as long as the price of water remains very low, it w i l l be difficult to promote the idea that water use is a privilege. The public is consequently mistrusting of government messages concerning water supply. Interviewees also said that another common perception of the public was that conservation lowers quality of life and that water conservation technologies, such as low-37 flow fixtures, do not perform to par. Some interviewees mentioned that local plumbers and hardware stores still promote high-flow fixtures for these reasons. These perceptions result in a public that is uninterested and unresponsive to water conservation initiatives. Another public perception that causes difficulties for water managers is that water is a right, and its use should not be constrained in any way; to do so would be an intrusion on a lifestyle. This perception pervades the business community, where customs and understandings lead to the belief that one's livelihood should not or could not be affected by fluctuations in the resource. Media bias can influence public perception, and was mentioned by all case units as a barrier to changing these perceptions. The main message was that media, though somewhat helpful for spreading a message in times of crisis, often spread the wrong message, and are not interested in an "un-sexy" message of water conservation during times o f abundance. Therefore, the public receives inconsistent, inaccurate, and irregular messages. One interviewee said that a single media report can have a huge effect: It's just ridiculous how disproportionately influential the media can be. I mean all it takes is a couple of really stupid columnists to twist the thinking of hundreds of thousands ofpeople. So yeah, media bias is a big problem for trying to get things done. Added to this is the fact that education and advertising budgets are generally limited, and that sending a negative message without causing panic to the public is not an easy task. Although somewhat careful in their criticisms, some case units alluded to problematic perceptions among those in charge o f water conservation, stating that there are also disagreements about goals within and among organizations. First, some interviewees lamented the technological bias o f engineers, and that a supply-focused, "who cares about water conservation?" mentality is still prevalent. In addition, there is a widespread attitude that says, i f it does not save or make money, it is not worth doing. One interviewee said that some engineers do not fully understand or trust demand-side/conservation initiatives: Traditionally the engineering methodology was bigger pumps, bigger pipes. That gives you the assurance that this pipe will be able deliver this much water to you. The softer approach is the demand side, a fuzzy kind of thing. Lots of communities have good results but still the engineers or the supply-side people have this doubt whether this program will deliver. That kind of thing is still out there and needs to be addressed. 38 Another agreed that many administrators have out-dated thinking: / think that it's just years ago nobody cared, you are piping water from the lake and people didn't care. The mentality is starting to change but it's really slow. That's one of the main roots of the problem. I'd say everyone, the politicians, the engineers. Some of these directives need to come from the regional district down and that's just ridiculous. Some people still have the 1960s way of thinking and that's a problem. One of the more environmentally-inclined interviewees, when asked whether there is anything that they would like to see changed about how water is managed, recommended modified training: Ensure that future water managers are trained to think holistically. There is still a lot of 'old school' thought out there: 'Just build a pipe and bring water down from the lakes in the mountains, and we '11 never run out,' or, 'It's not economically beneficial to save water since it costs so little, so why bother with water conservation.' . Last, a few interviewees also suggested that the perception among managers that education w i l l fix everything is problematic. 3.3.2 Political barriers A l l case units brought up political barriers to conservation] According to interviewees, politicians are slow and unwill ing to act on some conservation initiatives because of the persistence o f negative perceptions and public apathy. Most cases, though, reported that overall their municipal council was mostly supportive and that popular initiatives are easy to promote. However, they also said that political barriers cause difficulties for conservation, especially when the issues are "un-sexy" and low visibility. Some spoke o f regional government, some about provincial government, and others about politicians more generally. For example, one interviewee said that, "The ground swell is there, it 's a question of the politicians making it a priority." Another identified a general lack of drive at the senior levels of government, stating that, "[The G V R D ] produces these reports, sends the b i l l to everyone and they gather dust. The drive and initiative just isn't there at the senior level." One interviewee said that integration among municipalities is an issue: Inevitably, there are some political hiccups or hiccups along the way, and we 're a diverse region and organization and it's hard to keep everyone moving in the same direction. So it takes a long time sometimes and you are subject to other schedules as well. 39 Someone else complained that conservation only moves as fast as managers can convince politicians: At the same time, it's still a political institution, and it moves along with the political will and the progressiveness or conservativeness of the politicians. So it can be frustrating in another way that staff may want to move things further ahead but the politicians aren't quite so sure, so we have to hold off until we convince them or they decide that it's the right thing to do. Another person said that some politicians w i l l never be convinced: There are certain politicians in certain municipalities that will never bring in water metering because they happen to have a residential populace that is against it. It doesn 't matter if everyone else in the world is doing it, it doesn 't;matter if it makes good business sense, or sense from a sustainability point of view. The fact is that they just won't do it. I don't know if there's a solution there. One interviewee said that water conservation isn't an attractive policy for a political platform: [Water conservation] is low hanging fruit. They are more concerned about transportation and stuff. The thing about politics is that you want to stay elected so an issue like this is not going to help them get elected, when you talk about health and school. Another complained that conservation falls victim to election cycles saying that, "It's trying to encourage that long-term perspective, given that everyone sits in a short-term reality whether it be a 3-year election cycles or whatever. How do we keep that long-term perspective when it comes to water?" 3.3.3 Financial and informational/analytical barriers Another concern for all case units was that many conservation initiatives can have negative, uncertain and/or slow returns on investment, while the other benefits (or costs) of conservation, such as those concerning the environment and social aspects of resource management, are intangible. One interviewee said that a comprehensive approach is a challenge: ...water conservation not only has impacts on water but wastewater as well, and other things like energy and air quality. They 're all connected. So an interesting thing for me is to continue to evolve all of these different areas to be looked at in a balanced way rather than separately. It's complicated, especially from the analytical perspective. How do you analyze these things, its costs, impacts and that sort of thing? Some interviewees responded that people expect concrete results: 40 The politicians for sure ask these types of questions. 'Can you guarantee me that your program will save me 10%?' How you can do that? People's behaviours are not fixed. If they build a pipe they know that it can provide certain flow capacity to that neighbourhood, but the conservation has not been able to say concretely that we are going to reduce water conservation concretely throughout so that we don't need bigger pipes. From the demand side perspective, you cannot guarantee people that these initiatives are going to result in a concrete number of additional benefits. Faced with these and numerous other difficulties, interviewees mentioned that it is hard to get programs funded when spending priorities remain elsewhere. With priorities elsewhere, competing interests eat up the time of some water managers. Furthermore, the current cost of water does not provide the funding or incentive for change, as mentioned earlier. One interviewee summed up some o f the abovementioned factors quite nicely: We need some bigger climatic event that really solidifies a conservation ethic or a pricing mechanism that really focuses the attention on water. To fill this room with water would cost two dollars; it's so low cost compared to other factors businesses are operating with. Unless they 're using a lot of water, financially it's not going to make a difference to their bottom line, but a broader concern about water resources and consumption would certainly help that. On the topic of commerce, interviewees noted that businesses have a lot of influence when it comes to conservation, and that this sometimes hinders efforts when it comes to changing habits. One interviewee lamented the "clout" of big commercial users, specifically in the case of a plan to raise sewer rates for industrial and commercial businesses that was "scrapped" because o f the negative economic influence it would have. 3 4 Other informational barriers included: difficulty determining what accounts for success or failure o f initiatives, inability to measure and characterize consumption, lack o f understanding about what motivates behaviours, and difficulty in matching information from national campaigns to local conditions. This could also qualify as a political barrier. 