Water & Wastewater Asia May/Jun 2018

34 / INSIGHT We don’t need more campaigns and communication strategies, we need more integrated solutions that help up translate our abstract understanding of the problem into tractable and intuitive solutions in our everyday lives. ith water scarcity an ever- growing issue, “save water” has become a slogan waved incessantly under our noses and over our heads. But saving water is muchmore than a phrase to be trotted out every so often whenever the world’s water issues come to light time and again. However, at the bottom of it all, water consumption has always been something intrinsically linked to humanity and mankind’s behaviour. To that end, Water & Wastewater Asia was privileged to sit down with Mr Andreas Jespersen, an Associate Researcher at iNudgeyou, one of the leading ‘nudge units’ in the world that specialises in applied behavioural research, to talk about how human behaviour is linked to water consumption and wastage. Overlooked Water sustainability, while a goal that is slowly being realised, does have an interesting, yet often overlooked, component to it – human behaviour. Water, unfortunately, is much like electricity in that it is an ephemeral resource that is consumed without the consumer ever seeing where it may come from, or even disappear to. So while the knowledge that water is important is there, there is little to no impact on consumers. “In the abstract, we know that water is important, but one of the major insights from behavioural science is that we tend to underreact when faced with abstract problems,” Jespersen explained. And unfortunately, there is evidence to back it up. Getting people to participate in water conservation programmes, for example, can be an incredibly exhausting task, especially if the water issues are presented in such a way, they come off as intangible. “We need to make the problem more tangible and relevant to everyday life,” Mr Andreas Jespersen, an Associate Researcher at iNudgeyou, one of the leading ‘nudge units’ in the world that specialises in applied behavioural research, and one of the authors behind the Danish book, Adfærdsdesign (Behavioural Design). Image credit: Monica Sircu

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