How to Encourage the Consumption of Tap Water: A Case Study on Águas do Porto

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This study aims to describe and analyze the social marketing campaign undertaken by the Portuguese public company AdP—Águas do Porto, E.M.—since March 2015. This campaign focuses on the incentive of promoting new habits of drinking water consumption and has been a pioneer in the water distribution sector, establishing a trend followed by other public companies in the country.

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There is increasing pressure for society to move towards more sustainable use of its resources, and calls in the literature have been made to reassess marketing’s role in achieving such goals. This research examines how key behavioural factors influence household water use, in the context of a social marketing programme to reduce household water consumption. A model of the key drivers of household water consumption is developed and tested using a sample of 909 households in a regional city in Australia. The findings from this study support the model developed and show that in the absence of price as a rationing mechanism, the social marketing programme significantly reduces household water consumption. Statement of contribution: This is the first study to develop a comprehensive and empirically tested model of the non-price drivers of household water consumption, within the context of a social marketing intervention. The findings make a contribution to the field of consumer behaviour and social marketing by illustrating key behavioural drivers of water consumption. Consequently the study also shows how marketers can assist in preserving essential goods and services such as water.
An overview is given on the findings of the recently completed AWWA Research Foundation project titled A Strategic Assessment of the Future of Water Utilities. The analysis of some of the water quality trends observed in the project is discussed. An attempt is also made to describe how those trends may affect the US water utility community.
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