Co-watering the grassroots: combining community participation and social entrepreneurship to share roof runoff
Water Efficiency Network, University of Bath
This extended abstract shares a firsthand narrative of a pilot project using a co-productive participatory approach led by a social enterprise to share roof runoff between different properties. Conceptually, the project was simple to formalize and initially received wide industry support. Facilitated by an ‘expert’ in the field and with start-up funding secured, the technical aspects of the initiative were potentially straight forward. Engagement with a community group to initiate a pilot project was also straight forward, entailing a conversation about growing plants on an allotment without a mains water connection and an enthusiasm to use roof runoff from nearby houses. However, in the co-production of the pilot invisible technical and organisational complexities were made visible. For example, land ownership and management issues meant that the actor-network concerned expanded to include a number of unanticipated organisations, applications and fees. The dynamics of these tensions are summarised, demonstrating that the interplay between the organisational and technical aspects resulted in difficulties in practice. Though not unresolvable, they significantly delayed the completion of the pilot, absorbed a substantial amount of energy from the actors involved and impeded the collection of empirical data through which to evaluate the project concept.
Thanks go to the family of actors involved in the pilot project, as well as to UnLtd who provided funding in the form of a ‘Do It’ award.
Water Efficiency Conference 2016, 7-9 September 2015, Coventry, UK
This is the final version of the article. Available from the Water Efficiency Network via the URL in this record.
Proceedings of the Water Efficiency Conference 2016, pp. 155-159