In developing the global interconnections, people only scratch the permeable skin of hydrophilic experience to consider its depths and flows and the many different bodies and spaces that articulate a positive water-health relationship. While much of the work on human health and water is focused on risk, it does so sometimes without recognising the potential for health improvement given the right social, political and environmental circumstances and intervention. The question of value represents a significant strand in current policy thinking on how natural spaces can protect and promote human health and this may inform data and methodologies associated with future hydrophilic research. Research that teases out what ‘intangible’ value really means to policymakers and develops alternative ‘valuations’ using innovative data and methods is badly needed. Equally public blue spaces come under risk-averse health and safety strictures that also place responsibility back on the citizen while avoiding any statutory responsibilities.