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“We can’t manage what we don’t measure”: co-producing people and water with New Zealand’s Resource Management (Measurement and Reporting of Water Takes) Regulations 2010

Myles, Fiona
Fields of Research
ANZSRC::0502 Environmental Science and Management , ANZSRC::050205 Environmental Management
As in many other parts of the world, freshwater resources have become under increasing pressure in New Zealand. In Canterbury, where 60% of the total volume of freshwater for consumptive use in the country is allocated, the increasing demand for water amongst competing users has resulted in freshwater management becoming highly contentious. This study examines the role that the introduction of a new standard of quantification (the Resource Management (Measurement and Reporting of Water Takes) Regulations 2010) has played in reconfiguring the relationships that have underpinned freshwater management in the region in the past. The conceptual analytical framework of co-production, and its common pathways of making identities, discourses, representations, and institutions are utilised to reveal how the new standard has altered these relations. It is concluded that the symmetry and filtering capacity of the Regulations has reconfigured the co-production of natural and social orders, and that the form that the new configurations have taken has been shaped by the power and control, the path dependence, and the network of supporting standards, of the new regulations. Although, the introduction of these regulations has been widely supported, it is considered unlikely that they will reduce the existing sources of contention in freshwater management in Canterbury significantly.
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