Chaudhary, A. K., Warner, L. A., Lamm, A. J., Israel, G. D., Rumble, J. N., & Cantrell, R. A. (2017). Using the theory of planned behavior to encourage water conservation among extension clients. Journal of Agricultural Education, 58(3), 185-202. https://doi.org/10.5032/jae.2017.03185
Extension professionals can play a role in addressing water scarcity issues by helping home landscape irrigation users to conserve water. This study used survey research to examine the relationship between several variables, including attitudes, subjective norms, perceived behavioral control, personal norms, demographic factors, and past behaviors, on intention to use good irrigation practices among Florida home landscape irrigation users (N = 1,063). Following subsequent hierarchical linear regression models, the final model explained 39% of the variance in intentions to engage in good landscape irrigation practices. Subjective norms had a strong influence on intention to engage in landscape water conservation, and past behaviors and personal norms improved the prediction. Extension professionals should incorporate subjective norms into water conservation programs by emphasizing somewhat invisible conservation behaviors to improve perceptions of peers’ practices. When personal norms are strong, the subjective norms are slightly less important. Residents who feel a personal obligation to conserve water may be more open to information related to water conservation, and they may be more likely to act, even in the absence of social support. Finally, Extension professionals should consider the audience’s past behaviors to design programs that are compatible with actions that Extension clients are likely to take.