Document Type



Available under a Creative Commons Attribution Non-Commercial Share Alike 4.0 International Licence



Publication Details

International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health


Extreme weather events including flooding can have severe personal, infrastructural, and economic consequences, with recent evidence pointing to surface flooding as a pathway for the microbial contamination of private groundwater supplies. There is a pressing need for increasingly focused information and awareness campaigns to highlight the risks posed by extreme weather events and appropriate subsequent post-event actions. To date, little is known about the presence, directionality or magnitude of gender-related differences regarding flood risk awareness and behaviour among private groundwater users, a particularly susceptible sub-population due to an overarching paucity of infrastructural regulation across many regions. The current study investigated gender-related differences in flood risk perception and associated mitigation behaviours via a cross-sectional, national survey of 405 (168 female, 237 male) private groundwater supply users. The developed survey instrument assessed socio-demographic profile, previous flood experience, experiential and conjectural health behaviours (contingent on previous experience), and Risk, Attitude, Norms, Ability, Self-regulation (RANAS) framework questions. Statistically significant gender differences were found between both ‘Norm—Descriptive’ and ‘Ability—Self-efficacy’ RANAS elements (p < 0.05). Female respondents reported a lower level of awareness of the need for post-flood action(s) (8.9% vs. 16.5%), alongside a perceived “lack of information” as a reason for not testing their domestic well (4.9% vs. 11.5%). Conversely, male respondents were more likely to report awareness of their well location in relation to possible contamination sources (96.6% vs. 89.9%) and awareness of previous water testing results (98.9% vs. 93.0%). Gender-related gaps exist within the studied private groundwater reliant cohort, a sub-population which has to date remained under-studied within the context of climate change and extreme weather events. Accordingly, findings suggest that gender-focused communication and education may represent an effective tool for protecting current and future generations of global groundwater users.



Geological Suvery of Ireland and Irish Research Council