Citizen engagement in water-related issues is vital for securing future water supplies and protecting waterways. In this paper we explore elements of engagement in water related issues – what people know, what they value and their actions, and describe how these cohere in ways that can inform planning and interventions. Drawing on a nationally representative survey (N = 5194) and an interdisciplinary conceptual framework, this paper outlines how groups within the population differ on engagement in water-related issues. We identify five key groups: (i) the Disengaged, (ii) Aware but inactive, (iii) Active but not engaged, (iv) Engaged but cautious, and (v) Highly engaged. Homeownership, having a garden, being older, and life experiences such as experience of water restrictions had a significant impact on each of the engagement profiles. The utility of this analysis is demonstrated through finding that the groups have distinct views on two key policy examples, support for raingardens and willingness to pay for waterway protection. We suggest ways of targeting individual and community interventions to reach the identified groups.

Click to view journal article.

Last updated: 13th Jun 2016