41 3.3.4 Legal and regulatory barriers The last type of barrier occurs when existing jurisdiction, regulations, or laws cause complications for municipalities or the region pursuing conservation initiatives. A l l case units reported these kinds o f barriers. The main barrier mentioned was the Provincial Plumbing Code, which does not require low-flow fixtures in the Greater Vancouver area. Although some municipalities have found legal ways to change their own bylaws, interviewees explained that it was difficult to implement these types of regulations without consistent regulation across the region. Again, according to interviewees, political unwillingness to act was at the root o f the slow progress. The other point in this realm has to do with the fragmentation of jurisdiction for water management. One interviewee said that there is confusion among ministries about their responsibilities: Even within the ministries they are not really sure what aspect of water they are supposed to be in charge of, between Community Aboriginal Women's Services, Water Land and Air Protection, and Sustainable Resource Management, Agriculture Food and Fisheries, and Health. Then Land and Water BC, which is a Crown Corporation. Manitoba has just created a Ministry of Water. Like, that is one stop shopping for everything water. I don't think BC wants to go that way, but still there are ways that we can make governance better. Other issues that came up under this sub-theme included the fact that a utility cannot make a profit on water under the Utilities Act, and that the definitions of wastewater in the Health Code and Plumbing Code do not differentiate between blackwater, rainwater, and greywater. 3 5 3.4 Drivers of Water Conservation Efforts So far I have discussed the influences that necessitate and motivate existing conservation efforts, as well as some barriers that have hindered conservation initiatives. This section describes the drivers that case units listed as helpful in the current circumstances. Many of the drivers I cover are simply the opposite o f a given barrier but nonetheless were mentioned separately during interviews and therefore warrant consideration. M y intention is to provide a general picture of the types of things that can be beneficial for Because all three qualify as wastewater, regulations restrict their use. 42 water conservation efforts, although, at times, interviewees discussed drivers in relation to very specific initiatives. I classified the drivers as belonging to the sub-themes of: Political and perceptual; Financial; Informational; and Legal and regulatory. 3.4.1 Political and perceptual drivers The first item in this sub-theme is that political support is a prerequisite for any program, since politicians are ultimately in charge o f municipal spending. A l l case units mentioned that the more interested politicians (or upper management and senior levels) are in conservation, generally, the easier it is to advance initiatives and gain appropriate funding. This does not only concern specific initiatives; political endorsement of a broad conservation ethic was considered to be at least equally important. Interviewees explained that this kind of support legitimizes conservation, and allows the message to spread through the organization and the public. Case units reported that those politicians, such as provincial ministers, who are "conservation-oriented" were helpful to the success of conservation. Interviewees said that politicians are especially "agreeable" in times of "crisis" when the issue is most visible to the public. A l l case units mentioned that the drought in 2003 was extremely helpful for changing perceptions and gaining political support. This "crisis" made people more interested in their water supplies. Consequently, interviewees said education and awareness are especially effective during water shortages: What helps politically is when things actually get on the radar screen. So when we have droughts like 2003, where we 're at a Stage 3 sprinkling [restrictions] and we have reduced snow pack in the mountains. Those things actually get people thinking a bit more and can encourage people to start to change their habits. Other interviewees mentioned that the Walkerton Disaster and water shortages in other parts of the world bring public attention to the issue. One said, "The water conservation ethic really comes from other places in the world where water is not as renewable." In contrast, the above trend was not welcomed by one interviewee, who instead said that when people start paying attention to global issues, they ignore local ones: The Walkerton Disaster refers to an incident in 2000 in Walkerton, Ontario, where problems in the municipal drinking water system lead to severe water quality problems, which caused the death of seven people and illness in thousands more. 43 We all read about what happens in other parts of the world. There seems to be this common understanding that we are running out of water and the quality is getting worse all the time and we are in a state of crisis. We 're going to hell in a hand basket. You read it in the newspaper, and we even hear it from the provincial government. You know that we are going to have a really dry summer and you have to get to the fine-print to find that they are talking about a few valleys in the interior, not the Lower Mainland. That kind of stuff drives me crazy. Because as we have more and more info about what goes on outside our area, people think it applies to us. It doesn't necessarily and it might do, if you own a well in Langley, but it doesn't apply to the huge lakes in the mountains. We need people to ask more questions about our local area. Interviewees said that different ways of thinking within an organization, or the effort o f enthusiastic advocates who intuitively feel that conservation and sustainability measures are ethically right and practicable, can help to change perceptions and bring about more conservation-oriented action. For example, many case units found the presence o f younger groups or separate environmental groups within the organization helpful. Interviewees explained that these individuals could also be individual engineers, managers, planners, politicians, or other interest groups spurring action and new ideas, who are wi l l ing to take risks. One interviewee said, "It is usually the ones who are paving new ways of thinking that are also the ones getting things done." Sometimes bringing in new faces helped: It was then decided to hire an environmental manager. That manager was creative, and tuned in with the community as well as the stewardship movement. He helped to bring together the fledgling stewardship groups, government agencies, the school district etcetera, and empowered them to become more successful by opening doors where they needed to be opened. He basically fanned the embers out there. Collaboration with non-governmental organizations such as stream-keepers was also mentioned a few times: / think we have a very active stream-keepers group that are concerned about fish and creeks and all that. They don't get directly involved with water conservation but I think they sort of understand the linkages to reduced demand, means more water up at the Eagle Lake, fish flow supplementation into the downstream creeks. 3.4.2 Financial drivers Equally important to politicians, the public, and businesses are initiatives that are cheap, cost-neutral, or have a strong business case and return on investment. In this sense, the nature of the conservation activity has significance. On the topic o f business cases, 44 interviewees noted that activities that can be shown to save or make businesses money are easier to advocate, and are therefore often pursued by municipalities or the G V R D . This includes initiatives in which businesses can save money in water costs, keep up with the competition, or gain a business edge. Though interviewees suggested that some businesses are "green by nature," the environmental standards mentioned were mainly set at a global level. Businesses responding to those pressures were said to be mostly larger, international players, or those with international customers with different expectations. 3.4.3 Informational drivers The main informational driver from the cross-case analysis was that information sharing was an important aspect for water conservation. First, interviewees said that information from other parts o f the world, particularly from Europe and the United States, was valuable for fill ing information gaps and spurring new action. "Piggy-backing" among the municipalities was also mentioned, in which one w i l l try out a given initiative, and others wi l l follow suit depending on its success. Interviewees stressed that meetings of conservation coordinators in the area were a useful place to share such experiences. Most municipalities also find it very useful to have access to the vast amount of information of the G V R D , such as analyses, studies, and regulatory information. The last significant informational feature from the cross-case analysis concerns the role o f the media and advertising, and to some extent, public education. The media was said to be useful during a crisis, namely when they are able to convey the "right message." Given that the public is perceived as mistrusting of the municipalities and the G V R D , a few interviewees mentioned that the media was a useful third party in these situations, providing a more credible message. Ethnic media was often mentioned as the only way to reach some cultural groups. In addition, many case units reported that businesses were a positive link for spreading the message, even i f only through leading by example. Most case units reported that programs were more successful with greater amounts of advertising and awareness. Other informational drivers included public feedback about programs, public input in the planning process, standardized municipal data (for cross-comparison), and kids informing the older generations (things learned at school). 3 7 As stated earlier, the GVRD has programs catering to businesses. 45 3.4.4 Legal and regulatory drivers Interviewees surprisingly did not mention many legal or regulatory drivers, although two items fit under this sub-theme. Wi th regard to the Provincial Plumbing Code, case units stated that it was significant progress for the Capital Regional District to require low-flow fixtures in all new construction, and that this meant hope for further changes and backing for the concept in the Greater Vancouver area. Another example was specific to the City o f Vancouver, where a unique regulatory charter allows them to make progress in certain types of conservation-related initiatives simply because they can. For example, it has allowed the municipality to introduce "unusual sustainability initiatives" like rooftop gardens, which otherwise would be hampered by the BC Building Code. The same interviewees explained, however, that the Vancouver Charter needs revisions with regard to water conservation activities, but that because the Province is pressuring the municipality to adopt the Community Charter, these revisions have not been made. This interviewee said that, "The Ci ty o f Vancouver has no interest with adopting the Community Charter as the Vancouver Charter is more powerful legislation." 