Keys to Success: A Case Study Approach to Understanding Community-Based Water Monitoring Uptake in Governmental Decision-Making
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Community-based water monitoring (CBWM) involves volunteers and non-government organization staff in collecting water quality data for the purpose of enhancing our knowledge of watershed health. With reduced government capacity for monitoring, there has been increasing support for CBWM. It has the potential to increase information on watershed health for government and enhance public engagement in water management; however, many well known challenges continue, such as credibility and capacity issues. While the literature highlights these challenges, case studies that include successful instances of CBWM influencing governmental decision-making are lacking. To fill this knowledge gap, my research examined four case studies of Canadian watershed groups involved in CBWM that have been integrated with governmental decision-making. Semi-structured interviews were conducted with watershed group coordinators and government counterparts for each case study and data were analyzed thematically using an inductive/deductive coding method. Findings revealed that collaboration helped to build capacity and credibility for rigorous, long-term CBWM that was useful for informing governmental decision-making.