Measuring the influence of social networks on water priorities during scarcity

Water Economics, Policy and Governance Network (WEPGN)




Measuring the influence of social networks on water priorities during scarcity

Project Description:

Like many watersheds throughout the world, the Similkameen Valley faces challenging trade offs between consumptive uses, environmental services and cultural needs when deciding how to allocate scarce water. Beyond competing interest, the valley is the traditional home to the Syilx people, who bring a unique relationship, both culturally and legally, relative to more recent settlers. Within this context, a process has been started to develop a Similkameen Valley Watershed Plan. An uncertain future climate demands that this plan be resilient in the face of uncertain future water availability and changing community needs.

Water resources often play a pivotal role in the relationships between people that use the resource.  Failure to account for these social factors contributes to the ongoing challenges with enhancing water governance.  This project will contribute towards the development of the Similkameen plan by carefully investigating the role that social networks have on the economic impacts people expect to face from alternative water allocations.  The impact of social networks on economic decisions is an emerging area of research, and this project will bring social network research to water resource economics, a resource that researchers outside economics have long seen as having a strong social dimension.

Researchers:

John Janmaat, Bruno Wichmann, & Vic Adamowicz

Partners:

Doug French, Department of Public Works, Regional District of Okanagan Similkameen (RDOS); and Lower Similkameen Indian Band (LSIB)

Graduate Students:

Darwin Horning, & Solomon Geleta