New Book Provides Prescription for Cure of Canada’s Water Problems


A new book published by UBC Press, edited by Dr. Karen Bakker, provides a diagnosis of Canada’s water problems and a prescription for their cure. Eau Canada is a must-read for Canadians concerned about the fate of our water.

Water is of growing concern to Canadians. Water pollution incidents such as Walkerton have alerted Canadians to water safety issues. Ongoing attempts to export water generate heated debate. The increasing involvement of private companies in water supply has divided communities. The state of water governance in Canada has been characterized as “shocking” and “unacceptable” in a recent report by Canada’s Senate. This book answers two central questions:

  • What is the state of water governance in Canada?
  • How can we manage our waters more wisely?

This book brings together 28 of Canada’s top water experts to debate Canada’s most critical water issues, and to map out solutions. The diverse range of contributors – geographers, environmental lawyers, former government officials, aquatic scientists, economists, and political scientists – reflects the broad range of issues involved in water management debates. Contributors argue that weak governance is at the heart of Canada’s water problems. The first three sections of the book provide background on Canadian water uses (and abuses), identify key weaknesses in Canadian water governance, and explore controversial debates over jurisdiction, transboundary waters, water exports, and water privatization. Solutions for more sustainable water management are mapped out in the final sections of the book, including a cross-Canada consensus on water policy, water conservation and pricing, and an engagement with the implications of new legal frameworks on Indigenous People’s water rights.

The book is targeted at a broad audience with the objective of promoting informed debate about some of the most controversial and pressing water issues facing Canadians. It will be of relevance to academics and students of geography, politics, economics, environmental studies, engineering, and Canadian studies. It will also be of particular interest to water supply managers, environmental and water policy analysts, government officials, community groups, and politicians from across Canada.

Dr. Karen Bakker is an Associate Professor at the Department of Geography, and Director of the Program on Water Governance at the University of British Columbia’s Institute for Resources, Environment and Sustainability.


Posted December 2006