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RESEARCH ARTICLE: Capacity, Capability, Collaboration, and Commitment: How Social Networks Influence Practitioners of Municipal Water Demand Management Policy in Ontario, Canada

  • Sarah E. Wolfe (a1)

Water demand management (WDM) practitioners will always need sufficient political will and financial resources to implement their WDM agenda. In addition, however, this research found that those elements, even when supported by a local champion, are insufficient to initiate and sustain municipal WDM. The research results affirmed that social networks have dynamic structure and function. The network's function is critical to WDM because it establishes membership parameters (e.g., deciding who is included and excluded), facilitates and regulates information exchange (e.g., through defining research questions and undertaking a research agenda), and reinforces the community's knowledge (e.g., through meetings and articulation, either implicit or explicit, of priorities and norms). These findings support the premise that adjustments in WDM research and practice is valuable. The research has shown the Ontario network makes a significant contribution to generating additional data, information, and knowledge and is a source of momentum behind the implementation of a municipal water efficiency agenda. The results indicate that a closer focus on the individuals who are responsible for implementing programs is necessary to help make WDM programs more successful. Understanding the social networks of those actively engaged in WDM implementation will be essential.

Environmental Practice 10:42–52 (2008)

Corresponding author
Address correspondence to: Sarah E. Wolfe, Post-Doctoral Fellow, Department of Environment and Resource Studies, University of Waterloo, 200 University Ave. W., Waterloo, Ontario, CanadaN2L 3G1; (fax)519-746-0292; (e-mail)
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