Communicating about sustainable urban water management: community and professional perspectives on water-related terminology

Angela J. Dean, Kelly S. Fielding, Effin Jamalludin, Fiona J. Newton, Helen Ross

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review

11 Citations (Scopus)


As approaches to water management begin to encompass broader social and environmental goals, new technical terms have entered the field of water management. Effective communication across professional disciplines, and with community stakeholders, is essential for sustainable urban water management. However, use of technical terminology has the potential to undermine effectiveness of communication. We surveyed professionals and community members to examine these issues. Findings indicate that water-related technical terms may not be well understood by the community. Professionals most likely to overestimate community understanding were influenced by their own understanding rather than experience with communities. For communities, individuals with poor topic knowledge or low education were less likely to seek information about terms, highlighting the importance of reducing reliance on technical terms when collaborating with diverse stakeholders.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)371-380
Number of pages10
JournalUrban Water Journal
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 21 Apr 2018


  • Communication
  • community engagement
  • information seeking
  • jargon
  • socio-technical systems
  • technical terminology

Cite this