Advancing knowledge and communication

Across all our shared water challenges we see how a lack of evidence, poor data, false assumptions, badly communicated information or the absence of knowledge holds back progress.  Responding to water insecurity requires the generation and communication of reliable knowledge. Information needs to be packaged in ways that people can understand and use.  It also needs to be proactively targeted to those who need it most.

What we’ve achieved
Water institution landscape mapping
Law and policy on water can be confusing. There are multiple over-lapping organisational responsibilities with unclear procedures and duties.  In Tanzania and Zambia we have produced water institution maps that clearly set out national strategy, policy, law, regulations, procedures, standards and organisational responsibilities relating to water resources.  We have also simplified and shared the procedures for accessing the law and applying for water entitlements.

Consumer awareness about water risks
Despite growing interest in the water footprint of consumption, little is known about consumer attitudes and behavior in response to water issues. We initiated market research in the UK and Germany that reveals high levels of concern about the impacts of virtual water consumption, and a willingness to take action by boycotting or preferential purchasing.  We also documented low levels of public trust in the private sector and retailers, and a clear demand for an independently certified standard and label to differentiate responsible water use.

Global review of market-based water resource management
Alongside traditional command-and-control approaches to water resource management are a growing collection of mechanisms based on the attribution of market values to water, its functions and management, and the subsequent trading, crediting, or offsetting of these.  Inspired by carbon trading and neoliberal thinking these are now being promoted globally.  For our partners at WWF we led an international review of these market-based instruments, their use and implications.  Our review equips practitioners, decision makers and the public with an objective evaluation of the pros and cons for water security and equity.  

Our future plans

Over the next five years we will raise the public and political profile of water resource challenges. We will push evidence towards decision makers, governments, NGOs, businesses, the media and the wider public to highlight the causes and impacts of inadequate resource management, and progressive responses. We will:

·         Promote, lead and publish high quality research to advance water security

·         Establish an online interactive database of water resource problems and repository of water law which will support public reporting and tracking

·         Establish WWI as the first choice for editors and journalists seeking informed opinions and commentary on the world water crisis

·         Collaborate with media outlets and production houses to create impactful news stories, documentaries and campaigns

·         Harness the strategic use of social media to advance our goals