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The Water Transfer System in Southern Alberta: Scope and Implications for a Future Provincial Water Market

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Title: The Water Transfer System in Southern Alberta: Scope and Implications for a Future Provincial Water Market
Author: Long, Feinan
Department: School of Environmental Design and Rural Development
Program: Rural Planning and Development
Abstract: In the past decade the South Saskatchewan River Basin (SSRB), the most water scarce watershed in southern Alberta, has attracted strong criticisms for implementing a water license transfer system. National advocacy organizations have raised the concern that it may set precedent for a larger liberalized water market. This study aims to assess this concern through 21 unstructured in-depth interviews with governmental, non-governmental, and the local irrigation stakeholders. The theories of policy paradigms and Ostrom’s collective action model were used to assess the findings. It was found that a community-based policy paradigm, based on collective action to managing scarce water resources, was historically key in SSRB. Furthermore, the decline in both community-based and state-based paradigms over Alberta’s water policy within the past two decades have allowed the market-based paradigm to become more influential. Hence this study predicts that a liberalized water market will likely develop in the near future in Alberta.
URI: http://hdl.handle.net/10214/5333
Date: 2013-01


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