Business Case for Investing in Community-Based Water Monitoring

More than 150 community-based water monitoring (CBWM) groups are actively monitoring changes in their watersheds and informing freshwater decision-making across Canada. Monitoring programs reflect a diversity of water conditions and landscapes, varying in purpose and size to address specific community needs. Yet, they all rely on consistent, adequate funding to keep their volunteers and data collection afloat!  

For years community-based water monitoring leaders have wanted to quantify CBWM’s contribution to Canadian water management, creating the case for long-term, programmatic support. 

Our Living Waters’ Teams support Network members in achieving collective goals like this. One of our Teams, the Community-based Water Monitoring Collaborative (“the Collaborative”) made the business case concept a reality.

A Business Case for Investment in Canadian Community-Based Water Monitoring


Read the report here!

The Collaborative contracted the International Institute for Sustainable Development (IISD) to conduct a business case analysis of three CBWM programs across Canada. The report substantiates the return on investment for CBWM funding and advocates for long-term, stable funds. Three Collaborative partners are featured – Lake Winnipeg Community-Based Monitoring Network, Kaska Land Guardians, and Clean Annapolis River Project – to showcase the diversity of monitoring programs with their benefits to community resilience and data-informed decision making. The report ends in a three-page policy brief specifically designed for policymakers. 

For a plain language summary of the research, listen to this Webinar.

By facilitating the Collaborative, OLW ensured CBWM leaders’ voices stayed at the heart of the Business Case design and review. We used experience from the Team to steer all the scoping and relationship-building required by collaborative research. Then, once complete, we amplified our individual networks to distribute the report, trying to reach audiences across scales. 

This last word, ‘scales’, is essential. Making the case for community-based water monitoring weaves in discussions about technology and economy, environmental governance, and Indigenous rights in Canada. In response, we continue to work with federal bureaucrats and community leaders to build shared understanding about the Business Case for CBWM.

Stay tuned for more of the Collaborative’s activity on this report!

Other analyses “making the case” locally

Taylor Wilkes
About Taylor Wilkes
Former Network Facilitation Lead, Our Living Waters: water person through and through, happiest in the stern of a canoe
Business Case for Investing in Community-Based Water Monitoring
Business Case for Investing in Community-Based Water Monitoring
Imagine a Canada where all waters are in good health: