Lack of public awareness about water and the risk of scarcity

People in Europe aren’t aware of the risk of water scarcity, not  to mention individual or collective engagement in determining equitable and sustainable water allocation!

This is one of the main results of the research project “Problematization of Water Supply” as part of an international research collaboration where we seek to identify enabler and barriers of stakeholder engagement related to water supply & scarcity (contact: blog author Franzisca.Weder@aau.at).

A peoples survey in Austria analyzed the relationship between individual engagement, use of (social) media and the awareness of the issue of water supply/scarcity; 1000 people were asked in 2014 and the answers related to the European data of the Flash Eurobarometer 2012 (2009). Most interesting answers:

– generally people don’t feel informed about water and the risk of scarcity;

– TV is the main source of information;

– social media is not relevant (which is an important information for campaigns like right2water);

– people do not feel informed about the issue of water privatization.

Main problem seen by the interviewees is the overuse of water as well as the use of pesticides in agriculture, see tab 1. More information about the consequences of water abuse is required, see tab. 2.

 

problems for water allocation instruments to meet water challenges

 

Important output for professional communicators and campaign planners on an European, national and regional/local level: nearly no one knows anything about public campaigns on water and/or water initiatives like wasseraktiv or water for life or generation awake.

Our learning about engagement: Water is rather related to individual than collective engagement.

More information: research paper (@work), report (german: Weder, Franzisca (2014): Problematization of Water Supply. The lack of public awareness. Results of a public servey in Austra. Final report. Klagenfurt, University Press).

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