Water Resources

Topic Editor:
Robin Grantham

Southwest Florida Water Management District

Around the world, professionals are exploring a variety of alternative water supplies. However, the reality is that we also need to focus on changing individual water conservation behaviours involved in gardening, farming, using our washrooms, washing our clothes and dishes, and so on.  More

We will continue building the water topic areas on this website to host additional materials on a variety of water-related behaviour change topics such as current trends, consumer research and stories in the news. We will also be expanding the content to include more materials related to water quality, water resource stewardship.

Latest News

March 17, 2017 California Drought Messaging has Unintended Consequences
Exposure to pro-conservation messages actually worsened recipients' attitude toward water conservation.   Article
March 15, 2017 Three New Materials Added in this Topic Category in the Last Year
We've added one new case study and two new resources this past year. You can see the case studies in the left hand column below and the resources in the right hand column below. Let us know what you think.

Most Recent Water Efficiency Case Studies

Landmark Case Study Shower Feedback in Switzerland  Environment

This pilot program provided Swiss households with real-time feedback on one specific, energy-intensive behavior: showering. Participants received smart shower meters that displayed feedback on the individual’s energy and water consumption in the shower in real time. A randomized controlled trial with 697 households in Zurich found that the treatment group who received feedback in real time reduced their energy and water consumption, as well as time spent in the shower by 20-22% over the control group. The effects were stable throughout the two-month study, resulting in average savings of 1.2 kWh per day and household.  This program was designated a Tools of Change Landmark case study in 2016. Listen to the program manager, Verena Tiefenbeck of ETH Zurich, and ask questions during our webinar on March 6, 2017.

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Landmark Case Study Burlington’s Ice Rink Energy Competition  Environment

The City of Burlington's Ice Rink Energy Competition employs a low cost, easily replicable approach to significantly reduce energy consumption, associated greenhouse gases (GHG) and energy costs. A friendly competition to reduce energy at eight of the city's ice rinks helps change behaviours among staff and users, improves facility performance, and extends equipment life without sacrificing facility service levels or user satisfaction. Designated a Landmark case study in 2013.

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Cool Choices  Environment

Since 2010, Cool Choices has inspired employees to embrace sustainability through an innovative game model. Organizations in sectors as diverse as commercial construction, health care, manufacturing, U.S. primary and secondary schools, and law have had game participants save hundreds of thousands of dollars and avoid tons of pollution annually because of sustainable choices made in Cool Choices games. Post-game independent evaluations have found statistically significant savings in energy (median electrical household savings of 6%) as well as savings in water usage - with the vast majority of sustainable practices continuing a year later.

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Southwest Florida Management District's "Skip a Week" Yard Watering Campaign  Environment

This "Skip a Week" yard watering campaign used a combination of mass media and norm appeals  to overcome misconceptions about the amount of water required for healthy yard plants and to reduce yard water use. It resulted in an estimated 1.2 billion gallons of water saved during the four month campaign, at a cost of $0.60 per thousand gallons.

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BC21 PowerSmart  Environment

BC21 PowerSmart is a province wide project to conserve resources and create jobs. Residential energy efficiency audits are conducted, and incentives are offered to encourage residents to take steps to improve energy and water efficiency.

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Water-Efficient Durham  Environment

The Regional Municipality of Durham targeted neighbourhoods with high summer peak water use, and convinced most residents to sign a written pledge to water their lawns in accordance with municipal guidelines. The program has consistently reduced peak water use in targeted neighborhoods by 30% at first, then leveling off at around 17% after a year. It cost $19 per household in 2004 and is considered to be 1/5 the cost of the alternative - which is to expand the water supply infrastructure.

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Sustainable Okotoks, Alberta  Environment

Unprecedented steps have been taken by the Town of Okotoks, Alberta to ensure its long-term sustainability. The community has devised a sustainable development plan that rests on four guiding principles: environmental stewardship, economic opportunity, social conscience and fiscal responsibility.

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Green$aver  Environment

Green$aver provides home energy efficiency assessments and retrofit services in metropolitan Toronto. These assessments are conducted using Canada's EnerGuide for Houses system, which rates the overall energy efficiency of houses, identifies priority areas for improvement, and measures post-retrofit energy savings. Green$aver charges its customers a fee for its services, and it is trying to become a self-sustaining business. Work-based marketing approaches are being piloted, to promote Green$avers services to employees of local partner organizations.

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Resource Conservation in Ashland, Oregon  Environment

The City of Ashland runs a range of conservation incentive programs aimed primarily at promoting energy efficiency but also encompassing water conservation, regional air quality, recycling and composting, and land-use planning. The programs are designed to increase citizens' awareness of and access to conservation measures for new construction and retrofit, including residential weatherization, replacement of toilets and showerheads, composting, incentives for builders, and land-use ordinances.

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Barrie Water Conservation Program  Environment

The City of Barrie, Ontario has deferred millions of dollars in waste water and water supply capital expenditures with its retrofit water conservation program. The City supplied subsidized ultra low flow toilets, showerheads and aerators to Barrie residents over a two-year period.

