Electronic Thesis and Dissertation Repository


Doctor of Philosophy




Dan Shrubsole


This thesis examines the policy claim that Alberta’s Water for Life strategy creates the possibility of a new water ethic in that province. The key problem for this dissertation is developing and defending a framework that would allow the Alberta case to be examined against like cases. In this context, the framework developed engages topics of: (1) territory and the state, (2) the effects of classification systems on policy claims regarding water abundance, water scarcity and water security, and (3) the normative role of decision-making structures on water management and planning. In this sense, the framework developed provides for the possibility of examining the water ethics of places comparable to Alberta. In short: a framework to analyze the water ethic(s) of state jurisdictions. As the water ethics framework is developed, the dissertation draws on archival research, a modified content analysis of Albertan policy documents and semi-structured interviews (n=25) with governance practitioners. The key contribution of this dissertation is the water ethics framework and its utility in explaining how changes in modern water policy affect governance norms. In particular, the framework offers the opportunity to interpret the water ethics of state jurisdictions in co-evolutionary terms, which allows the spatial and temporal changes wrought within modernity to be seen for their reciprocal effects. That is, the framework allows for the examination of how the new water ethic in Alberta’s Water for Life strategy defends and departs from the existing one.