3.5 Alternative explanations for the findings The preceding section is solely a summary o f what interviewees reported o f the circumstances in the Greater Vancouver area, and my interpretation o f this interview data. Other drivers and barriers for water conservation surely exist. Further, someone else's interpretation of the data might vary in the sense that, where ambiguities exist, others may place units of data into different sub-themes. It is also important to keep in mind that certain activities may not be prevented by barriers, but because of an absence of drivers. Furthermore, decisions to maintain the status quo may be deliberate, and unrelated to barriers or drivers. Overall, my construction of reality w i l l inevitably diverge from other interpretations, given their own values and understandings. 3.6 Summary Though all o f the case units reported underlying issues, specifically with water quantity and quality and changing perceptions and water-use habits, none of the cases reported any current or impending crisis. Although there were variable opinions about the degree 46 to which conservation is needed (and why), all cases acknowledged the need for conservation, and indicated some potential for improvement. M y interviews suggested that, while seasonal water shortages and infrastructure limitations necessitate occasional water conservation, and interviewees are concerned about social, financial, and environmental costs o f water supply and wastage, practical, political, and financial benefits are the predominant reasons for current conservation initiatives in the Greater Vancouver area. Only a few interviewees demonstrated more holistic thinking 3 8 or recognition of other reasons for pursuing conservation initiatives, such as environmental and the associated social goals. Water conservation in the Greater Vancouver area faces various challenges that hinder its advancement. O f these, the most significant according to interviewees were perceptual or attitudinal barriers, followed by (and closely related to) political barriers. In other words, conservation is mainly hindered by political resistance and lack of public awareness. Everything else seems to stem from these two main dilemmas. For example, the common lack of funding for the programs stems from the political unwillingness to spend money on conservation. Moreover, political unwillingness to act was mentioned as the main reason for slow progress in the legal or regulatory realm. Politics and economics are the most influential drivers of water conservation. Second, those events that can change perceptions, such as drought, act as important catalysts. Bel ief in conservation on the part o f water conservation advocates are influential in how far water conservation is advanced. Last, information sharing was seen as an aid to getting things done. Legal or regulatory drivers were surprisingly mentioned the least, along with some other types of drivers. The interviews I conducted certainly contribute to an in-depth understanding of the circumstances for water conservation in the Greater Vancouver area. A s expected, there are many angles at play in this picture. According to the case studies, the drivers of and barriers to water conservation activities in the Greater Vancouver area relate to politics, regulations, money, the environment, and information, among other things. These 3 8 For the purposes of this thesis, the term holistic refers to a management paradigm that acknowledges the value of water in social, environmental, and financial terms as well as the complex interrelationships between ecosystem components or sub-systems (in other words, it is comprehensive/balanced and integrated). Those interviewees referring to holism also appeared to be more inclined toward the ethical (and intuitive) grounds for water conservation. 47 concerns are somewhat interrelated. Every place has its frustrations and dead-ends, but luckily there is not an absence of drivers, and together with the motivation to act, municipalities have made progress with conservation initiatives. One interviewee summed how these paradigm shifts happen: What was considered radical and unthinkable can become very mainstream quite quickly. And things can go in and out of favour very rapidly. And sometimes decisions are made based on reasonable business sense. You know if you can show that the cost of one option is lower than the other, then why would you not do it? And other times it's made purely on the basis ofpopular opinion or just political will. And so it keeps things very interesting; not predictable, but interesting. 48 CHAPTER 4: DISCUSSION Based on the current circumstances I have elucidated in the results, this section explores the potential for water conservation in the Greater Vancouver area. In Section 4.1,1 discuss the significance o f the perceived principal water management issues and the reasons for specific water conservation activities, and compare these to the literature. In particular, I analyze the comprehensiveness and consistency o f these perceptions with regard to the complete case for water conservation. In Section 4.2,1 explore the implications of the perceived barriers and drivers, continuing to reflect on the circumstances and potential for water conservation in the Greater Vancouver area, and then give a short illustration o f turning barriers into drivers. In Sections 4.3, 4.4, and 4.5, I summarize these discussion points, provide a list o f the key findings of this thesis, and explore some limitations and implications for further research. 3 9 4.1 Reasons for Water Conservation (The Case for Water Conservation) In Chapter 1 of this thesis, I outlined numerous reasons for water conservation, particularly the reasons that may necessitate water conservation, and the benefits of these activities, both locally and globally. In short, numerous practical, economic, environmental, and social factors together make up the complete case for water conservation. So were my interviewees' perceptions consistent with the literature? In my interpretation, interviewees' responses regarding the general issues corresponded with the literature, but in relation to the specific benefits that motivate conservation efforts, their responses were not consistent with their own rationalizations. This also meant that they were not consistent with and did not live up to the expectations set by the literature. In addition, I point out the existence of dismissive views with regard to the environment, and classify the current management approach to water conservation as something between Supply and Demand Management. The reader is reminded that I do not question the effectiveness of the actual policies and therefore do not propose suggestions about which water conservation tools should be pursued. Generally, the basic package for demand side management suggested by others such as Maas (2003) includes the use of such tools as economic incentives, education, and various regulatory mechanisms. The regulatory framework is also accepted as a given. 49 4.1.1 Interviewees were consistent with the literature regarding the general issues. When asked about the key water management issues in the region, interviewees referred to a variety of topics and were consistent with the literature's reasons for water conservation. In other words, interviewees spoke to parts of the full case for water conservation. In summary, according to interviewees conservation is necessary in the Greater Vancouver area for a number of reasons. Interviewees seemed to recognize the need for limitations on water usage, and identified wastage and accessible water supply as concerns, despite the region's overall abundance of water. They were ardent about the unacceptable costs of increasing supply endlessly, alluding to social, environmental, and economic issues. Interviewees were also especially concerned about public perceptions that underlie wastage and cause complications for improving conservation efforts. There was also discussion about climate change and support for being proactive in light of climatic uncertainty. On the surface, therefore, it seemed as though interviewees would successfully articulate the full case for water conservation as outlined in the literature. 4.1.2 Interviewees' responses regarding key issues and specific reasons for conservation were inconsistent. A s I have explained, the key issues that necessitate water conservation should directly correlate with the benefits that would motivate water conservation. However, as my interviews proceeded to these reasons for specific water conservation activities, individuals were not consistently inclusive of a wide variety of concerns; contrary to my expectations, interviewees did not complete the case for water conservation. They mainly offered practical motivations relating to infrastructure, and financial and political benefits accrued from water conservation. In addition to financial benefits, was also interviewees' emphasis on business interests and economic growth as justifications for water conservation as demonstrated by several quotes: "The big commercial users do have a lot of clout [when it comes to water policies],"; "I think the importance in the role that we play [is] in keeping this area economically viable. In other words, that there's no question as to whether there is enough water to provide industries,"; "The second thing is setting ourselves up for a 50 sustainable future, and by that I mean knowing that we are not going to run out of water.. .knowing that we are not driving out potential [industrial] users of water based on putting out poor policies on water use." In comparison to these priorities, environmental considerations and the associated social benefits of water conservation were largely overlooked. 4 0 In other words, although these is recognition of infrastructural, financial limitations, and concern for the environment, only the former two concerns translated into direct goals o f conservation activities, whereas environmental preservation did not factor in. Not only is this lack of continuity notable in itself, it is also somewhat inconsistent with interviewees' desires to be leaders in sustainability, which they concurrently expressed; whereas definitions of sustainability in the literature make mention of ecological systems, under the reasons for specific conservation activities, interviewees did not. This leads me to infer that the comprehensive opening statements concerning key environmental issues and interviewees' desires for sustainability could simply be cursory assertions imported from literature, whereas in reality, administrators view water conservation as a practical technique to meet demand in times of water shortages, and a means to predominantly political or economic ends. The results therefore suggest that water conservation administrators may not be entirely convinced about the complete case for water conservation. 