Making the Most of What We Have: The Soft Path Approach to Water Management

International Journal of Sustainability in Higher Education

ISSN: 1467-6370

Article publication date: 11 July 2011



(2011), "Making the Most of What We Have: The Soft Path Approach to Water Management", International Journal of Sustainability in Higher Education, Vol. 12 No. 3.



Emerald Group Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2011, Emerald Group Publishing Limited

Making the Most of What We Have: The Soft Path Approach to Water Management

Article Type: Books and resources From: International Journal of Sustainability in Higher Education, Volume 12, Issue 3

Edited by David B. Brooks, Oliver M. Brandes and Stephen Gurman,Earthscan,London,2011,296 pp.,ISBN 9781849713085,£29.99

Based on the “soft path” approach to the energy sector, a transition is now under way to a soft path for water. This approach starts by ensuring that ecosystem needs for water are satisfied and then undertakes a radical approach to reducing human uses of water through economic and social incentives, open decision making, water markets and equitable pricing, and the application of super-efficient technology, all applied in ways that avoid jeopardizing quality of life.

The soft path for water is therefore a management strategy that seeks to free up water by curbing water waste. This book presents and applies the water soft path approach. It has three aims: to bring to a wider audience the concept and the potential of water soft paths; to demonstrate that soft path analysis is analytical and practical, and not just “eco-dreaming”; and to indicate that soft paths are not only conceptually attractive but that they can be made economically and politically feasible. Also, included is a tool kit for planners and other practitioners.

BeWEL Report – “Personal Well-being and Interactions with Nature”

The Behaviour for Well-being, Environment and Life (BeWEL) project sought to explore potential links between the tendency to undertake pro-environmental behaviours and:

  • the ways in which people interact with nature;

  • how exposure to forms of sensory contact with nature influence brain function and feelings of personal well-being; and

  • age-related changes in brain function and how emotional responses operate.

The project team has recently published the first State of Understanding Report, which presents a review of the evidence about the relationship between personal, subjective (mental) well-being and nature interactions. An initial exploration of the concept of personal well-being is followed by an examination of the various dimensions of personal well-being involved in human interactions with nature, focusing on positively and negatively evaluated experiences, and direct and mediated experiences. The report concludes by outlining key areas for future research. Details on the project and on the report can be seen at the web site:

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