Some Perspectives on Managing Water Demand: Public and Expert Views

Canadian Water Resources Journal (Impact Factor: 1.22). 01/1984; 9(4):9-18. DOI: 10.4296/cwrj0904009

ABSTRACT An investigation was undertaken to explore two aspects of water demand management strategies. The first aspect involved comparing and contrasting the public’s and expert’s perceptions of various water demand management techniques. The second part of the study involved an examination of people’s attitudes, behaviours, motivations and satisfactions with regard to water conservation. A survey was conducted during the late spring of 1984 which collected data from a random sample of citizens in the communities of Kitchener and Waterloo, Ontario and from the participants in a symposium on water demand management. Data from the 39 public respondents and the 33 expert respondents were analyzed. The results of the comparative analysis indicated that the experts perceive rate structure strategies as being more effective than do the public. Although both groups rated education strategies significantly higher than other demand management options, the experts tended to underestimate the full extent of the public’s belief in reduction. Data from the respondents were also subjected to dimensional analysis and relationships between the dimensions were examined. The results indicate that people hold not one but several conservation related attitudes and they report deriving a series of separate and distinct satisfactions from conservation behaviours. The satisfactions were not global concepts but were quite specific involving, for instance, frugality and participation. These findings have both practical and theoretical relevance. The practical benefits come from the potential to devise more effective demand management techniques. It would seem wise to avoid developing water demand programs which are based upon preconceptions of what the public thinks. It is more effective, and less embarrassing, to discover the differences between the public’s and the experts’ knowledge and preference structure during development of a program than to have these differences surface during implementation of one’s plan. Our theoretical understanding of why people bother to conserve resources may be improved by investigating more than just attitude-behaviour consistency or the effects of extrinsic rewards. More research attention should be given to satisfactions derived from environmentally appropriate behaviour.

  • Source
    [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: Efforts to promote environmentally appropriate behavior rely on motivation originating from 3 sources: other people, the environment, and one's self. This article examines a particular form of the latter source, intrinsic satisfactions. Nine studies are presented that investigate the multidimensional structure of intrinsic satisfactions and their relationship to reduced consumption behavior. Two categories of intrinsic satisfaction, labeled frugality and participation, are particularly well suited to encouraging such behavior. A third category, competence motivation, is explored in some detail and its dimensional structure is interpreted in terms of 3 dominant themes in the research literature. Connections between intrinsic satisfactions and such concepts as locus of control and altruism are explored, and implications for practitioners are discussed.
    Environment and Behavior 05/1996; 28(3):358. DOI:10.1177/0013916596283005 · 1.27 Impact Factor
  • [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: We often assume that researchers and decision-makers are rational beings reliant on hard data to determine the best policy. But individuals are also influenced by their experiences with their physical and social environments. How they perceive and interact with their environment is also important for decision-making. The brain processes these personal and professional experiences to generate the emotional responses and belief systems used to interpret environments. It is these brain-environment interpretation and coding, storage and recall functions that provide the different mental representations used for ongoing interactions with the world. Social psychologists, anthropologists, behavioural geographers and environmental sociologists have extensive theoretical and empirical mechanisms to investigate how this processing shifts from an individual level to the social level. It is this interplay between individuals’ cognitive processing and emotion, along with group decision-making about water policy, that is the basis for a water cognition framework. How to test and evaluate a water cognition framework is the challenge. Cognitive affective mapping (CAM)—as both a process and product—offers one possible mechanism. Cognitive affective maps (CAMs) can be used for data collection, analysis and a communication medium. These roles allow the researcher to articulate individuals’ deep emotions and values within a water community or network. The design and process can reveal how a community’s values, beliefs and norms have changed over time and what potential exists for addressing embedded innovation barriers within a water governance context. To explore these ideas, this paper includes a brief review of the evolving cognitive affective sciences literature as the basis for the water cognition framework, a methodology description of cognitive affective mapping and discussion of results from a Canadian water efficiency community.
    Water Resources Management 08/2012; 26(10). DOI:10.1007/s11269-012-0061-x · 2.46 Impact Factor
  • Source
    [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: The success of water efficiency programs relies at least partially on effective education that informs and promotes participation, and encourages a shift in attitude from believing all water demands must be met unconditionally to realising that we use too much water, beyond the sustainable capacity of the resource. In this paper, we address the importance of education in water efficiency programs, and review the results of a study undertaken in the Regional Municipality of Waterloo in Ontario to assess the effects of education on participation in voluntary efficiency initiatives.
    Canadian Water Resources Journal 01/2002; 27(3):317-333. DOI:10.4296/cwrj2703317 · 1.22 Impact Factor