Towards Hydrocitizenship is a three year project (2014-2017) that combines academic research with community participation and creative activities. It will help us to reflect on the notion of citizenship in relation to environmental (and especially water-related) concerns and how this can move us towards a more sustainable society.
The project is about looking at how individuals and communities relate to water and the issues associated with it; how these were dealt with in the past; current environmental concerns and conflicts and future resilience in the face of change. Relationships within communities and between communities can be developed through exploring the stories of past and current relationships between people and water.
Water is a fundamental resource for society, and at present a range of challenging water issues face communities in the UK and internationally. These include concerns about flooding, sea level rise, climate change, drought and supply security, water quality, biodiversity and landscape quality, access for recreation, water and energy, effective urban drainage, and waste management.
There are four case study areas: the lower Dyfi catchment in the Ceredigion part of the Dyfi Biosphere; Bristol ; the Lee Valley in London; and Shipley in West Yorkshire. Each case study area has a team that includes academics, artists and community practitioners, who will share skills, methods and experience and who will work closely with the people in their study areas.
We want to start conversations about water. Locally, we want to understand what is important to people and who would like to be involved in expressing this creatively. We hope that this attention will not only increase understanding but inform and inspire actions (outside of this project) that respond to the issues raised.