Water Economics network enters new phase with research funding competition

The Brock University-based Water Economics, Policy, and Governance Network (WEPGN) has awarded funds to five researchers across Canada, ushering in the network’s second phase of research and partnerships.

In May 2012, the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council (SSHRC) awarded Brock University a Partnership Grant to support the establishment of the WEPGN, a research network that facilitates relationships between social science researchers and partner organizations, such as the World Wildlife Fund – Canada.

These relationships help increase the role of research in decision-making, while also enhancing water’s sustainable contribution to Canada’s economy and society and protecting ecosystems.

“While some water-related challenges can be addressed with new technologies, others need to be addressed through insights gained by social science,” says Steven Renzetti, WEPGN’s Program Director. He said WEPGN is making a contribution through improved governance, valuation and public participation.

WEPGN’s first phase (2012-2015) featured its own research funding competition, along with the process of network formation and establishing a headquarters at Brock.

By the spring of 2015, many Phase I projects were wrapping up and new questions and research challenges had arisen. The network kicked off its second phase (2015-2018) with another research funding competition to build on these new research directions and in October, the following researchers were awarded funds:

  • Karen Bakker (University of British Columbia) – “Indigenous Water Co-Governance: Emerging Models of Distributed Water Governance in British Columbia and Alberta”
  • Martin Bunch (York University) – “Managing Water and Watersheds for Co-benefits: Human well-being and ecosystem services in the Credit River Watershed”
  • Diane Dupont (Brock University) – “Bottled Water Use On the Land: Economic, Social and Policy Implications of Water Consumption Choices While Pursuing Livelihoods and Undertaking Recreational Activities”
  • Michele-Lee Moore (University of Victoria) – “ReFRESH: Canada-US Transboundary Water Governance and the Columbia River Treaty renegotiations”
  • Steven Renzetti (Brock University) – “Improved Water Demand Forecasting to Promote Sustainable Water Management”

Dr. Michele-Lee Moore, a professor of Geography and co-director of the Water, Innovation, and Global Governance Lab at the University of Victoria, believes the funding will have a strong impact.

“WEPGN’s support has made a new research partnership possible, and is enabling an exciting new project that seeks to directly inform ongoing negotiations about transboundary water governance in Canada,” says Moore. “The project team believes that this grant will ‘seed’ many initiatives of theoretical and practical relevance for Canadian watersheds.”

Over the next three years, WEPGN will emphasize knowledge mobilization alongside original research.

Researchers will work closely with their partners to develop projects that respond to identified challenges, and project results will be translated into tools for the partners and the public, such as policy briefs, websites, models, community primers, guides and plain language reports.

Progress updates on the various projects with downloadable research summaries will be available on the WEPGN website as they become available.

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