Collaborative watershed-based decision-making: Understanding land use-related risk to drinking water sources

dc.contributor.advisorFitzGibbon, John
dc.contributor.authorHarkins, Erin of Environmental Design and Rural Developmenten_US of Guelphen_US of Scienceen_US
dc.description.abstractThis thesis is an investigation of the value of social learning as a process that facilitates collaborative ecosystem approaches to planning with the intent of reducing risk to human health. More specifically, it examines the value of social learning in a planning process designed to protect quality of drinking water sources. A case study approach was used to examine Ontario's Source Water Protection planning process. Research focused on two different Source Protection Committees; both groups were in their second year of the planning process. Data were collected through semi-structured interviews, participant observation, and government documents. Based on a conceptual framework developed from the literature, the analysis examines the watershed as a social-ecological system, and as it relates to the adaptive cycle (Gunderson and Holling, 2002) and processes of social learning. Open and axial coding techniques were used to identify patterns and themes in the data. Study findings suggest that social learning is associated with the development of group trust, and more flexible and adaptive decision-making approaches. These results indicate that social learning can promote effective land use decision-making processes in the interest of protecting source water quality. Recommendations provide suggestions for enhancing opportunities for social learning as part of a collaborative Source Water Protection decision-making process.en_US
dc.publisherUniversity of Guelphen_US
dc.rights.licenseAll items in the Atrium are protected by copyright with all rights reserved unless otherwise indicated.
dc.subjectsocial learningen_US
dc.subjectcollaborative ecosystem approachen_US
dc.subjecthuman healthen_US
dc.subjectdrinking wateren_US
dc.subjectwater qualityen_US
dc.titleCollaborative watershed-based decision-making: Understanding land use-related risk to drinking water sourcesen_US


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