Utah Resident Climate Change Beliefs as Predictors of Residential Water Use and Local Water Conservation Policies

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Grant Holyoak, Utah State University

Social and Behavioral Sciences

While extensive research has been performed on the effects of climate change on water resources, little analysis has been performed that examines how a population’s belief about climate change affects its residential water use behaviors and its support of local water resources policies. This study, as an appendage of the extensive NSF-funded “iUtah” Project (innovative Urban Transitions and Aridregion Hydro-sustainability), seeks to fill this gap in the research through statistical analysis of a household survey distributed to over 2,000 Utah households during the summer of 2014. Surveys were distributed and collected through a revolutionary “drop-off/pick-up” methodology yielding a highly representative response rate. The project analyzes Utahan responses in both an analytical and an explanatory fashion, demonstrating how belief or disbelief in anthropogenic climate change is predictive of specific residential water use behaviors. The effects of climate change beliefs are also examined as predictors of resident support of potential local water conservation policies. Enormously beneficial to the arena of water conservation policy, this project leads to a better understanding of how climate change beliefs predict water use, allowing for more efficient strategy in the implementation of specific water conservation practices across American communities.