WRI conducts research to find a definition of good water out of its own nature. This can be observed through how water behaves and through the conditions water needs in order to serve life. The tools of this research arephenomenology, the study of water phenomena through empirical means, and the Drop Picture Method as developed by Theordor Schwenk andPhenomenology, the study of water phenomenon through empirical means.


Workshops and lecturing has been the main way of distributing the contents of our work. The Film project, “Water: The Language of Nature” is a major step towards bringing this knowledge to the broader public and for use in world water policy formulation.

The Drop Picture Method


Theodor Schwenk, author of Sensitive Chaos, and founder of The Institute for Flow Sciences, developed the Drop Picture Method at the Institut für Strömungswissenschaften. Schwenk was inspired by the realization that water, to serve the needs of human nutrition, must really be like a “food” and must have on its own the qualities of vitality and nourishment to maintain human health. The Drop Picture Method was developed to reveal this aspect of water’s “quality” in a holistic way.


The Drop Picture Method reveals a qualitative correlation between water movement and water quality. Water presents an integrative expression of its behavior through movement; the minutest changes in quality register as a change in flow pattern. By photographing movement-forms of a given water sample, the Drop Picture Method provides a direct and replicable image of water quality.


 Picture 1


A sample of water of good quality, as shown in Picture 1, creates a continuum of movement and forms throughout the experiment’s duration of time. At no point is there a dramatic stop to these processes. A variety of delicate, fine movements show water’s openness to form differentiation and to plasticity. Healthy water shows optimum mobility, a multiplicity of forms, and optimum sensitivity.


 Picture 2


Picture 2 shows a contraction of forms which are weak and undeveloped. This sample was taken from water that had been chargedwith sewage and industrial waste, then treated by standard methods.


 Picture 3


Picture 3 shows a sample of water with severely weakened capacity for movement. In this water sample, a small drop of detergent has been added. Vortex forms do not appear and a boundary separates the center from the periphery. There is little mobility and a repetition of the same simple forms. It becomes possible to corroborate with the Drop Picture Method that water is far more sensitive to subtle influences than previously believed. Research using the Drop Picture Method illustrates water’s archetypal role as a balancer and mediator for life.

A Way of Knowing Nature


The approach taken by WRI to understand the positive qualities of water is based upon phenomenology, a methodology made known by Johann Wolfgang von Goethe (1749-1832) that allows one to see water, to take an example, more comprehensively by studying the phenomena that water presents through its behavior. To understand water from a quantitative and causal point of view gives only part of the total picture.


Beginning with simple phenomena that can be observed, the methods employed show that water phenomena are like the letters of a script which can be learned, read and used to understand its meaning. Phenomena taken in isolation do not convey insight into their real nature. This can only be grasped in relation to the whole.


Human beings tend to see things in isolation. As objects, things appear to be separate from one another; but they exist and are active in a broader context. Henri Bortoft, in his book, The Wholeness of Nature, makes the point that selectivity, by which he means separateness, overlooks the way in which things “already belong together.” When things are seen their context, inherent connections are revealed and an understanding of the whole arises.


It also comes about that through this process of observation, one’s thought processes are changed and become more suited to the understanding of what is alive. This transformation of the process of thinking is a decisive step that must be taken in order to fully grasp the implications of this kind of phenomenological method.


Out of the way water behaves we can see and understand more of its character. Through observing phenomena, new attention is brought to the story that water tells. Water’s more hidden nature can be seen and described in language that can show us new conservation, management and policy formation strategies.





Research has centered around developing water phenonemna experiments for education and developing educational tools and kits to be used in schools, camps, youth programs, and for environmentalists.


WRI is collaborting with educators and scientists in the United States, Europe, South Africa and New Zealand.


When not working on educational matters, the Drop Picture Method is used to do basic research on the positive nature of water and in investigating waters of good quality and materials research in relationship to water quality.

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