Ali, A. D., Ramey, C. N., & Warner, L. A. (2018). Exploring the effect of personal norms and perceived cost of water on conservation. Journal of Agricultural Education, 59(3), 169-184 https://doi.org/10.5032/jae.2018.03169
In recent studies, between 50% to 75% of residential water was used for outdoor irrigation (Milesi et al., 2012). Turfgrass lawns are widely used in outdoor landscapes and are the largest irrigated crop by total area in the United States (Milesi et al., 2005). Consequently, as more American homes utilize turfgrass lawns, outdoor irrigation is expected to increase (Devitt, Carstensen, & Morris, 2008). Increases in outdoor water usage coupled with urbanization pressures water resources and intensifies the need for conservation. This study utilized hierarchical multiple regression to determine factors affecting urban residents’ intent to engage in water conservation. It also evaluated the effect of the Theory of Planned Behavior (TPB) variables on intent to conserve water, then included perceived cost of water and personal norms as additional factors affecting intent to conserve. A total of 1,809 urban residents in the U.S. were surveyed via a researcher-developed questionnaire using non-probability purposive sampling. Findings revealed both social and personal norms had strong effects on intent to conserve water. Recommendations follow that social and personal norms be made known to target audiences and used collectively in extension water conservation programs to promote behavior change.