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Democratizing Risk Management: Successful Public Involvement in Local Water Management Decisions

Authors

  • Timothy L. McDaniels,

    Corresponding author
      1 Address correspondence to Timothy L. McDaniels, Institute of Resources and Environment, School of Community and Regional Planning, 6333 Memorial Rd., Vancouver, BC, Canada V6T 1W5. email: timmcd@unixg.ubc.ca
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  • Robin S. Gregory,

  • Daryl Fields


1 Address correspondence to Timothy L. McDaniels, Institute of Resources and Environment, School of Community and Regional Planning, 6333 Memorial Rd., Vancouver, BC, Canada V6T 1W5. email: timmcd@unixg.ubc.ca

Abstract

This paper discusses a successful public involvement effort that addressed and resolved several highly controversial water management issues involving environmental and flood risks associated with an electrical generation facility in British Columbia. It begins with a discussion of concepts for designing public involvement, summarizing research that indicates why individuals and groups may find it difficult to make complex choices. Reasons for public involvement, and the range of current practices are discussed. Next, four principles for designing group decision process are outlined, emphasizing decision-aiding concepts that include “value-focused thinking” and “adaptive management.” The next sections discuss the Alouette River Stakeholder Committee process in terms of objectives, participation, process, methods for structuring values and creating alternatives, information sources, and results. Discussion and conclusions complete the paper.

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