4.1.3 There is a disconnect between what the literature outlines as the case for water conservation and what interviewees think. The fact that interviewees perceive the reasons for water conservation to be a matter of politics, finances/efficiency, and supply and demand, is significant for a second reason: it falls short of what the literature outlines as the complete case for water conservation. This was surprising to me, given that at the outset of this research, I had set out to explore drivers and barriers under the assumption that water conservation administrators had accepted the case for water conservation outlined in the literature. However, it appears 40 As a reminder, in addition to the practical and financial/economic (and the related social) benefits of water conservation, there are environmental benefits that are applicable to the Greater Vancouver area. These are derived from leaving more water in-situ for ecosystems and hence the services they provide, reducing the environmental costs associated with water distribution (mainly energy, chemicals, and wastewater treatment and releases), and possibly avoiding the environmental costs from having to expand supply area. These environmental benefits also translate into social benefits, and overall promote sustainability. 51 that water conservation administrators, on the whole, have not bought into all o f the universal reasons for water conservation as applying to the local scale in the Greater Vancouver area, and that there is a disconnect between notions of sustainability in literature, and interviewees believe and practice. This issue may be one o f scale, whereby local administrators simply do not relate global rhetoric/universal reasons for water conservation as applicable to their locale, and are therefore not l iving up to the literature. It is understandable that the overall goals o f any water conservation pursuit can vary from such things as "reducing water use and increasing long term sustainability, to promoting economic growth and innovation and guaranteeing equity and access for a l l " (Brandes and Ferguson 2004: 33). I do not want to discredit the goals of any persons to save money, and sympathize with the political and financial pressures of any water utility; however, by concentrating on practical and political reasons, and prioritizing the economic sphere of sustainable development while failing to recognize environmental considerations and the associated social benefits, how w i l l we know whether we are conserving enough? In letting politics, practical reasons, and the economic sphere dominate the management of this resource in a pursuit o f better l iving standards, there may be a danger of actually damaging other important goals and aspirations of society, including, for example, environmental preservation. This point seems in line with what' Rees (1998: 49) says about viewing the economy and the environment separately; believing that growth can occur free of limitations o f the ecosphere generally leads to harm to ecosystem health. 4.1.4 Interviewees did not live up to the literature's assertions that social and environmental considerations need to be taken into account. Interviewees offered inconsistent responses between key issues and the reasons for specific water conservation activities in a third sense: according to the relevant local literature, environmental and social considerations are significant, albeit difficult to measure. In its Water Conservation Plan (WCP) , the G V R D (2005c: 14) explains that cost-benefit-analyses are used for deciding which conservation measures to pursue. This results in the identification of those conservation measures "that are cost effective 52 alternatives to expanding supply based solely on the direct financial costs." The G V R D states that the inclusion of more intangible social and environmental costs (or benefits) is difficult due to limitations o f numerical analyses and the only development they foresee in these respects is the addition of "quantifiable wastewater and stormwater related costs and benefits" ( G V R D , 2005c: 16). Given that "standard cost-benefit analysis is not sufficient to ensure basic ecological resilience and ecosystem health" (Brandes and Brooks 2005: 11), these limitations lead me to question the comprehensiveness of the W C P itself, but the G V R D does stress that ideally all social, environmental, and economic aspects should be accounted for ( G V R D , 2005c: 14), and that because these goals are important, they have significance to decision-making. Despite expectations set up by the literature, environmental and the associated social considerations went unmentioned, were given only passing mention, or were dismissed by interviewees. I can imagine that there is some degree o f reliance on the fact that the region's watersheds are protected, and the fact that minimum release rates for fish flows and environmental protection are regulated. 4 1 However, because they were not even included in dialogue for the most part, I infer that these factors do not have implications for water conservation at present, and do not count as tangible constraints on human activities in this regard. 4.1.5 Dismissive views exist with regard to the environment and the benefits of conservation generally. Not only were social and environmental considerations largely absent, in my interpretation, some interviewees also dismissed environmental motivations when probed. On this extreme were those who seemed quite set in the mentality that: " I f [the environment] ain't broke, don't fix i t " 4 2 ; "The [environment] is not really an issue for us 4 1 Relying solely on this "red line approach" for ecosystem protection has also been criticized as insufficient; protection of ecosystem integrity requires the consideration of such factors as mimicking natural flow regimes (Brooks in Policy Research Institute 2005: 9) 4 2 This quote was spoken in the context, that at present, water use is not impacting or "breaking" the environment and therefore if is not a concern or motivation for water conservation. 53 because the lakes are already there" 4 3 and; "When there is no economic payback, it 's hard to say it's sustainable." 4 4 In addition, I noted another mentality that further dismisses the comprehensive reasons for conservation. These few individuals stated: "There is no compelling reason to save water," and; " I f there's no shortage, you really don't really need to ask people to conserve too much. It's pointless to ask them to conserve when you are spilling everywhere." These two quotes especially confirm the persistence of attitudes that would be more inclined towards the supply-oriented or even the reactive policy-making lamented in the literature. 4.1.6 Overall, case units displayed characteristics associated with the Supply Management and Demand Management approaches. Based on the aforementioned discussion, I interpret that water conservation is being handled to a large degree by those inclined towards the Supply and Demand Management areas o f the spectrum of water management approaches detailed in Chapter 1. The fact that there were those who were dismissive about the environment, and spoke about supply-oriented solutions, suggests the presence of those more inclined towards the Supply Management approach. A few interviewees stressed that those with strong engineering backgrounds hold these views. However, I noted some elements of the Demand Management approach as well , specifically because interviewees acknowledged the environmental costs under the principal water management issues, even though they emphasized practical, political, and financial reasons as the main motivations. According to Brandes and Brooks (2005:4), the "dominant discipline" under the Demand Management approach is economics, but the "fundamental question" does include reducing environmental impacts in addition to saving money. In their words, Demand Management encompasses "a strategy that recognizes water limits and searches for cost-effective measures to cut their use" (Brandes and Brooks 2005:8). This quote also dismisses the environmental costs from water use, other than those related to expanding water supply area. 4 4 This quote is consistent with the literature in implying that sustainability requires the consideration of economic, social, and environmental factors, but dismisses the viability of pursuing water conservation for environmental benefits alone if the pursuit does not make money. 54 4.2 Barriers and Drivers In questioning the changes that would be necessary to promote change to the status quo, especially in order to bring the social and environmental dimensions into account as per the Soft Path, the given barriers and drivers can be examined. In this section I outline a few examples of shortcomings of the current approach, and how some barriers can be turned into opportunities. 4 5 I discuss that water conservation administrators were somewhat narrowly focused on financial goals even under discussions about drivers and barriers, that there is a lack of water conservation advocates, that interviewees did not take much accountability for the current circumstances, and that a unified vision is perceptibly lacking due to a number of barriers. I then explain how diversifying the technical expertise on the part o f staff has potential to promote change to the status quo. Last, I outline examples o f more broad changes to the water management framework that may be conducive for overcoming some of the mentioned barriers. 4.2.1 The focus of financial goals may prevent creativity. I have already outlined how interviewees placed emphasis on financial goals as the principal reasons for water conservation. This focus continued into discussions about drivers and barriers, and in this sense, interviewees mainly spoke of situations where "the economics are right" as the ideal (and vice versa). Again, I would like to reiterate that it is understandable that the financial bottom line counts, and that a strong case for water conservation can be made based on economics alone. However, in addition to the shortcomings of this approach I have pointed out in sections 4.1, in relation to drivers and barriers, I infer that, to some extent water conservation administrators are failing to recognize opportunities outside the narrow framework of economic efficiency, and this limited framework could be preventing creativity in terms of drivers. Working within the same framework is self-perpetuating; financial goals w i l l continue to dominate the management of the resource, further prolonging the current status quo. This approach can be applied to all the mentioned barriers; the opposite of every barrier can be seen as a driver. 