Gholson, Drew Miller (2017-05). A Survey of Public Perception and Attitudes about Water Resources in Texas. Doctoral Dissertation. Thesis uri icon

abstract

  • This study examines the results of a random sample survey of Texans to evaluate citizen awareness, attitudes and willingness to act on water issues. This study investigates changes in public attitudes following one of the most intense one-year droughts in Texas by evaluating public perception of water availability, assessing Texans' attitudes and perceptions regarding drought conditions, and comparing the number of Texans adopting practices to conserve water before and after the drought of 2011. Almost 70% felt that the likelihood of their area suffering from a prolonged drought was increasing. More than 61% of respondents have changed the way their yard is landscaped and 62% have also adopted new technologies in an effort to conserve water. Overall, responses indicate that Texans are concerned with water availability after experiencing in 2011 the worst one-year drought on record and that the majority of respondents are taking personal action in an effort to conserve water for the future. Furthermore, the study assesses outreach effectiveness for particular populations and audiences' media preferences for learning about water issues and examines preferences for additional information on particular water resource topics, including possible trends in information sources related to socio-demographic changes from 2008 to 2014. City and municipal water districts reached the greatest number of people with 68.2% of the total population and 73.9% of respondents living within city limits (p <.0001) receiving water information from these sources. Protecting drinking water supplies (57.4%) and water management for home and garden landscaping (55.8%) were the water resource topics of greatest interests to respondents. Finally, this study evaluates Texans' perceptions of drinking water quality as related to their drinking water source. Overall, almost a quarter of the respondents (23.5%) indicated that bottled water is their primary drinking water source. A large majority (81.3%) of those primarily receiving their drinking water from private supplies believed groundwater in their area to be of good or excellent quality and only 3.1% did not know or did not have an opinion regarding local groundwater quality.
  • This study examines the results of a random sample survey of Texans to evaluate citizen awareness, attitudes and willingness to act on water issues. This study investigates changes in public attitudes following one of the most intense one-year droughts in Texas by evaluating public perception of water availability, assessing Texans' attitudes and perceptions regarding drought conditions, and comparing the number of Texans adopting practices to conserve water before and after the drought of 2011. Almost 70% felt that the likelihood of their area suffering from a prolonged drought was increasing. More than 61% of respondents have changed the way their yard is landscaped and 62% have also adopted new technologies in an effort to conserve water. Overall, responses indicate that Texans are concerned with water availability after experiencing in 2011 the worst one-year drought on record and that the majority of respondents are taking personal action in an effort to conserve water for the future.

    Furthermore, the study assesses outreach effectiveness for particular populations and audiences' media preferences for learning about water issues and examines preferences for additional information on particular water resource topics, including possible trends in information sources related to socio-demographic changes from 2008 to 2014. City and municipal water districts reached the greatest number of people with 68.2% of the total population and 73.9% of respondents living within city limits (p <.0001) receiving water information from these sources. Protecting drinking water supplies (57.4%) and water management for home and garden landscaping (55.8%) were the water resource topics of greatest interests to respondents.

    Finally, this study evaluates Texans' perceptions of drinking water quality as related to their drinking water source. Overall, almost a quarter of the respondents (23.5%) indicated that bottled water is their primary drinking water source. A large majority (81.3%) of those primarily receiving their drinking water from private supplies believed groundwater in their area to be of good or excellent quality and only 3.1% did not know or did not have an opinion regarding local groundwater quality.

publication date

  • May 2017