Nicol, Lorraine

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    Challenges and potential adaptation strategies of rural water co-ops: an Alberta case study
    (Rural Development Institute, Brandon University, 2018) Nicol, Lorraine A.; Nicol, Christopher J.
    With roots going back decades, rural co-operative water systems play an important role in rural water management on the Prairies. But some of these co-operatives, especially those adjacent to large and growing urban centres, are facing significant challenges. This study focuses on water co-operatives within Rocky View County, a rural municipality adjacent to the city of Calgary. The County is experiencing significant water demand pressures from regional population growth. However, under Alberta’s water licensing allocation system, increased demand in the Bow River Basin—where the County is situated—cannot be met by acquiring additional water licenses. This study presents a preliminary exploration into the views of three groups: water managers—co-operatives as well as private systems, housing developers, and Rocky View County councillors. The views gathered relate to the extent of the water challenges, the current and future ability to manage them, potential consequences, and possible solutions. Key findings are water managers’ expressed lack of confidence in adapting to water challenges and a lack of common understanding amongst the three groups as to the seriousness and consequence of those challenges. In meeting the challenges, a solution which presents the greatest support is the development of a regional umbrella water management organization.
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    Bifurcation of a rural-urban regional partnership: a study of hidden dynamics
    (Rural Development Institute, Brandon University, 2015) Nicol, Lorraine A.; Nicol, Christopher J.
    Region-based solutions present a promising avenue to addressing contemporary challenges facing municipalities. But regional formations require the messy reworking of networks of power among multiple stakeholders, often leading to power struggles. Challenges can be compounded when a rural-urban dimension is added to such an undertaking. This study examined the hidden power dynamics of a case involving 18 rural and urban municipalities in the Calgary region of Alberta called the Calgary Regional Partnership (CRP). In 2005 these municipalities voluntarily embarked on a major city-region initiative involving land-use planning and water sharing. However, by 2009 four rural municipalities had left the CRP, bifurcating the partnership along rural and urban lines. The dynamics of this case were traced through time and viewed through the lens of Foucault’s concepts of discourse and mechanisms of exclusion as well as Hajer’s concepts of metaphors, story-lines and discourse coalitions. The study demonstrates how mechanisms of exclusion led to the creation of dominant discourses, the formation of coalitions around counter-discourses, and the eventual disintegration of the rural-urban dimension of the partnership.