The transition to water sensitive cities requires broad community acceptance of changes in policy, practice and technology. To achieve this, water practitioners and government agencies will need to effectively engage communities.

This project aims to identify effective community engagement strategies that will promote knowledge about water management, build trust in water institutions, and leverage support for policies that promote sustainable water management.

A critical first step in the engagement process is identifying the community’s current water related knowledge, termed “water literacy”. Little is known about the Australian community’s knowledge of water related issues and to what degree this knowledge is important for water conservation behaviours or support of policies related to sustainable urban water management. This project will also identify community-friendly terminology and visuals that easily convey key messages relating to sustainable urban water management and evaluate what types of messages are more effective in engaging communities.

Key outcomes

The project benchmarks water literacy in Australian communities identifying key gaps in water literacy and key groups within the population to target for improving water literacy. The project will also create an understanding of community attitudes to policies that affect the implementation of sustainable urban water management. The project will deliver:

  • a database of community friendly water terminology and visuals;
  • best practice recommendations for community engagement about sustainable urban water management; and
  • a report on Australian citizens' water literacy – based on national survey data or current levels of knowledge about key water issues amongst Australian citizens
  • capacity building of researchers, experts and practitioners to effectively engage diverse communities, and communicate new or complex information in the area of sustainable urban water management.


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Last updated: 14th Apr 2016