World Water Day: ASU team explores water perceptions across globe

An SOS students sits, interviewing a Fijian woman, also seated.An interdisciplinary ASU research team is exploring what water means around the world. In the most recent phase of their research program, the Global Ethnohydrology Study, students and faculty worked together to survey residents from the United States, New Zealand, Fiji and Bolivia regarding local perceptions of water risk, scarcity and solutions. In honor of the World Water Day 2017 theme “Wastewater,” the team focused on the need to treat and reuse wastewater to safeguard people and our environment. It found that perceptions about water quality and quantity, as well regarding wastewater usage, vary depending on the region's level of development. Kelli Larson, senior sustainability scientist and School of Sustainability professor, explained, "The implications of our research suggest that collective actions and policies in using wastewater may be more popular in developed areas, whereas individual practices and technologies may be more effective in less developed regions."