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Changing Human Behavior is One of the Most Difficult Tasks of Water Conservation 1.

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Presentation on theme: "Changing Human Behavior is One of the Most Difficult Tasks of Water Conservation 1."— Presentation transcript:

1 Changing Human Behavior is One of the Most Difficult Tasks of Water Conservation 1

2 Presented by: Ida Roberts The Water Conservation School 7205 Somersworth Drive Orlando, Florida For more information, visit:

3 It can be and must be done because water is a finite resource with the gap between demand and supply increasing rapidly It can be and must be done because water is a finite resource with the gap between demand and supply increasing rapidly To defer exorbitant costs of the monumental engineering alternative water supply projects, called the traditional hard path (engineering mentality). Costs +2-3x original projections, trending upwards To defer exorbitant costs of the monumental engineering alternative water supply projects, called the traditional hard path (engineering mentality). Costs +2-3x original projections, trending upwards Conservation is the least expensive way to find new water. Compare conservation costs with the cost of the next unit of supply, called the new soft path (nonstructural component). Costs of conservation trending downward Conservation is the least expensive way to find new water. Compare conservation costs with the cost of the next unit of supply, called the new soft path (nonstructural component). Costs of conservation trending downward Saving water saves energy costs, a large part of utility & individual expense Saving water saves energy costs, a large part of utility & individual expense Population growth, growing regulatory tightening of supplies and less water availability due to climate change are factors. Population growth, growing regulatory tightening of supplies and less water availability due to climate change are factors. Why We Must Change

4 Discharge to the Ocean 5 inches/year Stormwater Runoff Evapotranspiration plus Evaporation 45 inches/year Rainfall 59 inches/year Evaporation Groundwater Recharge Volume - 9 inches/year Max Speed – 14 inches/year Groundwater pumping 25 inches/year Aquifer Net Loss = 16 inches per year

5 Fork In The Road We have reached a fork in the road on which path to take, hard path or soft path: Hard Path: Building more facilities at tremendous costs. The consequences: 1. Diminished natural world 2. Higher economic costs 3. Concentrated decision making Soft Path: Changing the way people think of water and changing their behavior towards it. The consequences: 1. More productive use of water 2. Transparent and open decision making 3. An acceptance of the true value of water

6 Behaviors can be changed Behaviors can be changed Behaviors are learned Behaviors are learned Intervention needed for changes. Intervention needed for changes. Interventions has to be in the form of leadership Interventions has to be in the form of leadership Most will not change on their own Most will not change on their own 6

7 What Leadership Does Change Require From You Your leadership. How? Your leadership. How? Change Yourself. Make the transition from hard path thinking to soft path thinking Change Yourself. Make the transition from hard path thinking to soft path thinking The ability to communicate is the corner stone of leadership The ability to communicate is the corner stone of leadership New management skills: soft path customer relations New management skills: soft path customer relations Training, public education, on-going feedback (informative billing) and reminders Training, public education, on-going feedback (informative billing) and reminders Interact closely with your water users Interact closely with your water users Greater direct participation by water users Greater direct participation by water users Effectively engage community groups in water management Effectively engage community groups in water management Get neighbors to work together to capture conservation low cost opportunities Get neighbors to work together to capture conservation low cost opportunities

8 What People Want People dont want to specifically use water People dont want to specifically use water What they actually want is to drink and bathe, swim, produce goods and services, grow food and otherwise meet human needs What they actually want is to drink and bathe, swim, produce goods and services, grow food and otherwise meet human needs

9 Overcome Myths and Barriers Change of notion of a perceived abundance of water Change of notion of a perceived abundance of water Overcome: Overcome: –One person cant make much of a difference, –Why should I comply when a lot of other people arent,and –This wont affect me.

10 Results of Negative Consequences Negative consequences sometimes change behavior temporarily, but they do not change attitude. Must be combined with powerful positive reinforcement to succeed Negative consequences sometimes change behavior temporarily, but they do not change attitude. Must be combined with powerful positive reinforcement to succeed Negatives can also engender the no law against it and beat the system noncompliance mentality Negatives can also engender the no law against it and beat the system noncompliance mentality

11 Positive Reinforcement Is The Key Only positive reinforcement strategies produce long- term attitudinal change required for the permanent behavioral change required Only positive reinforcement strategies produce long- term attitudinal change required for the permanent behavioral change required Techniques to develop attitudinal change Techniques to develop attitudinal change

12 Some Positives to Overcoming Barriers People will resist appearing wasteful People will resist appearing wasteful Identify a specific second use for the water Identify a specific second use for the water Ask for specific solutions from customers – public participation is critical Ask for specific solutions from customers – public participation is critical Compare economic issues to the cost of the next unit of supply and not the current cost of water Compare economic issues to the cost of the next unit of supply and not the current cost of water Encourage news coverage of water conservation issues. Despite their emotional resistance to the news media, people believe what they read in the press and see on television. Encourage news coverage of water conservation issues. Despite their emotional resistance to the news media, people believe what they read in the press and see on television.