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Water - Use It Wisely  Environment

Water Use It Wisely has become one of North America's most widely implemented, branded water conservation programs, with over 350 private and public partners, including corporate sponsors such as Lowes and The Home Depot. It illustrates a wide range of promotional tactics and strong partnership development, and is available for use throughout North America.

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Better Buildings Partnership  EnvironmentHealth

Toronto's Better Buildings Partnership (BBP) involves comprehensive energy efficiency retrofits and building renewal initiatives for buildings in the public, non-profit and private sectors. Innovative financing strategies are implemented and energy and water technologies are bundled together with other building renewal measures to allow for project flexibility.

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WaterSmart  Environment

To reduce peak period water consumption and increase awareness of the need to conserve water, a program involving watering restrictions, bicycle patrols and student exercises was implemented in Kamloops, British Columbia.

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Peterborough Green-Up  Environment

Peterborough Green-Up is a non-profit community environmental organization that helps people become more resource efficient through a home visit service. A demonstration Ecology Park is also run, in conjunction with related workshops and clinics.

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Global Action Plan for the Earth (GAP)  Environment

As of 1996, over 8,000 households in 15 countries had participated in GAP's EcoTeam program which revolves around an easy-to-use workbook and peer support groups. The program focuses on waste reduction, water and energy efficiency, sustainable transportation, and other sustainable consumer habits.

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Most Recent Water Efficiency Resources

Is Eco-Friendly Unmanly? The Green-Feminine Stereotype and Its Effect on Sustainable Consumption  Environment

Why are men less likely than women to embrace environmentally friendly products and behaviors? Building on prior findings that men tend to be more concerned than women with gender-identity maintenance, this article argues that this green-feminine stereotype may motivate men to avoid green behaviors in order to preserve a macho image. It also shows that men's inhibitions about engaging in green behavior can be mitigated through masculine affirmation and masculine branding.

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Engaging Teachers to Communicate Scientific Consensus on Climate Change and Other Topics  EnvironmentHealthSafety

When consensus about a risk or mitigating behavior is newly developed and/or not clearly understood, communicating that consensus through teachers / instructors can be critical. While this blog entry focuses on climate change, it may also apply to new understandings in many topic areas.

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Program Impact Attribution  EnvironmentHealthSafety

This document provides a brief summary of options for assessing what portion of any measured behavior changes resulted from your program and what portion resulted from other influences. These options can also be used to attribute the affects of your program on a wide range of related variables such as resources used, pollutants released, accident rates and health status.

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Program Evaluation Methods; Measurement and Attribution of Program Results  EnvironmentHealthSafety

A good, detailed, freely accessible overview of program evaluation and attribution methods.

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Communicating Flood Risks in a Changing Climate,  Environment

This report identifies nine principles for communicating about flooding in a changing climate.

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Infographic on Reducing Your Bottled Water Footprint (USA)  Environment

While information alone is rarely enough to change behaviours, some good facts can be useful. Here's the scoop on bottled water in the USA.

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Framing Environmental Health  EnvironmentHealth

The toolkit models how to use the FrameWorks Institute's evidence-based recommendations for communicating with average Americans about these issues in ways that build public understanding and support.

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Stormwater Public Education & Outreach  Environment

Provides links to fact sheets and case studies

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RBC Canadian Water Attitudes Study  Environment

This free annual poll tracks serious water issues around the world and their impact on how Canadian's use and think about water.

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UBC Campus Sustainability Engagement and Social Marketing Strategy - Review of Related Research and Similar Programs  Environment

This literature review summarizes behavioral barriers, benefits and interventions related to campus / institutional energy, water and waste-related behaviors.


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Getting Your Feet Wet  Environment

A downloadable social marketing guide for watershed programs

Read More »  EnvironmentHealthSafety

A free, searchable online registry of systematic reviews on the effectiveness of public health and health promotion interventions. The content has been quality rated. Bilingual (English and French).

Topics include: AIDS, environmental health, fitness, injury prevention, nutrition, safety, cycling, walking, water quality

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Photoshare  EnvironmentHealth

Provides images related to AIDS / HIV, environment (especially agriculture, environmental protection and water) maternal and child health

Includes over 17,000 images available free-of-charge upon request for non-profit use promoting international health and development

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Media / Materials Clearinghouse  EnvironmentHealthSafety

An international clearinghouse for those with an interest in health communication materials: pamphlets, posters, audiotapes, videos, training materials, job aids, electronic media and other media/materials designed to promote public health.

Materials are available for a wide range of heath issues including: AIDS (and also condom use, HIV and safer sex), asthma, automobiles, diet, fitness, nutrition (also child nutrition and infant nutrition), physical abuse, psychological abuse and sexual harassment (bullying), tobacco use, traffic safety, transportation, waste management, water (quality, storage, supply, treatment) and wildlife

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Water Conservation and Social Media  Environment

Includes access to water conservation photos and videos.

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