by PW Schultz, A Messina, G Tronu, EF Limas, R Gupta, M Estrada

Environment and Behavior 48(5):686–710


Given that 20% of people lack access to safe drinking water, consumption of fresh water is a critical social and environmental issue. Previous research has found that the use of normative messaging can help reduce residential water consumption. This article examines the role social normative messages can play in promoting water conservation. Households in a San Diego suburb were surveyed about their water consumption and normative feedback was provided. Results showed an overall reduction in residential water consumption for households that received either a descriptive or an aligned injunctive normative message. Residents with strong personal norms regarding sustainable water consumption were less affected by the normative messages compared with residents having low personal norms. Normative messaging offers an encouraging tool for managing residential demand and overconsumption of water.

Region: San Diego, California
Publication Type: Journal article
Keywords: residential, water, and water-use efficiency