How Influencing Behaviours Can Accelerate the Transition to a Water Sensitive City

Haywantee Ramkissoon, Liam David Graham Smith, Sarah Caroline Kneebone

Research output: Book/ReportBookOther


This Behaviour Assessment Database has been compiled as part of the Corporate Research Centre Water Sensitive Cities (CRCWSC project on ?Accelerating to Water Sensitive Cities by Influencing Behaviour? (Project A2.2). The overarching goal of this research project is to develop and test interventions that seek to change desirable behaviours, primarily in residents, to assist a movement toward water sensitive cities. To attain this, multiple phases of research have been planned to achieve the following four objectives: 1. Identify a pool of water-sensitive behaviours through consultation with industry stakeholders, literature review, sub-project team expertise and Government water departments. 2. Understand the typology of water sensitive behaviour as they relate to Australian communities through a large scale survey in cities (shared with social processes and literacy projects), including identifying both exemplars (water-sensitive users) and target audiences where water sensitivity can be increased. 3. Design a behavioural roadmap by prioritising (by ease of influence and efficacy) and sequencing (by considering potential for behavioural spill-over) the pool of behaviours. 4. In controlled conditions, test the efficacy of market, social marketing and regulatory tools for influencing prioritised behaviours. The first of these tasks ? identifying a pool of watersensitive behaviours ? was completed in 2013 along with a report entitled ?Behaviours for reducing individual and collective water footprints?. In this report, a number of behaviours were articulated, drawing on a literature and practice review as well as data from three workshops with industry partners in Perth, Melbourne and Brisbane. The main objective of this database is to partially achieve the second objective by presenting, on a behaviour by behaviour basis, details about the percentage of respondents who are performing/not performing the behaviour, the length of time they have engaged in the behaviour, and profiles of populations (include state by state) who are performing/not performing each behaviour. Data from the nationally representative survey of 5,194 people is used to present participation and profile information. In addition, we also present the impact and likelihood for a series of water conservation and pollution prevention behaviours. The terms ?impact? and ?likelihood? are of particular importance to both this report as well as to the overall objectives of the research program. By impact, we refer to the effect that participation in the behaviour will have on the issue at hand. For example, in some parts of Australia, water shortages remain an ongoing issue and specific behavioural responses to this issue include turning off taps when brushing teeth, fixing leaks, taking shorter showers and purchasing energy efficient appliances. Each of these behaviours will vary in the impact they have on the problem of water shortages and this report seeks to examine this via assessments of the perceptions of impact from water professionals and water consumers. Perceptions of impact are important because, whether right or wrong, they inform the decision-making of residents and professionals in selecting behaviours to target in campaign (professionals) and whether or not to undertake them (residents). We also look at impact for a series of water pollution behaviours. Likelihood refers to the likelihood that a given behaviour will be adopted. There are a number of considerations in assessing whether or not a behaviour is intrinsically attractive to consumers. Previous research has shown that some features in behaviour are preferred, including the physical and cognitive ease of performing the behaviour as well as an assessment of the perceived financial cost of undertaking it. Also important is the perceived link between cause and effect (known as response efficacy) of the behaviour.
Original languageEnglish
Place of PublicationClayton Vic Australia
PublisherCooperative Research Centre for Water Sensitive Cities
Number of pages70
Publication statusPublished - 2015

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