Act on gender: a peep into intra-household water use in the Australian Capital Territory (ACT) region

Kuntala Lahiri-Dutt, Kate Harriden

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review

13 Citations (Scopus)


Intra-household water use and management from a gender perspective has remained a relatively under-researched theme in developed countries. Australia is no exception, with the lack of research particularly evident in the many rural and peri-urban communities. These communities have experienced significant water scarcity in recent years. In this context, this paper explores the potential of water use diaries to explore gender perspectives in Australian intra-household water use. Primarily a methodological paper, it examines the concepts that might inform a water diary examining gendered aspects of intra-household water management and use. Following the research approach to gendered intra-household resource allocation established in developing nation research, the aim is to develop a tool that has the potential to clarify the gender implications within households of current water policies and practices. Albeit a tentative step toward understanding gender aspects of intra-household water use and management, this paper raises a number of issues suggesting this type of research has both practical usefulness and academic importance. Its practical value lies in it capacity to influence the water agencies’ ability to target specific ‘water user groups’ and develop effective public policy in a participatory manner with detailed household information. The academic worth lies in the ‘cutting edge’ nature of the research as it explores an approach proven in developing nations but as yet narrowly adopted in Australia and other developed countries.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)230-243
Number of pages14
JournalRural Society
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - Dec 2008
Externally publishedYes


  • Australian Capital Territory
  • Gender
  • Intra-household water use
  • Rural households
  • Water diary

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