How fortunate are we to have the ease of turning on a tap to have water arrive in an instant? As our population increases so does our demand for water. When more water is abstracted from the system for drinking, bathing, and other activities it can lead to harmful environmental impacts. These range from degraded rivers and ecosystems to increased charges for sewage treatment. For example, in 2015 only 17% of UK river waterbodies achieved the target of ‘good status’ set by the Water Framework Directive. It is clear that there is an urgent need to improve our freshwater environment. On top of saving more water, one solution here is to use the WaterSocial, a social media platform.
[caption id="attachment_496" align="alignright" width="1300"] Hampstead Heath shared by Klara Beckers.[/caption]
In the mission to educate and encourage people to reduce their water consumption a social media platform called WaterSocial was created by a group of scientists and engineers. It was funded by the FP7 European project ISS-EWATUS, “Integrated Support System for Efficient Water Usage and Resources Management”. The key objective of the WaterSocial is to make the general public aware of water usage and management. This platform allows users to share water use photos, engage in discussions, tips sharing, and to gather points and prizes via a set of gamified online and offline activities. This platform is unique in its aim to harness gamification and social media to reinforce water saving behaviours.
[caption id="attachment_500" align="alignright" width="1300"] Lovely walk in Suffolk shared by Charlotte Orr.[/caption]
One of the main WaterSocial activities is the sharing of photos on the world map. The gallery of photos includes visits to rivers, lakes, and streams. Through the magic of a photograph you can be instantly transported back to a memory of a similar place, or it can motivate you to visit places you have yet to explore. Imagery can be very emotive and it is through this power that WaterSocial aims to remind us that the water we use comes directly from the environment we love to enjoy.
Become a member of the online community and help propagate the WaterSocial ethos of using water wisely. Take action: volunteer with your local Rivers Trust, visit your local freshwater source, take photos and share them on WaterSocial.
Blog by Ms Safa El-Jamal at WaterSocial
This is a guest blog where the opinions expressed are the author’s.
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