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Students’ Perceived Priorities on Water as a Human Right, Natural Resource, and Multiple Goods

Faculty of Built Environment, Tampere University, 33720 Tampere, Finland
Faculty of Geography and Earth Science, University of Latvia, LV-1586 Riga, Latvia
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Sustainability 2019, 11(22), 6354;
Received: 30 September 2019 / Revised: 29 October 2019 / Accepted: 5 November 2019 / Published: 12 November 2019
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Education for Sustainability)
As often noted, water is one of the most critical natural resources in the world—one we must take care of so that future generations can enjoy safe water. This study specifically explores university-level water and environmental students’ views on perceived priorities on water. The recent debate on water policy and its complexity is first reviewed, followed by a study on how students perceived water through six predetermined criteria. Interactive learning events (n = 241) were arranged worldwide in 2011–2015 in seven countries and one region: Finland, Latvia, South Africa, Brazil, Mexico, Sri Lanka, USA, and Southern Africa region. The relative distribution of the criteria totaling 100% were as follows: Basic human right 31%, natural resource 25%, economic good 15%, public and social good both 11%, and cultural good 7%. The views did not substantially differentiate despite the different socio-economic conditions. Yet, basic human right should be interpreted wisely remembering environmental, economic, and other realities. Here, the target group consisted of water and environmental students, and it would be very interesting to conduct a comparative study among students in other fields (sociology, economics, etc.). On the whole, we should further analyze the value of water and its priorities to make it easier to manage water resources in the future. View Full-Text
Keywords: water services; water policy; Finland; Latvia; South Africa water services; water policy; Finland; Latvia; South Africa
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Rajala, R.P.; Katko, T.S.; Springe, G. Students’ Perceived Priorities on Water as a Human Right, Natural Resource, and Multiple Goods. Sustainability 2019, 11, 6354.

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