Do You Conserve Water? You Could Probably Stand to Do Much More

Nearly 15 percent of the contiguous United States is suffering from moderate to severe drought, which makes water conservation critical in certain parts of the country. How do we convince people to save more water, though?

That’s the question that professors at the University of Florida Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences put to the test. They polled over 1,000 people in Florida to determine which types of people would respond best to conservation efforts, and the answer is a little counterintuitive: target people who are already saving some water.

From the responses, the researchers identified three groups of people:

  • Water savvy conservationists, who demonstrate a strong commitment to saving water
  • Water considerate users, who take some small steps to save water without fully committing to conservation efforts
  • Unconcerned water users, who put no thought into saving water

At first glance, it probably seems like we should be pressuring the people who do nothing to save water during times of drought rather than focusing on the middle group that is already chipping in.

The problem is, that’s not how the world works, and you’re always going to encounter people who refuse to do their part. Maybe they ignore science, maybe they feel the rules shouldn’t apply to them, or maybe they’re just jerks. Whatever the reason, if they’ve ignored previous drought pleas, further attempts aren’t likely to be too successful.

On the other hand, water considerate users have demonstrated that they do care about the drought situation. Their modest efforts are helpful, but that doesn’t mean there aren’t several unexplored areas for improvement. These are the types of people who would likely be willing to do more to save water if given the proper instruction.

The UF researchers were most concerned with landscape conservation given Florida’s obsession with aesthetically pleasing green lawns. Apparently, this is one area where the water considerate users could commit to a major improvement, but many haven’t given it much thought.

The EPA reports that about a third of all residential water use is allocated toward landscape irrigation. Moreover, about half of the water used for this purpose could be saved if more efficient techniques were implemented – water-saving tricks that wouldn’t leave the lawns any less lush.

Ultimately, it’s to the private citizens’ advantage to make such changes to conserve water, points out lead researcher Laura Warner. Not only is it good for the planet and community, it would significantly reduce the cost of their water bills.

If you’re one of the people who thinks a little bit about conserving water but could stand to do more, check out Care2’s 20 Ways to Conserve Water at Home for tips that you can incorporate into your everyday routine.

Photo credit: Thinkstock


Siyus Copetallus
Siyus Copetallus1 years ago

Thank you for sharing.

william Miller
william Miller1 years ago


Laudia Price
Laudia Price1 years ago


Jeanne Rogers
Jeanne R1 years ago

Great info. Thank you for sharing.

Sharon S.
Sharon S1 years ago

I try to help as much as I can. As for outside, the grass gets watered when it rains, no matter how long it has been since it rained. We also conserve personal use as much as reasonably possible within healthy bounds

Naomi Dreyer
Naomi Dreyer1 years ago

Every drop counts. We ( I ) should all do more and teach the kids.

Brad H.
Brad H1 years ago


Sherry Kohn
Sherry K1 years ago

Many thanks to you !

cheryl detar
cheryl detar1 years ago

I conserve to the max. I even had all the gutters lowered to one side of my tri-level to collect rainwater into 3 barrels, to water my garden. However, we MUST do something to STOP Nestle. California, is one of the hardest hit places with droughts. Yet, they sell billions of gallons of water to Nestle, for their, for profit, products.

Margie FOURIE1 years ago

We survive on the littlest water possible. Grey water is used, so nothing goes to waste. It does play hell with the water pipes though.