An experimental test of voluntary strategies to promote urban water demand management

Fielding, Kelly S., Spinks, Anneliese, Russell, Sally, McCrea, Rod, Stewart, Rodney and Gardner, John (2013) An experimental test of voluntary strategies to promote urban water demand management. Journal of Environmental Management, 114 343-351. doi:10.1016/j.jenvman.2012.10.027

Author Fielding, Kelly S.
Spinks, Anneliese
Russell, Sally
McCrea, Rod
Stewart, Rodney
Gardner, John
Title An experimental test of voluntary strategies to promote urban water demand management
Journal name Journal of Environmental Management   Check publisher's open access policy
ISSN 0301-4797
Publication date 2013-01-01
Year available 2012
Sub-type Article (original research)
DOI 10.1016/j.jenvman.2012.10.027
Open Access Status Not yet assessed
Volume 114
Start page 343
End page 351
Total pages 9
Place of publication London, United Kingdom
Publisher Academic Press
Language eng
Subject 2305 Environmental Engineering
2311 Waste Management and Disposal
2308 Management, Monitoring, Policy and Law
Abstract In light of the current and future threats to global water security the current research focuses on trialing interventions to promote urban water conservation. We report an experimental study designed to test the long-term impact of three different interventions on household water consumption in South East Queensland. Participants from 221 households were recruited and completed an initial survey, and their houses were fitted with smart water meters which measured total water usage at 5 s intervals. Households were allocated into one of four conditions: a control group and three interventions groups (water saving information alone, information plus a descriptive norm manipulation, and information plus tailored end-user feedback). The study is the first to use smart water metering technology as a tool for behaviour change as well as a way to test the effectiveness of demand management interventions. Growth curve modelling revealed that compared to the control, the three intervention groups all showed reduced levels of household consumption (an average reduction of 11.3 L per person per day) over the course of the interventions, and for some months afterwards. All interventions led to significant water savings, but long-term household usage data showed that in all cases, the reduction in water use resulting from the interventions eventually dissipated, with water consumption returning to pre-intervention levels after approximately 12 months. Implications for water demand management programs are discussed.
Keyword Demand management
Water conservation
Water end use
Descriptive norms
Q-Index Code C1
Q-Index Status Confirmed Code
Institutional Status UQ
Additional Notes Available online: 17 November 2012.

Document type: Journal Article
Sub-type: Article (original research)
Collections: Institute for Social Science Research - Publications
Official 2013 Collection
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