How has contamination to water supply altered Havelock North business owners’ perspectives on water?
Safe drinking water is essential to public health. In August 2016 an outbreak of gastroenteritis in Havelock North, New Zealand, shook the public’s trust in the water supply service. Over 5,500 of the town’s 14,000 residents were estimated to have fallen ill with campylobacteriosis, and 45 people were hospitalised. There were three attributable deaths and an unknown number still suffer on-going health issues. Consequently business owners were detrimentally affected – financially, operationally and emotionally. Their perceptions of water were immediately affected, particularly with the application of chlorine to the water supply, and their trust in their local government bodies diminished. Transformative Learning Theory was the lens used to ascertain if the contamination event transformed Havelock North business owners’ perspectives on water. Perspective change is most likely to occur when people experience a series of sensory perceptionary encounters, also critically reflect on the complete context of those physical and mental perceptions, and additionally, critically self-reflect on how they can transform the context or situation and then take action. All business owners underwent changes in perception concerning their water supply and all critically reflected on the context of the contamination event. However, none were deemed to have undergone a transformation in their perspectives on water because they did not engage in any critical self-reflection. The various causes of the contamination were all external to Havelock North business owners, they perceived there was no need for them to critically self-reflect on themselves nor their business strategies. Their perceptions in regard to the importance of water did change because the event made many of them realise how integral water was to trading and remaining operational. The disruption triggered them to think about the connectivity of water to natural ecosystems, including humanity. Business owners unquestioningly accepted the unwritten hydrosocial contract with the local councils, and none had experienced a transformative perspective change whereby they sought to renegotiate this contract.... [Show full abstract]
Keywordswater supply; hydrosocial contract; business owners; hydrosocial cycle; resource management; transformative learning; contamination; chlorination; council water supply; SMEs; MSMEs
Fields of Research090509 Water Resources Engineering; 05 Environmental Sciences; 1599 Other Commerce, Management, Tourism and Services; 160802 Environmental Sociology; 1205 Urban and Regional Planning; 1117 Public Health and Health Services
Attribution-NoDerivatives 4.0 International
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