In the modern world, one of the most valuable commodities (because I won’t say value) is information. Of course, information is not yet knowledge, but knowledge is a collection of information. So there can be only one conclusion – knowledge is valuable and worth acquiring! It is crucial for making rational decisions and efficiently managing every aspect of our lives, including water.

Do we know what floats in our waters and why not what should? And what should and why exactly? How much water is in the landscape and why so little? Will water be available to everyone, and if so, for how much longer? And how will climate change and its impact on various environmental components, including the water balance, affect our functioning? Lack of knowledge in this area usually has deplorable consequences (for aquatic ecosystems, but after all, also, and perhaps especially, for us). Only this knowledge must first come to us.

As in any supply chain- the shorter the time a product travels from the producer to the consumer, the better. Have you ever wondered what it’s like for scientific discoveries? How long does it take for a fact found in research and obvious to the community that follows trends and scientific reports, to enter the mainstream and become a revealed truth for the so-called “scientific community”? The average viewer? It is estimated that a minimum of a decade!!! That’s an era! For example, climate change began to worry scientists as early as the late 1950s, but it was only quite recently that this fact broke through into the public consciousness and ceased to be widely denied.

There are many reasons for this condition. Often, new knowledge forces the need to revise the current way of operating, which can provoke opposition from many social or professional groups. Added to this is normal human inertia and unwillingness to do anything without immediate benefit to oneself. I would venture to say that the lower the degree of influence of a fact on people’s daily functioning, the longer the process of its entry into general circulation. It is also possible to skip it altogether.

Another important factor conditioning the transfer of knowledge from the pages of prestigious journals to the proverbial thatch is the availability of the message. Let’s face it, most readers find scientific articles boring. Even for scientists, they can sometimes be difficult to digest and do not provide an aesthetic experience or emotional catharsis. It is rare for a scientific text to be both dense in content and fascinating in form. It is said that God gives either talent or reason. Chapeau bas to the one who possessed both qualities.

The delay between the acquisition of knowledge on water conservation and rational management and its implementation in practice is plain to see. One might cite, for example, one of the headlines of a report published in November this year. On a certain news portal: “Water is our common good, we should have started acting 10 years ago” (“Głos Wielkopolski”, 28/11/2022). I absolutely agree with this diagnosis, with special emphasis on the second part of the sentence. What immediately comes to mind is a slogan authored by American astrophysicist Neil deGrasse Tyson and its many travesties printed on banners, banners, posters and T-shirts of manifestation fighters for a better tomorrow. “Every disaster movie begins with a scientist being ignored” (Tweet, 25.04.2020; freely translated as “Every disaster movie begins with a scientist being ignored”). The somewhat pop-cultural nature of the slogan may irritate, but it won’t change the fact of its remarkable accuracy. Let’s hope it’s not too late, although that hope is very fragile.

The goal of this column is to reduce the travel time of scientific reports “from the heads of experts to the heads of laymen” and to make scientific information more accessible to a wide audience. Our ambition is to invite authors who are not only smart, but also talented, to make the scientific aspects of the water environment accessible and fascinating reading for everyone. If successful, all water matters (not just “Water Matters”) can only benefit from this.

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