Exploring the Governance Landscape of Indigenous Peoples and Water in Canada – An Introduction to the Special Issue


  • Julia Baird Environmental Sustainability Research Centre, Brock University
  • Ryan Plummer Environmental Sustainability Research Centre, Brock University Stockholm Resilience Centre, University of Stockholm


Access to water of sufficient quality and adequate quantity is a global concern. In excess of one billion people world-wide experience poor water quality or inadequate amounts of water, and many of these people are indigenous (Boelens, Chiba and Nakashima, 2006). The World Water Assessment Programme (2003:4) accordingly argued that “this crisis is one of water governance, essentially caused by the ways in which we mismanage water”. Diagnosing the crisis as a matter of governance highlights the complicated and dynamic social landscape of societal decision-making. Many actors are involved, roles and responsibilities are contested, and multi-scale influences need to be carefully considered. It requires attention to institutions (formal and non-formal), policies and practices. Water governance is broadly understood as “the range of political, social, economic and administrative systems that are in place to develop and management water resources, and the delivery of water services, at different levels of society” (Rogers and Hall, 2003:2). 


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