The primer introduces key ideas associated with resilience and how they may be applied by those engaging in various facets of governance in Canada. It is the product of collaboration involving Canadian and international researchers as well as Canadian watershed practitioners.

In developing the primer, the authors surveyed experts from around the world and asked them what factors they considered important for resilience in systems where water is a central focus.

The result of this process is the identification and discussion of six main attributes of resilience to be applied in a watershed governance context:

  • More inclusive participation.
  • Building a shared understanding.
  • Inclusion of ecosystem services and functions in long-term planning.
  • Strong leadership.
  • Institutional and decision making flexibility.
  • Decentralized system.

Each attribute is described in the chapters of this primer with details as to how the attribute builds resilience. Additional content is provided including:

  • Techniques to begin building resilience in relation to the attribute.
  • Real-world examples of how the attribute has been applied in practice.
  • Reflections on applying the attribute in a real watershed.
  • Questions for reflection.

The attributes described in this primer focus on watersheds in terms of their governance and are intended to apply to a system as a whole, enhancing its capacity to absorb disturbances of all kinds including unknown and unforeseen ones. They are attributes of a system that can deal with management/policy mistakes, can absorb large shocks, and allow all parts of the system to keep functioning as they have in the past or to adapt.

Download the primer (PDF, 2.83MB)