Victoria's first ever state-wide market research into community knowledge and attitudes relating to environmental water management revealed some interesting findings.
Victoria Penko, Executive Manager Relationships and Governance at the Victorian Environmental Water Holder, said that the research found the benefits of environmental flows often get lost in translation.
"We're often speaking 'water-ish' – our own special water sector language. This type of industry-speak is excluding communities from understanding the benefits of environmental flows, which can create potential for mistrust.
"The statewide market research project has confirmed startling levels of misunderstanding that stem from this impenetrable water language. There needs to be a simplification in the way management concepts are communicated and to speak to people in a language they understand."
This project was recognised recently at the River Basin Management Society Awards where the VEWH was a finalist in the knowledge category.
The research has already changed the way VEWH talks and writes about water for the environment, for example we now often avoid the term 'environmental water' which was often not understood as a common term. In the coming year the VEWH will use the research findings to revise their communications and engagement strategies.
Some of the findings from the VEWH market research project 'A report on research to explore Victorians' knowledge of, and attitudes towards, environmental water to improve communication of the Victorian Environmental Watering Program' (Orima Research, June 2017).