13 Make it as hassle free for the customers as possible. Make it as hassle free for the customers as possible. Perceived hassles limit participation in water conservation, i.e., Perceived hassles limit participation in water conservation, i.e., –Number one reason for resisting change to irrigation practices – fear of irrigation controller. Customers are afraid of it. They dont know how to set it –Print some very simple instructions, i.e., set day of the week and time, select days to irrigate, set time to start, decide time for each zone. –People resist toilet rebates because of the footprint. Do they fit in the exact location? Or will it require redoing the bathroom floor. Also, how to dispose of old toilet Give away or sell low flow showerheads ($5) & faucet aerators ($1) Emphasize the specially-engineered and independent testing Give away or sell low flow showerheads ($5) & faucet aerators ($1) Emphasize the specially-engineered and independent testing Washing machine resistance from utilities because people take them with them when they move Washing machine resistance from utilities because people take them with them when they move

14 Extrapolation can be used by studies done to change behavior involving greenhouse gases, recycling (33 % participation in 1972, 80 % in 1990), energy consumption Extrapolation can be used by studies done to change behavior involving greenhouse gases, recycling (33 % participation in 1972, 80 % in 1990), energy consumption Get customers attention by offering incentives, both simply emotional (make themselves feel better) and financial Get customers attention by offering incentives, both simply emotional (make themselves feel better) and financial 14

15 What Research Teaches Us Knowledge alone does not produce behavior change, participation and incentives do Knowledge alone does not produce behavior change, participation and incentives do An intrinsic satisfaction from doing the right thing is achieved An intrinsic satisfaction from doing the right thing is achieved The simpler, less hassles for the customers, the better The simpler, less hassles for the customers, the better Rewards: Cash rebates or rebates on their bill are the best to show the savings Rewards: Cash rebates or rebates on their bill are the best to show the savings

16 Utilize All The Tools People respond differently to various tools People respond differently to various tools Mailings, door-to-door solicitations, telephone calls, presentations Mailings, door-to-door solicitations, telephone calls, presentations Emphasize benefits, why should care, specific behaviors to change, tailored information, reminder labels at point of contact with water Emphasize benefits, why should care, specific behaviors to change, tailored information, reminder labels at point of contact with water Provide feedback, on bills, self generated, consumption monitors, provided by others, tailored Provide feedback, on bills, self generated, consumption monitors, provided by others, tailored Goal setting Goal setting Provide implementation plans Provide implementation plans

17 Verbal commitments Verbal commitments Social support Social support Social comparisons Social comparisons Focus groups Focus groups Modeling Modeling Rewards and incentives Rewards and incentives Disincentives for unwanted behaviors Disincentives for unwanted behaviors Utilize All The Tools

18 Behavior changes take time. Behavior changes take time. Most permanent changes are accomplished incrementally and a result of repetition Most permanent changes are accomplished incrementally and a result of repetition Long-term commitment is required Long-term commitment is required Permanent change is brought on by positive encouragement and rewards Permanent change is brought on by positive encouragement and rewards 18

19 Repetition Repetition 19

20 Specific Messages Beyond the Obvious There is no relationship between the price of a water saving device and its effectiveness There is no relationship between the price of a water saving device and its effectiveness Encourage full cost and volume pricing to move away from the culture of cheap water which encourages wastefulness Encourage full cost and volume pricing to move away from the culture of cheap water which encourages wastefulness

21 The hundredth-monkey effect is a phenomenon in which a learned behavior spreads rapidly from one group of monkeys to all related monkeys once a critical mass of acceptance is reached The hundredth-monkey effect is a phenomenon in which a learned behavior spreads rapidly from one group of monkeys to all related monkeys once a critical mass of acceptance is reached When only a limited number of individuals know a 'new way', it remains the conscious property of those individuals When only a limited number of individuals know a 'new way', it remains the conscious property of those individuals Each time another individual manifests this new awareness, the field is strengthened Each time another individual manifests this new awareness, the field is strengthened Once a critical mass is reached (an exact number will vary), the awareness rapidly becomes common social change Once a critical mass is reached (an exact number will vary), the awareness rapidly becomes common social change You never know if you are talking to the hundredth monkey You never know if you are talking to the hundredth monkey 21


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