Photostory used in water management research

Using PhotoStory to capture irrigators’ emotions about water policy and sustainable development objectives: A case study in rural Australia Ganesh B Keremane, Jennifer McKay


Participatory research approaches have gained popularity within the natural resource management domain, particularly irrigation management since 1980s. Some of these methods allow the examination of values and emotions with regard to the management of natural resources and hence can supplement other ways of eliciting community responses to policy change. This article discusses the methodology and findings of an image-based participatory research project called PhotoStory. The project was conducted with members of stressed and conflicted irrigation communities in rural Australia. Participants were provided with cameras to record their views about different issues related to sustainable water management and conflicts and were also able to record their emotions and values on these topics. Findings of this project – PhotoStory – give a two-dimensional narration (visual and written) about complex issues related to water policy such as the creation of regional water allocation plans. This method answers how plans and a widespread drought have been experienced and interpreted by people living in two communities. The article concludes with some pros and cons of using this technique with an irrigation community and reflects on the use made of the work by the community and policy-makers.

Corresponding author: Ganesh B Keremane, Centre for ComparativeWater Policies and Laws and National Centre for Groundwater Research and Training, School of Commerce, University of South Australia, City West Campus, GPO Box 2471, Adelaide, SA 5001, Australia Email:

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