Implementing the soft path approach to water management: A case study of southern York Region, Ontario
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This research study develops a framework of indicators to evaluate the ‘institutional capacity’ of a municipality to implement the soft path approach. The soft path approach is a new strategy for water conservation that complements existing supply and demand water management regimes. The soft path approach aims to achieve sustainability by changing how individuals think about water and how water is used. The framework of indicators consists of qualitative descriptions of elements that should be present in a municipality to successfully implement the soft path approach. These indicators fit into eight themes: human resources, information resources, financial resources, policy and legal environment, political environment, community awareness and involvement, technological solutions, and practical considerations. These indicators are also applied to evaluate the institutional capacity of a case study (southern York Region, Ontario, Canada) for its potential to implement the soft path approach. The case study is compatible and equipped to implement the soft path approach, but this can only be accomplished if coordinated with other levels of government and external organizations.