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UBC Theses and Dissertations

The water component of the industrial location problem : British Columbia's pulp and paper industry Mitchell, William Bruce


A study in economic geography, this thesis attempts to determine the importance of water for process supply and effluent disposal in industrial location decisions. It is postulated that industry faces physical, institutional, and technologic-economic constraints when evaluating the water component in location problems. Each of these three constraints is analyzed and evaluated for British Columbia's pulp and paper industry, with a view to discovering its effect on the range of spatial choice enjoyed by firms. A number of general conclusions emerge from the investigation. Although a theoretic location proof is not offered, the study raises a number of arguments which indicate water has been over-emphasized in industrial location decisions, and that industry exhibits greater spatial mobility regarding water requirements than is contended in the geographical and technical literature. Of the three constraints, it appears that those of a technologic-economic nature impose the severest limitations on spatial choice; physical, the least. Institutional regulations are found to provide industry with incorrect signals for decision making — the suggestion is offered that effluent control programs based upon economic rather than biological criteria would remove this problem. The implications of the above conclusions for future geographic inquiry regarding water management and development is considered in the concluding section of the study.

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