Most of us still take it for granted that we can drink water from the tab. But increasing amounts of water drillings from Danish waterworks raise cause for concern.  

An increasing number of pesticides are found in the groundwater reserves which are our source of water for drinking. This is also true in the municipality of Aarhus.

Agriculture and horticulture are used to being named as the great contaminators. But the release of pesticides also originates from many house and garden owners. This is the reason for a new campaign from the Waterworks in Aarhus Municipality (VPU), who want the citizens to choose sustainable garden tools instead of pesticides when gardening. 

Bo Vægter, geologist at Aarhus Vand (Aarhus Water), says: 

- ”With this campaign we wanted to challenge the ingrained habits and behaviours of people. Because it is mostly down to what we are used to do. But we also wanted to appeal to the fact that having clean drinking water in the future is a responsibility we all share. It is a known fact that 1 gram of pesticides can pollute an entire family's consumption of water for 80 years. We experienced that Clienti was spot on with their insights and a campaign idea which focused on how we all have to battle for clean drinking water.”

 

A call to arms for clean drinking water

 

The campaign “a call to arms for clean drinking water” was introduced at the end of March on the World Water Day, which is the annual UN observance day that highlights people’s right to fresh and clean water. The end of March is also the time of year when the Danes head begin with their gardening.  Strategic Director of Clienti, Charlotte Liendegaard Vigh, explains:

- ”It was really important for us that we had the right timing. We wanted to expose the problem to the citizens of Aarhus from the exact moment when weeds and pests start to occupy their mind. As important as is was for us to inform about the consequences of pesticides and creating involvement, just as important was it to advise people on what to do instead. Therefore, the campaign, which primarily was implemented on digital channels, contained several videos with concrete tips for pesticide-free gardening.”

The initial campaign results have been exceedingly positive. Simultaneously, the campaign has revived great support from its two ambassadors, the minister of Environment and Agriculture, Jakob Ellemann-Jensen, and the mayor of Aarhus, Jakob Bundsgaard. Both have helped emphasize the importance of putting clean drinking water on the joint agenda. Charlotte Liendegaard Vigh says: 

- ”More than 30,000 Facebook users have already seen the campaign during its first month and posts and videos have been shown over 220,000 times. The posts are also being shared and commented on diligently. At this moment the campaign has over 320 comments. We have also been able to ascertain a great effect from our posters at the municipality's recycling stations as well as from household distributed leaflets.”

The campaign for clean drinking water in Aarhus Municipality continues throughout the summer and will be resumed next spring. In spite of the preliminary success, many still lack the knowledge that we actually live on our drinking water. In that light, it is important that we continue with information about sustainable alternatives as well as the great harm a small amount of pesticides in the garden can cause. Now and in the future. 

 

For more information contact: 

Bo Vægter, chairholder in VPU and geologist at Aarhus University. 

Direct: +45 8947 1310.
Phone: +45 2920 9291
E-mail: BVA@aarhusvand.dk

For more information

Charlotte Liendgaard Vigh

Agency and Strategic Director / Partner