Participation calls for a connection between technology and society

Citizen engagement

Increased citizen engagement is confronting the water sector with constantly growing demands. A connection needs to be made between technology and social governance issues. Thanks to KWR’s knowledge and experience of participation processes, water companies and waterboards can respond to today’s demands of customers and citizens. This helps identify related bottlenecks and make use of strategic opportunities.

Citizen engagement is increasingly important

Water companies and waterboards are experiencing a growing interest in public engagement. Customers and citizens play a varied and complex role in the water sector. They are not only water users, but increasingly critical consumers and vocal citizens.

As a result of growing citizen engagement, public organisations are confronting constantly greater demands. The water sector needs to have a good service provision and be transparent. Technology and substance are no longer the only factors that define the challenges and opportunities. Insight into the social and governance aspects of processes is also important. This governance has to take sensible form and range widely, from informing water users to involving them in urban water management. Addressing the changing demands of citizens and customers calls for knowledge about participation processes.

Connecting governance issues

KWR has a great deal of knowledge and experience in connecting technological and social-governance issues in relation to public participation. In various national and international research and consulting projects we study the interplay between government, knowledge institutions, market players, community organisations and citizens which shapes the provision of drinking water and integrated water management. We use research methods that are both quantitative and qualitative (interviews, focus groups, surveys, network analysis).

KWR’s support in participation processes includes the following:

  • Understanding of the attitude and behaviour – and diversity – of customers and citizens with regard to water.
  • Insight into the form and extent of citizen participation in the operational management and activities of water organisations.
  • Involvement of citizens, whether active or not, in the acceptance, shaping and/or implementation of innovations.
  • Highlighting the relevance of the growth of social media for risk communication, perception and trust.
  • Promoting sustainability of the urban watercycle through public participation.
  • Translating citizen engagement into step-by-step transition to a water-wise world.

Bottlenecks and strategic opportunities

With its knowledge of participation processes, KWR helps water companies and waterboards respond to today’s demands of customers and citizens. This produces insight into current and future bottlenecks and strategic opportunities for public participation.