Date of Award:

8-2022

Document Type:

Thesis

Degree Name:

Master of Science (MS)

Department:

Civil and Environmental Engineering

Committee Chair(s)

David E. Rosenberg

Committee

David E. Rosenberg

Committee

Jeffery S. Horsburgh

Committee

Kelly Kopp

Abstract

Circulation of water use feedback and conservation messaging are strategies implemented to reduce water demand on a short-term (seasonal) basis. Often considered a less impactful strategy than other tactics such as price increments and usage restrictions, authorities mostly use feedback in informational campaigns with a focus to apprise users about their water use. Such conservation programs have had limited success that has been attributed to the fact that the information provided with the feedback campaigns was generic and did not motivate users enough to sustain their water-saving behaviors. However, the advent of disaggregation technologies that can provide appliance-wise water use data to households can drastically upgrade prior feedback and normative messaging approaches. Nevertheless, usage information is not enough to encourage users to adopt water-saving actions. Message selection should depend on its motivational potency, and users' understanding of water conservation, which requires careful psychological analysis that feedback campaigns often ignore. Using the community-based social marketing strategy—a system that combines usage information and behavioral psychology to develop user-specific interventions—we developed a conceptual framework for a customized strategic messaging system that will provide household-specific water use information, behavior-specific water-saving tips, with strategic messages to motivate households adopt and sustain their water-saving habits. Result of this study will be beneficial to water managers who intend to use feedbacks and normative messaging for conservation purposes.

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