55 4.2.2 The lack of advocates may further prevent the progress of water conservation. As compared to those who were unconvinced or dismissive of the complete case for water conservation, there were a few individuals who approached the topic from a more holistic perspective during interviews; they did not focus solely on practical, political, and financial considerations, but emphasized social and environmental goals as well , and generally seemed to hold conservation in a higher regard than other interviewees. I identified these individuals as the Soft Path advocates (or specialists) because their views are more in line with this approach detailed in Table 1.1. A s a reminder, according to Brandes and Brooks (2005:4), the "dominant discipline" under this paradigm is "social sciences with recognition of bio-physical limits," and the "fundamental question" has to do with "the need for economic, social, and ecological sustainability." These were the same individuals who lamented the existing apathy and the dominance of financial justifications. Having said this, however, these individuals were the minority, and given their lack of numbers, as well as the multitude of other barriers identified, it is not surprising that this kind of holistic thinking has not been further advanced. 4.2.3 Interviewees did not take much accountability for the current circumstances for water conservation. Although interviewees did acknowledge that water managers, as a group, harbour perceptions and attitudes that are unconstructive for conservation efforts, and that there is some disagreement within and among organizations, interviewees passed significant responsibility for the slow progress to politicians and the public. I question, however, whether the interviewees themselves should be more accountable for the current circumstances to the extent that administrators are responsible for bringing issues to the attention of politicians and the public. It is understandable that political support and public concern are necessary, but they are clearly not the only prerequisites for setting the issue on the political agenda. Perhaps the case for water conservation is not reaching the public and politicians because, as I have suggested, water conservation administrators themselves are not unified, clear, or convinced/convincing about the case for water conservation. 56 This lack o f accountability was further exemplified by one administrator who said that the public "should be asking more questions." Given that administrators know that the issue is not very visible, and that the public holds unconstructive perceptions and w i l l therefore not ask questions, should administrators themselves not take the initiative for making a clearer case for water conservation? Another theme from the results is that, to the extent that a water conservation ethic exists among some members of the public, it is often a result of their experience and information from abroad. This further indicates that the case for water conservation has not been made locally. The issue of not taking responsibility is a barrier on its own, but there are further shortcomings that may contribute to the slow progress of water conservation, which I explain below. 4.2.4 A multitude of factors may make a shared vision more difficult to achieve. Brandes and Kriwoken (2005: 13) explain that, "a shared vision for the region ensures that the many disparate organizations, interests, and individuals can work in concert to create more sustainable behaviours and practices." However, examining the range of interviewees' attitudes and perceptions about principal water issues, motivations for conservation, and the barriers and drivers, I get the impression that there is a lack of this kind of unity in the Greater Vancouver area in terms of a guiding, and that on the whole, the case for water conservation has not been articulated. Focusing solely on key issues and motivations for conservation, I have noted the apparent inconsistency o f interviewees' responses, their financial focus, whether they are convinced about the complete case for conservation, the fact that interviewees did not live up to the expectation that environmental considerations need to be taken into account, and dismissive views. In discussing drivers and barriers, I have identified interviewees' lack o f accountability, the narrow framework identifying drivers and barriers, and the small percentage of those advocates with a holistic water management approach. The combination of these factors is probably impeding a unified vision about the goals and the value of conservation among water administrators. 4.2.5 Turning barriers into drivers 57 Brandes and Kriwoken (2005: 13) explain that, "new beliefs, attitudes, and opinions about water are possible. A water ethic and understanding of all the benefits from water as a bundle of services liberates us to seek innovative solutions and alternatives." Many interviewees alluded to the importance of water conservation advocates, as opposed to having more generalist-type administrators handle water conservation. This was also significant in the literature, where water conservation specialists were shown to be instrumental for leadership in terms o f keeping the issue relevant throughout the year. There are a few more specific results that allude to the benefits o f water conservation advocates and specialists. First, because water management, including conservation, is such a highly diverse and changing field, I see a perceived benefit o f staying diligently focused on this one issue. Certainly, there are ample areas for improvement as revealed by interviewees. There are also benefits to not having to share time with competing interests. Keeping the issue relevant throughout the year would maintain momentum, thereby reducing the "crying w o l f effect and avoiding re-education during summer-month conservation. This diversification of technical skills on part of administrators may also increase the receptiveness to new drivers for water conservation as wel l as to Soft Path initiatives. Last, these individuals could focus more on the perceptibly vital coordination o f information and activities among the municipalities, the G V R D , and other interest groups. The roles of these advocates may become increasingly important i f a change to the status quo, or even a movement towards the Soft Path paradigm as suggested by water experts, is desired. Given the multitude and diversity of barriers, promoting principles of the Soft Path would be facilitated through more broad based changes to the water management framework as well . For example, the Soft Path requires the recognition of limits to water supply, and in practice, this is done by a method called "backcasting"; all water management decisions are guided by a long-term focus relating to a desirable future condition (Brandes and Brooks 2005; Brooks 2006). Thinking about water limits and licensing, the provincial government, with its ability to control flow releases from the reservoirs, as well as grant new licenses to the G V R D for water supply, has the potential to facilitate change towards an approach that increasingly acknowledges and integrates the value of water in social, environmental, and economic terms. On the whole, movement towards the Soft Path would require the contribution of all sectors. Changes to regulations, such as to the Health Code, Building Code, and Plumbing Code, and increasing incentives, such as conditional infrastructure funding, are examples of other critical changes that would require the participation o f the provincial and federal governments. Overall, political w i l l , an evident barrier, w i l l need to be increased, again relating back to the agenda setting and educational role of the water conservation advocates/specialists. 4.3 Summary In summarizing my discussion points, I maintain that although there is an acknowledgement of the need to conserve, a discrepancy exists between the generalities and the specifics. In actuality, the current approach to water conservation in the Greater Vancouver area is weighted with respect to political, practical, and financial objectives, which do not match the comprehensive reasons that make up the case for water conservation in the literature, and consequently the expectations set for water conservation administrators. Furthermore, the persistence o f dismissive perspectives about the environment, in addition to other difficulties, increases the general uncertainty surrounding water conservation. The status quo might be entrenched by administrators who fail to take accountability for current circumstances, a narrow financial framework for considering barriers and drivers, and a lack of water conservation advocates and specialists who hold a more holistic approach. In these ways, administrators as a group could be contributing to and perpetuating the apathy. A l l things considered, many barriers may be preventing agreement about the case for water conservation and the guiding ethic in general. Increasing the role of water conservation advocates and Soft Path specialists in the field has potential to break this impasse, and advance water conservation endeavours towards a more holistic approach. This illustrates how a barrier has the potential to become a driver. Overall, a movement towards the Soft Path w i l l require the participation of all sectors relevant to water management. Other examples of vital changes include broad based changes to the water management framework, changes to regulations allowing for and requiring conservation, and increasing incentive programs, all o f which necessitate increased political w i l l . 59 Given these critiques, it is nonetheless encouraging that interviewees were able to identify many issues, barriers, constructive opportunities for improvement, as well as facets and features that might facilitate change. The future of water conservation depends on whether municipalities and the G V R D find the motivation and opportunity to act further, and on the ability to overcome existing barriers. Moreover, water conservation can be further advanced by using existing opportunities for water conservation and finding new drivers. I am optimistic that the approach, albeit slowly, w i l l move towards a more holistic paradigm for water management: one that resembles the Soft Path. 4.4 Conclusions and Key Findings In this thesis, I have elucidated the circumstances and potential for water conservation in the Greater Vancouver area, including the perceived reasons for water conservation within municipalities and the G V R D , the barriers that hinder action, and the positive drivers of change. Overall, water management and, more specifically, executing water conservation are not simple tasks; a multitude of factors and actors interact in a variety of ways. The first set of key findings of this thesis has to do with what interviewees perceived to be the reasons for water conservation. • A s principal water management issues in the region, interviewees identified issues relating to unfavourable public perceptions, water supply and wastage, and the associated economic, social, and environmental costs. They also alluded to the need for better system management and water conservation. • Interviewees regarded practical, financial, and political benefits as the primary reasons for specific water conservation activities. • Interviewees did not offer environmental and the associated social benefits as reasons for specific water conservation activities. • Some interviewees hold dismissive perspectives with regard to the environment and the associated social issues. • A few interviewees approached water conservation from a more holistic perspective. 