Water Policy Reform in Southern Alberta


Between 1995 and 2005, the government of Alberta undertook major reforms to the way water is governed in the arid southern part of the province. Among the most significant reforms was the imposition of moratoria on new water licenses, the introduction of a market for buying and selling existing water licenses, and the adoption of a “conservation holdback” mechanism for returning some licensed water to the environment.

In Water Policy Reform in Southern Alberta, B. Timothy Heinmiller looks at how and why these (and other) reforms were adopted after nearly a century of stasis on water policy. The study analyses over three decades of policy decisions, beginning with the Progressive Conservative victory in 1972 to the last major policy reform in 2007. Applying the Advocacy Coalition Framework, process tracing methodologies, and content analysis, the author isolates, identifies and reconstructs the actors and processes that shaped over thirty years of water policy in Alberta. Water Policy Reform in Southern Alberta offers important insights on the management of natural resources and the factors influencing meaningful policy change.

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