Water sustainability: Environmental attitude, drought attitude and motivation

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Abstract:

One impact of climate change being felt by households is the increasing unpredictability of the availability and quality of water supplies. Given the critical circumstance and timely needs created by droughts, this research aimed to explore the relationships among US consumers’ perceptions of drought severity, perceived importance of water conservation drivers, participation in water/energy conscious consumption and perceived consumer effectiveness (PCE) in general environmental issues as well as specifically in drought. A survey of 273 consumers in the US state of Texas was conducted during the most severe single-year drought in the region’s history. Exploratory factor analysis, confirmatory factor analysis and structural equation modelling were used for data analysis. The results of this study support the importance of PCE in sustainable consumer behaviour and suggest that PCE for a specific issue has a more direct impact on relevant consumer behaviour than PCE for a generalized issue. Further, the results of this study lead to the suggestion that policy makers focus upon water restrictions and educational campaigns as part of their demand side management of water resources, as opposed to providing incentives for water conservation technologies. Lastly, the exploratory variable used to measure water/energy conscious consumption has been validated in this study and suggests that at least a partial percentage of consumers are consciously making water/energy purchase decisions within a larger framework of reduced resource availability.

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