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Participation and communication: the Tagliamento River questionnaire

​ In the previous post we saw that scientific advanceis not always communicated well.


With Chiara, we have often asked ourselves questions about the Tagliamento. But what do the inhabitants of the river think of the river itself? How do they consider it important, and what do they believe is the right thing to do for its management?


We have prepared a questionnaire to understand the relationship between the river and the people who live next to it. We have organized the questions to meet three criteria:

- that it was based on the whole river and not only on some of its parts

- that it was addressed to everyone, not just to stakeholders or inhabitants of some areas

- that it was transferable, therefore that the methodology was general


We asked questions to understand the value people place on the river, development priorities, river activities, and flood risk. In just over a month we got more than 4000 responses!! It is a very high number which demonstrates the enormous interest from the people of the Tagliamento.


What can we see from these responses?


We have organized a articolo di ricerca based on part of the questions in the questionnaire, in particular by comparing the perceived flood risk (estimated from the answers to the questionnaire) and the official flood risk maps.

Here you can see the answer to one of the questions, in which we asked how dangerous the Tagliamento is in the upper, middle and lower course:


1039 / 5000

Risultati della traduzione

A couple of things catch the eye:

- Most of the people who answered the questionnaire perceive a very high risk in the low course

- In the upper reaches, on the other hand, there is great uncertainty regarding the risk of floods


In the article we discussed these perceived risk results as a function of official risk maps. These are issued based on the return times of flood events. The return time is an indication of how often a certain event can occur. For long payback times (> 100 years), the risk perception is in good correspondence with the official maps. Instead, not much is known about the effects of events that could happen relatively often, every 20-30 years. This has to do with communication and discussions on the hydraulic risk related to the river, which is much more present both in newspapers and in the political sphere.


This questionnaire was a source of great enthusiasm for us, and I am proud that my department has taken on the costs of preparing it and publishing the results. Another reason for pride is that these are the first works in which Chiara and I worked "alone", together with two other young researchers, Ana Stritih and Constance Brouillet.


Another article in a prestigious magazine is under review! I can't wait to tell the results. In the meantime, I am learning to communicate what I do in terms of scientific research. Learn more in the next post! ​ ​ ​ ​ ​

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