UC Davis Agricultural and Resource Economics

Professor Jessoe Discusses Research about What Motivates People to Conserve Water with Public Policy Institute of California

Sept. 27, 2018

Katrina Jessoe, associate professor with the UC Davis Department of Agricultural and Resource Economics (ARE), was recently interviewed by the Public Policy Institute of California about her research into what motivates people to conserve water.

"We partnered with a municipality-owned water and electric utility to see how people would respond to additional water conservation messaging during summer 2015—at the height of the latest drought," Jessoe is quoted as saying. "These utilities send bi-monthly home water reports to a random sample of households. These reports compared a household's water use to that of neighbors, gave recommendations on how to conserve water, and provided information on particular conservation programs being used by that utility."

Results included a reduction in water use of 3–4 percent. Additional research that Dr. Jessoe discusses includes how the city of Modesto, Calif., used unique messaging to move from a flat-fee type of billing to charging per unit of water.

Overall, the research suggests "that price may be an effective tool to manage water use, if customers are well informed about the change," Jessoe says.

Click here to read the interview.

 

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