Peer review artikel

Water Value Ambivalence: A Qualitative Exploration of the Multitude of Water Values


“Tap water and its pricing have predominantly interested economists, partly due to the perception of water services primarily as production processes. As a result, much of the existing literature focuses on the economic value of water, leaving the social and cultural importance of water for citizens underexplored. This study adopts a sociological lens to explore the significance of water, delving into citizens’ experiences and perceptions regarding their water usage. Applying a social practice approach to value creation, we conducted 15 in-depth interviews. The results show that although the price of tap water is a concern for people, the actual value of water extends well beyond its price. Water has direct values for citizens in their everyday lives, as well as indirect value by contributing to broader societal systems. In their everyday lives, citizens use water not so much for the sake of water itself, but in various household water practices (e.g., showering) associated with certain values: hygiene, health, relaxation, warmth, and so on. Finally, our study directs attention towards the tensions people may experience between the various values they attach to tap water and the sense of responsibility to use it prudently. Future research needs to consider this water value ambivalence when encouraging water conservation.”

(Citation: Dieleman, L., Geerts, R., Vandermoere, F., Brouwer, S. – Water Value Ambivalence: A Qualitative Exploration of the Multitude of Water Values – Water 16(2024)9, art. no. 01236 – DOI: 10.3390/w16091236 – (Open Access))

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