Exploring Water Governance and Management in Oneida Nation of the Thames (Ontario, Canada): An Application of the Institutional Analysis and Development Framework


  • Kate Cave Department of Environment and Resource Studies, University of Waterloo
  • Ryan Plummer Department of Tourism and Environment, Brock University
  • Rob de Loë Department of Environment and Resource Studies, University of Waterloo


Water is vital to Canada’s First Nations peoples. Despite the significance of water and ongoing efforts by various actors in Canada to make improvements, the conditions of drinking water safety are a persistent concern and deplorable in many First Nation communities. This research explores water institutions and their influence on water governance and management in a First Nations context. Oneida Nation of the Thames, located in southern Ontario, is the specific case investigated. This community has drinking water concerns and a myriad of institutions relating to water governance and management. The Institutional Analysis and Development (IAD) framework guided the exploration in Oneida. Water institutions (formal and informal) are identified and analysed in terms of exogenous factors, the action arena, patterns of interaction, and outcomes of these interactions. An evaluation of institutional performance in relation to water governance and management is offered. Gaining insights about how institutions guide the behavior of people involved in water governance and management in Oneida highlights the need to consider their influences in other First Nation communities.

Author Biography

Rob de Loë, Department of Environment and Resource Studies, University of Waterloo

Professor and University Research Chair in Water Policy and Governance


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