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Table 1 Main research results, discussions, and shortcomings of current research

From: How do citizens feel about their water services in the water sector? Evidence from the UK

Dimension Main research results and discussion Shortcomings of current research
Water supply services and technology application Although studies mainly consider citizens’ perceptions of water supply services and technology investment in the water sector, which are more relevant to their lives, findings vary considerably. Different citizens are satisfied or dissatisfied with the services and infrastructure of the water sector. The survey results show that citizens' satisfaction is higher, relating to the research area and the research object. The current technical support provided by the water sector is still insufficient to meet the needs of water users. The British Water Company also recognises this and is willing to increase investment in infrastructure
Citizens, even more, expect the water sector to develop new innovative service strategies, invest in facilities and products that are more in line with customers, and further strengthen the water sector’s ability to deal with water resources issues. More importantly, these strategies must also be sustainable in response to the changing environment
Existing research does not reflect that the water sector’s service and infrastructure construction work differ from place to place
Whether the economic level, citizen income, or some other external environment, these will affect the improvement of water service quality and the application of technology
Water supply management Most studies on the communication between water authorities and water citizens show less communication and lower efficiency between water citizens and water authorities. Most water users are only likely to contact the water company or related sector when they are worried about the bill. Some citizens mentioned that the water information they know is limited, and more time and expanded communication are needed to deepen their understanding of water resources. At present, the water sector is constantly strengthening information communication with citizens, such as building a communication and information sharing platform, but this requires the water sector and citizens to work together to achieve sound intercommunication
Many citizens have unsatisfactory perceptions regarding the research on water supply and demand management in the water sector. Water citizens pay attention to improving water use efficiency and using fewer resources to obtain better services. In terms of water resources safety and emergency management, it is believed that the water sector still needs to improve rapid information transmission and active response
Existing research has not explored what the main communication barriers between citizens and the water sector are
The coordination mechanism between water demand management and water supply management and how to improve citizens’ service satisfaction requires further exploration
Comprehensive utilisation of water resources Wastewater treatment and water recycling are essential ways to protect the environment and save water resources. Many studies have shown that water citizens appreciate the environmental and conservation measures taken by the water sector, such as using advanced technology (e.g. [83, 84]) and investing significant resources in wastewater treatment services. However, judging from the public’s satisfaction with wastewater treatment, the water sector should continually improve its facilities, technical means, and management decisions
The attitude of most water users to water reuse is that they worry about water quality problems and need to instal and use reclaimed water recovery systems and are unwilling to drink or use reclaimed water to irrigate plants. The key to solving these problems is improving the water reuse plan implemented by the water sector and the service facilities provided to improve reclaimed water quality continuously. When promoting and using reclaimed water, the water sector needs to provide more relevant information, increase communication with water citizens to build trust, strengthen supervision to enhance water citizens’ perception of water quality, and improve the possibility of water citizens accepting recycled water
Water reuse is affected by environmental factors and personal factors of citizens. Therefore, future research can focus more on disgusting factors that affect citizen acceptance, cognitive-emotional factors, and how these factors affect acceptance
Water prices The CCW survey results in the past 9 years show that citizens are not satisfied with the fairness and affordability of water or sewage charges, but the satisfaction is on the rise, which means that the water sector has done something to satisfy consumers in terms of water charges. Many studies have confirmed that citizens have a low level of awareness of water prices and calculations. They hope to understand water prices, payment status, and water price supervision information. In addition, when setting water prices, the water sector must meet the actual needs of customers and set reasonable prices
The setting of water price needs to consider many factors. In addition to some factors that the management can control, there are many factors outside their control, the external economic environment, the ability of water users to pay, and changes in household water consumption [118]. Therefore, it is necessary to comprehensively conduct market research and ensure information disclosure when setting water prices in the water sector. The difference in water prices may be caused by the quality of services provided by service operators and the unequal amount of investment in infrastructure. Judging from the existing literature, water citizens do not consider these factors and are more concerned about their bills. They hope that the water sector will improve the water price mechanism as much as possible, and the water price implementation process can be more transparent to increase citizens’ willingness to pay for water fees
While considering citizens' satisfaction with water prices, formulate reasonable water price pricing mechanisms and implementation strategies
The logical relationship between the setting of water prices and the water problems facing them needs to be further explored
What is the main reason for the difference in water prices? Is it related to the different services or infrastructure investments provided in different regions?