Social Network Analysis (SNA) tools
SNA provides for a useful set of tools to help understand water governance. Networks are patterns of relationships that connect individuals and are particularly useful when: (1) individuals and organizations have multiple levels or complex formal interrelationships, (2) access to information is important to support long-term resilient decision making, (3) coordination, cooperation and trust are key threads for functioning water governance, (4) social learning is an important component to supporting a resilient and adaptive water governance (Pahl-Wostl 2002b), and (5) when informal organizations compete or replace formal institutions.
SNA provides water managers with a useful set of analytical and descriptive tools – although they are not without limitations – to help understand the role of individual actors and the relationships between actors within the context of a broader network of relationships. SNA techniques identify the current state of the network and where a baseline state can be defined and communicated and through strategic policy applications, the network can be improved. It was noted that “any transformation towards more sustainable and equitable water use and management will need to work through the complex webs of social relations” (Stein, Ernstson and Barron 2011). The network characteristics generated using SNA software, for qualities such as density or connectivity, reflect a very narrow part of the broader water governance network but provide a useful starting place for a broader discussion on how networks are currently functioning or may be improved. The network analytics should be treated as one component or indicator within a broader, more nuanced discussion about water governance in the Okanagan watershed and the broader, provincial, national and international context in which it is nested. “Formal social network analysis in combination with the richness of ethnographic description and analysis can significantly enhance both the validity and the readability of a given work” (Johnson 1994). The combination of text analysis in Chapter 4 with the SNA results reported in Chapter 5 provides a more comprehensive picture of the water governance network and the resulting descriptive analysis is greater than the sum of the parts.