60 Given the aforementioned key findings, another set of observations has to do with consistency. • Responses were consistent with the literature regarding the principal water management issues in the region. • Interviewees were internally inconsistent in that their responses regarding principal water management issues did not translate into comprehensive benefits/goals of conservation; administrators view water conservation as a practical technique to meet demand in times of water shortages, and a means to predominantly political or economic ends. • Because interviewees did not articulate the full case for water conservation, there is a disconnect between notions of sustainability and the case for water conservation in the literature, and what water conservation administrators themselves believe in and practise. • Interviewees' responses did not live up to assertions in the literature that environmental and social considerations have significance to decision-making. Another set of observations from the results has to do with the spectrum of water management approaches as identified in Table 1.1: • The current approach of administrators to water conservation resembles that of Supply and Demand Management, whereby there is an emphasis on engineering and economic topics; among the primary political considerations and those of infrastructure, meeting supply, and cost effectiveness, there is only minor reference to the environment as a principal water management issue but not as a reason for specific initiatives • Amidst this majority, a few individuals appeared to have an approach resembling the Soft Path, which is more inclusive of social and environmental considerations. In exploring the potential for water conservation in the region, some additional interpretations include: • Interviewees did not take much accountability for the current circumstances for water conservation in the region, instead placing the majority of the onus on politicians the public. 61 • Interviewees' focus on practical, political, and financial goals may prevent creativity and prolong the status quo. • The current circumstances are not conducive to the establishment of a unified vision and of a clearly articulated case for water conservation amongst administrators. If a change to the status quo is desired, there is utility in examining the given barriers and drivers for positive opportunities. A few examples include that: • Water conservation advocates, who view water conservation from a more holistic perspective, have the potential to help overcome some of the impasses currently hindering conservation efforts. • Increased political w i l l and broad based changes to water management framework, such as to the licensing paradigm, regulations, and incentives, are required to encourage movement towards the Soft Path. • Through the recognition o f bio-physical limits and the use o f social sciences, a movement towards the Soft Path approach would ensure that other important endeavours of society, such as environmental preservation and social sustainability, begin to have an increased significance to decision-making. 4.5 Limitations and Implications for Further Research Overall, this study allows for a limited snapshot of the large and complex reality of water management. Because o f the significant time and resources that would have to be invested in further research, this study could not provide more details of each case unit. Kaufman (1960: 6) stresses the importance of exploring the full environment, including the organizational levels above each case, the laws, regulations, and procedures under which each operates, and the values, beliefs, and customs that each is governed by. Subsequent studies could be aimed at filling some of these gaps in context by spending more time at each study site. Second, I have not examined specific conservation activities in order to get an inventory of the types of general underlying motivations, barriers, and opportunities. I have also accepted all the given activities as qualifying under the term of water conservation, and do not evaluate any for their utility, effectiveness, or appropriateness. However, some activities, such as water metering, may not lead to any overall water 62 savings in some cases, and therefore should not be considered water conservation activities. This study considers the broad range of conservation activities brought up during interviews, regardless of their performance. Further studies could extend the discussion to evaluate specific activities with reference to the discussed drivers and barriers. The actual activities pursued definitely have relevance to the types of barriers and drivers discussed, and are furthermore worthy of evaluating for their appropriateness. Anyone interested in transferability should use their judgement based on the contextual information provided here. However, on the whole, the results and discussion raised in this study can serve as the basis for further inquiry under different contexts. This applies to studies that might want to include politicians, the general public, and other interest groups identified as being involved in or influential to water conservation activities. The following are some o f the groups identified by the respondents as being involved or influential in the Greater Vancouver area: Those involved in the building industry, particularly building inspectors Those involved in the plumbing industry, including plumbers as wel l as popular suppliers of plumbing equipment such as Home Depot and Revy - Universities, colleges, and schools Association of golf courses Association of car washers - Association o f pressure washers - B i g water-reliant industries such as breweries - Parks and gardens (both private and public) - Cemeteries Hospitals Landscaping companies Turf growers and commercial nurseries - Private playing fields - Agricultural producers - University researchers - Farmers groups/associations Various environmental groups such as streamkeepers and watershed societies Interviews involving these other groups could involve: - A general exploration about what dealings the respondent or the organization/ business they represent has had in terms of water conservation activities and; - A n investigation into what specific issues (either positive or negative) they have encountered in their dealings with water conservation activities. Some new understandings could be gained in terms of the interests o f these groups and their dealings with water conservation in comparison to the perceptions of the 63 administrators. In general, this would allow for a more complete view o f the whole picture of water conservation. In addition, interviewees identified the following as being other government agencies that might provide additional information: The Department of Fisheries and Oceans - The British Columbia Ministry of Sustainable Resource Management - The British Columbia Ministry of Community, Aboriginal and Women's Services - The British Columbia Ministry of Water, Land and A i r Protection Another study could include municipalities in other jurisdictions, such as those in the Capital Regional District. This might illuminate the effect of local conditions, such as the effect of the G V R D on creating homogeneous perceptions and approaches to water conservation among the municipalities. This would also be an interesting study, because I infer from my research that municipalities felt restricted in what measure they could implement due to the regulatory framework for water conservation in the Greater Vancouver area. 64 5.0 REFERENCES Abu-Zeid, M . A . 1998. Water and sustainable development: the vision for world water, life and the environment. Water Policy 1:9-19. Bakker, K . 2003. Good Governance in Restructuring Water Supply: A Handbook. Munk Centre for International Studies: Federation o f Canadian Municipalities and Program on Water Issues. Boyd, D . 2003. Unnatural Law: Rethinking Canadian Environmental Law and Policy. Vancouver, B C : U B C Press. Brandes, O. and D . Brooks. 2005. A Soft Path for Water in a Nutshell. University of Victoria: The POLIS Project on Ecological Governance. Brandes, O. and K . Ferguson. 2004. The Future in Every Drop: The Benefits, Barriers, and Practice of Urban Water Demand Management in Canada. University o f Victoria: The POLIS Project on Ecological Governance. Brandes, O. and L . Kriwoken. 2005. Changing Perspectives- Changing Paradigms: Demand Management Strategies and Innovative Solutions for a Sustainable Okanagan Water Future. Retrieved September 4, 2005, from f i l e s /CWRA paper feb05.pdf. Brooks, D . 2006. Doing Water Soft Path Analysis. Retrieved A p r i l 5, 2006, from /index2.php?option=content&do pdf= 1 &id=l88. G i f t , S. 2004. Drinking Water Conservation Measures and Water Metering Initiatives for the City of Vancouver. Unpublished administrative report to the Standing Committee on City Services and Budgets. Ci ty o f Vancouver General Manager of Engineering Services. Creswell, J .W. 1998. Qualitative Inquiry and Research Design- Choosing Among Five Traditions. California: Sage Publications. Dorcey, A . H . J . 1991. Water in sustainable development: from ideal to reality. Pp. 1-16 in Dorcey, A . H . J , (ed.). Perspectives on Sustainable Development in Water Management: Towards Agreement in the Fraser River Basin Vancouver, B C : Westwater Research Centre. Environment Canada. 2004a. Water in Canadian History. Retrieved A p r i l 11, 2004, from histo.htm. Environment Canada. 2004b. The Management of Water: Solutions-the Municipal Challenge. Retrieved March 4, 2004, from http:/ __solm.htm 65 Environment Canada. 2004c. Water and Canada's Aboriginal Peoples. Retrieved A p r i l 11, 2004, from first.htm. Environment Canada. 2004d. Water- in Canada. Retrieved November 04, 2004, from Environment Canada. 2003a. Federal Water Policy. Retrieved November 04, 2004 from Environment Canada. 2003b. Jurisdictional Responsibilities. Retrieved November 04, 2004, from juris.htm. Environment Canada. 2003c. National Action Plan to Encourage Municipal Water Use Efficiency. Retrieved November 04, 2004, from ' httpV/ action.htm Environment Canada. 