McKee, B., Huang, P., & Lamm, A. J. (2017). Building extension partnerships with government to further water conservation efforts. Journal of Agricultural Education, 58(2), 299-315. https://doi.org/10.5032/jae.2017.02299
Extension, being a local, state and federally funded program has a natural partnership with government agencies at all three levels, however these partnerships could be built upon and targeted at specific audiences for greater effect if more is known about how government influences public perception. The government has recognized the need for increased public engagement in water conservation to ensure the sustainability of water resources for future generations and taken action through incentive programs and regulations. Political affiliation is known to influence public perception of government initiatives, which may impact levels of intention and engagement in water conservation. This study explored how US residents responded to positive and negative governmental influences on water conservation practices using an online survey. The findings revealed significant differences in the water conservation activities respondents are currently engaged in, as well as future intentions, depend upon political affiliation. Additionally, intention can be predicted by political affiliation and positive government perceptions. By examining the dissonance created by respondents’ engagement and intention to take water conservation action, guidance can be provided to extension educators on how to collaborate with government agencies to develop and implement programs and policies that encourage or enforce engagement in water conservation behaviors.