UBC Theses and Dissertations
Using social network analysis to make invisible human actor water governance networks visisble - the case of the Okanagan valley Jatel, Nelson
This is a study of water governance in the semi-arid Okanagan valley, British Columbia, Canada. The human dimension of water governance is often overlooked and in this study I use Social Network Analysis (SNA) to gain new insights into the characteristics of the Okanagan water governance network. I explore some of the perceptions held by British Columbia water professionals to pierce the ‘veil’ of opaque decision-making processes – formal and informal – that play a central role in Okanagan water governance. My thesis question for this study is: how does the relationship among actors influence water governance in the Okanagan basin, British Columbia Canada? This study is a descriptive analysis of the social and institutional characteristics of the Okanagan Basin water governance network as it relates to water scarcity policy and practice. I conducted in-depth interviews with British Columbia water experts involved in water scarcity in the Okanagan. Collected data was analyzed using text analysis and SNA. Prominent themes that emerged from the interviewees included: a need to improve the provincial government’s commitment to water governance, public apathy, a lack of succession planning of senior water professionals, a need to improve communications with First Nations, and the need to address tensions that detract from improving water governance in British Columbia. The influence of the Okanagan Basin Water Board, a unique regional local government body in British Columbia, is shown to exert a significant and positive influence on funding and communication relationships within the Okanagan watershed network. Network data is applied to create benchmark Okanagan water governance network diagrams and these diagrams are compared and contextualized using previously developed network archetypes. Social network diagrams are useful to develop a benchmark or snap shot in time of the water governance network and provide practical insights into how policy and communication strategies may be applied to improve communication and social learning among actors in the network.
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