2001. Freshwater Use. Retrieved September 23, 2004, from water/watr use e.cfm. Fisheries and Oceans Canada. 2004. Capilano Salmon Hatchery- History. Retrieved January 9, 2005, from history_e.htm. , Gossage: 1985. Water in Canadian History: an Overview. Inquiry on Federal Water Policy Research Paper #11. Quebec: Departement d'histoire Universite du Quebec a Montreal. Greater Vancouver Regional District. 2005a. Drinking Water Management Plan for the GVWD and Member Municipalities- Unpublished draft, January 20, 2005. Vancouver: G V R D Policy and Planning Department. Greater Vancouver Regional District. 2005b. The Sustainable Region Initiative. Retrieved A p r i l 6, 2005, from Greater Vancouver Regional District. 2005c. Water Conservation Plan in Support of the GVWD Seymour-Capilano Filtration Project. Unpublished draft, February 3, 2005. Vancouver: G V R D Policy and Planning Department. Greater Vancouver Regional District. 2005d. Water. Retrieved November 24, 2005, from Greater Vancouver Regional District. 2004a. Reservoir Levels and Summer Use. Retrieved September 23, 2004, from 66 Greater Vancouver Regional District. 2004b. Water Shortage Response Plan. Retrieved September 23, 2004, from 2004WaterShortageResponsePlan.pdf. Greater Vancouver Regional District. 2004c. Water: The Greater Vancouver Water District Water Consumption Statistics (2003 edition). Retrieved January 17, 2005, from http:'// Greater Vancouver Regional District. 2004d. Sewerage: Treatment.. Retrieved March 20, 2006, from Greater Vancouver Regional District. 2003a. Long-Range Planning- Watershed Management Plan- M a y 2002. Retrieved September 23, 2004 from Greater Vancouver Regional District. 2003b. About GVRD. Retrieved January 24, 2005 from Greater Vancouver Regional District. 2003c. Member Municipalities. Retrieved September 23, 2004 from Greater Vancouver Regional District. 2002a. Greater Vancouver Water District Water Consumption Statistics. Vancouver: G V R D Operations and Maintenance Department. Greater Vancouver Regional District. 2002b. Five-Year Implementation Plan for Capilano, Seymour and Coquitiam Watersheds. Vancouver: G V R D . Huberman, M . A . and M . B . Miles . 1998. Data management and analysis methods. Pp. 179-210 in Denzin. N . K . and Y . S . Lincoln (eds.). Collecting and Interpreting Qualitative Materials. California: Sage Publications. Light, S.S., L . H . Gunderson, and C.S. Holl ing. 1995. The Everglades: evolution of management in a turbulent ecosystem. Pp. 103- 168 in Gunderson, L . , C .S . Holl ing, and S.S. Light (eds.). Barriers and Bridges to the Renewal of Ecosystems and Institutions. New York: Columbia University Press. Lincoln, Y . S . and E . G . Guba. 1985. Naturalistic Inquiry. California: Sage Publications. Maas, T. 2003. What the Experts Think: Understanding Urban Water Demand Management in Canada. Victoria: The POLIS Project on Ecological Governance- University o f Victoria. MacLaren, J .W. 1985. Municipal Waterworks and Wastewater Systems. Inquiry on Federal Water Policy, Research Paper #3. Toronto. 67 McFarlane, S., and E . Nilsen. 2003. On Tap: Urban Water Issues in Canada Discussion Paper. Calgary: Canada West Foundation. Ministry of Water, Land and A i r Protection. 2002. Environmental Trends in British Columbia 2002. Retrieved January 31, 2005, from t/r>df/ET2002Oct221 .pdf. Ministry o f Water, Land and A i r Protection. 2001a. Water and Air Monitoring and Reporting: a Water Conservation Strategy for British Columbia. Retrieved September 24, 2004, from conservation/water cons strat m. Ministry of Water, Land and A i r Protection. 2001b. Water and Air Monitoring and Reporting: Soft Conservation Measures. Retrieved September 24, 2004, from use cata logue/edinformsharcomme rcial.html. Ministry of Water, Land, and A i r Protection- Water, A i r and Climate Change Branch. 2001c. Water Conservation Strategy: The Basics of Water Conservation. Retrieved Apr i l 7, 2005, from cons_strategy/basics.html) Ministry o f Environment, Lands, and Parks. 1999. A Freshwater Strategy for British Columbia. Retrieved September 24, 2004, from Natural Resources Canada. 2005. Freshwater. Retrieved October 18, 2005, from Policy Research Institute. 2005. Economic Instruments for Water Demand Management in an Integrated Water Resources Management Framework- Synthesis Report. Retrieved March 31, 2006, from Postel, S. 1992. Last Oasis- Facing Water Scarcity. In Starke, L . (ed.) The Worldwatch Environmental Alert Series. New York: Norton and Company. Postel, S. 1985. Conserving Water: The Untapped Alternative. Worldwatch paper 67. Worldwatch Institute. Rees, W . E . 1998. How should a parasite value its host? Ecological Economics 25: 49-52. Rees, W . E . 1991. The ecological basis for sustainable development in the Fraser Basin. Pp. 453-472 in Dorcey, A . H . J , (ed.). Perspectives on Sustainable Development in 68 Water Management: Towards Agreement in the Fraser River Basin. Vancouver, B C : Westwater Research Center. Roach, R., V . Huynh, and S. Dobson. 2004. Drop by Drop: Urban Water Conservation Practices in Western Canada. Western cities report #29. Canada West Foundation. Robinson, J .E. and M . Anderson. 1985. The Role of Water Demand Management in a Federal Water Policy. Inquiry on Federal Water Policy Research Paper # 20. Robson, C. 2002. Real World Research: a Resource for Social Scientists and Practitioner-Researchers. Oxford, U K : Blackwell Publishers. Seidman, I. 1998. Interviewing as Qualitative Research: a Guide for Researchers in Education and the Social Sciences (2 n d ed.). New York: Teachers College. Sproule-Jones, M . H . , Peterson, K . G . 1976. Pollution control in the Lower Fraser: who's in charge? Pp. 151-174 in A . H . J . Dorcey (ed.). The Uncertain Future of the Lower Fraser. Vancouver: Westwater Research Center. United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization. 1995. Reforming Water Resources Policy- a Guide to Methods, Processes and Practices. F A O Irrigation and Drainage Paper 52. Rome. United Nations World Water Assessment Program. 2003. Water for People, Water for Life- The United Nations World Water Development Report: Executive Summary. Paris: U N E S C O Publishing. World Water Council and the Centre for Ecology and Hydrology. 2002. Press Release: New Water Poverty Index Defines Water Crisis Country by Country- Haiti worst, Finland best. Retrieved March 8, 2004 from download/WPI%20press%20release.pdf. Wong, A . K . , L . Owens-Viani, A . Steding: H . Gleick, D . Haasz, R. Wilkinson, M . Fidell , and S. Gomez. 1999. Sustainable Use of Water: California Success Stories. California: Pacific Institute for Studies and Development, Environment, and Security. Y i n , R . K . 1994. Case-Study Research- Design and Methods (2 n d ed.). Applied Social Research Methods Series, Volume 5. California: Sage Publications. Zikmund, W . 2000. Exploring Marketing Research (7 ed.). U S A : The Dryden Press. 69 APPENDIX I: Water use efficiency tools and considerations for their use (Source: Ministry of Water, Land, and A i r Protection- Water, A i r and Climate Change Branch. 2001c) Regulatory Tools: Legal tools include both mandatory and enabling legislation, regulations, policies, standards and guidelines. These can be used to reduce institutional, legal or economic barriers or to establish barriers against unnecessary water use. Samples: • Building and plumbing code restrictions (federal & provincial regulations); e.g. toilets, faucets, showerheads, garburators, water and sewer lines, downspouts, water processing and cooling systems; • Landscape requirements (local bylaws, provincial guidelines); e.g. pervious surfaces, xeriscapes, slopes, soil cover; • Outdoor water use restrictions (local bylaw); e.g. lawn and garden, washing, swimming pools; • Requirements or enabling legislation to consider water use efficiency in plans (provincial legislation and regulations); • Bylaws for new construction; e.g. requiring "shunt pipes" to facilitate addition of meters in future, low-flow fixtures, standards for installation and construction o f water mains, meters; • Municipal effluent regulations; and • Subdivision development control bylaw; e.g. specifications setting out material and construction practices for developers and contractors. Considerations: • Public and political acceptability is largely dependent on perceived need. • Mandatory measures and voluntary/enabling measures wi l l depend on several factors including: financing, availability of water saving devices and the relative effectiveness of water supply management objectives. Economic and Financial Tools: Economic and financial tools include both incentives and disincentives. They may be used to convey the message that water is valuable and can assist in motivating people to reduce water use. Increased water service charges also recover costs. Samples: • Grants and loans to municipalities and utilities; • Financial incentives to install water use efficient devices; e.g. low interest or forgivable loans, tax credits, rebates, buy-backs of inefficient devices; • Fines for non-compliance of regulatory requirements; • Pricing structures; e.g. marginal-cost pricing strategies, increasing block rates, seasonal rates; • Program funding, e.g. Environmental Youth Team; • Revolving loan funds; • "Fee-bate" systems, e.g. water savings from retrofit projects may become the allowable water use in new developments; 70 • Start-up and venture capital financing; • Surcharges l inking sewer costs with water use; • Ful l cost pricing; and • Water license rate adjustments. Considerations: • Social issues such as equitable distribution and ability to pay require careful deliberation. • Price is assumed to change consumer behavior, when in reality a variety of factors influence behavior. • The approach taken to pricing is as important as the price. • Availabil i ty of an inexpensive source of water is linked to economic development such as large industries and agriculture. • Public funding may not be available; other financing arrangements should also be considered including partnerships, private investment and co-operatives. • Some water uses, particularly indoor residential use, are relatively price-inelastic. • A n emotional response to rising water prices often clouds issues. Operations and Maintenance Tools: These tools include structural or physical improvements and installation of water use efficient devices or processes. Samples: • Ditch and canal liners and covers; • Dual line water systems for potable and non-potable water; • Efficient irrigation systems; • Moisture monitoring devices (e.g. irrometers) for improved agricultural irrigation scheduling; • Irrigation audits, water audits; • Landscaping activities including contouring, xeriscaping, trenching, soil moisture retention; • Leak detection and repair; • L o w flow faucets, showerheads and toilets; • Meters; • Rain sensors for automatic irrigation systems; • Rainwater collection; • Recirculating and other efficient water-cooling systems; • Wastewater reclamation systems; • Water efficient appliances and machinery including washing machines, dishwashers, car washes, ice machines, commercial laundries; and • Water pressure reduction. Considerations: • Many of these tools may require up-front expenditures. • Effective water-pricing structures rely on a metered system. • The products or expertise to install / maintain tools may not be locally available. 