Story gathering and storytelling have been strong threads
through the programme, stitching together humanities and science within and
across work streams. These collaborations have been so successful that they
have changed permanently the approach of some of our scientists and resulted in
successful spin-off collaborations.
As well as welcoming ENDOWS researchers into their communities,
embracing catchment Local Action Groups (LAGs), monitoring water scarcity and
collecting data samples, some of these collaborators have been enthusiastic
attendees of our About Drought Showcase conference in Birmingham and our
Drought & Water Scarcity Conference in Oxford in March 2019, as well as
project events such as the final DRY Project Conference in July 2019.
Hear what it was like to live through
the 1976 drought from the people who were there, take in the dramatic
experiences of firefighters battling wildfires in the UK and watch videos that
break down the misconceptions about water shortage and drought in the UK,
featuring people on the frontline of its impacts today.
Communications experts on the About
Drought programme have produced a series of informative and evocative videos
and podcasts which bring the research to life for all ages and audiences.
Podcasts & audio interviews reliving past droughts
Dr Rebecca Pearce has sourced a series of fascinating audio interviews with people who experienced the 1976 drought first-hand from a wide range of aspects – for instance, did you know that in 1976 firefighters tackled moorland blazes wearing plastic uniform over-trousers that were melting in the heat? These are available as podcasts and will also be published in written form.
These can be accessed via the Historic Drought Inventory which
includes a large collection of corresponding news reports and drought records
as well as the audio recordings. About Drought has presented the ‘Who’d Have Thought That…’ series on
our own channel on the SoundCloud platform.
Rebecca says: “The experiences of droughts by people in the UK can vary considerably. From being barely noticed to being so severe they create long-lasting memories that can be recalled in an instant. This is because although water is essential for life and we’d all notice if we did not have a reasonable level of access to it for drinking, cooking, and hygiene, we are fortunate to have benefited from many years of progress in water engineering, which has resulted in our generally having security of supply.”
A real challenge to communicating the urgent need to change our
behaviour around water use – whether you are a water company, managing a
waterway or creating policy – is the inbuilt misconception in the UK that it’s
always wet and rainy, that drought is only an issue in other parts of the
About Drought series of Drought Myth Busting videos debunks popular misconceptions – such as ‘Droughts Only Happen In Summer’ and ‘Britain Is Wet: Droughts Don’t Happen Here’ – through interviews on location with people on the frontline of water shortages, such as father and daughter dairy farmers David and Fran Herdman as well as About Drought experts. These are available on the About Drought YouTube channel.
About Drought science news video documentaries
About Drought’s ‘audience first’ approach extended to an
innovative ‘news documentary’ style of short films and podcasts, produced by
national broadcast journalists to capture the interest of the general public as
well as our stakeholders, particularly those tasked with drought
We engaged news journalists to film on location and carry out interviews at our About Drought Showcase in March 2018 and the MaRIUS Workshop in 2017. We asked them to take the same approach as they would to a TV news assignment, picking out the angles they found most newsworthy and selecting their own interviewees and questions.
About Drought webinars
A rich resource of presentations from across MaRIUS events,
featuring other elements of the About Drought research programme, are available
to view on the MaRIUS YouTube
Webinars covering the impact of drought on groundwater, water efficiency, historic hydrological droughts, drought forecasting, hydrological modelling of drought and low flows, a guide to outputs from the programme, community modelling, drought communications, water quality modelling in the River Trent, reconstructed flow data, and the hydrological status in the UK in August 2018, are available to view on YouTube. DRY’s research capturing communities’ own stories of water, shortages and drought, creating a story bank, developing a song from people’s experiences, storytelling for research and promoting water efficient behaviour also features in a series of videos published on YouTube.
“I had to have the five-gallon container in the pushchair and stagger along the road to fill the blessed thing up and then heave it into the pushchair and then push that back with [18 month old] Becky beside me.”
Hear what it was like to live through the 1976 drought from
the people who were there, take in the dramatic experiences of firefighters
battling wildfires in the UK and watch videos that break down the
misconceptions about water shortage and drought in the UK, featuring people on
the frontline of its impact today.
Communications experts on the About Drought programme have sourced and produced a series of informative and evocative videos and podcasts which bring the research to life for all ages and audiences.
Drought myths #2. Droughts only happen in the summer
The drought myth “Droughts only happen in the summer” is busted by Jamie Hannaford (Centre for Ecology and Hydrology), Andrew McKenzie (British Geological Survey) and Andrew Tucker (Thames Water).