The Valuing Water survey: a global survey of the values that shape decision-making on water

Christopher Schulz, Lukas Wolf, Julia Martin-Ortega, Klaus Glenk

Research output: Book/ReportCommissioned report


The way we value water influences the decisions that we take around its use and conservation. The value of water is often expressed in economic terms; for instance, the 1992 Dublin Principles recognised water as an economic good. However, there is growing consensus that understanding the economic value of water is important but not sufficient.

Valuing water is a deeply personal matter, embedded in broader worldviews, and often influenced by the cultural and geographical context in which we grew up. Likewise, decision-making about water is often not just a rational process of weighing up costs and benefits but is influenced by our personal values.

How we value water has implications for the great water challenges of our times. Most people would agree that we need to work towards water security, consider the needs of humans and of the natural environment, and make drinking water accessible to all. However, the best or most accepted route towards such objectives is not always clear. To understand why people agree or disagree on certain policies and strategic questions, we need to investigate the underlying value basis.
Original languageEnglish
Place of PublicationThe Hague
PublisherValuing Water Initiative
Number of pages28
Publication statusPublished - 2022


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