EGU22-13110, updated on 28 Mar 2022
EGU General Assembly 2022
© Author(s) 2022. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.

"Water and Us": tales and hands-on laboratories about water and conflicts to educate on sustainable water resources management

Francesca Munerol, Francesco Avanzi, Eleonora Panizza, Marco Altamura, Simone Gabellani, Lara Polo, Marina Mantini, Barbara Alessandri, and Luca Ferraris
Francesca Munerol et al.
  • CIMA Research Foundation, Savona, Italy

Context. Water is the most proximal concept for all human beings, and yet many of us struggle to realize the importance of proper water resources management, as well as the breadth and depth of growing water conflicts in a warming climate. This is particularly true for young students, since they will see impacts of climate change first-hand.

Goal and recipients. Within “Water and Us”, we educate next generations on the correct (and incorrect) ways in which water is currently managed. This is done to instill the need for a sustainable use of water resources, in the hope that this will help neutralize incorrect policies, economic conflicts and tensions around water. Current recipients are high school students, but we are also experimenting with elementary students and adult audiences.

Method. Rather than providing ready-to-use recipes or a traditional, lecture-style approach, the signature of Water and Us is to put students at the center of a participatory, laboratory- based process geared towards the evaluation of new solutions for water management. Through a process of learning by doing, we reflect on recurring questions like “what does it mean to manage water resources? How do human activities affect the water cycle? What are the expected impacts of climate change and the associated solutions for sustainable development in a warmer world?”.

Structure. The first module is dedicated to understanding the water cycle – a cycle that will be “rewritten” with the students themselves based on their own experience and knowledge. The goal is to show how the same term “water resource” has many different meanings, sometimes even in conflict with each other. The second module will be dedicated to to sharpen students’ understanding of the most common and recurring terms and expressions surrounding the issue of water resources and climate change: an opportunity to confer a more precise meaning to expressions like the Paris Agreement, droughts, water conflicts, Next Generation EU, which are used almost daily in the media but that are not always easy to place in the overall picture. The third module, finally, is a synthesis of the previous ones and focuses on the still little-known theme of socio-political, juridical, and technical water conflicts and how they are increasingly fuelled by the effects of climate change.

Innovativeness. Each meeting starts with a real-life story, lasting about 20 minutes, and then moves on with a workshop lasting about 30 minutes, so that listeners can immediately put themselves at the centre of the problem. This method promotes awareness on the issue of water management and stimulates the design of consensus-based, innovative solutions for community’s benefit.

In this presentation, we will share lessons learned by the first pilots of “Water and Us” in Liguria, Italy, as well as plans to upscale and export this experience to other audiences.

How to cite: Munerol, F., Avanzi, F., Panizza, E., Altamura, M., Gabellani, S., Polo, L., Mantini, M., Alessandri, B., and Ferraris, L.: "Water and Us": tales and hands-on laboratories about water and conflicts to educate on sustainable water resources management, EGU General Assembly 2022, Vienna, Austria, 23–27 May 2022, EGU22-13110,, 2022.