The Water Animals

In our society we see water as a product, rather than a natural, common resource. We have to take better care of water again, says social designer Bernhard Lenger. He designed water animals that help us relate to water differently.

Type Project
The Water Animals

We all agree a water transition is necessary. This leads to comlex questions: how can we make water less filthy, how are we going to reuse it and infiltrate rainwater into the soil? But there is more to it. Because we have developed a system that allows us to treat water like a product. It is provided as a service or purchased in bottles from the store. Water can be someone’s property.

While this system ensures that we can guarantee clean drinking water accessibility, we have also commercialized an essential part of our body and the environment in which we live. Due to this change, responsibility for water has also shifted from the public domain to governments and companies. Lenger makes water personal. “The Water Animals” is a campaign to reconnect with water and understand how we can take care of the water around us together.

We should all feel responsible for water again, says Lenger. In fact, we should see water as a companion, like a cat you take good care of. To learn to deal with water differently, he designed eight aquatic pets. Each of the animals symbolize an important water issue. They provide insight into: drinking water quality, groundwater quality and groundwater levels, drought and flooding due to extreme weather conditions, climate change and increasing urbanization.

The water hamster runs in its water wheel to push water through the pipes. Help the water hamster to work less hard by closing the tap more often. The water rhino requires more care. He loves frolicking in the earth, in your neighborhood. Remove the tiles from your garden or create a rhino park together with local residents to give the water rhino space. What does water need and how do we learn to care for it? Which animal do you choose and why? Take the Water Animal Quiz and find out!

Watch project on the Dutch Design Week website.

Studio Bernhard Lenger

Bernhard Lenger is a communication and social designer. With his designs he empowers the public to understand, communicate about, and take action on nowadays challenges. He is intrigued by the fact that every human being grew up with water, some with the scarcity of it, others with the surplus. Therefore he wants to let the public join the conversation and transition on how we value and treat the water surrounding us.

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