The challenges of growing water scarcity, depletion of resources, pollution, desertification, melting glaciers and disrupted patterns of floods and droughts as a result of climate change, together with unprecedented declines in biological and cultural diversity, and the dramatic displacement of human populations, cannot be resolved only through technocratic approaches.
In recent decades, these one-dimensional approaches have conceived and used water mainly as a means of supporting economic development ‘at all costs’. However, the heavy consequences of such a development model are testified by the dramatic pollution of all aquifers and freshwater ecosystems worldwide. The value of water cannot be reduced only to its price, or ‘cost’.
In highly anthropized contexts, we witnessed how the natural hydrological cycle has been made increasingly ‘invisible’ and simultaneously far from people’s awareness. This condition has made the multiple heritages and values related to water more vulnerable than ever.
Today there is an urgent need to promote innovative, trans-disciplinary, and holistic perspectives to overcome unduly narrow technical approaches that have proved to be an inadequate response to the challenges of the global water crises. In this context, museums play a key role to pave the way for paradigm change and build a ‘new culture of water’. Together, museums can foster stronger connections with the most diverse ‘water worlds’ that consumer societies tend to forget and obliterate. WAMU-NET aims at cementing cooperation with these institutions worldwide.
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