Date of Award

7-2000

Degree Type

Thesis

Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)

Department

Political Science

Supervisor

Mark H. Sproule-Jones

Abstract

Nearly thirty years after the introduction of water pollution management legislation in Canada and the United States, water pollution remains an important public policy problem. Very basically, water pollution problems can be divided into two types: point source and non-point source. Point source categorizes those cases where inputs into natural ecosystems come from easily identifiable sources such as industrial effluent and municipal sewage treatment outfalls. Non-point source water pollution characterizes inputs into natural ecosystems that are dispersed and multi-sourced such as urban and agricultural runoff, overflow sewage inputs and groundwater contamination. Although in many industrialized states non-point sources are recognized as the primary barrier to meeting water quality objectives, jurisdictions internationally have tended to limit the scope and focus of water pollution management efforts to more easily identifiable point-sources. This dissertation examines intergovernmental institutional arrangements and policy instrument strategies being implemented in Canada and the U.S. to address non-point source water pollution. This research indicates that an important determinant of instrument choice, design and comparative policy effectiveness is institutional capacity. More specifically, jurisdictions that have higher levels of vertical (intergovernmental), horizontal (cross-medium), stakeholder, monitoring and evaluation capacity are more likely to have effective policy instrument strategies. Based on six case studies examining three different policy instrument strategies, the dissertation provides evidence that jurisdictions in the U.S. have higher levels of institutional capacity to manage these complex water pollution problems than jurisdictions in Canada.

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