71 Communication and Education Tools: Communication and education tools are utilized to encourage voluntary water conservation actions and to support other tools. Samples: • Competitions, awards and recognition programs; • Demonstration sites and information centers; • One-on-one meetings with major water users; • Irrigation design and scheduling guides; • Social marketing campaigns such as public broadcasting announcements, brochures and handouts, public displays, slogans, b i l l inserts, advertising and news bulletins, special public events, internet sites, door-to-door campaigns, newspaper articles and radio / television programs; • Published materials such as "how to" manuals, case studies, technical reports, resource libraries; • School programs and materials including activity books, games, videos and CDs , poster contests, in-class visits and demonstrations, "teach the teacher" guides, curriculum guides; and • Special project committees, seminars and workshops with specific water users. Considerations: • Communication and education is based on an assumption that action is influenced by awareness and understanding. • Some tools are aimed very broadly or indirectly at water consumers, resulting in low or immeasurable results. • Communication and education requires a good understanding o f how people learn and how they are motivated. • The focus is most commonly aimed at individual behavior change, which requires a high critical mass and takes time before results are noticeable. • Market research and targeting specific consumer groups are important elements of a social marketing initiative. • Messages must be competitive with commercial and issue related messages in the media. • Water conservation messages are difficult to market. • Messages should be phased to: o create awareness and interest, o persuade and motivate, o educate and provide skills or other tools to enable people to conserve, o create actions, and o maintain the behavioral changes. 72 Market Development Tools: Market development tools serve to increase the availability of water use efficient products and services as well as to encourage improvements and innovations in product development. Samples: • Research grants and scholarships; • Research contracts; • Government procurement policies; • Cap and trade systems to gain "water equivalency units"; • Product labeling such as Eco-Logo, Energuide, PowerSmart; • Education and liaison with professional associations, trades, industries and wholesalers / retailers; • Point o f purchase education programs; and • Product "testing". Considerations: • Expertise or opportunities to implement market development tools may need to be found in conventional economic development agencies and research institutes which may not be familiar with water use efficiency issues. • Market development tools can be implemented at the local, provincial and national levels. • Investment in market development is a medium to long-term initiative. 73 APPENDIX II: List o f G V R D member municipalities and one electoral area (Source: G V R D 2003a) Vil lage o f Anmore Village o f Belcarra Bowen Island Municipality Ci ty o f Burnaby Ci ty o f Coquitiam Corporation of Delta Electoral Area A City of Langley Township o f Langley Village of Lions Bay District o f Maple Ridge City of New Westminster Ci ty o f North Vancouver District o f North Vancouver District o f Pitt Meadows City of Port Coquitiam City o f Port Moody City o f Richmond Ci ty o f Surrey Ci ty o f Vancouver District of West Vancouver Ci ty o f White Rock 74 APPENDIX III: G V R D water conservation activities as identified in the Water Conservation Plan (Source: G V R D , 2005c, pp. 5-6) • Public education and outreach through water conservation publications, web information, videos, school plays, and workshops- for example Water Wise Gardening, Natural Yard Care, inserts in the phone book, educational resources and lesson plans for K-12 teachers, and facilitating a forum o f water conservation coordinators from the municipalities. • Programs for the business sector, providing information, technical assistance, materials, guides, water efficient product directories, seminars and workshops, on-site advice, codes of practices, research, pilot projects and so on- for example, Bu i ld Smart and Smart Steps. • Economic incentive programs- for example, the toilet replacement program. • Financial support for municipalities wanting to implement projects including water conservation. • Investments in water efficient fixtures in G V R D buildings, and the G V R D Parks service yards. • Repairs to G V R D system leaks. • A n evaluation of system leakage levels and reduction strategies • Use of water recycling in the G V R D ' s Waste to Energy Facility • Pilot project on waste water reclamation at the Annacis Island Wastewater Treatment Plant • Metering of water consumption in parks • Pilot project for using lake water for toilet flushing at Belcarra Regional Park • Reduction in water use by not watering grass in the summer 75 APPENDIX IV: Examples o f barriers specific to demand-side management ( D S M ) (Summarized from Brandes and Ferguson 2004) Attitudinal barriers (pp.11-13): • Myth of superabundance • Human economy and human-built infrastructure considered separate from the environment • Ideal of market society without government intrusion • Bel ief that reduced water use imposes a reduced standard of l iving • Concern that Demand Management savings are unreliable and/or insubstantial Financial barriers (pp.13-14): • Subsidies and low pricing • Need for predictable and stable revenues • Need to maintain sufficient revenues in the face of overcapitalization • Lack o f funding for D S M • Gap in payback period Data and Informational barriers (pp. 14-15): • Wariness about D S M by decision-makers • Lack of comprehensive cost-benefit models • Ineffective D S M programs Administrative barriers (pp. 15-16) • Fragmented administration • Centralized engineering bias • Formulaic thinking • Inflexible policies APPENDIX V: Number of interviewees at each case unit (n : subjects; case unit is either a municipality or the G V R D ) L= number of interview O V E R A L L C A S E S T U D Y n=18 Case unit A : n=l Case unit G : n=7 Case unit B : n=l Case unit F: n=3 Case unit C: n= 2 Case unit E : n=2 Case unit D : n=2 77 Appendix VI: Interview script that served as a basis for discussion Thank you for agreeing to participate in my research! Below is a list o f questions that we can discuss but we do not necessarily have to abide by this format. For the purposes of this study, water conservation refers to the reduction of water throughput in the water supply system by means of supply or demand side activities that lower water use or water loss. Phase 1: 1: Can you please tell me what your job title is? 2: What does your job entail? 3: What do you find most interesting about your job? Phase 2: 4: Thinking on general scale, what do you think are the principal water management issues within the G V R D ? 5: Are there other issues specific to this municipality? 6: How do you see the situation changing in the future? Phase 3: 7: What kinds of water conservation activities is this city involved with? (I am equally as interested in activities that have not been implemented) 8: What are the main reasons behind these programs? 9: How are things going (generally/or specifically)? 10: Who initiates or promotes these particular solutions? 11: Who or what kinds of other stakeholders have been or are involved? (eg who is vital to keep it going, who interferes, who wants to be more involved etc...) 12: What are the major barriers (what has made life harder)? 13: Is there anything that is particularly helpful for promoting water conservation/ these initiatives? Phase 4: 14: Are we doing enough to conserve water? 15: If not, what or who prevents this from happening? 16: What are the main things that would help? 17: If you could suggest changes to the way water is managed, is there anything that you would you change? 18: Summing up: Do you think that this interview has covered some key issues that would help me understand the drivers and barriers to water conservation? Do you have any additional comments? 78 APPENDIX VII: Particularly unique topics from interviews that were not significant based on the cross-case analysis A ) Other key water management issues: Mandatory water operator certification Gaining better inventories of infrastructure/having a good plan for replacement Gaining a better understanding of water consumption Serving the public in the best way Confronting the label of being water hogs B) Other underlying motivations: Concern over the future sharing of water with neighbouring regional districts - Ease of doing something now rather than in the future O Other barriers: L o w predictability in the field generally - Difficulty prioritizing values related to water - Inconsistencies with watering restrictions between municipalities and regional government and municipalities - Institutional inertia, meaning that it takes a lot of effort/energy, time, and resources to get innovative and build partnerships - Difficulty in engaging N G O ' s Uncertainty about how to deal with low-income groups D) Other drivers: Doing things at the time of the lowest possible cost - Municipalities demanding change from senior levels of government - Doing things at the grass-roots level - Peer pressure - Overarching sustainability goals of the region - Taking an evolutionary, not revolutionary approach Manufacturers o f flow fixtures responding to American standards o f low-flow - Public involvement - Being able to by-pass a public campaign International spotlight on the region, motivating action and allowing for an opportunity to showcase sustainability (Olympics and the World Urban Forum) Initiatives that are done in a very targeted fashion 


Citation Scheme:


Citations by CSL (citeproc-js)

Usage Statistics



Customize your widget with the following options, then copy and paste the code below into the HTML of your page to embed this item in your website.
                            <div id="ubcOpenCollectionsWidgetDisplay">
                            <script id="ubcOpenCollectionsWidget"
                            async >
IIIF logo Our image viewer uses the IIIF 2.0 standard. To load this item in other compatible viewers, use this url:


Related Items