NEW BOOK: Making the Most of the Water We Have: the Soft Path Approach to Water Management



Water Soft Path Book Release!

September 2009 saw the release of Making the Most of the Water We Have: the Soft Path Approach to Water Management (Earthscan) — the first book of its kind.

Making the most of the water we haveThe book presents and applies the water soft path approach and discusses emerging issues and policy impacts around this new paradigm of water management. This comprehensive analysis recognizes that emerging water challenges and looming breakdown of the world's ecosystems is due, in part, to the supply side mindset that has dominated water management.

“We must be willing to re-think how we manage and govern our Oliver brandes (120p)freshwater resources to avoid an arid future of our own making,” says editor Oliver M. Brandes, POLIS Associate Director and Water Sustainability Project Leader.

By focusing on a series of case studies at the provincial (Ontario), watershed (Annapolis Valley, Nova Scotia) and the urban and community scale across Canada, the authors demonstrate the viability of a soft path analysis and a backcasting approach in the context of sustainable water resource management – even in the face of significant municipal and provincial gaps in water use, availability and quality data. The principal conclusions emphasize that the goal of ‘no new water’ is achievable and that historical water use patterns need not determine future infrastructure priorities.

This edited volume also chronicles water soft path thinking as it is emerging around the world to demonstrate the range of solutions for building less water-intensive buildings, communities and practices. These living examples show the huge reductions possible in water use that are practical, economical and politically feasible – but also reveal the need for a significant re-visioning of policy and goverance to embed the soft path as the water management approach for a sustainable future.

For governments across Canada, this shift means moving to policies that start with a clear vision and concrete commitments to reduce water use in communities, industries and across sectors. It requires developing effective mechanism for public involvement and builds partnerships across watersheds. Fundamentally, the soft path emphasizes whole system thinking, placing watershed health and ecological function as the priority. This book addresses the disconnect between ecological and political boundaries to allow for collaborative water management and inter-jurisdictional cooperation as the foundation to a sustainable water future.

“At a time when communities across the globe face spiraling costs to replace aging water infrastructure and diminishing supply, Making the Most of the Water We Have provides solutions for revitalizing our institutions, reshaping our approach to water infrastructure, and planning for a future with real water limits,” concludes Oliver Brandes.


Posted November 2009